The Al- Qaeda terrorist network is infamous for its terrorist activities across the world. Al-Qaeda, which was formerly headed by slain terrorist, Osama Bin Laden has successfully carried out terrorist attacks in different countries in the last two decades. The terrorist organisation is affiliated with other terror groups in different parts of the world. This paper will discuss how Al-Qaeda’s jihad against the United States has failed.
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Al-Qaeda carried out the worst terrorist attack on US soil on September 11, 2001. This act of terror compelled the US government and her allies to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Al-Qaeda’s ideology targets the US as an enemy because of its foreign relations policies (James &Lombardi, 2010, p. 413).
It uses extremist Islamic ideologies to justify its terrorist activities against the US and its allies. The group accuses them of desecrating holy Islamic territories. Al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks have killed and maimed many innocent civilians across the world. It receives support from extremist Islamic groups in the Middle East and beyond.
However, it seems to be gradually losing its ideological power against the United States. The ideological influence that the terrorist group has held for about two decades is declining. There have been sustained efforts by the US and other western countries to win the hearts and minds of Muslims all over the world.
Moderate Muslims who tolerate religious and political diversity are driving this ideological shift in various parts of the world. James and Lombardi (2010) reveal that, the ability of the terrorist group to plan and execute terrorist attacks on US soil has been diminished significantly (pp. 414-415). Muslims with moderate leanings are reversing the ideological dominance Al -Qaeda has had in Islamic societies in the last decade.
The September 11 attacks showed the clash of civilisations between Islamic and liberal western societies. This situation has gradually changed because more Muslims now understand that Al-Qaeda’s activities have made the world a more dangerous place to live in. Fewer countries in the Middle East permit extremist Islamic ideology that spreads intolerance and hatred.
Many citizens in Islamic countries are demanding better governance from their leaders than ever before (James & Lombardi, 2010, p. 416). This shows that more Muslims want changes in their societies that can bring improvements in their living conditions. Citizens in many Islamic countries are more outspoken on human rights, governance and transparency issues in their governments.
The Bush administration strengthened its association with various civil society bodies in Islamic countries. James and Lombardi (2010) reveal that, this association was meant to foster good relations between the west and Islamic societies (p. 417). The administration needed to change negative perceptions in the Middle East about the US; reinforced by the jihadist ideologies of Osama bin Laden.
The US also encouraged Arab leaders to foster openness, good governance, tolerance and transparency in their countries so as to improve the lives of their citizens. Arab leaders have recognised the need to speak out against terrorist activities. Many Arabs have become aware of the dangers of terrorist attacks and the problems caused by terrorism in the society.
Al-Qaeda’s jihad against the US has been weakened by these developments. The terrorist outfit no longer has the support it used to enjoy among some Muslims. Countries with large Muslim populations have become more active in clamping down on terrorist cells and networks. Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan have suffered terrorist and human rights violations against their citizens because of extremist militants.
These countries have realised the danger their citizens are exposed to by terror acts committed by extremist Islamic groups (James & Lombardi, 2010, pp. 418-419). However many Arab countries still limit press freedom which is important in stopping terrorist activities from being planned by extremists..
The conflict in Iraq has reversed the ideological influence Al-Qaeda had in the Middle East. Al-Qaeda sided with Sunni Muslims in their sectarian conflict against Shia Muslims; when Iraq descended into anarchy after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Al Qaeda was involved in a lot of blood letting in the country and this reduced the support it enjoyed among many Muslims.
Rausnitz (2010) reveals that, the group has lost the support of its former sympathisers who are more enlightened on the dangers of extremist Islamic jihad (pp. 1-2). Al-Qaeda no longer has the ability to transfer their ideology to other Muslims, because many are against religious intolerance.
More Muslims have refused to be misguided by religious hate mongers who preach intolerance against people of other religious faiths. This has weakened Al-Qaeda’s power in many Islamic societies. Many Muslim -majority countries have realised that the religious fanatics they nurtured are becoming a danger to their own existence (Shields, 2012, p. 16).
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Many militant and terrorist groups that are affiliated to Al- Qaeda are more isolated and do not have the moral support they once enjoyed. Many Muslims have been killed by terrorist attacks executed by Al-Qaeda and this has changed their views on terrorism. Al-Qaeda no longer has the ideological influence it once wielded in many Islamic societies.
James, H., & Lombardi, M.O. (2010). Taking sides: Clashing views on global issues (6th ed.). Guilford, Connecticut: McGraw Hill.
Rausnitz, Z. (2012, Oct. 19). Bergen: Al Qaeda has been defeated. Fierce Homeland Security. Web.
Shields, N.E. (2012). Unrest in the Middle East: Potential implications for international terrorism and counterterrorism policy. Global Security Studies, 3 (2), 13-22.