Al QA'ida Trans-National Terrorist Network Term Paper

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Al Qa'ida Trans-national Terrorist Network'.

Al Qa'ida, which means the "Foundation "or the "Base" in Arabic, is the general name given to this organization, which is seen as a worldwide or transnational network or alliance of militant Islamic organizations. (Wikipedia: Al Qa'ida) However there are some disparities and ambiguities that must be mentioned in relation to the naming of this organization. Firstly, the name "al-Qa'ida," while a recognized name within the popular mind, is a designation that the organization does not often use to identify itself.

Furthermore, the origins of the name is disputed in some quarters and "some allege it was coined by the United States government based on the name of a computer file of Bin Laden's that listed the names of contacts he had made at the MAK in the Bait al-Ansar guesthouse during the late 1980s." (ibid) the name, which refers to the training camp for the militants, has however become the common designation for the organization.

There are various other name and designations for by which the group or organization is known.

These include the following list:

al Qaeda

Al-Qaida the Base" the Islamic Army the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders the Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places the Usama Bin Laden Network the Usama Bin Laden Organization

Islamic Salvation Foundation

The Group for the Preservation of the Holy Sites

Al Qa'ida: Terrorism Files)

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TOPIC: Term Paper on Al QA'ida Trans-National Terrorist Network'. Al QA'ida, Assignment

Al Qa'ida is generally viewed as a multinational loosely affiliated organization. Members of the group reside in various counties and the organization has a presence throughout the world. As will become evident in other sections of this research, the term organization is also a loosely applied appellation as Al Qa'ida does not subscribe to formal organizational and management conventions. This also relates to the fact that the organization is mysterious and fluid- which increases its threat and makes tracking info about the organization more difficult. As John Grey states in his study entitled Beyond Belief: Al-Qaeda's Apocalyptic Brand of Religion,"Al Qaeda is more than just an organization; it is also a process, and its principal resource is its human capital. Al Qaeda's future ability to grow and continue operations depends most strongly on its ability to gather new recruits. (Grey 4)

3. Geographical location

The amorphous nature of the organization makes it extremely difficult to make a conclusive or definitive assessment of localization of the group or its members. The best assessment of this aspect is that it is a "worldwide organization" which is known to be active in the following counties and regions of the world such as, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Kosovo.

It also trains members of terrorist organizations from such diverse countries as the Philippines, Algeria, and Eritrea. (al-Qa'ida.The Base)

As well as cells throughout the world, the organization also has links to Sunni extremist networks. Research suggests that at present the organization is dispersed into smaller groups resident in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. (ibid)

4. Size of organization

Similar to point three above, it is extremely difficult if not practically impossible to determine the exact size of an organization of this nature, with its undetermined structure. The best estimates as to the size of the organization are as follows.

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a 2004 report stated that "...more than 18,000 "potential militants" are scattered around the world operating in more than 60 countries which could be recruited by Al-Qaeda. " (Wikipedia: Al Qa'ida)

Other estimates put the number of actual member of the organization at several thousand - including associates. To complicate matters Al Qa'ida"...Also serves as a focal point or umbrella organization for a worldwide network that includes many Sunni Islamic extremist groups, some members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and the Harakat ul-Mujahidin al-Qa'ida.The Base)

5. Membership

The core membership of the organization consist firstly of Afghan war veterans from the entire Muslim world. However, the actual membership could include any number of recruits and associates from any country in the world.

6. Resources and finances

Financial resources are obtained from a number of sources. These include businesses as well as contributions and donations from supporters of the cause. It is also alleged that funds are illegally drawn form various Muslim charitable organizations. (al-Qa'ida. The Base) it is also known that reductions of these financial assets by countries such as the Unites states have hampered the growth of the organization to a certain extent.

Furthermore, Osama Bin Laden also brings his personal and considerable financial assets to the organization. Bin Laden is the son of extremely wealthy Saudi family it is estimated that he inherited about $300 million. (Al Qa'ida: Terrorism Files)

An essential resource is the numbers of recruits that join the organization, usually for ideological or religious reasons. "Al Qaeda's future ability to grow and continue operations depends most strongly on its ability to gather new recruits." (Grey 4)

7. Leadership and Senior Members

Besides Bin laden, the military leader of al-Qa'ida was allegedly Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2003. Prior to this the previous military leader of the organization, Muhammed Atef, died in a U.S. bombing raid on Afghanistan in late 2001.

Other alleged leaders of the organization include the following list:

Saif al-Adel

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith

Abu Hafiza

Abu Faraj al-Libbi (arrested in Pakistan, 2005)

Abu Mohammed al-Masri

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in 2003) Thirwat Salah Shirhata

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Ayman al-Zawahri

Abu Zubaydah (captured in 2002)

Wikipedia: Al Qa'ida)

8. Chain of command

Due to the clandestine nature of the organization and an obvious reticence to make its chain of command publicly known to its Middle - Eastern and Western enemies, the actual chain of command is obscure. However information from al-Qa'ida defectors such as Jamal al-Fadl has enabled American authorities to build an outline of the possible chain of command. This is presented as follows:

Bin Laden is the emir of al-Qaeda, he is advised by a shura council, which comprises senior members of the group. The Military committee is responsible for training, weapons acquisition, and planning attacks.

Business operations and financial aspects are conducted by the Money/Business committee. In this regard" the payroll office pays al-Qaeda members, and the Management office oversees money-making businesses. In the U.S. 911 Commission Report it is estimated that al-Qaeda requires 30,000,000 USD / year to conduct its operation." (ibid)

The Law committee is responsible for the application of Islamic law as it pertains to courses of action; and the Islamic study/fatwah committee issues religious edicts.

The Media Committee is responsible for public relations. However, as far as in known, this committer is no longer functional and that media issues and public relations have been outsourced to other areas of the organization.

9. Organizational Structure

The organization has a networked rather then a hierarchical structure. This means that it is decentralized and has no top-down hierarchy of command in the conventional sense. This enables greater flexibility of action in the organization and allows for a far-flung networked base for its activities. On the other hand experts have pointed out that large scale actions, such as the September 11th attacks, are extremely difficult to organize with this kind of structure. The network structure is more suitable for small and more localized actions.

In addition, the question is asked as to whether Al Qa'ida can be discussed as an organization in the conventional understanding of the term. Some commentators have suggested that the organization is more "virtual" than real

This lack of clear structure makes the very existence of al-Qaeda as a real organisation debatable. According to the controversial BBC documentary the Power of Nightmares, al-Qaeda is so weakly linked together that it is hard to say it exists apart from Osama bin Laden and a small clique of close associates.

Wikipedia: Al Qa'ida)

10. History

The origins of Al Qa'ida lie historically with the Afghan war against the Soviets.

In practical terms the organization was established in 1988 by the Saudi militant Osama bin Laden. From his base within Afghanistan bin Laden ".... used an extensive international network to maintain a loose connection between Muslim extremists in diverse countries." (ICT)

In essence Al Qa'ida begins as an organization with a central focus during the struggle against the Soviet Union for Afghanistan. The organization or group developed from a mujahideen resistance grouping known as the Maktab al-Khadamat (MAK) in the 1980s. Osama bin Laden founded MAK, along with other leaders, including the Palestinian militant Abdullah Yusuf Azzam.

A crucial part of the history of Al Qa'ida is that the fight against the Soviet Union was seen not in conventional terms, but as a holy war against the aggressor. This resulted in volunteers and supporters from throughout the Muslim world rallying to the call. Furthermore, the resistance experience fused together Islamic fighters from a wide range of backgrounds and views to create the central kernel… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Al QA'ida Trans-National Terrorist Network.  (2005, July 1).  Retrieved November 30, 2021, from

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