Columbia Southern University
October 30, 2012
Inside Al-Qaida: Ideology, Structure, Targets, and Tactics
The purpose of this paper is to briefly describe and analyze the USA Patriot Act and its abilities to prevent, protect, and/or respond to current and/or future Al-Qaida terrorists attacks. On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 of Al-Qaida’s workers hijacked four U.S. commercial airliners for use as suicide weapons, killing 2,972 people making it the most deadly act of terrorism and the first known suicide terrorist attack in the U.S. “How much freedom are Americans willing to give up for safety from terrorists?” This question, proposed by a January 2003 feature in USA Today newspaper, resides at the center of debates about homeland security. More than a year after 9/11 terrorists attacks on the U.S., the federal government’s stepped up security efforts are still a major focus today” (Torr, 2004). New homeland security measures weighed by policy makers and outside viewers using two values: “their success in preventing terrorist attacks and the impact it would have on the American people”. It included a combination of efforts to prevent terrorist attacks such as random bag checks at the airport, as well as wide-ranging policies in the way intelligence was being gathered and law enforcement modifications (Torr, 2004).
Al-Qaida presents an unparalleled threat to America, its allies, and to global security. “In addition to training its own members, 4000 was the October 2001 estimate, according to the Western intelligence community, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime trained 70,000 members in its camps in Afghanistan. While Al-Qaeda has conducted one major attack every year prior to 9/11, Al-Qaeda and its associated groups have also conducted one attack every three months since 9/11. Although it is the most wanted terrorist group in history, the crusade of holy war set free by Al-Qaeda is likely to live longer than itself and the current generation of Islamists, because their strength is not just in global infrastructure and memberships, but more so the interesting ideology. In keeping with its original decree, Al-Qaeda's primary motivation is the recruitment of Islamist movements and all of the Muslims worldwide to attack those supposed to be the enemies of Islam. Although the majority of Muslims worldwide don’t support Al-Qaeda , the group is always seeking new member to strengthen the global jihad movement by exploiting the widespread suffering, resentment, and anger in the Muslim world using it as a weapon against the United States and its allies” (Gunaratna, 2005) . “Although Bin Laden and all of his associates, to include his top officers, have all been either arrested and/or killed, the organization has still managed to survive with its ideology still intact. With the dissemination of Al-Qaeda's ideology around the globe, especially after 9/11, the threat it poses has moved beyond the group and individual figures. Israeli intelligence services now prefer to define Al-Qaeda as the “Jihadi International” and the British Special Branch refers to Al-Qaeda and its associated groups as “international terrorism.” Al-Qaeda’s radical ideology has continued internationally, supporters among individuals and groups, few of which have been linked in any significant way to Bin Laden or any of those around him. They are only following his teachings, models and methods, acting in the style of Al-Qaeda, in other words, copy cats. The Al-Qaeda ideology, and how it impacts Islamist terrorism’s strategies and tactics, should be thoroughly studied to gain an accurate understanding thus creating an effective plan to weaken and destroy the group (Gunaratna, 2005). The Seattle Times (2001) notes the “western intelligence officials believe that the organization, Al Qaeda (the base), has a...