Beyond al-Qaeda: Part 1, The Global Jihadist Movement

Beyond al-Qaeda: Part 1, The Global Jihadist Movement

Angel Rabasa
Peter Chalk
Kim Cragin
Sara A. Daly
Heather S. Gregg
Theodore W. Karasik
Kevin A. O’Brien
William Rosenau
Copyright Date: 2006
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 227
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  • Book Info
    Beyond al-Qaeda: Part 1, The Global Jihadist Movement
    Book Description:

    Examines al-Qaeda•s evolution and the emergence of the broader global jihadist movement-groups affiliated, associated, or inspired by al-Qaeda-and the threat that they pose to the United States and U.S. allies and interests. The authors conclude by setting out a four-pronged strategy to counter the jihadist threat.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4104-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xv-xxxiv)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxxv-xxxvi)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxvii-xl)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Defeating the global jihadist movement—which we define as al-Qaeda and the universe of jihadist groups that are associated with or inspired by al-Qaeda—is the most pressing security challenge facing the United States today. The global jihadist movement can be distinguished from traditional or local jihads, which are armed campaigns conducted by Islamist groups against local adversaries with usually limited aims and geographic scope, in that it targets the United States and its allies across the globe and pursues broad geopolitical aims.

    Although the U.S. campaign against al-Qaeda and the global jihadist movement campaign has had some notable successes,...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Al-Qaeda’s Ideology and Propaganda
    (pp. 7-22)

    Although it is a shopworn phrase, “know your enemy” remains the cornerstone of any sound security policy. Ideology is central to this understanding and is, thus, an essential component of any strategy designed to counter al-Qaeda, the West’s principal terrorist threat. To most Americans and other Westerners, explaining terrorist motivation in terms of ideological and other nonmaterial influences seems perplexing, for as Carnes Lord has observed, “[We] tend to assume that concrete interests such as economic well-being, personal freedom, and security of life and limb are the critical determinants of political behavior everywhere.”¹

    For their part, journalists have tended to...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Strategy, Structure, and Operational Evolution
    (pp. 23-56)

    Al-Qaeda’s strategy flows logically from its ideology. To outsiders, those within the network may appear irrational—motivated by insane hatreds, grossly unrealistic in their goals, and willing to kill innocent men, women, and children to achieve their ends. In reality, al-Qaeda, like other terrorist groups, acts in a rational manner in the sense that it weighs ends and means, considers alternative approaches, and calculates costs and benefits.¹ Its leaders may miscalculate from time to time, but this is a characteristic that it shares with even the wisest political figures.

    Consider for example the attacks of September 11, 2001. On one...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Al-Qaeda’s Finances
    (pp. 57-62)

    Given the financial war on terrorism conducted by the United States and the international community, al-Qaeda’s resource structures and networks have changed. Al-Qaeda has hardened still existing sources of funds, developed new sources of financing, further diversified its resource base, moved an even larger amount of transactions through the informal hawala system, and increased its dependence on nonmonetary barter transactions. For example, it now goes through a much more sophisticated process when soliciting funds via the Internet. Rather than just publishing Web sites that openly solicit money and resources, al-Qaeda infiltrates legitimate charitable organizations and asks for money through the...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Al-Qaeda’s Operational Planning Cycle
    (pp. 63-72)

    Al-Qaeda’s operational planning cycle, defined as the steps involved in planning and executing a terrorist attack, is constantly evolving—much like the organization itself. As al-Qaeda morphs and changes organizationally to adjust to arrests and disruption of planned attacks, so does its operational style. Before the 9/11 attacks, when al-Qaeda was composed largely of a small hard core of senior and mid-level leaders in Afghanistan responsible for overseeing most of the group’s terrorist plans, al-Qaeda favored “spectacular” attacks against primarily U.S. “hard” targets, such as diplomatic and military facilities abroad. These operations—which include the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in...

  14. CHAPTER SIX The al-Qaeda Nebula
    (pp. 73-80)

    Since September 11, al-Qaeda is no longer the same organization it once was—a tight-knit band of extremists who had swornbayat(allegiance) to bin Laden and who were operating at the behest of a small hard-core group of lieutenants directing attacks from the remote foothills of Afghanistan. Islamic terrorism is no longer dominated by discrete groups but now operates on a much more cellular level, with many attacks planned by terrorist operatives who have either a very loose connection to al-Qaeda leaders or none at all. As a result, few groups can be defined as “lying at the center...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN South Asian Clusters
    (pp. 81-104)

    Dozens of jihadist groups have been identified in Kashmir,¹ many of which have a significant nonindigenous component.² The bulk of these external fighters are organized under the auspices of seven main groups: al-Badr, Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), Harakatul-Mujahideen (HuM), Harakat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HuJI), Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JuM), and the Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF) (see Figure 7.1). Of these seven, three—LeT, JeM, and HuM—have been directly linked to bin Laden’s transnational terror network.³

    Laskar-e-Taiba (literally “Army of the Pure”) dates back to 1993 when it was established as the military wing of the Markaz-ad-Da’awa-Wal-Irshad (MDI) madrassa (although it did not rise...

  16. CHAPTER EIGHT The Caucasus and Central Asia
    (pp. 105-118)

    Al-Qaeda has channeled its activities in the Caucasus and Central Asia through two groups: the Basayev faction of Chechen jihadists fighting against the Russian Federation and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

    The jihadist struggle in Chechnya has its roots in the history of the Chechen resistance to the Russian conquest of the Caucasus, dating back to the nineteenth century. In 1944, Stalin deported almost the entire Chechen population—roughly 400,000 people—to Central Asia, where many subsequently perished. This legacy of repression helps to explain the basis of contemporary Chechen nationalism, which has tended to be more radical and...

  17. CHAPTER NINE The North and East African Clusters
    (pp. 119-134)

    North African terrorism is shadowy and difficult to define. Groups operating in this region frequently share membership, pursue similar goals, and often participate in the same attacks. That being said, it is possible to delineate certain organizations that are generally acknowledged to have established some sort of ideological, logistical, or operational relationship with al-Qaeda. This section analyzes these organizations, focusing its attention on entities existing in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. A map showing the countries where the main North African groups operate is shown in Figure 9.1.

    Two groups that can be considered part of the international jihadist movement...

  18. CHAPTER TEN The al-Zarqawi Network: Jordanian and Iraqi Jihadis
    (pp. 135-146)

    Jordan does not appear to have any organized terrorist groups operating on its soil. Rather, it has a network of loosely affiliated extremists who work in small units and who share the common objective of attacking U.S., Western, and in some cases Jordanian targets. Members of this cell-based movement are mostly thought to have fought in the anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, where they established personal relationships and forged a common commitment to carry out the Islamic revolution in their homelands through violent means.¹ The leading member of the ad hoc movement was the notorious terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (real name...

  19. CHAPTER ELEVEN The Southeast Asian Cluster
    (pp. 147-158)

    Long before the appearance of the global jihadist movement, the activities of a variety of internal ethno-nationalist and religious militant groups posed one of the most significant threats to the polities of the Southeast Asia region. During the 1990s, the residual threat posed by substate extremism had risen—both in reaction to the modernization pursued vigorously by many Southeast Asian states and as a result of radical influences from the Middle East and South Asia. Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a network that connects militants in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand, today poses the main regional terrorist threat in Southeast Asia....

  20. CHAPTER TWELVE Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 159-172)

    The preceding discussion has obvious implications for devising an effective strategy to counter al-Qaeda. Such a strategy will necessarily employ a complex mixture of military, intelligence, financial, and political instruments. This strategy should also include the use of techniques described variously as “public diplomacy,” “information operations,” and “psychological operations.” No one term is completely satisfactory. However, George Kennan arrived at a useful blanket concept in 1947, when he called on U. S. officials to develop a robust “political warfare” capability against the Soviet Union.¹ The United States and its allies waged a largely successful campaign against Marxism-Leninism—like al-Qaeda, a...

  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 173-186)