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Resesarch Of Why And How Al-Qaeda Went Global

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Al Qaeda or ‘The Base’ was formed initially in 1988 with the help of his closest associates by Osama Bin Laden who was famously assassinated by US marines during Operation Neptune Spear in Abbottabad on May the 2nd,2011 was formed during the Afghan-Soviet war and is a militant Sunni Islamist organization with its range in terrorist activities encompassing the globe from East Africa to North America, Middle east to South Asia and hence leaving little doubt in its ‘global’ scope and dangerous capabilities, deemed as a terrorist group almost unanimously by the world regardless of its alleged self-proclaimed ‘pure Islamic’ agenda, the group has successfully rattled even the greatest military and economic power in the world with its coordinated attacks on the World Trade Centre in USA in 2001 few would argue of the groups global arrival from that point onwards which in turn qualified them as a major threat to be dealt with in the world over, the reason for such horrendus acts of terrorism and bombings being an extreme opposition to manmade laws over the Islamic sharia code and the non-Islamic or ‘kafir’ people and their practices which contradict those of Islam, the order in which the group has went forward with trying to achieve their ambitions however has not only tainted their own image permanently but that of Islam itself with the killings of innocent civilians and children during their operations which include the bombing of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya amongst others horrendous acts of terror, with no seeming rationale in their ways which emphasize rather senseless action over constructive ways to gather support and enforce legitimacy to deem them as terrorist group would be a prudent for most. Perhaps due to the limited means of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group and seemingly limitless ends made a global movement to its jihad, as the 9/11 commission report pointed out this group was formed in one of if not the poorest most remote and anti-developed state in the world and could not arm a full platoon yet had an impact so lasting and devastating it would change the global political and military landscape for good leaving devastating effects on states, economies and civilians in various localities around the world, the consequences include that of George Bush’s famous ‘ war on terror’ and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq resulting in thousands if not millions of tragedies both civilian and military.

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The bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, Missile strikes on a military base in Afghanistan and on a Pharmaceutical plant in Sudan all reflect Al-Qaeda’s international scope in regards to their activities and missions, remarkably the country’s and people affected were of no relation to one another and the events were rather scattered reflecting an accidental rather than a designed nature beyond the groups control, the very diversity of the people, countries and groups involved and their multi-cultural backgrounds however give rise to the global effects examples being the heightened security at airports, increased religious and racial profiling as well as improved and more privacy invasive security protocols, the only seemingly connection between Afghanistan, USA, Tanzania, Sudan etc. was Al-Qaeda as the decision to choose these targets had no real connection with each other’s political or military status were, nor even the US embassies located there a viable link as it is a commonplace for capital cities the world over, nor did the affected have any significant shared histories or commonalities as is the case with Pakistan and India, the groups causes however being the same which include the removal of oppressive regimes in the region and establishing a virtuous Islamic order but most significantly their activities still demanded both local and global attention and underlined the groups successful transformation into a transnational organization.

The jihad movement as it is known is global itself as the group anticipates an all-out confrontation against non-Muslims and rejects the current Islamic world and their practices claiming it to have lost it’s way, Non-Muslims because they exist in the world over once again reaffirms the groups international ambitions in terms of influence regardless of how the events are played out in reality, recruitment to the group has become easier with the rise of technology and Islamic radicalization, young teens and adults alike are systematically brainwashed in places ranging from mosques to jails, the message is given an attractive and alluring feel with the promise of paradise to young and naïve members still in the developing phases of their lives unhappy with the world and it’s ways, membership to the islamist extremist group is rather scattered with constituents from different continents involved, the group itself seems to have no formal procedure of recruitment and is not a traditional collective movement but a rather diffuse one and diverse members join for a multitude of diverse reasons, because the mission is an Islamic revolution and the sharia being applied all over the world, the organization’s appeal is arguably attractive to the outsider initially and why so many citizens choose to join and it is also the reason why the group went global in the first place and why it appeals to a global audience, the September 11 attacks with respect to everything else surely made those ambitions come true to a large extent as they exert a much greater influence in the global arena than their lack of strength in numbers and resources suggest, the true might of the groups notoriety is understood best with how they succeeded in harming, harassing and exhausting a hegemonic superpower the USA it being no secret the amount of resources and personnel the US has committed to wiping out the group and still almost twenty years later being unsuccessful in doing so despite extensive campaigns, according to Osama Bin Laden and his advocates there can be no compromise with either ‘infidels’ or ‘apostates’ thus leading to such a stand-offish and lethal situation With television, social media, the air travel expansion many experts affirm that we have entered into a new age of political violence with such evolution, images of bomb blasts and public executions don’t take very long to reach audiences around the world and with it awareness of groups such as Al-Qaeda and their political motives, thus being a major catalyst to the groups global expansion, technology has also improved the capabilities of terrorist groups to plan and conduct operations with unprecedented precision, calculation and devastation, terrorist groups now have the power to create their own websites and upload videos to commend attention and exert influence on minds around the globe as well as receiving aid and donations by viewers, a remote controlled detonator is all that’s needed in some situations to explode a bomb faraway, a sort of networked militancy has been created to adjust to modern warfare, such is the deadly nature of technological evolution, printers are used to create propaganda leaflets and posters at very low costs by terrorists groups to spread their message with great mobility and speed, the introduction of satellite phones enable terrorists to execute orders from the most remote regions in the world without being tracked down by even the world’s most technologically sound nation, this was the case with the US hunt for Osama bin Laden and his ability to remain in hiding for so long, this also makes tracking down terrorists group very difficult and why terrorists groups are able to preserve, maintain and ultimately grow their organizations, anti-surveillance measures and security against capture is very high on the agenda of terrorist,the use of specific codes and cyphers, passwords and firewalls are only a few such examples of how terrorist groups seek to preserve themselves and spread information around the world, relaxed border controls to increase speed of transferring goods and services has allowed terrorist groups to exploit gaps and increase the efficiency and speed their mobility as well as being better equipped to transfer expertise across national borders, increased density of goods and services transferred makes it difficult for security agencies to track down terrorist shipments, for example the USA receives 10 million containers per year on its ports and it is next to impossible to check them all, terrorists are well aware of the cheapness and convenience of globalized shipping,the media is oxygen to terrorist groups and they risk going into obscurity without attacks that demand television coverage hence the pressure to perform high risk deadly maneuvers becomes even more overwhelming to terrorist groups but increased globalization and technological progress has given terrorists groups such as al-Qaeda enhanced powers and capabilities to say launching deadly attacks in different countries simultaneously for example, the bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya being one example.

Culture is also a compelling factor for the preservation and expansion of groups such as Al-Qaeda, violence seems to be the only solution in their minds to push back the tsunami of westernization in traditional Islamic societies, western values are outwardly rejected by such groups in favor of preserving their own traditional values and maintaining their own unique cultural identity, what was required was the limitation of western culture and organization, the world according to Al Qaeda members is steeped in jahilliya and based on rebellion against the sovereignty of god on the earth, the jahil society according to them is any society other than Islam which does not dedicate itself to the worship of god in its beliefs, in its ideas and observances of worship as well as its legal regulations, with activities such as dancing, wearing revealing clothing and overall liberal lifestyle contradicting that of Islam, the Muslim world has had to deal with the cultural hegemony of the west since the eighteenth century, the collapse of the ottoman empire after world war one and with it the Islamic caliphate was abolished and western laws, written script and dress codes were enforced, the Islamic radicalization according to most was brought out of the crisis of modernization, Osama bin Laden being the main perpetrator of the groups formation had the money, contacts and the ideas to forge a new global alliance of militants to dedicated to fighting the invasions of the west and its version of liberalism and modernity,rulers of the Islamic countries were according to him said to have sold their spiritual integrity and values by succumbing to western thought and ideals, the attacks on the world trade center itself is believed by some as a blow to the heart of global capitalism rather than an attack on US policies many experts also point out to the unequal terms of trade between the developed western states and the underdeveloped south as the former exploits the latter’s primary agricultural industry buying their goods on the cheap while selling their more polished industrial goods at more lucrative prices and seen as a sort of western imperialism on the rest of the world as the postindustrial ‘core’ states such as the US dominate international economic institutions such as the World Bank and IMF and continue to exploit the weaker ‘periphery’, compelling political change therefore is believed to be the reason behind political violence and extremism, periphery state leaders who privatize and deregulate industries to compete globally may lead to significant political and social upheaval and provide yet another possible motive to the break out of illegal activities such as terrorism. Al Qaeda does not operate in isolation and to portray an image of its global network one can look to its affiliate groups such as the Pakistani Lashkar-e-Toyba, The Uzbek Islamic Jihad Union or the Algerian Groupes Islamique and threats inspired my autonomous groups inspired by al Qaeda like the Dutch Hofstad group, out of 45 global neo-jihad networks Al-Qaeda is reported to have partially financed at least 10 once again making anti-terrorist organizations aware of the level and depth of the threat posed by the group and the barrier faced in trying to overcome them, although the al-Qaeda group has faced a decline in its activities and influence since 2001 with a small upward trend during 2004-2005 they are yet to be wiped out completely and the threat for at least the current moment in time remains, furthermore the quickest way for terrorist groups to establish a reputation is the ability to launch a formidable strike on the west and Al-Qaeda being no different is understood to have that objective as a primary factor to their global ambition and expansion, the dramatic increase in neo jihadi terrorism has increased especially after the Iraq war which has inspired young Muslims to rebel against the invading forces as they claim to fight them there (the west) so they don’t fight them in their homelands, a perfect time for the group to expand by recruiting fresh soldiers broadening their horizons and level of threat. A closer look at the activities of the group explains Al Qaeda associates seeking for Yemen as a safe haven before officially merging with its Saudi comrade, Al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate maintained a focus on the jihad in Yemen.

Indeed, releases such as its 11 June 2009 video “Guantanamo of Yemen” railed against the “infidel” Saleh government, labelling it a U. S. agent and justification of attacks on its security personnel and infrastructure. A close reading of the early issues of the group’s journal, Sada al-Malahim (Echo of the Fierce Battles) reveals, however, that Saudi cadres were beginning to move south. In the second issue, for example, Saudi mujahid Hummam al-Qahtani called on Saudi comrades to regroup in Yemen, noting, “Here the land is ripe for preparation, and we must unify our efforts. ” Such rhetoric’s ran concurrently with the growing sophistication of the group’s religious scholarship, further indicating its jurisprudential capabilities were being enhanced by Saudi knowledge. Evidence of the relocation of Saudi mujahidin into Yemen culminated in the January 2009 announcement of a merge between the Yemen and Saudi-based mujahidin, constituting the rebirth of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A video announcing the merger, entitled “From Here We Begin, in al-Aqsa we meet,” is indicative of what appeared to be the newly branded Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s more transnational orientation. The video featured Deputy Amir Sa’id al-Shihri (former Guantanamo inmate and Saudi de-radicalization program graduate) referring to Yemen as the “land of provision and preparation” (Ard al-Maddad wa-l-I‘dad), reflecting the idea that launching attacks within Yemen was not a high priority for the leader but rather to maintain their position there and retain it as their base of operations. Further, then-commander Muhammad al-‘Awfi concluded the video by addressing “the crusader states garrisoned around the two holy sites, and supporting the Crusader war against the Muslims,” going on to triumph, “By Allah we are coming, by Allah we are coming, in the path of our past brothers, Yussef al-‘Uyiri, ‘Issal al-Suhel, Khalid al-Hajj, Turk al-Dandani, Ali al-Mu‘bdi, and other Lions of Allah who were killed in the land of the two holy shrines.

Specifically mentioning these deceased Saudi AQAP members and directing rhetoric toward the Kingdom indicated that al-‘Awfi also wanted to strive for a more transnational orientation that would include expanding the group’s objectives and operations beyond Yemen’s borders. In the ensuing issues of Sada al-Malahim, AQAP continued to portray itself as a more global — as opposed to a strictly local franchise. For example, in one article the author states, “The caravan of jihad in the land of the Peninsula’s will destroy all obstacles that will oppose it, and will not stop until Jerusalem. “Similarly demonstrating a pan-Islamic zeal, Sa’id al-Shihri expressed his delight in the emergence of a “mujahid generation bearing faith in Allah,” that was going “to establish the unity of Allah on the land of the Arabian Peninsula. ” Al-Shihri further argued, “from it the Peninsula will be the launching as it was in the times of the Prophet — peace be upon him — to each land that has been occupied by the malicious Crusader war (referring to the Western Allies Israel, USA, GBR etc. ) from East to West. ” Also indicative of the idea that Yemen should serve as a base rather than a front in the jihad is another author’s claim that Yemen is “qualified to build the idea of jihad so that Jerusalem can be liberated. ” Matching such bold claims with operational activity has proven difficult for the group. That said, al-Wahayshi did claim in an interview that AQAP forces were turned away by Hamas during the December 2009 Gaza conflict. A number of the group’s articles have also specifically focused on the Saudi Kingdom. Indeed, in one such article entitled “Ruling by Sharia and the al-Salul Regime,” Abi ‘Amr al-Faruq enumerates examples of the Saudi monarchy’s interfering in the application of Sharia in the Kingdom. In another, an author ominously notes that “the government of ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh is on the verge of collapsing and fleeing from Yemen,” going on to predict, “Our impending battle is with the Saudi regime, which opened the Arabian Peninsula for the Americans, making it a base from which the Christian legions launched to demolish our Muslim brothers in Iraq and Afghanistan”.

The global reach of AQAP culminated in the 25 December 2009 attempt to explode a U. S. airliner in Detroit. Unsurprisingly, AQAP has continued to encourage attacks on U. S soil. Indeed, in issue twelve of Sadaal-Malahim, an AQAP writer noted that “individual jihad” — operations mirroring those of Major Nidal Hassan — constituted the “coming phase” of attacks in America. Another article similarly warned American authorities that “our attempts will not stop; rather, they will continue, as our lists of martyrs are growing longer. ” Other attempts by the group to launch attacks outside Yemen, including a more recent plot to detonate explosive-laden cargo aboard airliners, has spurred similar transnational rhetoric from the group The aforementioned ideological communications all seek to portray AQAP as an organization that is striving to direct its resources beyond Yemen’s borders whether for the sake of liberating Palestine, striking targets in Saudi Arabia, supporting the mujahidin in Somalia, or attacking the United States. As such, AQAP fashions itself as regional and even global — franchise that does not see intrinsic value in striking targets or even rhetorically de-legitimizing the weak, limping Saleh government. Such a depiction is likely the result of the group’s accepting an increasing number of Saudi cadres into its ranks, as well as directives from Al Qaeda senior leaders who view Yemen as a provision base rather than active theater of jihad. Proponents of this view would likely flood AQAP’s leadership and rank and file should Yemeni Guantanamo prisoners — who constitute more than a third of the detainee population — be released to Yemeni custody. That said, overemphasizing transnational objectives could create a number of difficult ties for the group. For one, younger, restive cadres could grow frustrated with the operational planning required for transnational attacks, and seek out local action. This could begin to more overtly threaten AQAP’s operational and organizational cohesion. Also, ignoring local grievances within Yemen and focusing solely on its transnational objectives could leave some of AQAP’s local support base disillusioned, complicating its ability to maintain local relevance.

Indeed, this could make AQAP appear to be a foreign organization operating on Yemeni soil. Likely to combat this perception, the group’s attempts to mobilize a Yemeni support base have been largely grounded in channeling local frustrations and encouraging local operations, which are no less important to AQAP than the global jihad. The group’s ability to balance its global and local objectives thus helps shed light on the strength or weakness of the Al Qaeda movement beyond the Afghanistan–Pakistan border region. With the Security forces crediting the group a ‘high-alert’ threat Al-Qaeda members certainly need a vast mobility channel and broadened network in order to escape the clutches of the authorities, the transnational expansion it’s understood is partly due to this very reason. Further problematic for senior leaders would be a scenario in which the Yemen-based AQAP like its Saudi-based predecessor began to equate waging terrorist operations in Yemen while doing so in other countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Europe. Waging jihad in Yemen simply lacks the strategic and symbolic significance of doing so in the Saudi Kingdom or the United States, or the operational utility of doing so in Iraq or Afghanistan. The diversion of Gulf-based foreign fighter networks from Iraq and Afghanistan could indeed leave a significant dent in AQC’s foreign fighter cadres the damage being irreversible. The simultaneous localization and Trans nationalization of AQAP’s rhetoric and op- rations also carries implications for how scholars and analysts should understand and analyze Al Qaeda affiliates. Viewing Al Qaeda affiliates solely through the lens of their global ambitions fails to address the mechanisms they employ to carve out pockets of support among local populations which many point out to as the heart of the terrorist group itself. Let us now go to the September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre attacks which is almost unanimously agreed upon as the mark of arrival of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda as its members hijacked planes in mid-air bypassing the questionable airport security measures and crashing into the towers with passengers on board in an event that perhaps shook the world forever, with relief workers rushing towards the debris, the meanings of the word ‘jihad’ being uttered on every radio station and television screen, the Holy Quran on the New York times best seller list,the images of the plane still firmly intact in the minds of American and world citizens today, al-Qaeda finally making a mark on the world, not only in becoming a household name but also changing the old worlds of terrorism and security and bringing it towards a new global landscape, some would even go as far as to say they brought upon a ‘new world’ itself but at what cost? The breakout of further al Qaeda associates being imminent as the group’s efforts harnessed support from disgruntled citizens all around the world, their diffuse locations being a source of strength and a blow to counter insurgency movements in locating them, the September 11th attack Osama Bin Laden claimed brought more people to Islam than in the last 11 years which highlight a possibly strong motive and also indicative of the group’s overall dissatisfaction with how Islam is being taught today in the world over as well as his appreciation for global jihad novelty, the attack and its aftermath produced a wave of alarm that fed into an existing angst about an Islamic fifth column within the western societies as well as more general concerns about the influx of immigrants and asylum seekers.

Terrorism is quite a compelling method to make your voice heard despite its obvious moral negligence similar to a hostage situation where the recipient states of terror group activities are at least tempted to go to the negotiation table rather than risking more lives of their state’s citizenry, despite some leaders like Vladimir Putin of Russia adopting a strictly ‘no negotiation with terrorists policy’ many times world leaders have succumbed to terrorist threats and demands simply out of fear of losing legitimacy and confidence of their nation, the demands ranging from funding to the release of their prisoners thus terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda adopt such methods of action to have their demands met, a compelling example would be threatening the execution of a journalist in front of the media, even the world’s hegemon would be forced to think twice before choosing what line of action to take.

Scholars continue to debate the ‘what, where and how’ of the terrorist group but their motives and demands have more or less been pointed out both above and in their addresses to the world, a leaderless organization it seems but still very influential and operational on the global stage with a constant threat demanding the attention of leaders in the world throughout and even more astoundingly the ability of said leaders to come up with a definite solution to the problem baffling experts and scholars alike as innocent civilians and children continue to lose their lives for crimes and objectives that need not concern them, maintaining its relevance even today despite their underwhelming numbers and resources, the clash of civilizations as predicted by Samuel Huntington may well and truly be at the races with the onslaught of activities and strikes conducted by the terror group, the way they received and commanded global attention has been brought under obvious scrutiny as counter insurgents spend billions of dollars to combat the threat, the ease of communication and mobility brought upon by the globalization process as well as access to latest weapons of mass destruction have made the terror group an even more elusive foe to deal with, methods are sophisticated and precise with stealth a viable option to evade authorities, technology being at the forefront of the so called Islamic rebirth with the younger generation continuing to join forces as the group spreads its appeal and influence worldwide to bring to order a world they deem fit and fight against the rampant tsunami brought about by the global capitalist system, the unpredictability and an the wide array of choice residing with the group in terms of what locations to strike upon and in what way not to mention the unbearable amount of loss both in terms of infrastructure and humanity classifies it as one of if not the most serious threats the world has to deal with today, despite its rather peculiar objectives the methods applied have brought upon a backlash and spillover effect which even the organization itself cannot control and the ethical morality of the so called Islamic fundamentalism brought firmly under the microscope, despite being a constant danger the groups activity levels have somewhat died in the last few years and it remains to be seen whether a revival is on the cards or if the counter terrorist organizations and states have successfully wounded the organization for good.

10 December 2020

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