The Future of Al Qaeda

The Future of Al Qaeda

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Today we consider the impact of the death of Osama bin Laden on the al-Qaeda terrorist network and U.S. counterterrorism policy. Bin Laden was the symbolic, ideological and strategic core of the al-Qaeda movement, and the primary source of inspiration for that organization and many associated groups. His killing is a very significant development in our struggle against al-Qaeda.

With depleted ranks and resources, with polling showing that its star is waning in the Middle East, some go so far as to declare that al-Qaeda is "in its death throes." As we will hear today, that is wishful thinking. Unfortunately, al-Qaeda has proven all too adaptive, and that is one of the subjects that we are going to be looking at today.

One analyst notes that al-Qaeda operatives were not driven by loyalty to bin Laden’s personality. They were driven by his twisted ideals. They embraced those twisted ideals. And, "We need to acknowledge at the outset," says a USAID report on violent extremists, "the power of ideas." It is the power of ideas that drove this movement, and, "We need to recognize that many violent extremists are moved, primarily," as USAID tells us, "by an unshakable belief in the superiority of certain values; by a perceived obligation to carry out God’s command, or by an abiding commitment to destroy a system that they view as evil." God says that system is evil, so they must destroy it.

The lesson here is that bad ideas matter. Bad ideas have bad consequences.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013313729
Publisher: U.S. Government Printing Office
Publication date: 10/16/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 454 KB

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