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  • AL-Qaeda is subject to wide variety of interpretations, like other world’s violent organizations.
  • • Although vast majority of people condemn violence, none of the religion support any form of terrorism to harm people in any part of the globe. Terrorism should not be linked to any religion.
  • • Definition of "Jihad": Struggle against inner evil.
  •       - Can be personal or public.
          - Can be through social activism or force.
  • Mostly rooted in Salafist traditions (but not all espouse violence!)
  • Ideological forerunner:
  •        -Ayyid Qutb (1906-1966).
           -Coming to grips with underdevelopment in Me. Rejection of Western Ideologies.)
  • This ideology rejects the secular nation-state model in favor of Islamic Government.
  • Gripes with the 'West' and the U. S.
  •       -Global penetration of Western cultural products and values.
          -Support for authoritarian, non-Islamic Governments.
          -Support for Israel
          -Us Troops in Saudi Arabia.

Islamic Political Thought
  • Shari'a: Islamic Law (regulates crime, commerce, family law, diet, etc.)
  • Secularists: religion is a private matter, separation of religion and politics.
  • Reformists: Islam is a progressive religion and is compatible with human rights and democracy.
  • Traditional / Orthodox: Islam should be the only source of law, based on orthodox legal schools (madhabs).
  • Salafists & Wahhabis: Return to the 'pure' Islam of Mohammed and his compatriots.

AL-Qaeda: Origins in Afghan War
  • Literally means "the Base".
  • Originated in Afghan war against USSR.
  • In 1979, Soviets invade to prop up socialist govt. Salafists & Wahhabis: Return to the 'pure' Islam of Mohammed and his compatriots.
  • Afghan resistance organizations (mujahedin) based in Pakistan, supported By US.
  • Foreign fighters from across Muslim world, but particularly in Gulf States join The fight. Foreign fighters guided by puritanical beliefs .Maktab al-Khadamat
  • Founded by Osama bin Laden to Fund afghan war.

AL-Qaeda: First Gulf War
  • Osama bin laden returns to Saudi Arabia after USSR leaves Afghanistan.
  • Iraq invades Kuwait in 1990, feared that Saudi Arabia would be next.
  • OBL offers to mobilize mujahedin forces to protect Saudi Arab, Liberate Kuwait.
  • Instead, Saudi Arabia turns to USA for protection.
  •       -Osama Bin Laden outraged that foreign troops stationed in 'holy lands'.
  • Osama Bin Laden's Saudi Citizenship is revoked, forced to flee The country.

AL-Qaeda: Founding in Sudan
  • OBL moves to Sudan, forms AL-Qaeda.
  • AL-Qaeda funds road construction projects and charitable works in Exchange for protection of Sudanese government.
  • Also begins to run training camps for militant activities.
  • 1994, AL-Qaeda allegedly involved in plan to assassinate Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
  • In 1996, USA demands that Sudan expels AL-Qaeda.

AL-Qaeda: Back in Afghanistan
  • Interlude in Bosnia; failure to get Bosnian Muslims to back radical program.
  • After USSR withdrawal and US a ending support, internal war in Afghanistan.
  • Taliban takes Kabul in 1996.
  • OBL and AL-Qaeda move operations to Afghanistan.
  • 1996, OBL issues a 'fatwa' to expel foreign troops from Islamic lands.
  •       - Lacks any religious credentials to issue fatwas.
  • 1998, OBL and Ayman al-Zawahiri issue fatwa to kill civilians.

AL-Qaeda Fatwa

"The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies, civilians and military, is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do tiin any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Mecca) from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim."

AL-Qaeda Goals

Remove Authoritarian / UN Islamic leaders and restore the caliphate:- "After the fall of our orthodox caliphates on March 3, 1924 and after Expelling the colonialists, our Islamic national was afflicted with Apostate rulers who turned out to be more infidel and criminal than The colonialists themselves." AQ training manual

Removal of foreign ideologies and values:- "They (the leaders) started spreading godless and atheistic views among the youth. We found some that claimed that socialism was from Islam, democracy was (compatible with Islam)" AQ training manual.

AL-Qaida Modus Operdi

AL-Qaicta uses loosely connected or indirectly connected cells among indigenous groups and Islamic movements throughout the world, which provide cover and opportunities to covertly gather funds from multiple sources. Al-Qaida exploits modern technology to advance its agenda and to launder money. It has used satellite technology, the Internet, cell phones, and fax machines, among other tools. It has exploited porous borders and weak immigration systems as it blends into communities worldwide.

The al-Qaida network is a multinational enterprise with operations in more than 60 countries (U.S. Government, 2003:7).

Poland (2005) writes that al-Qaida has several traits:

  • Long-range planning of several years prior to attacks
  • The ability to conduct simultaneous attacks
  • Great emphasis on operational security (e.g., compartmentalized planning)
  • Flexible, decentralized, command structure of diverse membership that cuts across ethnic, class,and national boundaries
  • Attacks often follow these stages: intelligence and surveillance of a target; attackers rehearse the operation; a support team organizes safe houses, vehicles, forged documents, and weapons; and mission executed

AL-Qaeda and the US

Belief that is the US withdraws from the Middle East, stops funding and arming states in the region (e.g. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan), these regimes will fall and allow Islamic governments to take hold.

AL-Qaeda Today
  • Al Qaeda Suffered major setback when USA invaded Afghanistan.
  • Now beginning to regroup across the border in tribal areas of Pakistan.
  • Al-Qaeda affiliated organizations appearing in Iraq, though operating independently.
  •       - AL-Qaeda in Mesopotamia
  • Groups in Africa, S. Asia, and elsewhere now use the AI-Qaeda 'brand'.
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