Final Essay

Final Essay - Jim Stanley Prof. Robison POLS 157 December...

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Jim Stanley Prof. Robison POLS 157 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. Initially, 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. When 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). The fact that the Saudi Royal Family allowed infidels in the “Land of the Two Mosques”
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enraged bin Laden, prompting him to speak out against the government, which led to his expulsion from the Kingdom to Sudan. There he set up terrorist training camps and business to support the organization politically. In 1996, he was expelled from Sudan, after which he resettled in Afghanistan, where the extremely conservative Taliban had just seized power in much of the country. There, with the tacit approval of the Taliban, he once again set up training camps for his organization (Robison). Later, in 1998, bin Laden one of his advisors Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a fatwa stating that it was the duty of all Muslims to kill Americans and their allies “in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem] and the holy mosque [in Makka] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam” (Al Qaeda’s Fatwa). Throughout the 1990s, Al Qaeda perpetrated a number of terrorist attacks, mainly aimed at westerners and their allies in the Middle East. In 2001, the attacks on New York and Washington prompted the US to launch the “Global War on Terror”. This encompassed the invasion of Afghanistan, and other anti-terror operations around the world. Since the War on Terror began, Al Qaeda has adopted a new model of operations
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2010 for the course POLS 157 taught by Professor Gordonrobison during the Summer '09 term at Vermont.

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Final Essay - Jim Stanley Prof. Robison POLS 157 December...

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