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Lecture 2

Week 10 Lecture 2 GEOG 2200 2012 Notes.docx

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GEOG 2200
John Milton

Page1Week 10 Lecture 2 Terrorism and the StateGEOG 2200 2012Understanding the Structures of TerrorTerrorist organizations such as alQaeda have proven to be both elusive and resilient Before going any further it is important to distinguish between the terms Islamic and Islamist Islamic refers to the relgion of Islam An Islamist is an advocate or supporter of fundamental Islamic esp orthodox Islamic political rule Islamist thinking sees Islam as much a political ideology as a religion Leading Islamist thinkers emphasize the enforcement of Sharia Islamic law of panIslamic political unity and of the elimination of nonMuslim particularly Western military economic political social or cultural influences in the Muslim world which they believe to be incompatible with IslamA Brief History of alQaeda ActionAlQaeda originated from a network of Afghani mujahedeen freedom fighters that fought to expel the Soviet Union following its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 The original group was called the Mekhtab al Khidemat MAK AlQaeda subsequently emerged around 1989 It has since morphed into a loosely knit network of dozens of terrorist organizations worldwideA variety of terrorist acts have been accredited to alQaeda since 1992 including Its first known acts of violence were three bombings targeting US troops in Aden Yemen in December 1992Believed to have shot down a US helicopter and killing US servicemen in Somalia in 19931993 World Trade Centre bombingAttacks on the US embassies in Nairobi Keynya and Dar es Salaam Tanzania that killed 301 people and injured more than 5000 more in August 1998Bombing of the USS Cole in Aden Yemen in October 2000Attack on the World Trade Centre September 11 2001Since the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon political analysts military strategists and students of International Affairs have drawn attention to alQaedas organizational structure modes of thinking and patterns of behaviour cf DavisJenkins 2002 Jenkins 2001 Posen 2001 Heymann 2001 The debates regarding alQaeda relate to its organizational strategy propaganda ideology operational ability the leaderships competence and the organizations resilience Hoffman 2003 Most of these studies produced focus on two key organizational approaches hierarchical order and networks As I proposed Tuesday globalization the information revolution and technological changes have elevated the threat of global terrorist movements One of the most salient threats to state security and to the existing world order is focused on alQaedas activities although it is not the only threat These activities are based on an ambitious agenda radical ideology and operational sophistication Despite the military destruction of alQaedas camps and facilities in Afghanistan in 2001 the killing or capturing of many of the groups leaders and other members including of bin Laden himself in 2011 the destruction of numerous financial channels and other actions carried out by intelligence services alQaeda continues to exist and be seen as one of the most significant threats to the Western world in general and to US national security in particular Posen 2001 Stern 2003 Rogers 2003Page2Even with the death of bin Laden the influential leader of The Egyptian Islamic Jihad EIJ Dr Ayman alZawahiri remains New leaders continue to emerge within alQaeda And the vision remains unchanged global Jihad This involves overthrowing Arab rulers and destabilizing Muslim countries that do not adhere to the Islamic Sharia rules thereby seen as heretic Muslim governments And it involves attacking targets of the JewishCrusader alliance under the banner of Islam against an infidel external enemy supported by corrupt internal system Ayman alZawahiri December 2001 According to al Qaedas global jihad perception the United States provides assistance to Christians in ethnic MuslimChristian disputes supports Israel and challenges antiAmerican Arab regimes Therefore alQaeda needs to fight the United States through acts of global terrorism Memri 12 June 2002 Zawahiri explicitly related to the following as Al Qaedas targets the UN Arab nonMuslim regimes multinational corporations international communication networks international news agencies and international relief agencies Raphaeli 2003Other terrorist Islamic organiziations such as Hizballah Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad differ from alQaeda in one important way the nature of their goals The immediate local goal of these organizations is the armed struggle against Israel in order to liberate all of Palestine and territories in Lebanon The more farreaching goal is the replacement of the existing nonIslamic social and political order in the Arab nations with an Islamic state ruled by the Islamic law Thus while alQaeda on the one hand and Hizballah Hamas and the HHJ on the other hand share the same farreaching goals their strategies are quite different lacking territorial or nationalistic aspirations Hierarchical versus network structureAlQaeda has been described using differing organizational structures It has been examined as being organized hierarchically and as a network organization It has been studied as a learning organization and as a biological entity It has been studied using Actor Network Theory Certainly it has changed over time In its early years of existence alQaeda was seen as being organized hierarchically Today alQaeda has transformed its structure from a strictly hierarchical model to a variety of network structures leading up to its current highly dispersed and multistructured organizational designFrom hierarchicalAs already noted alQaeda was formed in 1989 as an organization devoted to fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan Its founding fathers came to fight under the banner of Islam against a superpower determined to oppress an Islamic revolution Bin Laden and AlZawahiri arrived at the recruitment base of Peshawar located on the AfghanPakistan border along with other socalled Arab Afghans who streamed in from all over the Arab world to join this Jihad Raphaeli 2003 Burke 2004 4651 During this time the organization adhered to the principles of a hierarchical structure so to enable its participation in the antiSoviet war This war was to be a model for future combat against the infidels under a unified ideological orientation Each unit was subordinated in a pyramidlike structure to the organizations leadership headed by bin Laden This structure served to send troops and aid into Afghanistan and later on as a basis for initiating terrorist attacks in the Western world Hirschkorn 2001 Hoffman 1998 188189The hierarchical approach assumes that social identities boundaries and actors choices are fixed stable and consistent Hierarchical power structure is predetermined and instated according to formal and unambiguous rules Thus a hierarchical mode of thinking tends to ignore the potential and real influence of formal and informal ties among actors that cut across social categories and group boundaries It also ignores other forms of informal everyday social relations that affect actors identities attitudes and behaviour Organizationally the hierarchic
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