Internet video used to foment insurgency

The carnage is posted on Internet sites four or five times a week — video shot by Iraqi insurgents of attacks on Americans and allies, along with the accompanying bodies and body parts.

Evan Kohlmann, an NBC terrorism analyst, says these videos are now a key weapon in the effort to drive the United States out of Iraq.

"The message is that America's military is not invincible — that it can be defeated — and this is the way it can be defeated," says Kohlmann.

Most videos are branded with the logo of Iraq's most wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In one, you can see a celebration in front of what's left of an American military vehicle. In another, insurgents make and bury a roadside bomb, wait for the target to approach and blow it up. A third shows a white sedan, with a suicide bomber at the wheel, who heads for an American convoy and detonates.

Narration accompanying one attack says, "The invaders who were walking like peacocks became like rats, fleeing, leaving everything behind."

In many Arab countries, the videos are viewed in Internet cafes and sold in markets.

Mohamed Salah, a journalist for the newspaper al-Hayat, says while there is widespread revulsion over videos of beheadings in Iraq, these military videos generate support for insurgents.

"If an American or British is killed in an operation, there is no sympathy at all; it creates pride, not sympathy," says Salah.


Experts say one reason is al-Jazeera. The television network bombards Arabs with images of dead or maimed Iraqi civilians and repeatedly aired controversial and graphic footage of an American Marine shooting a wounded Iraqi. Yet, the network did not show the fatal shooting purported to be of Iraqi aid worker Margaret Hassan at the hand of insurgents.

A spokesman says it's al-Jazeera’s long-time policy not to show the killing of hostages, but that airing similarly violent killings by Americans is justified because it it's part of a war.

Little wonder, says one Arab expert, that the Arab street — saturated with images of American violence against Muslims — sees insurgent videos as a welcome measure of revenge.