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International Terrorism Essay


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International Terrorism


One of the responsibilities of a country is to safeguard its people from dangers, and provide the security of the essential human privileges, the right to existence, freedom and safety of individual (Chaliand, Blin, Schneider, Pulver, & Browner, 2007, p.72). Extremists committing violence intend to spread panic inside civil society in order to accomplish certain dogmatic objectives. Extremist assaults, therefore, commonly target inhabitants and intimidate the safety and lifespan of the civilian population. Al-Qaeda (AQ) is an intercontinental spiritual extremist group whose belief lies in Islamic traditions and principles (Burkes, 2004, p.67).

Al Qaeda is one of the major religious radical movements of Sunni Muslims that was established in 1988 by Osama bin Laden, who was murdered in May 2011 in Pakistan after a night raid (Atwan, 2012, p.28). It began with three members who subsequently committed numerous assaults on many US bases (Atwan, 2012, p.31). They have carried out attacks like the bombing of World Trade Center in New York City as well as Pentagon in Washington.

Numerous supporters and groups have developed from this unnationalistic system grounded on principles that are against the US and its allies, and the system has developed and acquired additional supporters globally (Atwan, 2012, p.35). The organization and the background of Al-Qaeda are embedded in Osama bin Laden’s philosophy and his formation of the radical system. There is no definite focal point of Islamic violence, though the message and the global view of Al-Qaeda has spread and become a worldwide jihad (Atwan, 2012, p.39).

More individuals have joined the radicalism and there have been a growth of militancy based on Islamic beliefs and violence across the world. For example, the development of the Islamic State group which has links with Al-Qaeda (Saul, 2012, p.26). Bin Laden stated in 1998 that the communal and Islamic realm was weakening in the battle against infidels like Zionists and Americans, and that jihad had to become the responsibility of all people with Islamic faith. In September 2001, Al-Qaeda carried out the biggest attack on the US, which resulted in the US sending troops to Afghanistan in an effort to disassemble the terrorist organization (Burkes, 2004, p.56).

Al-Qaeda depends on several methods of extremism and fierceness to cause distress and makes sure that its message and attention is acknowledged. Suicide assaults have been utilized regularly as the group emphasizes on both assisting Islamic revolts and aggregating a global spread and unrest (Burkes, 2004, p.62). Suicide assaults have also highlighted a fundamental Islamic notion of martyrdom, which is well recognized in Islam as a spiritual integrity.

Origin of Al Qaeda

Al-Qaeda started as a supportive organization to sustain Muslims taking part in combat against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan (Atwan, 2012, p.24). Its followers were continuously enrolled in the Islamic government. The organization was principally structured to increase and acquire funds as well as recruit and back foreign combatants in Afghanistan (Burkes, 2004, p.73). As the war with the Soviets drew to an end, Osama bin Laden decided to carry on with the war on religious grounds, to take over governments considered by him to be against Islamic beliefs and to expel foreigners from all Muslim territories (Burkes, 2004, p.79). In order to undertake its operations, Al Qaeda had to work together with other Islamic radical organizations.

When the Soviets pulled out from Afghanistan in 1989, the group kept opposing immoral Islamic administrations and the presence of foreign influence in Islamic territories. After residing in Sudan for some time in the early 1990s, the group finally restored its base in Afghanistan under the backing of the Taliban local militia (Burkes, 2004, p.83). It formed coalitions with other Islamic groups with the objective of being the ethical caretaker and administrator of Jihad, spending its own assets as well as those of its allies (Burkes, 2004, p.97).

Al Qaeda’s Justification for Engaging in Terrorism

The group created locations and trained Muslim radicals globally, and its agents participated in several radical assaults, including the damage of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Subsequently in 1996, its control center as well as training campgrounds relocated to Afghanistan, where Bin Laden forged a close association with the Taliban (Burkes, 2004, p.89). Al Qaeda’s major and crucial purpose from its commencement was the creation of a worldwide Islamic caliphate governed by Sharia rule. They came up with the objective that evades the likelihood of political disappointment that goes with self-governing administration (Burkes, 2004, p.93).

Moreover, Al Qaeda views the US as the source of all the troubles and its alleged tyranny by conducting a fight against Muslims, hence the main hindrance to creating a worldwide caliphate (Chaliand et al., 2007, p.54). The group comprehends that they cannot defeat the United States troops, therefore, choosing other techniques that aim to destabilize the economy (Chaliand et al., 2007, p.59).

Al Qaeda aims at persuading the United States to secure other parts of the globe by engaging in a pursuit for Al Qaeda as well as legislating new systems to counter the danger. The group’s philosophy and principles are grounded on Sunni Islam which preaches the purification of Islam from adulterated components (Chaliand et al., 2007, p.64). The philosophy has been utilized by Al Qaeda as a part of its tactical objective to redeem Islam from the unworthy and those who have been weakened by external impacts.

Al Qaeda’s management has used the philosophy to demonstrate that Muslims are being attacked everywhere, and they are simply fighting to rescue Islam from tyranny. The group has stipulated that democracy weakens Islam and that it must be demolished (Riedel, 2010, p.115). In addition, the organization has competently used the mass media and Islamic education to justify their assassinations (Chaliand et al., 2007, p.74). Being the leader of the worldwide jihad, the group is encouraged by the wish to keep on with its activities. All the stated aspects offer validation of the group’s deeds of violence, and to persuade individuals that the radical group taking the correct path of Islam.

Al Qaeda’s Major Sources of Both Financial and Non-Financial Support

Al Qaeda depended mainly on fundraising at the period before 2001 since Osama bin Laden possessed little sums of hereditary cash (Riedel, 2010, p.82). Al Qaeda demonstrated the ability to raise cash from numerous sources using organizers. These sources and channels are difficult to detect (Riedel, 2010, p.85). Al Qaeda monetary organizers acquire cash from supporters, mosques and compassionate imams, and non-government organizations (Riedel, 2010, p.89). In various circumstances, negligent lapses, mainly over dealings in remote areas of the world, simplified Al Qaeda’s operators to divert cash from charitable usages.

International reliefs provided huge amounts of money to end receivers, whose workers may have diverted some cash to Al Qaeda (Riedel, 2010, p.92). Alternatively, the workers may have contributed in diverting the entire cash to Al Qaeda. In those circumstances, Al Qaeda operators had authority over the entire organization. Since 9/11, the interference of Al Qaeda’s sources, organizers, and channels has made resources less accessible and their movement more problematic (Riedel, 2010, p.97).

Equally, Al Qaeda’s expenses have reduced after 9/11, since it no longer supports the Taliban or training camps. However, it still seems to have the capacity to fund radical acts. Notwithstanding the actual decrease in its general capital, Al Qaeda continues to supply capital for acts of terror with virtual ease (Riedel, 2010, p.102). The sums of money necessary for its acts are minor, and Al Qaeda can still obtain from loyal contributors who knowledgeably supply it and followers who divert the cash meant for other useful purposes to the group. Besides, there is a proof that donations improved significantly after the United States attacked Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, implying a significant sentiment against the US by the donors (Riedel, 2010, p.106)

Furthermore, several groups in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic states provided support too. In order to bring to an end income from loyal contributors, it is essential to capture the planners or NGO administrators who raise the funds, and other individuals who divert the cash to Al Qaeda (Riedel, 2010, p.105). Other sources of funds Al Qaeda has utilized include drug business and state backing. Another way in which they receive their monetary assistance is through abduction. For instance, they abducted 32 travelers from Austria (Saul, 2012, p.46). After they abducted the travellers, they threatened Austria that the abducted individuals would be assassinated unless ransom would be paid. In this occasion, Austria made the payments of the demanded sums (Saul, 2012, p.49). Also, the access to arms makes Al Qaeda able to attack certain targets. As cited previously, the radical system has adequate economic backing that is spent on acquiring arms.

Importance of Al Qaeda’s Use of Media

Al Qaeda acclimatizes rapidly and efficiently, hence it is difficult to understand its monetary depiction (Riedel, 2010, p.117). Due to the suitability, affordability, and comprehensive range of mass media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, Al Qaeda have progressively utilized mass media to advance their objectives and extend their communication. Efforts have been made by several administrations and organizations to hinder the utilization of shared mass media by radical groups (Saul, 2012, p.12).

They utilize shared media to extend their communications, recruit followers, and gather intelligence. Al Qaeda is a worldwide association and, thus, relies on an international communication system to influence its apparent elements (Saul, 2012, p.15). The group’s activities aim at developing the Muslim community as well as causing fright among its opponents. Posting the killings online allows the radical organizations to cause turmoil among viewers (Saul, 2012, p.19). The Internet simplifies the posting of these videos, hence reaching worldwide viewers within a very short period of time. Al-Qaeda‘s achievement have relied on its ease to get individuals who are experienced in utilizing it (Saul, 2012, p.22).

They use unselective fierceness, fright, and coercion to impact the strategies and activities of societies and their administrations (Saul, 2012, p.26). Apart from the violence, present extremist groups have also invested heavily in trying to influence people globally by using traditional approaches of communication. Due to diverse reactions that are vital to address genuine and unlawful demands of radical groups, the use of reconciliation to resolve a radical insurgence can only be employed to specific forms of uprisings (Saul, 2012, p.32).

For example, in the situation of Al Qaeda, there may be no substitute but to follow a full military operation supported by intelligence and law implementation processes since their operators cause countless calamities (Saul, 2012, p.36). In fact, even considering these situations, it is still intolerable to address the fundamental situations that provide support to Al Qaeda without yielding to the group’s demands. Furthermore, the US has made significant advancement in its battle against worldwide acts of terror, though it continues to experience prospects that obscure its aim of eliminating the menace of worldwide radicalism (Saul, 2012, p.37).

Al Qaeda’s Complaints

Al Qaeda’s activities are not genuine. First, they regard the US as a foe since it was not administered in line with the group’s radical understanding of Islamic beliefs. The United States was also regarded to provide support to nations and the group’s opposing administrations and organizations, for example the nation of Israel, and the United Nations organization, which were viewed as foes (Burkes, 2004, p.75). In addition, Al Qaeda detested the participation of the US armed forces in various wars like the one in Somalia in 1992. Also, the US’s capture, sentence, and detention of the group’s affiliates were opposed by the group (Riedel, 2010, p.119).  For these reasons, Al Qaeda declared a jihad to the United States.

Importance of Al Qaeda and its Activities to the US

Al Qaeda’s undertakings are of significance to the US because the group has become a top international safety risk after numerous schemes by terror group. Various data seized by the US stated that al Qaeda and allied groups continue to plan terrorist assaults worldwide, hence it threats the US as well as its delegations in other states internationally (Saul, 2012, p.42). The US has reacted to extremist actions in several ways that incorporate monetary and military prohibitions against countries alleged to be concealing extremists and increasing worldwide investigation and intelligence distribution (Saul, 2012, p.52).

US Response to Al Qaeda

Numerous Acts have been approved by Congress and signed by the Head of State. For instance, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created the Department of Homeland Security, signified the biggest restructuring of the US administration in present-day history. Congress further approved the USA PATRIOT Act that would aid in identifying and prosecuting radicalism and other offenses (Saul, 2012, p.57). The US has also declared several travel advices to its citizens.

In order to prevent Al-Qaeda followers escaping Middle East and repositioning in other states like Somalia, the United States has amassed a transnational marine taskforce to arrest fleeting terrorists (Saul, 2012, p.62). It has also increased airborne scouting operations and intelligence within Somalia to spy on possible Al-Qaeda strongholds. The reactions have been effective in decreasing the assaults. For example, topmost Al Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden were eliminated after invasions that were conducted in their bases (Saul, 2012, p.65). Drone assaults have also resulted in demolition of extremist centers like in Somalia.

Increasing the Efficiency of the US’s Response to Al Qaeda

To raise the effectiveness of its reaction to Al Qaeda, the United States should give the highest priority on capturing the leaders who try to escape, prior to establishing themselves in diverse regions. The US needs to strengthen its spy activities within states that may conceal radical planners, in order to find out the scope of Al-Qaeda’s existence (Saul, 2012, p.67). The United States should also standardize its armed and political obligations in such countries to merge the threats from Al-Qaeda. It should work together with their neighbors to fight Al-Qaeda. If required, Washington ought to use undercover processes, commando swoops, and air strikes guided accurately to attack radical compartments (Saul, 2012, p.72).

In addition, the United States currently undergoes numerous challenging resolutions in addressing Al-Qaeda. Numerous citizens in the US feel doubtful concerning the battles in Afghanistan and Iraq (Burkes, 2004, p.53). It is time to reexamine overseas strategy for the Arab world. It must re-assess its overseas strategy with Israel, as well as remove its soldiers from Islamic territory. It should also continue to aggressively support a reconciliation accord between Israel and Palestine (Saul, 2012, p.75).


Extremists compete for attention and support against all other groups that strive to inspire their target listeners. Though it is important to note the dominant beliefs of a radical group’s dogma and approach, it is also vital to comprehend how the group’s frontrunners work hard to safeguard their image (Saul, 2012, p.81). The example of Al-Qaeda signifies an illustration of influence conflict. Efforts meant to eradicate terror acts should focus on understanding why radical groups undertake them. The interventions should, therefore, strive to exploit philosophical susceptibilities, decreasing prospect for conceptual resonance, and weaken the group’s inspiration competences (Burkes, 2004, p.55). Al Qaeda remains a danger to the globe due to its numerous followers internationally, their monetary resources, as well as their access to arms and chemicals. Although the demise of Osama bin Laden stunned every adherent and ally of the group, they still exist and pose danger.


Atwan, A. (2012). The Secret History of al Qaeda. London: Saqi.

Burke, J. (2004). Al-Qaeda. London: I.B. Tauris.

Chaliand, G., Blin, A., Schneider, E., Pulver, K., & Browner, J. (2007). The history of terrorism. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Riedel, B. (2010). The search for al Qaeda. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

Saul, B. (2012). Terrorism. Oxford: Hart Pub.