9.3: History of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State
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1- The Muslim Brotherhood was started in Egypt in 1928 By Hassan Al-Banna to renew traditional Muslim values. (One of his relatives later mentored the teenaged Osama Bin Laden.) One of the Brotherhood’s descendants was MAK, a support organization co-founded by Bin Laden for Muslims from all over the world who were fighting the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
2- As the Soviets were being defeated in Afghanistan, in 1988 Bin Laden’s local mentor, who wanted to focus on ‘near enemies’ like Saudi Arabia, was mysteriously assassinated. Bin Laden instead established Al Qaeda (the base) to fight the U.S., the ‘far enemy,’ which supported what he considered illegitimate rulers in the Muslim world. In his fatwas, Bin Laden criticized the U.S. for having foreign troops in the holy land of Saudi Arabia, for the suffering caused by the U.S. embargo of Iraq, and for U.S. support of Israel, which is considered by Muslims to be imperialist. Al Qaeda’s goal is to drive the West from the Muslim world. They carried out attacks on U.S. military housing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya; and the warship USS Cole in Aden. The U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq greatly added to the list of grievenaces.
3- Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack provoked a U.S. counterattack and the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which was Al Qaeda’s base. In its current phase, Al Qaeda helps finance, inspire and coach (in person or via the Internet) Islamist groups such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM, in what we call North Africa) and smaller groups and loners in other countries such as the Boston Marathon bombers. They have carried out attacks on soft targets in Bali, Morocco, Britain, France and Spain. The killing of Osama Bin Laden and his son Hamza by the U.S. means that AQ has been unable to mount a mass casualty attack for years, but it is still dangerous.
4- One faction of Al Qaeda in Iraq founded Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS later became IS), which became larger and even more radical than Al Qaeda. They killed large numbers of Shiite Muslims and Yazidis, beheaded people on Internet videos, sold women into sex slavery, conquered large parts of Iraq and Syria for several years, proclaimed a caliphate (a Muslim kingdom) and picked up affiliations from terrorist groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, Jemaah Islamiyah in Indonesia and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines. Now that they have been defeated in Iraq and Syria, IS is back to inspiring people online, training, directing and financing people in small-group attacks and calling for lone wolf attacks.
1. Outline the arguments on the causes of war, including system, national and individual factors and give an example of each.
2. Outline the causes of war under hegemonic and balance of power systems.
3. Has war between nation-states increased or decreased since the end of the Cold War? Why? What kind of wars are most common in the post-Cold War era?
4. List three dangerous territorial flash points in the world today.
5. Give three examples of conflicting interests and ethnic/religious conflicts causing war.
6. Why do some groups engage in terrorism?
7. What tactics are Al Qaeda and ISIS using today?