Author(s): Susan B Glasser, Steve Coll
The jihadist bulletin boards were buzzing. Soon, promised the spokesman for al Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers, a new video would be posted with the latest in mayhem from Iraq's best-known insurgent group. On June 29, the new release hit the Internet. "All Religion Will Be for Allah" is 46 minutes of live-action war in Iraq, a slickly produced video with professional-quality graphics and the feel of a blood-and-guts annual report. In one chilling scene, the video cuts to a brigade of smiling young men. They are the only fighters shown unmasked, and the video explains why: They are a corps of suicide bombers-in-training. As notable as the video was the way Abu Musab Zarqawi's "information wing" distributed it to the world: a specially designed Web page, with dozens of links to the video, so users could choose which version to download. There were large-file editions that consumed 150 megabytes for viewers with high-speed Internet and a scaled-down four-megabyte version for those limited to dial-up access. Viewers could choose Windows Media or RealPlayer. They could even download "All Religion Will Be for Allah" to play on a cell phone.