Like the rest of the world, members of the Arabic-speaking Jihadi forums are closely watching the Mumbai attacks. There’s no insider info yet, but one member of Faloja, Song of Terror, has proposed an information operation to capitalize on the event. He suggests the following:
- Spread news of the event on non-Jihadi Arabic forums
- Design images of the attackers
- Produce films calling for aid to the Deccan Mujahideen and put them on YouTube
- Appeal for aid on the comment sections of Arabic news sites
- Refute anyone who criticizes these attacks on the non-Jihadi Arabic forums
This fits with what I’ve written before, that the main Jihadi propaganda effort online is directed toward the mainstream forums. Because its all volunteer, it’s much more nimble.
As for the Mumbai attacks, they mesh with Abu Bakr Naji’s suggestion several years ago that Jihadis should target hotels frequented by tourists, which he believes will cause the local government to pull in its security resources to protect other hotels across the target country and consequently open up security vacuums in peripheral areas. It will also have the usual effects of provoking a massive security crackdown, polarize the populace, etc.
I’ve often wondered privately to colleagues why there aren’t more coordinated attacks with small arms on tourist areas since they are much easier to carry out than attacks involving homemade bombs. I supposed that they just weren’t horrifying or dramatic enough–the reasons propagandists by the deed have had a long love affair with the infernal machine. But the Mumbai attacks have proven that a coordinated small arms attack can kill enough people to attract world attention, which sets a very bad precedent. I’m sure we’ll also soon learn that cell phones played a major role in coordinating the attack.
Document (Arabic): 11-27-08-faloja-arabic-information-operations-for-mumbai-attacks
Re the query in the last paragraph, I’ve asked the same thing and the answer I’ve gotten is that they’re not spectacular enough. Like you say, so much for that theory.
Frankly, every time I walk into a mall it strikes me how easy it would be to carry out an attack. Even the hotels in Cairo, which have more security than those in the States, for example, appear to be incredibly vulnerable. What is most alarming about what happened in Mumbai is that it is proof to anyone with an automatic rifle that they, too, can inflict not only inordinate amounts of physical damage, but can get their “jihad” on the front page of every newspaper across the globe.