The past month saw the launch of several new Arabic jihadi media groups, including an organization focused exclusively on Tunisia. The growth in Arabic jihadi media contrasts with a decline in English-language propaganda, following last year's drone strike on English-language al-Qaida propagandists Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan.
Among the newly formed and newly announced groups are the Ibn Taymiyya Center for Media, the al-Ibada Foundation for Media Production, and the al-Qayrawan Media Foundation. While the first two are relatively new and will focus more generally on jihadi issues relevant across terrorist organizations, al-Qayrawan is actually eight months old focuses on local affairs relevant to Tunisian jihadists.
Al-Qayrawan's announcement on a popular al-Qaida forum, according to terrorism expert Aaron Zelin of jihadology.net, is not simply a late news posting but symbolizes how the group has moved into al-Qaida's orbit. In less than 12 months since Tunisians deposed their dictator and carried out democratic elections, the terrorist group Ansar al-Shariah in Tunisia [AST] has gained enough local support to form its own media organization.
Media organizations play a key role in recruitment and propaganda efforts. A recent announcement by one of the most important al-Qaida web forums, Shumukh al-Islam, showed "thanks and praise" on media groups as "the finest examples in persistence and sacrifice." The post emphasized how the groups act as a counter balance to Western media, providing inspiration and information to supporters and troops in the field.