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No chickening out

A fringe al-Qaeda group has offered rewards in the form of animals for Obama and Hillary. Money is zoo passé

india Updated: Jun 14, 2012 00:53 IST

While President Barack Obama’s rating in his home base, the US, has been steady for a while now, it has surely taken a ‘beating’ in al-Qaeda-ruled areas. In a world that truly believes that money can buy everything (even love some would say), a fringe al-Qaeda group — Somalia-based Shabab — has announced that it has placed a bounty of — not billions of dollars — but 10 camels to help anyone who can locate the US president. And keeping with the designation protocol, the bounty for the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, is 20 chickens, 10 hens and 10 roosters to be precise. These innovative rewards programmes come after the US government offered a total of $33 million through the State Department’s Rewards for Justice programme for information leading to the capture of seven Shabab leaders.

Now many of you may call this a tit-for-tat reaction, but you have to agree that the Somalian group has bettered the US bounty. On the face of it, the $33 million bounty is a juicy carrot but when it comes to grabbing the world’s attention, the Soma-lians have outsmarted the State Department. Look at it this way: if the Somalians had matched the bounty or added a couple of thousands of dollars more for Mr Obama and Ms Clinton, no one would have given the offer a second thought. At the most, the State Department would have issued a statement. But when you say 10 camels and 20 chickens for the two, we are all ears. Like in advertising, in the very competitive world of terrorism, you need to stand out by coming up with a winning line. And, dear readers, the one by the Somalian leaders wins the competition, at least for now. How many of us knew about this group before the bounty was declared?

Unknowingly, the Shabab leaders have probably unleashed a new trend. May be the new bounty declarations will be as interesting as the one by the Shabab leaders. For starters, Washington should stop doling out dollars for terror leaders. It’s now so passé.