A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hegghammer on "Al-Sahab": Why the Internet is So Great

I'm pretty sure this is why the Internet was invented, even if gossip, UFOs and porn are the main trafficked sites: a truly interesting, informative, short blog by Thomas Hegghammer at Jihadica on "Why is Al-Sahab Called Al-Sahab?" Now Jihadica is the sort of specialized blog that can get away with the statement "Most readers probably know that the word sahab means 'clouds' and that it emerged as the name of al-Qaida’s media production company around 2002," because it's only read by specialists, some of whom, may actually know that. ("Every schoolboy knows..." always introduces something that very few if any schoolboys know.) This is the sort of careful, exegetic, interpretative reading of complex information that intelligence services pay dearly for, that used to be esoteric in its accessibility, and that now, if you know where to look, is free for the asking.

I couldn't have explained this without hours, or days, of research. (Actually, I never asked myself the question.) People used to pay a lot (probably still do) to consultants to tell them this esoteric stuff. Jihadica gave it to us free without our even knowing we needed it. Thanks, Thomas. Jihadica is becoming an utterly essential site. I get the RSS Feed and recommend you do the same, or at least bookmark it.

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