December 10, 2009
Al Qaeda’s Role as an Organization and an Ideology, and why it is Still Around
On September 11, 2001, the terrorist organization know as Al Qaeda, headed by
Osama bin Laden attacked America by hijacking four commercial airplanes, and flying
them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing 2,976 people.
In response to this
attack, U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan, where bin
Laden was believed to be hiding.
The invasion removed Afghanistan’s totalitarian
government, the Taliban, from power, and pushed Al Qaeda and its leaders underground.
This paper will examine Al Qaeda’s shift from an organization to an ideology, a well as
the causes of its remarkable resiliency in the face of the “War on Terror”.
Al Qaeda was formed in the late 1980s in Pakistan by Osama bin Laden, and the
leaders of the Egyptian terrorist group Islamic Jihad, with the goal of forcibly removing
the Soviet Army from Afghanistan, and then carrying on the jihad elsewhere.
bin Laden served mainly as a source of funding for the groups, however as time passed,
he took a more active role in its operations.
It the wake of the Mujahedeen victory in
Afghanistan, bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia, just prior to the first Gulf War.
Iraq invaded Kuwait, and was making threatening gestures toward Saudi Arabia, bin
Laden offered the services of his Mujahedeen to defend the country, however the Saudi
Royal Family elected instead to allow American troops provide security (Robison).
fact that the Saudi Royal Family allowed infidels in the “Land of the Two Mosques”