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Illusions of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism$
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Richard English

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265901

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265901.001.0001

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date: 16 August 2017

Al-Qaida and the 9/11 Decade

Al-Qaida and the 9/11 Decade

Chapter:
(p.21) 2 Al-Qaida and the 9/11 Decade
Source:
Illusions of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism
Author(s):

Alia Brahimi

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265901.003.0002

The declaration of a Caliphate in June 2014 by an al-Qaida offshoot implied a strong sense of political–religious unity, but, in reality, the announcement reflected deep division at the heart of radical Islam. This article critically assesses al-Qaida’s progress on its four main objectives over the course of the 9/11 decade, and suggests that its principal setbacks were due to the fragmentation of Islamic authority. In particular, Osama bin Laden’s inability to reverse the misguided focus, by some affiliated groups, on the ‘nearer enemy’, began to portend al-Qaida’s downfall. However, after the Arab Spring, in the chokeholds of strong states and the chaos of weak states al-Qaida found advantage. Furthermore, with the rise of groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a new pattern of radicalism emerged, in which the threat to ‘far enemy’, ‘near enemy’ and ‘nearer enemy’ were combined.

Keywords:   al-Qaida, 9/11, War on Terror, Osama bin Laden, ISIL, AQIM, AQAP

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