Al Qaeda: The Method to the Madness
The cultural, religious, and political struggle and terrorism is the issue of heated discussion nowadays. Being a serious threat to the safety of humanity, the terrorist organization Al Qaeda is the center of attention on the global scale, with experts all over the world looking for the way to stop its activity. Terrorist attacks of September 11, the terrible violent acts in Bali, in London underground, and the events in Paris require serious analysis for stopping Al Qaeda’s madness. This paper will discuss the history of Al Qaeda, the consequences of its attacks, its terrorist activities on the Internet, and the way it influences general instability. It will also address the safety measures taken by various countries to protect people from future terrorist attacks.
The History of Al Qaeda
The terrorist organization acquired its name, meaning ‘the Base’, from the training camp Al Qaeda that prepared the youth for further guerrilla activities. The history of Al Qaeda dates back to August 1988, when Osama bin Laden started the terrorist movement assisting the Afghan mujahideen. Soviet army leaving Afghanistan created new opportunities for the old idea of worldwide jihad.
During 1991-1998, Osama bin Laden focused his attention on the Sudan organization of terroristic violence in the Middle East and North Africa. The attack on the World Trade Center of 1993 occurred during that period as well. After expelling from Sudan in 1998, Osama bin Laden initiated violent activity against the United States, founding the terrorist base in Afghanistan. The leader of Al Qaeda gave the order to drop bombs on the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania and Kenya. In fact, 224 people were killed in 1998 as a result of these actions (McCormick, 2014). On October 7, 2001, the united American and British military forces bombarded Afghanistan, which was the place of Al Qaeda’s location. Several moths later, the base of terroristic organization moved to Pakistan, where its members masterminded violence, such as terrostic attacks in Bali in 2002, and violent attacks in London in 2005. In 2003, Saudi Arabia experienced Al Qaeda’a agression in Riyadh. In November 2003, the core of the terroristic group named themselves Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. During the following three years, the terrorists instilled fear among the world population. In October 2004, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi formed Al Qaeda’s affiliation in Iraq, giving it the name of AQI. Osama bin Laden’s original group, then located in Pakistan, obtained the name Al Qaeda Core, or AQC. In 2005, the ideological leaders of Al Qaeda had serious quarrels about the methods of the organization’s activity.Osama bin Laden’s assistant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, accused Abu Musab al-Zarqawi of cruelty. Blaming partners for violence in numerous videos, Ayman al-Zawahiri demonstrated the split of the terroristic organization. In February 2006, twenty-three members of Al Qaeda closed in Yemen’s prisons, escaped, laying the foundation of a new wing of Al Qaeda in Yemen. Nasse al-Wuhayshi headed that affiliation. In September 2006, Al Qaeda and the Group for Preaching and Combat, or GSPC, joined their forces. Being famous for violence during the Algerian civil war, the Group for Preaching and Combat continued its activity, organizing a series of attacks in Algeria, and later took the name of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM. This organization spread its scope of activities up to Niger and Mauritania, uniting with Tuareg rebels in northern Mali. In December 2009, a passenger of the plane flying to Detroit, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, made an attempt to commit a terroristic act on board. The FBI obtained information about AQAP’s involvement in the matter. In May 2011, American military forces ceized and killed the founder of Al Qaeda Osama bin Laden. Despite Zawahiri’s success in leading Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization was seriously weakened. In September 2012, Zawahiri claimed his adherents to take advantage of events in Syria, suferring from the war between rebellers and Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Later, Al Qaeda’s affiliation in Iraq acquired the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). In June 2013, the serious split occurred in the organization, when ISIS refused to obey Al Qaeda’s orders. The leader of the rebels stated that he had to “choose between the rule of God and the rule of al-Zawahiri” (McCormick, 2014). Al Qaeda’a core experienced separation in February 2014. In August 2013, Zawahiri declared Wuhayshi to be his assistant, delegating him organization of terroristic attacks on 22 American embassies in the Muslim countries (McCormick, 2014).
Consequences of Terrorist Attacks
Terrorist attacks lead to devastating consequences, causing severe damage to people from different countries and the world economy. Islamic criminals planned and committed a considerable number of crimes against humanity, such as assassinations in the Afghan-Pakistan border operations, the B-52 attack on Tora Bora, the gun attack of 1997 in Egypt, London bombarding of July 7, and the terrible events of September 11 in the USA. The terrorist employed various frightening methods, used commercial aircrafts as moving explosives or carried out a sudden gun attack as the way of mass intimidation. In fact, “between 1992 and 2008, the terrorist network perpetrated 31 attacks with a toll of more than 4,400 lives, many of them Islamic” (Burleigh, 2009). The violence of September 11 in the USA took approximately 3,000 lives; the events in Kenya and Tanzania ended with 301 deaths; 202 individuals were killed during the terrorist attack on a nightclub in Bali; and 191 deaths resulted from cruelty at the Atocha railway station in Spain (Burleigh, 2009). Consequently, people were terrified, being afraid of flying by planes, travelling by underground, or just appearing in crowded places.
Al Qaeda’s terrorism cost the world approximately $55 billion (Burleigh, 2009). London undeground attack of July 7, 2005 was estimated at 8,000 GBD. The attack of Madrid Railway Atocha of March 11, 2004 was evaluated at 1000,000 EURO. The violence in Istanbul of November 15 and 20, 2003 cost $40,000. The terroristic attack of Marriot Hotel in Jakata on August 5, 2003 was claimed $30,000 in damages. Bali bombing on October 12, 2002 was estimated at $50,000. The attack of New York Twin Towers on Sepember 11, 2001 cost up to $500,000. Finally, tragic events in the US Embassies in Kenia and Tanzania in August 7, 1998 were estimated at $50,000 (Burleigh, 2009). Therefore, many world countries experienced considerable economic damage because of Al Qaeda’s terroristic activities.
Terrorism on the Internet
Al Qaeda widely used the Internet for intimidation of the global community. Thus, “the number of terrorist sites increased exponentially over the last decade – from less than 100 to more than 4,800” (Kaplan, 2009). Except being an effective means of communication, the global network became a blunt tool for worldwide recruitment to the terrorist organization and a way to share cruel pictures and videos showing violent tortures and murders (Kaplan, 2009).
Online message boards and chat rooms are useful for spreading pictures, videos, and articles. Criminals discuss their common actions and give orders through those means. Moreover, the Internet is an extremely suitable media for conducting financial operations, permitting quick and easy fund transferring deeds. Internet recruitment is also growing rapidly. Terrorist websites are used as the basis for virtual training. Additionally, scientific materials about how to create bombs and fire different missiles can also be located on the Internet. Visitors can see virtual banners with claims to shoot American soldiers and to creep into Iraq. Recruiters use propagandistic messages and ideological videos for attracting the youth. Donations are effectively used via the payment service PayPal. The most famous Al Qaeda’s recruiter is As-Sahab. Recruitment websites comprise both the official sites of Al Qaeda and the sites of adherents of the organization. This fact makes surveillance of the terrorist organization even more difficult (Kaplan, 2009).
Being headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s, Al Qaeda typically used the global network for demonstrating “roadside bombings, the decapitation of American hostage Nick Berg, and kidnapped Egyptian and Algerian diplomats prior to their execution” (Kaplan, 2009). In Iraq, videos with killing of US soldiers and peaceful population were downloaded and sold together with pornographic production. Al Qaeda’s supporters in the Middle East, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Chechnya shared such videos as well (Kaplan, 2009). Terrorists went as far as to induce young children to become their adherents. For instance, some jihad websites placed video games for children aged seven. Theses deeds involved children into the cruel world, where little boys and girls were holly warriors killing American soldiers (Kaplan, 2009). In fact, cyber terrorists created a global terrorist network.
Apart from recruitment and killing demonstration, the Internet is used as a tool for sharing computer viruses aimed at obtaining and damaging sensitive data. The cynicism of terrorists was unimaginative when the editor of one of Al Qaeda’s website suggested his best designer firing three American rackets in Iraq by one mouse click (Kaplan, 2009).
The authorities of many countries enhanced surveillance of suspicious websites. Unfortunately, civil liberties, the Internet’s inherent anonymity, and other factors pose serious obstacles to the systematic and successful control of the potential terrorist danger (Kaplan, 2009).
Terrorism as a Reason for General Instability
Being a serious reason for general instability in the world, Al Qaeda’s activities are in the centre of attention of the global public. The growth and development of ISIS as Al Qaeda’s affiliation, instability in Iraq after the withdrawal of the American military forces, and the civil war in Yemen and Syria are significant global challenges. The terroristic deeds of jihadists, namely the tragic events in the Middle East, North Africa, and other states of the Islamic world, are the source of significant troubles. Conflicts aggravate the state of affairs in the countries’ governance, demographics, economy, religion, and social structure. Al Qaeda’s extremism and sectarian cruelty in the region of the Middle East and North Africa caused numerous crises in the area.
According to the UN’s Arab Development Reports, World Bank, and IMF warnings, there is a significant “risk of major political upheavals and created a situation where even the creation of dedicated and competent reform governments meant such governments face a decade of effort to correct the structural problems involved” (Cordesman, 2016). Poor economic development and diversification are among the detrimental consequences of Al Qaeda’s terroristic activities. Moreover, even rich in oil states often cannot provide their population with a state of security. These countries provide extremely limited opportunities for “education, job creation, career opportunities, housing, medical services, infrastructure, and the ability to give young men and women the resources to marry and support a family” (Cordesman, 2016). As a result, a great number of citizens migrate from those states, causing problems for other world countries that are to accept the migrants. To illustrate, Europe is expected to permit the growth of migration rate from 8.4% up to 10.2%, while the USA and Canada are to allow the increase of migration level from 1.4% up to 2.4% (Cordesman, 2016). According to research predictions, the total number of the Muslim population in the Middle East and North Africa region will rise from 1.6 billion to 2.8 billion (Cordesman, 2016). Taking into account the rapid demographic growth among the Muslim population and the low level of education and employment in Muslim countries, new challenges for domestic stability are expected to arise.
The key goal of jihadists’s terrorist activities is the establishment of new political regimes all over the world with the support of the new ideology of ruling of Islam. Numerous radical terrorist groups belonging to Al Qaeda strive for imposition of their religious and cultural viewpoint, seizing power with weapons in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Terrorists adopted “a new strategy to infiltrate legitimate regimes in the region and build their influence and power from within” (Hashem, 2015). One of the major ideologists of Al Qaeda, Abdullah bin Mohammed, calls his adherents to change their habitual strategies of violence and terror. He suggests an innovative technology of obtaining legitimacy by changing unattractive image of Al Qaeda’s organization. Abdullah bin Mohammed considers that jihadists are to cooperate with political leaders within the world political systems. The starting point should be made in Syria, where the new ideological path is to be introduced (Hashem, 2015).
Having united with the world community against Al Qaeda, Europe and the United States were involved in the ‘War on Terror’ that resulted in numerous terrorist attacks on several countries. After the events of September 11, the US authorities directed approximately $4 billion per year on airline passenger screenings and $4.7 billion on zapping checked baggage and the air marshal program (Kay, 2015, p. 226). In fact, “the United States spent $3.3 trillion on counterterrorism-related budget items” (Kay, 2015, p. 227). As one can see, the US government took serious steps for ensuring safety in the country.
The tragic events that took place in Madrid in 2004, London and Paris in 2005 demonstrated that the authorities could not protect their citizens completely. The number of people blaming the policy of multiculturalism increased dramatically. They considered that following those democratic values allowed Orient terrorist to undertake their violent activities in the capitals. After the subway bombings in the capital of Great Britain, the authorities initiated a range of measures to decrease domestic vulnerability to the Al Qaeda’s terrorist threat.
After the Paris attack, the French authorities adopted several safety measures to prevent further terrorist attacks on the capital. First, detailed border control checks were introduced at all the France’s customs. Second, the national state of emergency lasted for three months following the terrorist attack. During that period, all the crowded events and fireworks were prohibited. Parks and places of public interest were closed for tourists. All these measures were rather difficult for the country’s tourism, trade, and economy. Finally, the police forces were boosted; vehicle searches, obtaining information from the national and global criminal files and data banks, and significant penalties for carrying dangerous mixtures were introduced. The French police searched airports, harbors, and roads. CCTV cameras were widely used in public places. After the July 7, the terrorist attack in the UK underground, and the terrorist act committed by the bus driver, special security legislation was developed and put into force in January 2006 (Schmitt, 2010, p. 44).
The United Kingdom suffered from Al Qaeda attacks after the London’s bombing in 2005. The two other known attempts to commit terrorist crimes failed in July 2005 and in June 2007 (Schmitt, 2010, p. 8). The British authorities launched electronic and human surveillance practices and opened access to communication data. The plot of telephone conversations and private Internet correspondence were now available for the British police (Schmitt, 2010, p. 18).
Introduction of safety measures is the step of prime importance to overcome Al Qaeda’s aggression on the global scale. The Security Council Committee has developed effective measures to protect world nations against terrorist violence. They are assets freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo. An assets freeze suggests immediate freezing of the funds and other financial sources of people and institutions connected with Al Qaeda. A travel ban means creating obstacles for terrorists’ entering a country or moving across the states’ territories. Arms embargo is the prevention of weapon trade with participants of terrorist organization. Seizing terrorist leaders, like the arrest of Abdul Ghani Barader, a Taliban deputy leader, had a positive effect on the matter as well (Jones, Sage, & Krajeski, 2010). The authorities of the USA and European countries have taken steps to develop effective safety measures. Nevertheless, there is the constant threat of further Al Qaeda’s attacks, which requires permanent readiness of special services to prevent criminal Al Qaeda’s activities.
Orient Hostage Crisis
Orient hostage crisis can be explained by the Islamist terrible way of leading wars, including kidnapping people, torturing and murdering them. The lucky individuals can be set free for fulfilling certain conditions of the terrorists. The expansion of Al Qaeda into the East Asian countries and terrorist attacks of September 11 signaled the need for scrupulous attention to the problem. Moreover, tourists and foreigners became the major aim of the terror machinery. To illustrate, Al-Mourabitoun, one of Al Qaeda ‘s terrorist groups in northern Mali, committed violence acts and took hostage of visitors in one of the hotels in the downtown of Bamako. The criminals seized about 170 people, ultimately murdering 27 of them (Malreddy, 2015, p. 14). A week earlier, Islamic terrorists committed two hostage crises in Paris and Holland. Al Qaeda’s representative informed via the Internet that the organization would continue its terrible activities. France suffered because it had participated in military actions against the members of the group. Al Qaeda’s speaker stated that Iraq and Syria would suffer from terrorism as well, experiencing orient hostage crisis (Malreddy, 2015, p. 18). As one can see, Al Qaeda is an extremely dangerous organization, which would proceed in its cruelty unless stopped by the united global efforts.
The governments of European countries developed numerous strategies to cope with the orients hostage crisis. Special legislations were developed to protect people against Orient criminals. However, the talks about multiculturalism policy that contributed to entering and establishing Orient terrorists in European countries is becoming extremely popular nowadays.
To sum up, Al Qaeda is an Islamic militant organization that has participated in numerous terroristic activities and hostage crises all over the world. Having originated several decades ago, Al Qaeda experienced numerous transformations, creating affiliations in numerous countries. The consequences of terrorist attacks are devastating for humanity. People and the countries’ economies suffer from numerous violent deeds of terrorists. Having changed several ideological leaders, the terrorist organization developed the strategy of intimidation. However, the current Al Qaeda’s advisors insist on more a peaceful image of the group. Having experienced terrible violence and damages, the world community developed methods to prevent the detrimental activities of the terrorist organization and stop its increasing. Despite these steps, there are many challenges to be solved in Al Qaeda’s matter.