Al Qaeda

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Osama bin Laden with Al-Qaeda members

Al-Qaeda (Arabic: القاعدة‎, Translation: the base) is an international Jihadist terrorist organization founded in the late 1980s to fight the Red Army of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, during the 1980-89 Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, Osama bin Bin Ladin and his comrades had their own sources of support and training, and they received little or no assistance from the United States,[1] which only provided funding to indigenous Afghan mujaheddin, which al-Qaeda was not. It was led by Osama Bin Laden until he was killed by Navy SEALs and CIA operatives on May 2, 2011. It is predominantly composed of fanatical Sunni Muslims. Ayman al-Zawahiri, former leader of the Egyptian terrorist group called the Islamic Brotherhood, now leads Al Qaeda since Bin Laden's death. Zawahiri has increasingly become the spokesperson for the terrorist network.

Al Qaeda is responsible for the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, and numerous smaller attacks. The group's wing in Iraq is believed to be responsible for many of the attacks and bombings there. The 9/11 Commission Report cites Bin laden meeting with Iraqi intelligence officials in Khartoum as early as 1995. Bin Laden declined reported Iraqi offers of a safe haven, instead settling in Afghanistan. Friendly contacts between Iraqis and Bin Laden continued, though there is no evidence of an operational relationship between the two sides.

"However difficult the fight in Iraq has become, we must win it," Mr. Bush said during a commencement speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. "Al Qaeda is public enemy No. 1 for Iraq's young democracy. Al Qaeda is public enemy No. 1 for America as well." [2]

Some liberals seem to have a problem calling this group what it is, a terrorist organization, and prefer to call it a more "politically correct" term: militant organization.


By late 2009 analysts were detecting a systematic decline in the strength and appeal of Al Qaeda. Its leadership has been forced to retreat to remote mountain villages in Pakistan, and many leaders have been killed by missiles and manhunts. Its tactics of killing innocent civilians have lost favor with the Muslim population in most countries. Between 2002 and 2009 the notion that suicide bombings are "often or sometimes justified" has plunged across the Islamic world. Its terrorists launched 10 major attacks worldwide in 2004, its peak year, but only three in 2008. "Al Qaeda is in the process of imploding," concludes professor Audrey Kurth Cronin of the National War College in Washington. In September 2009 American-led forces killed the leader of the Somali organization "Al Shabab", which is allied with Al Qaeda; the police in Indonesia killed the most wanted terrorist in Southeast Asia. It has become much harder for terrorists to move agents, money and supplies. [3]

See also

External links


  1. 9/11 Commission ReportThe Foundation of the New Terrorism, pg. 56.
  3. Scott Shane, "Rethinking What to Fear," New York Times Sept. 27, 2009