The ISD monitors online activity and reports threats to the security services. (REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser)
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Syria's civil war has led to a new, greater threat of Islamist radicalism in Saudi Arabia that requires a more aggressive "war of ideology" on the Internet, says the man responsible for online monitoring in the kingdom. Remarks by the head of the Ideological Security Directorate suggest that the unit, known for keeping tabs on liberal activists and women drivers as well as Islamist extremists, is turning its focus increasingly toward those using the Internet to recruit fighters for jihad abroad.Saudi Arabia has increasingly been worried about a blowback at home as Al-Qaeda-linked fighters gain influence in Syria, much as Saudi Arabia faced a threat from returning fighters from Afghanistan and Iraq who killed hundreds in a bombing campaign before being crushed last decade.It is imperative that Saudi Arabia fight a "war of ideology" online, Hadlaq said. Comments counter to government policy are quickly attacked by what users have come to refer to as "Saudi eggs" – suspected government officials represented by the egg that Twitter uses as the default image for users without profile photos.
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