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Unformatted text preview: Al Qaeda
The Terrorist Franchise Beginnings of al Qaeda
Founded by Osama bin Laden al Qaeda in 1988 in Afghanistan First attack by al Qaeda did not occur until 1991 when bin Laden was based in Sudan Original command structure consisted of a two tier organizational structure Inner Circle: bin Laden and a small select group who swore allegiance to bin Laden and who would help him run the organization Outer Circle: a group of followers with varying amounts of loyalty; these are the ones who would carry out the actual work of the organization Why bin Laden wants to attack the US US involvement in '91 Gulf War and resulting US presence in Saudi Arabia seen as the Saudi government inviting "infidels" to occupy some of Islam's most holy lands This caused him to vow to destroy both governments How al Qaeda uses religion Concept of defensive jihad states that no true Muslim can refuse a request for Jihad by a "just and pious leader" Jihad can be done carried out three ways: 1 Agreeing with the jihad morally and giving hospitality to those engaged in jihad 2 Sending money to support the jihad 3 Actually physically fighting against an enemy of Islam The more involvement the bigger the reward Only those who die fighting are guaranteed entrance into heaven Use of suicide bombers Suicide is seen as egocentric and self centered, has a very large stigma attached to it Suicide bombers are viewed as supporting the community, using the most effective means of attacking enemy According to Dr Ayman al Zawahiri al Qaeda's military commander suicide bombers create 10 to 15 times more casualties than traditional military methods Suicide bombers receive vast popular support from their communities In areas like Gaza they are treated like rock stars High achieving kids aspire to be human bombs instead of doctors, Recent bombers have their posters in teens rooms, Small children fight over the ability to pretend to be the bomber in play Effects of 9-11 on al Qaeda Lost safe haven, training camps, base of operations, and 80% of its military capability post invasion of Afghanistan Divided al Qaeda: many felt bad for innocent victims and felt it was a big mistake. Was nearly destroyed until the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The US invasion was seen as a crusade and rallied new members to the organization to help expel the US from the middle east How al Qaeda is currently structured Inner Circle: uses internet to control organization. Using a series of secretive websites al Qaeda provides all information on how to establish a local chapter, down to the thickness of cloth on suicide bomb belts. Outer Circle: uses internet to communicate with inner circle so it can be recognized by the inner circle, as well as get permission for complex and high profile attacks. Recognition by inner circle is important because the whole organization runs off of Osama bin Laden's recognition as a "just and pious leader" Also this requirement for the outer circle to ask for permission before engaging in high profile or complex attacks is vital because without it rouge al Qaeda affiliates could create a PR disaster and destroy the organization as a whole How modern al Qaeda communicates Inner circle member passes message written either on paper or DVD to inner circle courier The message then passes through a system of couriers to where it lands at a low level al Qaeda member who only knows the courier directly above him The message is then transferred online via a local internet caf This process is reversed if an outer circle member responds to the message The al Qaeda Roadmap to Victory First cause the United States to invade a Muslim country Second enlist mujahedin to create a never ending and worsening insurgency. Third create a region wide conflict involving Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. Fourth turn al Qaeda into an ideology and further decentralize the command structure of al Qaeda making membership extremely easy as well as impossible to catch in advance by the United States. Fifth push the United States beyond its capacity, force it to extend itself to several fronts, and attempt to maintain oil field integrity, until the American economy collapses as seen with Russia as a result of the Soviet Afghan war. Sixth after the fall of the United States declare war against any Muslim nation that doesn't submit to al Qaeda, creating a giant country from North Africa to Pakistan. Al Qaeda's Weakness Al Qaeda based on bin Laden's status as "just and pious leader" This means that while the any Muslim who hears his call to arms and feels that he is a "just and pious leader" can create their own cell by going online and finding out how Its also means that the entire organization is run off of the "because I told you so" principle with no real method of controlling what gets done in its name or even how many people are a part of the organization This makes the organization very vulnerable to PR mistakes, any attack directed from the inner circle or even an al Qaeda affiliate could evaporate popular support This would have the capability of stripping the organization of financing, and possibly of the entire loosely knit outer circle itself, thus making the organization impotent The Future US at war in Afghanistan and Iraq with aggressive stance against Iran Al Qaeda spreading to north Africa, with cells in Europe This puts al Qaeda in the middle of stages 3 and 4 Current US involvement in Iraq has given al Qaeda greater influence than ever before However pulling out of Iraq would mean that all of al Qaeda's resources would shift to destabilize Saudi Arabia and its oil infrastructure, which represents 25% of the global oil reserves Only a highly qualified leader can help the US get out of the box it finds itself in and defuse the complex threat that the existence of al Qaeda presents In the mean time al Qaeda will continue to pose a greater and greater threat to the US as al Qaeda continues to create greater numbers of highly trained and independently operated networks of terrorists around the world ...
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This note was uploaded on 05/05/2008 for the course POLI 4042 taught by Professor White during the Spring '08 term at LSU.
- Spring '08