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Hope as A Counterterrorism Strategy?

Author: Lydia Khalil
February 25, 2009
Huffington Post


After the historic presidential elections in the United States, messages poured in from around the world congratulating the American people on their transformative new President. One of the voices in the chorus was that of Abu Omar al Baghdadi, also known as the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. In a statement released on a jihadi internet forum he claimed that Obama's victory was also a victory for the jihadists fighting in Iraq and around the world. Apparently, everyone really does want to bask in the Obama glow.

According to Baghdadi, Obama's victory was a repudiation of America's involvement in the Iraq war. It signaled that the American people had finally been worn down by al Qaeda's winning strategy of attrition and terrorist tactics. You'll recall one of Obama's campaign platforms was ending America's military presence within 16 months of taking office. But al Qaeda's messages had nothing to do with our 44th president, nor what his election means for America's prospects of winning or losing the war against violent Islamic extremism. Rather it has everything to do with how well al Qaeda plays the communications game and how ineffectual we have been in countering their core message... so far.

Despite the fact that al Qaeda has been embarrassingly rejected by the very Muslims they claim to represent in Iraq and despite the fact that they cannot defeat us on the battlefield, we are still losing on the most important battle front--communication.

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