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Al-Qaeda is a group believed to have been founded by Islamist militants between 1988 and 1989.its operations include a network of a multinational stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim group. Internationally it is believed to be a terrorist organization. Its management philosophy is" a centralized decision making body and decentralization of execution". The global war on terror has caused the al- Qaeda leadership to become geographically isolated. This has made the groups to operate on decentralized leadership, forming each regional group under the brand name al-Qaeda.
The group's leader is Osama bin laden as the senior Operations head. A Shura council consisting of the senior elders of the group assists him. The council is consists of 20 to 30 people. Osama Bin Laden's deputy is Mr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Qaeda has number of committees with various responsibilities.
The military Committee has the duty of training operatives, equipping the group with weapons and planning of the attacks. Finance committee funds operations like recruiting and training of operatives, paying members and manage profit driven businesses abroad. The committee also has the duty of providing members with air tickets and false passports. The group has an annual budget of up to $30 million to conduct its operations. The law committee, checks whether the strategies of the group conform to the law. Other committees include the Islamic study committee, also known as Fatwah, and the media committee.
The number of military trained personnel in the group is largely unclear. It has several thousand commanders estimated to be in 40 different countries. Around 200-300 members were still active commanders by 2009.according to reliable sources such as 2004 BBC documentary, al-Qaeda network was so weak, hardly consisting of the leader and a small group around him. The number of convicted al-Qaeda members is insignificant compared to the arrests made hence, as explained in the documentary raises doubt whether the group actually exists.
The group's main two forces are working alongside insurgents in Pakistan and Iraq (Weaver, 2002). The first group with estimated tens of thousands soldiers were trained as insurgent combat forces in Soviet-Afgan war. The other group consists of around 10,000 soldiers with rudimentary combat training are said to be living in western states.
Some published extracts from Saif al-Adel's document summarizes al-Qaeda's strategies to the year 2020.First the group plans to incite United States to attack a Muslim country. Second, inflame local resistance to the forces. Third, they will ensure that the United State is busy for a long period in a war of attrition by rousing the conflict to the neighboring countries. Forth, change al-Qaeda into a philosophy with a set of operating main beliefs. These believe can be franchised globally hence leading to attacks against countries working with the U.S. This should go on until they withdraw from the conflict. Finally, the war will lead to collapse of the U.S. economy.
Generally, radical Islamist movement and al-Qaeda grew during the Islamic revival. The Islamic revival has been particularly active during the last three decades of 20th century. Many people believe that without the writings of Sayyid Qutb, there would be no al-Qaeda. He taught that the Muslim world had faults because it lacked Sheria law (Roggio, 2008). This had resulted into the Islamic world returning to pre-Islamic ignorance. He argued that a movement of holy Muslims should arise to establish "true Islamic states". He believed in the implementation of Sheria law and abolition of non-muslin influences like socialism, and nationalism from Muslim world (Chuchmach & Ross, 2009). A close friend of Osama bin laden said that they (himself and Osama) read and believes that the writings of Sayyid Qutb have most affected our generation.
Research describes the development of al-Qaeda in five phases. First its beginning in 1980s.Second, is referred to as wilderness which lies between 1990-96.Third, heyday 1996-2001, Forth, the network period 2001-05 and finally a duration of fragmentation between 2005 and today. With it's foundation in Pakistan, estimations show that by 1988, al-Qaeda, an Islamic faction was an official grouping. The groups focus was upholding the word of God. It had admission requirements which included; listening ability, submission, good manners and making a pledge to obey orders from superiors (Zalman, 2007). The existence of al-Qaeda remained as a secret for a long duration, its real name was not known to public. According to Wright, al-Qaeda's genesis date back to August 20, 1988.A meeting between Osama bin laden and leaders from Egyptian Islamic jihad agreed that Laden's money and expertise of the organization be used to further Jihadist cause.
Jihad in Afghanistan
Soviet war on Afghanistan initiated al-Qaeda as a terrorist network that trains operatives around the world. The organization Maktab al-khidamat (MAK) was formed in 1980 to source and direct finances. It also had to enlist foreign Mujahideen for the war against Soviets. The group's leaders and founding fathers were Laden and Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. Its efforts to recruit officers in the U.S. began in 1986.it mainly began signing up officers at a refugee camp near Farouq mosque in Brooklyn's Atlantic avenue. MAK had the duty of organizing guest houses at the Afghan border. Its other responsibility was to sign up recruits for afghan war front (Mohammed, 2005). During this period, Osama bin laden was funding MAK using his personal money. He also had links with the Petro billionaires and Saudi's royal family. By the beginning of 1987, the two leaders had begun establishing camps inside Afghanistan. Laden was also involved in organizing training camps.
In 1989, the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, some Mujahideen begun planning on expand their activities to other parts of the world like Israel and Kashmir. This led to the formation of interrelated organizations with an aim of achieving this dreams. Al-Qaeda was one of the organizations established in that manner. After Azzam's assassination in1989, MAK Split (Chuchmach & Ross, 2009). Most of its members joined al-Qaeda, which was, then under Laden's leadership.
Gulf War and the Start of U.S. Enmity
Osama bin laden returned to Saudi Arabia after the Soviets had withdrawn from Afghan in 1989.The kingdom and the ruling house of Saudi become at risk following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Saudi Arabia's oil field became within easy striking distance by the Iraqi forces. Even though Saudi Arabia had well armed forces, she realized that Iraqi's military outnumbered her troops by far. Osama bin laden saw this and offered his Mujahideen, to King Fahd, the king declined and instead organized with the U.S. to deploy her troops in the holy land, this did not go well with Laden leading to his speaking publicly against the government. Osama was banished from Saudi Arabia and he fled to Sudan.
Later in 1996, al-Qaeda proclaimed its jihad, therefore embarking on a strategy to expel foreign troops from Islamic land. He made a public declaration of confrontation against the U.S. He also used the group resources on conveying propaganda. In June 1996 Khobar Tower was bombed.13people died while more than 300 ere injured. It believed that al-Qaeda was responsible for the bombing. On February 23, 1998 Osama and other Muslim leaders proclaimed a Fatwa. They issued a call to Muslims to Kill Americans and citizens of states friendly to them. The group permitted Muslims to act on this order anytime, anywhere. The command was proclaimed under the banner of "Islamic front for combat against Jews and crusaders". Al-Qaeda declared it the duty of all Muslims, whether civilian or military to kill Americans in any country where it is possible.