Stray Dogs and Virtual Armies

Stray Dogs and Virtual Armies: Radicalization and Recruitment to Jihadist Terrorism in the United States Since 9/11

Brian Michael Jenkins
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 56
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  • Book Info
    Stray Dogs and Virtual Armies
    Book Description:

    Since 9/11, "homegrown terrorists" have planned or implemented terrorist activities, supported others' terrorist activities, or become radicalized in the United States and traveled abroad to conduct activities against other countries or the United States. This paper examines the cases of homegrown terrorism, highlights lessons learned from those cases that suggest future actions, and includes a chronology of terrorist events in the United States.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5882-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Summary
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Al Qaeda’s Emphasis on Do-It-Yourself Terrorism
    (pp. 1-2)

    Years of unrelenting pressure on al Qaeda have degraded its operational capabilities, and improved intelligence has made the terrorists’ operational environment more dangerous, yet there is no evidence that al Qaeda’s determination to continue its terrorist campaign has diminished. As documents discovered at Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan indicate, the leader of al Qaeda spent his days exhorting his followers to attack the United States and suggesting ways they might do so. But he was communicating to a more decentralized enterprise, one far more dependent on its regional affiliates, like-minded allies, and above all, local recruits to plan and...

  7. The Terrorists
    (pp. 3-10)

    The terrorist groups in this homegrown jihadist universe include al Qaeda and its regional affiliates, especially the increasingly important Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and allies such as al-Shabaab and two groups in Pakistan: Lashkar-e-Toiba and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. Not all of the cases discussed here can be directly connected to one of these groups, but all of them display evidence of jihadist radicalization.

    However, not every Muslim with a gun should be labeled a jihadist, even when targets suggest political motives or personal prejudices. For example, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, the Egyptian chauffeur who in 2002 opened fire on...

  8. U.S. Terrorists Abroad
    (pp. 11-14)

    More than one-quarter of the 176 Americans who have been indicted, arrested, or otherwise identified as jihadist terrorists or their supporters since 9/11, including most of the Somalis, were arrested for recruiting young men to fight abroad or for joining or attempting to join a jihadist front abroad. Since the issue is homegrown terrorism, some may ask why the United States concerns itself with those who leave the country to fight elsewhere. Why, for example, is it the business of the United States if Somalis living in the United States want to return to Somalia to fight Ethiopian invaders, as...

  9. Radicalization and Recruitment to Terrorism
    (pp. 15-22)

    Many of the jihadists identified in the cases discussed here began their journey toward radicalization on the Internet, where they found resonance and reinforcement for their frustration and anger. (In my view, the biggest danger posed by al Qaeda’s ideology is that it will become a conveyer of personal discontents, encouraging violence, legitimizing aggression, and giving it direction.)

    Al Qaeda’s goal has always been to build an army of believers. Communication, according to Osama bin Laden, is 90 percent of the struggle. Given the operational requirements of clandestinity, which preclude traditional press conferences, face-to-face interviews, and physical broadcasting or printing...

  10. Assessing the Threat
    (pp. 23-28)

    Thus far, America has not provided fertile soil for recruiting jihadist terrorists. The turnout has been meager. In addition, most of the 32 plots to carry out terrorist attacks in the United States never got beyond the discussion stage, and most of those that did were stings in which the FBI provided fake bombs. On their own, only two individuals actually attempted to build devices. One was arrested while doing so, and the other’s device failed. The rest of the would-be terrorists only talked about bombs.

    The two fatal attacks killed a total of 14 people, while 73 people have...

  11. Chronology of the Cases
    (pp. 29-40)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 41-44)