Following the assassination of Osama Bin Laden and the rising popularity of IS, and ‘Jihadi John’ in particular, Al-Qaeda have undergone a dramatic rebranding and announced a “triumphant return to form” with a new mascot they have dubbed “Fatwa Phil”.
In a message to members of the terrorist cell that was intercepted by the CIA, an anonymous Al-Qaeda marketing operative laid out plans for the future of the fundamentalist group.
“We’ve had a lot of time of time to think since Osama died. At times we thought no one could fill the gaping hole he left in our organization. We lacked guidance and lost our drive, our mojo. For a long time, when you thought ‘terrorist’, you thought ‘Osama’ and we were guilty of resting on our laurels for a while there. We thought we could dominate this market forever but these now young guns have come along and changed the game.”
“Things have moved on in a big way since our heydey. If you want to get anywhere in terrorism these days you need a strong media presence. We can’t establish our caliphate with the odd grainy video every 5 months. Look at ISIS, look at Boko Haram. They’re engaged, they’re multi-platform, and they’re everywhere.”
“We need to get the press talking about Al-Qaeda again and we just don’t have the time nor the energy to commit the same atrocities ISIS do. They went crazy for ‘Jihadi John’ and are totally obsessed with him so we thought “what we can we do?” and that’s how we arrived at ‘Fatwa Phil’. It just rolls of the tongue.”
The message ended “I think I speak on behalf of everyone here at Al-Qaeda when I say that we’re really looking forward to seeing what Phil can do for us.”
Earlier this week Western security agencies reported a great deal of terrorist ‘chatter’ originating in the Afghanistan region in which the phrases “social media expert” and “test audiences” and “brand engagement” frequently appeared.