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Just sharing – How Muslim Defenders Became “Blood Spilling” Crusaders: Adam Gadahn’s Critique of the “Jihadist” Subversion of Al Qaeda’s Media Warfare Strategy

terrorism n political violencePaul Kamolnick (2017), “How Muslim Defenders Became “Blood Spilling” Crusaders: Adam Gadahn’s Critique of the “Jihadist” Subversion of Al Qaeda’s Media Warfare Strategy”, Terrorism and Political Violence, 29:3, 444-463.

Adam Gadahn’s Abbottabad letter offers a rare opportunity to examine how this Al Qaeda Senior Leadership (AQSL) media operative and spokesman conceptualizes and executes media warfare. In this article, I first introduce, depict, and employ the author’s Terrorist Quadrangle Analysis (TQA) as a useful heuristic for conceptualizing and representing the four interrelated components of the AQSL terrorist enterprise: political objectives, media warfare, terrorist attacks, and strategic objectives. This TQA construct is then employed to conceptualize Gadahn’s media warfare acumen. Gadahn is shown to be an adept communications warfare operative who conscientiously disaggregates and evaluates key target audiences, messengers, messaging, and media. Gadahn’s vehement critique of select “jihadi” groups, in particular Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP), al-Shabaab, and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), is then described. Key here is how and why Gadahn denounces their indiscriminate, murderous terrorist attacks on Muslim non-combatant civilians and other protected persons as effectively subverting his intended AQSL media warfare strategy and undermining AQSL strategic and religio-political objectives. A concluding section briefly summarizes these chief findings, offers select implications for scholarship and counter-AQSL messaging strategy, and identifies study limitations.
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About Muhammad Haniff Hassan

Muhammad Haniff Bin Hassan is a Fellow. He holds a PhD and M.Sc. in Strategic Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (previously known as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies), Nanyang Technological University. He received his early education in Aljunied Islamic School. He then continued his tertiary education at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, National University of Malaysia, with honours in Syar`iah and Civil law. Mr. Haniff is also active in social activities as a member of the Islamic Religious Council Appeal Board, HSBC Insurance Islamic Advisory Board from 2000 to 2014, Association of Islamic Religious Teachers and Scholars of Singapore (PERGAS) and Management Committee of Al-Irsyad Islamic School. He writes extensively in Berita Harian (a local Malay newspaper) and has also published articles in The Straits Times. He has published six books in his name, co-authored a monograph and helped publish two books for PERGAS and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. His personal website in Malay is at www.haniff.sg

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