"Individuals, agencies and all information media outlets" have been told they can question Egyptian-born Zawahiri in what is described as "an open meeting" and get answers from mid-January. Zawahiri is assumed to be in hiding on the borders of Afghanistan or Pakistan.
This is an interesting move. Obviously he wont answer any questions he doesn't want to, but just the appearance of being that approachable is something any politician would want. Sort of like the YouTube debates. Here you are, some shmuck off the street and your question is chosen and answered by a powerful public figure. But some how I don't think that anyone will be asking Zawahiri about global warming.
Its interesting how the internet has changed not just the way people interact with each other, but also with those above them in the power structure. Think about how much more it will continue to change as more people get access to this technology.
Zawahiri's latest message, on Sunday, emphasised the importance of "jihadi information media", saying they were "waging an extremely critical battle against the Crusader-Zionist enemy". Information "used to be the exclusive domain of ... the official government media, and the ... media which claim to be free and non-governmental".
Zawahiri taunted Britain for its handover of Basra and warned tribal leaders in Iraq who are cooperating with the US military that they would lose "both their religion and their life" when the US left the country.
This shows how its not going to change somethings. Just because they're using the internet hasn't lead to a change in the message. And you can see that with any fundamentalist group. The information is slicker and easier to get, but the ideas in it are still the same.