Tag: Al Qaeda


Marc Sageman’s views on terrorism in the 21st century

Much of Sageman’s data set focuses on the central organization of Al Qaeda. Do you feel that this can be generalized to the larger jihadist movement?

Sageman’s contention that Al Qaeda is now a decentralized and more diffuse organization is quite correct. After the killing of Osama bin Laden and his top rung of aides, there seem to be a weakening of command-and-control style of organizational leadership. Sageman’s data, drawn heavily from the Islamic diasporas from across the world bear this view. The new modus of operation is for discrete and disparate groups of a few individuals to conceive and execute acts of terror. The result is that the scale of these acts tend to be smaller and its targets less specific. That there were no acts of terrorism to match the human and collateral damage witnessed on 9/11 supports this view. Hence what is observed with Al Qaeda is applicable to the broader jihadist movement.

Discuss the roles that social networks . . . Read More

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John O’Neill: The Man Who Knew

John O’Neill’s career in service of his country is one spent in frustration and futility.  Despite valiant efforts by this sincere and hardworking law enforcement agent, the terror attacks on September 11 2001 could not be prevented.  More tragically, John O’Neill himself would perish in the attack as he was then working in the World Trade Centre as a security officer.

John O’Neill has had an impressive career path covering various roles within and without the FBI. Always drawn to the allure of a special agent for the FBI, John’s first job was as a fingerprint clerk and tour guide at FBI Headquarters in Washington.  He was barely twenty years old when he started out with FBI in this modest fashion. He climbed up the career ladder steadily thereafter. His appointment as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) in Chicago is a notable milestone. But it is the World Trade Center (WTC) bombing at Oklahoma in 1993 that would prove to be a turning point in his . . . Read More

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The main reasons for the growing popularity and strength of Islamic jihadi terrorist groups in Southeast Asia

To understand how Islamic jihad gained support in Southeast Asia, it is important to gain cognisance of its founding principle.  And the present wave of Islamic revivalism and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Southeast Asia originated during the 1970s. The movement started as a reaction to the disillusionment and failure associated with modern neo-liberal economic policies.  The first world has had longstanding association with Muslim-dominant nations that are oppressive, authoritarian and dictatorial.  A prime example of this would be Saudi Arabia, with whom the United States and its allies (including Australia) don’t seem to have a problem, in spite of copious evidence of severe human rights violations within its borders (Smith, 2002, p.34).  This apparent hypocrisy of the west had induced a sense of discontent and anger within the wider Islamic community.  That is when influential Muslim thinkers such as like Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb involved themselves in . . . Read More

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Why and how did al-Qaeda come to gain support among Islamic militants in Southeast Asia? How can Australia redress this situation?

The study of the history and origins of support for Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia is highly relevant in the contemporary world. From a study of the rationale and motive of such groups, we can arrive at the security implications for the Australian government and the preventative measures that could be taken to thwart any possible terrorist attacks.

To begin with, the term ‘terrorist organization’ should not be interpreted to mean a formal hierarchy of personnel who are assigned fixed responsibilities and duties. On the other hand they imply propaganda and support mechanism whose aim is to recruit willing individuals from the Islamic world to participate in the holy war, also known as ‘Jihad’. Consistent with this fact, the term ‘Al Qaeda’ was not Christened by Osama bin Laden; rather, it was the United States intelligence agency CIA that referred to the Islamic activists led by bin Laden in this manner in the mid-1990s. Al Qaeda, translated from Arabic, literally . . . Read More

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Terrorism: Dossier & Intelligence Report

In this Terrorism dossier and intelligence report, the origins, history and operations of two terrorist organizations – Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah – are discussed.  From a study of the rationale and motive of these two groups, we can arrive at the security implications for the Australian government and the preventative measures that could be taken to thwart any possible terrorist attacks.

Group Names and their interpretation:

Firstly, the term ‘terrorist organization’ should not be interpreted to mean a formal hierarchy of personnel who are assigned fixed responsibilities and duties.  On the other hand they imply propaganda and support mechanism whose aim is to recruit willing individuals from the Islamic world to participate in the holy war, also known as ‘Jihad’. Consistent with this fact, the term ‘Al Qaeda’ was not Christened by Osama bin Laden; rather, it was the United States intelligence agency CIA that referred to the . . . Read More

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