The information jihad of ‘Shariat’ jamaat : objectives, methods and achievements
The story of the Jamaat Shariat website ( www.jamaatshariat.com ), which was set up to wage ‘information jihad’, is closely tied to the development of the radical Dagestani ‘Shariat’ jamaat (Islamist combat group) which it represents. Thus, a better understanding of the factors behind the creation of the website, assessing its key objectives and achievements, can help researchers to determine the real potential of the jamaat itself and the degree of inﬂ uence it exerts on young Muslims. According to RAND researchers John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, information warfare can be waged as part of a larger, more extensive military strategy or can be applied as a discrete tactical military operation. 1 This chapter examines the creation and development of the website of the ‘Shariat’ jamaat and the conﬂ icts and contradictions it became drawn into as it publicized the achievements of the combat jamaat and sought to explain the logic and rationale of the group’s diversionary insurgent actions. The key argument of the chapter is that the gradual development of the main objectives of the website and its thematic content closely followed the evolution and development of the jamaat itself, as the primary purpose of the website was to reﬂ ect the jamaat’s aims, objectives and methods of operation. Inevitably, the website was heavily inﬂ uenced by the ideology espoused by the insurgents, and by the strategic and tactical steps taken by them. It also reﬂ ects their ideological and intellectual weaknesses and even indicates the limitations in their military preparedness.