Foreign Terrorism: Al-Qaeda

Introduction

Al-Qaeda is a terrorist group that was founded by the late Osama bin Laden as an extremist group of the Sunni Islamists. The militants are located in various Arab nations, and they have traditionally been against the influence of Western civilization on the Islam, as well as a deep rivalry with the Israelites. Over the past several decades, Al-Qaeda has been one of the most stubborn terrorist groups that the United States has dealt with, but the group is currently crippled by the combined efforts of the United States and its allies in blocking their activities. However, there are still members of the group scattered across the Arab nations, and their activities pose high threats to the world.

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Ideologies and Beliefs

Al-Qaeda’s main ideology is to eliminate the current world order and replace it with a unified Muslim world. The first goal of the members of the group is to overthrow the current regimes in the Arab nations. This is mainly around the Middle East, where the consultative council of the group believes that current regimes are jeopardizing Islamic superiority in the world. The members of the group believe that current regimes do not apply the Islamic law appropriately; hence, they must be overthrown (Riedel, 2010). It is apparent that the group has always targeted Saudi Arabia because it is home to two of the holiest places in the Islamic region.

The group also has particular detest for the United States and its people because the nation is viewed as the primary influencer of the policies that have been adopted by the Arab nations. The United States has played a major role in crippling Al-Qaeda’s quests across the world; hence, it is a primary enemy of the group. The United States was responsible for chasing out Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, and it has also mounted a high level of security in Saudi Arabia, which has hindered Al-Qaeda from accessing the nation (Riedel, 2010).

Since the U.S. is the sole super power in the world, the group looks into destroying the nation so that it can have its way in the Arab nations. However, since the killing of Osama bin Laden and most of his close brotherhood members, as well as exiling some of the group’s strategists, Al-Qaeda has been weakened significantly.

Al-Qaeda also strongly believes that the Jewish state if Israel is a major threat to the Muslim world. The main strategists of the group are Palestinians, who are quite aware of the political and social conflicts between the nation and Israel; hence, they strongly believe that Israel must be destroyed. However, Al-Qaeda has never attempted to attack Israel, despite the many threats it has broadcasted on the Jewish state (Riedel, 2010).

Basically, any nation that supports Israel and the United States is believed to be an enemy of the Al-Qaeda group. The group still seeks to influence the exit of Western military forces in the Middle East so that they can actualize their primary goals.

Attacks

Militant sections affiliated to the Al-Qaeda group have to seek for the approval of the consultative council to attack different entities. The group has resources scattered across different states, and it has been associated with numerous terrorist attacks against its enemies. The most memorable terrorist attacks instigated by the Al-Qaeda groups was the 9/11 attacks in the United States. Osama bin Laden mobilized his resources in the form of suicide bombers and he successfully managed to bomb the World Trade Center (Bergen, 2011).

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The attackers hijacked four planes and crashed two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, resulting in one of the most catastrophic terror attacks in the world. The third plane hit the Pentagon, and the fourth one crashed. This attack killed close to 3000 people. Al-Qaeda gave threats that it would continue attacking the United States if the nation did not withdraw its troops from the Middle East.

Back in 1998, Al-Qaeda had also bombed two American Embassies in Africa. The bombings took place simultaneously in Tanzania and Kenya, where hundreds of innocent lives were lost (Farrall, 2011). This was the time that Osama bin Laden was gathering infrastructure to strengthen the Al-Qaeda group, and he gained a lot of support from various militants in the Arab nations that had similar ideologies against the United States.

However, the group has also faced failure, especially in Middle Eastern nations such as Afghanistan, where they had launched a war against the regime and hoped to take over governance. The United States launched attacks on the group and it has managed to restore democracy in the nation. The enhancement of technology has facilitated more effective collection of intelligence against terror groups, and Al-Qaeda is one of the terror groups whose elements have been loosely knit over the past decade because of the joint efforts of the United States and its allies.

Current Status of the Group

The global war on terror that was pioneered by the United States in 2001 has effectively weakened the Al-Qaeda terrorist group. This has been actualized through the killing of most of its high ranking leaders, including Osama bin Laden. This has made coordination among the militant elements in different parts of the world quite difficult. Additionally, the group has also seen the depletion of its finances, which has reduced its ability to conduct serious terror attacks.

However, the group is still one of the top most dangerous terrorist groups in the world. Osama’s killing was the biggest blow to Al-Qaeda because he was not only the master planner of terror attacks, but he was also one of the major financers of the Jihad he had launched by uniting numerous militant groups (Hashim, 2014). The remaining elements of the group are scattered in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen, but they lack the appropriate infrastructure to instigate attacks in the region and internationally.

Opinion

Al-Qaeda was quite a strong movement that would have had a high influence on the political and social structures in the Middle East if they chose to use diplomatic approaches to actualize their objectives. However, choosing to use the extremist approach associated with terror on citizens and foreigners led to the United States and its allies attacking the groups through strong military action. The group has lost many of its top leaders and it is apparent that the remaining elements do not have the resources to make any significant attacks on the United States.

However, the elements can still launch attacks in the developing nations allied to the United States. This implies that the United States must continue collecting intelligence information to help its allies to mitigate potential terrorist attacks from the group.

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References

Bergen, P. L. (2011). The longest war: The enduring conflict between America and Al-Qaeda. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Farrall, L. (2011). How Al Qaeda works-what the organization’s subsidiaries say about its strength. Foreign Affairs, 90(1), 128.

Hashim, A. S. (2014). The Islamic State: From al‐Qaeda affiliate to caliphate. Middle East Policy, 21(4), 69-83.

Riedel, B. (2010). The search for Al Qaeda: Its leadership, ideology, and future. Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution Press.

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