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April 7, 2009 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 509

Behind the Scenes of Virtual Jihad – Part II: When the Interests of Iraqi Jihad Groups and the Coalition Coincide: The Case of Al-Boraq.com

April 7, 2009 | By Eli Alshech, Y. Apelbaum
Iraq | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 509

Until mid-2007, Al-Boraq.com, a domain associated with insurgency groups in Iraq, was just an ordinary jihadi forum with a relatively low level of technological sophistication. It was based on the vBulletin® platform, a commercially available, off-the-shelf Internet community forum. In June 2007, the team managing Al-Boraq.com decided to generate the Alboraq.info website. While Al-Boraq.com continued to function and provide the same features and functionality as before, the new Alboraq.info site featured major improvements in terms of content development, presentation, publication, infrastructure, and overall usage of cutting-edge technology. In fact, a detailed analysis of Alboraq.info suggests that it was created by a commercial Internet development team with specific domain expertise in areas such as video production, e-commerce, marketing, news syndication, multi-lingual copywriting, and advertising. This paper will analyze and discuss some of the technological characteristics of Alboraq.info, and will provide the political and ideological context within which Alboraq.info and other sites associated with it emerged. It will also suggest that the technological revolution that it underwent could reflect the confluence of the interests of Iraqi jihad groups and of the Coalition. ...

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