Thursday, July 19, 2007

Shadow Warriors

After the September 11th attacks, Salman Rushdie wrote, "Yes, we must send our shadow-warriors against theirs, and hope that ours prevail." Now it appears that one of the leading shadow warriors for the jihadist cause in Iraq may be a fiction created for the Internet, a shadow puppet as fabricated as LonelyGirl15. In a briefing dated today, "Cyber Islamic State of Iraq foreign-led ruse," Brigadier General Kevin J. Bergner claims that jihadist radicals are involved in a complicated Internet Hoax. According to a transcript of the briefing, "Along with al-Masri, Mashadani co-founded a virtual organization in cyberspace called the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006 as a new Iraqi pseudonym for AQI." Although Internet statements seem to come from a telegenic mastermind named Abu Omar Baghdadi, the military's Bergner claims that the duo merely hird an actor named Abu Abdullah al-Naima to play the part of a jihadist firebrand with a local accent. Just two months ago, the army was still hunting the appropriately named figurehead Baghdadi, according to the Pentagon, and he was labeled a threat by the Internet watchdog group on his profile on Global Security.

Some of the insightful comments in the blogosphere about Baghdadi predate the Pentagon announcement by months. In addition to offering entertaining reading, Taliban Gate has been skewering the group's rhetoric for a while. If you haven't read it, Talisman Gate is the creation of New York Sun columnist and Hudson Institute scholar Nibras Kazimi. As Kazimi declares, "Welcome to my blog. This is the place where I explore issues like whether Nostradamus had predicted the whole Zarqawi phenomena, and is Walid Junbulatt the real Hariri killer? In other words, this space is devoted to all the stuff that would peg me a crank should I try to put it out in print. But what the hell, journalistic credibility is way too over-regarded." Although Kazimi didn't write the story, The Sun has interesting coverage of these revelations today.

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