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A History of Dominant Terrorist Organization Al-qaeda

  • Subject: Religion
  • Category: Islam
  • Essay Topic: Muslim
  • Pages: 2
  • Words: 1062
  • Published: 26 April 2019
  • Downloads: 45
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In January 2009, a union from the al-Qaeda Saudi Arabia and Yemeni branches came together to form a new Islamic militant organization under the name Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Originally under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden’s former private secretary, Nasir al-Wuhayshi (CNN), AQAP represents one of the multiple franchises linked to Al-Qaeda. Over the years, AQAP has grown to become the jihadist network’s most active affiliate (BBC). United States officials, whom have been a victim to a handful of attempted terrorist airline bomb attacks in the past few years, consider AQAP the most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda (Smith-Spark) due to its notorious reputation of orchestrating multiple high-profile terrorist attacks around the globe.

For many years, AQAP was lead by aforementioned veteran extremist leader, founder, and al-Qaeda’s overall second-in-command Nasir al-Wuhayshi, who was labeled a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2010 by the U.S. Department of State due to his close affiliation with al-Qaeda. By the time of his late thirties, al-Wuhayshi had over twenty years of fighting experience (Lister, Cruickshank). America had described his leadership role as “responsible for approving targets, recruiting new members, allocating resources to training and attack planning, and tasking others to carry out attacks” (Ferran); but, despite being a cunning strategist, he was also an extremely charismatic man who “inspired awe and deep loyalty among al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen” (Lister, Cruickshank). Al-Wuhayshi was the core of instigating many of AQAP’s threats and attacks until his death on June 12, 2015 by a U.S. drone strike (CNN). Many observers believe al-Wuhayshi’s death was the most significant blow to al-Qaeda in years (Lister, Cruickshank). Days after his death, AQAP released al-Wuhayshi’s statement along with naming Qasim al-Raymo as his successor (BBC).

Now currently lead by al-Raymo and based in Yemen, AQAP’s status has become even wider known. AQAP had previously targeted local residents of Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Western occupants in the Arabian Peninsula; but, has more recently been pursuing a global strategy (NCTC). Many of their long-term goals are consistent with the principles of the other branches of al-Qaeda as well: assassinating Western nationals and their allies (including members of the Saudi Arabian royal family), expelling Jews and crusaders from the Arabian Peninsula, re-establishing the Islamic caliphate, introducing Sharia, and liberating Muslim lands. They also aim to rid non-Muslim people from Yemen and Saudi Arabia and overthrow the nations’ governments in order to ultimately replace it with an Islamic state. Their tactics primarily rely on targeting foreigners and government forces in Yemen and Saudi leaders (Smith-Spark).

AQAP is currently identified as al-Qaeda’s most dangerous and ambitious international threat, carrying out an domestic insurgency while keeping sights on Western targets (CFR). While al-Wuhayshi was alive, he was considered one of the most wanted fugitives by Yemen and Saudi Arabia and was offered a reward of ten million dollars by the United States for his capture or death. In order to gain global recognition and propaganda from the media for recruitments, AQAP was the first al-Qaeda franchise to publish in English. Anwar al-Awlak, the Chief of External Operations and an American-born cleric, and Samir Khan, an American blogger and propagandist, headed the English-language outreach and advocated for the Muslim community to wage violent jihad until their deaths in 2011 from a United States drone strike (ADL). However, during that time, AQAP managed to master recruitment tactics by their manipulative propaganda appeal. During the year 2013 alone, three American citizens had unsuccessfully attempted to join AQAP, along with a handful of other people in previous years, landing themselves in jail (ADL Blog). AQAP’s financial status is a primary reason why young men desire to join the group. “Dire financial conditions, the absence of religious standards, as well as unemployment are the reasons that drive youth to join Al-Qaeda,” says Khalid Al-Odaini, an Islamic law student living in Sana’ani. Using generously-provided financial support, AQAP easily appeals to men living in poverty or who are unemployed (Al-Qalisi).

Obtaining finances for AQAP is very similar to the tactics of the other al-Qaeda branches. Their sources of income rely heavily on bank robberies, drug proceeds, and phony charities around the globe. Although Saudi Arabia eventually decided to clamp down on charities by tightening money transfer policies, AQAP is also funded by cash donations from wealthy individuals (Stanford). Kidnapping for ransom also provides millions of dollars for AQAP and their affiliates. A classified memo from Hillary Clinton in 2009 stated donors in Saudi Arabia were the most significant source of the funding of Sunni terrorist groups – including al-Qaeda (CFR). It was recorded that AQAP had extorted up to twenty-million dollars worth in ransom money as per 2013 estimates. However, AQAP has proved in the past that their attacks do not require high expenses, with bombs being able to be produced with merely five-hundred dollars (web.standford) and even provided detailed instructions on using household materials to create explosives (ADL).

AQAP’s first attack towards the United States was on Christmas Day 2009. A Nigerian citizen named Umar Farouk was aboard a Detroit-bound plane from Europe when he attempted setting off explosives hidden in his underwear. AQAP claimed responsibility for the scheme while threatening to “come for [the U.S.] to slaughter, and we have prepared for you men who love death like you love life” (ADL). In July 2010, al-Qaeda released an English magazine, titled Inspire, declaring followers to “destroy” America. In October 2010, AQAP attempted sending more explosive packages on U.S.-bound cargo flights but were intercepted in the United States Emirates en route while in Britain. One more unsuccessful recent attempt was in May 2012, where a plot to detonate a bomb on a U.S. bound airliner took place (ADL). In 2013, it was believed al-Wuhayshi attempted to orchestrate an attack towards U.S. diplomatic missions, causing temporary close to approximately twenty U.S. embassies (Lister, Cruickshank).

Despite having a few unsuccessful attacks, al-Qaeda has proven multiple times they are capable of bouncing back on a dime. The death of al-Wuhayshi may have drastically affected their dynamics as a unit, but they have continued to flourish ever since their Houthi takeover along with multiple other parts in central Yemen (Lister, Cruickshank). Although the deaths of AQAP officials indicate that they are not invincible, their resilience is not a force to be reckoned with and 2015 is nowhere near the end for their growth as a dominant terrorist organization.

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A History Of Dominant Terrorist Organization Al-Qaeda. (2019, April 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from
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