Terrorism: Al-Qaeda


Terrorism is the use of violent means or threats in order to persuade people to accept certain terms or conditions.Al-Qaeda is and has been a terrorist group or network.

The origin of Al-Qaeda

The word “Al-Qaeda” denotes a basement or a foundation in Arabic. The emergence of Al-Qaeda can be traced to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan between the years 1979 and 1989. During the Soviet-led invasion, the “mujahedeen” or foreign warriors were recruited from various Islamic nations and trained in various cells or stations.

These foreign warriors were recruited and had funds allocated to them. They also had the support of the U.S.A and Osama bin Laden who was the director of the recruitment as well as in charge of the funds for the Muslim warriors. After the war ended, Osama and other key founders wondered what to do with the recruits. Osama worked closely with Abdullah al Azzam who was a Sunni Islamic instructor.

Azzam had previously been a key agent of the Jordanian division of the Muslim Brotherhood. When Azzam died, Osama took over the cells and the running of the organization (Rohan, 16).Another close associate of Osama was Ayman al Zawahiri. Ayman al Zawahiri left Egypt in 1985 for Afghanistan where he attended to the injured warriors in the war as he was a doctor. He later forged an alliance with Osama and was thought to be the strategist in terror attacks.

The original purpose of the Al-Qaeda and its present purpose

Azzam wanted the Al-Qaeda to serve as a fast responsive unit for Islamic nations facing attacks from non-Islamic nations. This was actually the original purpose of the group as demonstrated in the liberation of Afghanistan. Osama differed with this ideology and proposed that the volunteers should be deployed back to their original countries to oust Arab leaders who were under western influence. According to Osama, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Saudi’s leader were targets to be eliminated at that time.

This saw the spread of many mass terror attacks (Vo, 16). The climax of the terror attacks by Al-Qaeda was witnessed during the September 2011 attacks against the U.S.A. Propaganda was the major tool used by Al-Qaeda in order to win the support of more Muslim nations (Ilana and Bard, 13).

Al-Qaeda’s current position

Al-Qaeda suffered a fatal blow with the death of Osama on May, 2011. Zawahiri took up the leadership role as he was the deputy. This however did not mitigate the imminent disintegration of the organization which had started after the September 11 attacks.

This was because many independent groups sprouted and claimed affiliation to Al-Qaeda although they did not subscribe to the rules of the organization. Confusion and disorganization coupled with fund shortages has crippled the organization and fewer terrorist attacks have been reported.

Where Al-Qaeda stands today

The Al-Qaeda network stands on precarious grounds with the loss of many key leaders. However, the group still exists.Zawahiri presents a considerable threat as well as the few extremists who still prescribe to Osama’s teachings. In conclusion, Al-Qaeda needs to regain the support of the Islamic nations.

Contemporary political Islamist movements can only succeed when they are able to mobilize and maintain an alliance between the masses and the pious middle classes (Gilles, 23).The Al-Qaeda network is not only seen to be running out of ideas but it is also seen to be crippled by a shortage of funds to drive its operations.

Works Cited

Gilles, Kepel. Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002. Print.

Ilana, Kass and Bard, O’Neill. The Deadly Embrace, London: University Press of America, 1996. Print.

Rohan, Gunaratna. Inside Al Qaeda, USA: Columbia University Press, 2002. Print.

Vo, Giap. People’s War, People’s Army, New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962. Print.

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