Crowdsourcing the Revolution

Several weeks ago, Leah noted the appearance of five new letters sent by Sayf al-`Adl, one of the most senior al-Qaeda members, to Abu al-Walid al-Masri.  This is in addition to the five letters Sayf sent at the end of 2010 that Vahid ably summarized here.  Given Sayf’s historical importance to the organization, his reported leadership role in the tribal areas, and the uncertainties surrounding the succession to Bin Laden, I thought readers might be interested in what he’s thinking.  I’ll summarize some of their contents over the next few days.

As of Jan-March, when the letters were written, Sayf was preoccupied with the Arab Spring and its implications for al-Qaeda.  Al-Qaeda has been justly accused of being on the sidelines of the revolutions but somewhat unfairly dinged for not grasping the technological advances that have enabled them.  Sayf, for one, sees the power of social media and what it can mean for creating more just institutions in the wake of the revolutions.  Here is his suggestion for Egypt (dated Feb 27):

I propose the establishment of a new site on the Internet for social networking, particularly in Egypt, that is similar to Facebook and whose proceeds would support the families of the martyrs and orphans in Egypt.  On it, the umma will express its vision for the reform of its institutions.  I think many wonderful ideas that can be beneficial will be put forward on these pages because genius is not confined to an individual or a family or elements of the regime.  Wisdom and reason are not limited to a person, and Egypt and the umma are filled with people of knowledge, competence and wisdom.

Not a bad idea.

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