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Crushed in the shadows: why Al Qaeda will lose the war of ideas

Brahimi, Alia (2010) Crushed in the shadows: why Al Qaeda will lose the war of ideas. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 33 (2). pp. 93-110. ISSN 1057-610X

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Abstract

As a network of affiliate groups, Al Qaeda's more diffuse structure, since the end of 2001, is described as one of its greatest strengths. Certainly, after losing its territorial base in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda as “network” has gained in tactical agility and global reach. This article argues, however, that Osama bin Laden's ceding of command-and-control to autonomous Al Qaeda “franchises” represents an important source of weakness in the battle for hearts and minds in the Muslim world. As Al Qaeda's global jihad is increasingly imported by its affiliates into local and sectarian conflicts, the death toll is largely Muslim and civilian. The targeting of Muslim civilians is exceptionally difficult to justify, morally, theologically, and by bin Laden's own standards of legitimate jihad. This article will show how the killing of Muslim civilians undermines the crucial lynchpins of bin Laden's ideology and alienates the popular support that “Al Qaeda central” see as indispensable to Al Qaeda's success.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/tf/1057610X.html
Additional Information: © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Sets: Research centres and groups > LSE Global Governance
Research centres and groups > Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2010 14:57
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/29973/

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