ARA 3158 - Armed Islamist Movements
To what extent have recent post 9/11 developments affected the strength of al Qaeda?
Student Number: 600012806
Word Count: 2171
More than a decade after 9/11, a great lack of consensus exists over the assessments of al Qaeda’s current situation. Some analysts’ say that al Qaeda is ‘on the ropes’ (John Brennan, 2011), that the United States is ‘within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda’ (Panetta, 2011 in Bumiller, 2011), and that al Qaeda’s core could be degraded to a mere ‘propaganda arm within 18 to 24 months’ (Vickers, 2011 in Benson, 2011). These are unquestionably bold claims, and while some agree that al Qaeda is weaker than it was in 2001, pointing to its reduced capability to perform terrorist operations and washed-out senior leadership as confirmation, others claim that al Qaeda is in fact stronger today than when it carried out the 9/11 attacks. Both arguments have some merit.
For more than ten years, the west has done its utmost to crush on al Qaeda’s operational competences, which may perhaps have been diminished. The organization’s Taliban protectors were toppled in Afghanistan, and its easily accessible training camps, at one time the destination for jihadist volunteers worldwide, have been dispersed. In addition, al Qaeda attacks in Indonesia, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey between 2002 and 2006 prompted those governments to attempt to dismantle local terrorist networks. Cooperation among security services and law enforcement organizations worldwide has made its operating environment increasingly hostile (Ashour, 2011). Accordingly, al Qaeda has not been able to carry out a significant terrorist operation in the West since 2005, although its ability of mounting plausible, worrisome threats is not in question.
Osama bin Laden’s death by no means spells the end of al
Bibliography: 1. Andreas Behnke and Christina Hellmich, 2012. Knowing Al-Qaeda : the epistemology of terrorism. s.l.:Ashgate. 2. Ashour, O., 2011. The Arab Spring is Al-Qaeda’s winter, s.l.: The Daily Star. 3. Atwan, A.-B., 2012. After Bin Laden. London: Saqi Books. 4. Becker, J., 2012. Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will, s.l.: New York Times. 5. Benson, P., 2011. US: Al Qaeda in Pakistan could be gone in two years. CNN. 6. Bergen, P., 2008. Al Qaeda, the Organization: A Five-Year Forecast. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Volume Vol. 618. 7. Bumiller, E., 2011. Panetta Says Defeat of Al Qaeda Is ‘Within Reach’. The New York Times. 8. Foust, J., 2012. How Strong Is al Qaeda Today, Really?, s.l.: The Atlantic. 9. France-Presse, A., 2011. Al Qaeda strong at the fringes, weak in the centre: US experts, s.l.: NDTV. 10. Jenkins, B. M., 2012. Al Qaeda in its third decade - Irreversible Decline or Imminent Victory?. RAND Corporation. 11. Jones, S., 2012. Think Again: Al Qaeda - A year after Osama bin Laden 's death, the obituaries for his terrorist group are still way too premature.. Foreign Policy. 12. Joscelyn, T., 20122. Al-Qaeda and the Arab Spring. National Post. 13. Kapekele, M. P., 2012. Al-Qaeda is Larger Than Osama Bin Laden and Won 't Die Any Time Soon. PolicyMic. 14. Koffler, K., 2012. Obama Backs Away From al Qaeda “Defeat” Claim. White House Dossier. 15. Miller, G., 2011. U.S. officials believe al-Qaeda on brink of collapse, s.l.: Washington Post.