"Muslims from Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Southeast Asia, and beyond fought side by side, forging relationships and creating a cadre of veterans who shared a powerful life experience, a more global view,..."
This experience was bolstered by the victory over the Soviet Union, which consequently strengthened the organization. However, the Afghan veterans, on returning to their various homes, were viewed with suspicion by the different governments and regimes and were often seen as a political threat. Due to this factor, these veterans were susceptible to new campaigns and ideologies.
Jenkins provides a clear outline of the motivational genesis of Al Qa'ida after the Afghan resistance.
There were ample reasons and opportunities to continue the fight: the Gulf War and the consequent arrival of American troops in Saudi Arabia; the continued repression of Islamic challenges to local regimes; armed struggles in Algeria, Egypt, the newly independent Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union, Kashmir, the Philippines, and Bosnia; the forces of globalization that seemed threatening to all local cultures; and the continuing civil war in Afghanistan.
These initial members subsequently joined the ideological view of the "pan-Islamic Caliphate" throughout the world. Their ideology, simplistically stated, was to overthrow regimes and governments in the region which were seen to be essentially non-Islamic in nature. In this context the organization also saw Western influence as part of the problem that they were fighting against and Westerners and Western interests in Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia became targets of terrorist attacks. The organization issued a statement in February 1998 against all non-Islamic influence in the region and stressed that "...it was the duty of all Muslims to kill U.S. citizens -- civilian or military -- and their allies everywhere." (al-Qa'ida. The Base)
The organization also merged with other pro-Islamic and anti-Western groups, including Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Al-Jihad) in June 2001. (ibid)
The doctrine that acts as an impetus for the organization's activities is obviously Islam. However the practical doctrine is one of revolutionary ideology and in coined in terms of a holy war against the infidels who would destroy the development of the Islamic world view. It is important that this underlying doctrine be understood in terms of non-secular and religious ideals - which may be foreign to most Westerners. Therefore, "Muslims perceive this war as an unprecedented assault on Islam. Ultimately the real issue here is the perception of Muslims and the vast majority of Muslims around the world feel besieged by America." (AL QAEDA'S GRAND STRATEGY: SUPERPOWER BAITING)
The organization's primary goal is the overthrow of what it sees as the corrupt and governments of Muslim states, and their replacement with the rule of Sharia (Islamic law). Al Qa'ida views the United States in particular as the central enemy of Islam. A number of "fatwahs" or religious rulings calling upon Muslims to take up arms against the United States have been issued by Bin laden. (ICT)
The motivational background of the organization can be directly related to their history. What Osama bin Laden and his compatriots contributed to organization was a centralized and strong vision and a strategy to accompany this vision. The motivation for the organization relates to the doctrine of the establishment of an Islamic order and eradication of outside influences and what are seen to be essentially corrupt and non-Islamic regimes in the Middle East region.
The general strategy that emerges from a study of the activities and statement of the organization is fairly clearly defined. This strategy relates to the contemporary theory of a united Islamic commonality with the "...restoration of the Islamic Caliphate that, at its height, stretched from Spain to India," as its aim. (Jenkins 4) an important aspect of this strategy is to view local conflicts throughout the world as part of a unified and single struggle between true Islam and those who would destroy the Faith. This strategy also sees those who support the "corrupt" elements in the Islamic world - such as the United States - as being complicit with the enemy. This view provides a clear and unambiguous strategy towards a single and unified end goal.
By erasing the boundaries between individual countries and their conflicts, al Qaeda could draw upon a much larger reservoir of human resources for the larger battle. In addition to the thousands of veterans of the war against the Soviet Union, al Qaeda now had thousands of new recruits to train.
14. Record of Attacks
The record of attacks allegedly pretreated by this group is extensive. The following are some of the most significant during the recent past.
2004. There were at least eleven recorded attacks associated with the organization during this year. It is estimated that over 60 people were killed and about 225 wounded. This number included six Americans killed. The focus of these attacks was on the "U.S. And Western presence and Saudi security forces in Riyadh, Yanbu, Jeddah, and Dhahran." (Terrorist Group Profiles) There were also other attacks in Iraq that have been associated with al-Qa'ida.
2003. On the 12 May, 2003 the organization was linked to the assault and bombing of three expatriate housing complexes in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Thirty people were killed and 216 injured. Al Qa'ida was also accused of supporting attacks in a Jewish center in Casablanca, Morocco on May 16. This incident left 33 dead and 101 people injured. Another incident associated with the organization during 2003 was the bombing of the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, on August 5. Twelve people were killed and 149 injured in this incident. (ibid) Other attacks during this year included:
The suicide bombing of two synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey on November 15 which left 20 dead and 300 injured.
The organization was associated with the bombing of the British Consulate and HSBS Bank in Istanbul on November 20. Forty-one people died and over 500 people were injured in this incident.
The attempted assignation attempts of Pakistani President Musharraf on December 2003. (ibid)
In 2002 the organization was linked to a plethora of attacks. These included that bombing on November 28th of a hotel in Mombassa, Kenya in which 15 people were killed. Al Qa'ida has also been linked to the nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia on October 12, in which more than 200 died. Other incidents were;
An attack on U.S. military personnel in Kuwait on October 8.
A suicide attack on a tanker off the coast of Yemen on October 6.
The firebombing of a synagogue in Tunisia which killed 19 people.
Of course a major attack associated with the group is the infamous September 11th attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, and the Pentagon near Washington, DC. The death toll in these incidents was about 3000 people. Another infamous attack was the assault on the U.S.S. Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen.
This took place on n October 12, 2000, and resulted in the death of 17 U.S. Navy sailors. In 1998 the organization was responsible for the attack on the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. These attacks left more than 300 dead and injured more than 5000.
There are numerous other incidents and reports that have not been included in this overview. These include claims by the group that they were responsible for shooting down U.S. helicopters in Somalia in 1993 and the bombing on U.S. troops in Aden, Yemen, in December 1992. (ibid)
It should also be noted in this regard that Al-Qaeda does not have a habit of taking credit for actions, resulting in a great deal of ambiguity over how many attacks the group has actually conducted. In addition following the U.S. declaration of the War on Terrorism in 2001, the U.S. government has made a great effort to connect as many groups and actions as possible to al-Qaeda, which might result in erroneous attributions.
Wikipedia: Al Qa'ida)
Al-Qaeda has strong alliances with a number of other Islamic militant organizations including the Indonesian Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah, which was responsible for the October 2002 Bali bombing. (ibid)
15. Modus operandi
The methods of the attacks by Al Qa'ida take a multitude of forms. These can take the form of vehicle bombs, assaults, kidnappings, targeted shootings, bombings, and beheadings.
Essentially the modus operandi of the organization is characterized by their loose cellular organization and inexpensive methods, which do not require large financial outlays or exhaustive preparation times (AL-QAEDA: SOC.)
The operating procedures can include the following aspects.
A using vehicles such pickup trucks and motorcycles.;
execution of prisoners;
ambushes of law-enforcement officers; residential assassinations; attacks on buildings with large numbers of occupants.
A suicide attacks
The destruction of high profile multiple targets, which is "...a classic Al Qaeda modus operandi." (D-r Gunaratna: Core Al Qaeda strength is under 500)
Targeted Assassination of Individuals in symbolic positions. (Captured al-Qaida Video Reveals Plans for Terror Acts Against U.S. Citizens and Society)