JULY 17, 2008— -- Al Qaeda and its video production group are also distributing reruns. At least twice this summer, al Qaeda's media arm As Sahab has reposted old videos on jihadist websites, without identifying them as reruns. The move signals a shift in al Qaeda's strategy, and a decline in the frequency and quality of its propaganda videos.
Terrorism video experts point to the reruns as a change in focus among al Qaeda's leadership. Just last night As Sahab re-released its video "Windows of Paradise Part I." This time around, the video was translated into Urdu. In June, As Sahab re-posted an address from al Qaeda's number two man translated from its original Arabic into Urdu. Experts say these translations indicate al Qaeda's conscious effort to recruit Urdu-speaking Pakistanis.
Al Qaeda leaders have long railed against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistani government. In January, al Qaeda's Adam Gadahn called Musharraf one of the "world's worst dictators and tyrants," who "is holding on to power by the skin of his teeth." Last year, Osama bin Laden himself called for jihad against Musharraf.
Terrorism video experts have also commented on the drop in jihadist propaganda frequency. As Sahab has rolled out very few original productions this summer compared to its almost weekly releases earlier this year. This summer, jihadist websites have also relied on video postings from other production companies like Al Fajr and Al Furqan. The decline in As Sahab videos has raised questions in some national security circles as to whether al Qaeda's media operations division has taken a hit.