Al Qaeda

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Al Qaeda

Al Qaeda or Al Qaida (äl kīˈĕdə, käˈĭdä) [Arab.,=the base], Sunni Islamic terrorist organization with the stated goals of uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state. Founded by Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in the late 1980s, its membership originally consisted of Sunni Muslim Arabs who had come to Afghanistan to fight a holy war against occupying Soviet forces. Much of Al Qaeda's ideology was influenced by militant Egyptian Islamist Sayyd Qutb.

After Soviet troops withdrew (1989) from Afghanistan, bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia. He opposed the presence of U.S. forces there during the First Persian Gulf War, and after he was caught smuggling arms (1991) he was expelled and went to Sudan. Al Qaeda subsequently began supporting attacks on U.S.-related targets, including two attacks (1995, 1996) in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden was forced to leave Sudan in 1996. He relocated to Afghanistan, where much of the country was controlled by the Taliban, who allowed him to establish a headquarters and training camps. Al Qaeda had by then been enlarged by the influx of members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad; other militants came to the camps to be trained in terrorist warfare and fundamentalist Muslim ideology.

In 1998 terrorists trained by Al Qaeda were linked to the bombings of the U.S.'s Kenyan and Tanzanian embassies; subsequent significant attacks directed by Al Qaeda included that on the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole in Aden, Yemen (2000), and those on New York City's World Trade Center, in which some 3,000 died, and the Pentagon (2001; see also 9/11). The events of 9/11 led to U.S. intervention in the Afghan civil war, and attacks against the Taliban and Al Qaeda installations in Afghanistan.

Although Al Qaeda's camps were destroyed, bin Laden and many fighters escaped; bin Laden established a new base in the mountains bordering Pakistan for a time as the U.S. conducted missions against Al Qaeda. Eventually based in parts of W Pakistan, Al Qaeda continued to function and launch terror attacks on a more limited scale; it also provided support to and inspiration for other groups committed to a fundamentalist Islamic insurgency, becoming identified with a decentralized international network of terrorists. Many Al Qaeda recruits returned to their homelands, and they and others formed similar, more or less autonomous groups, mainly in the Middle East and Africa, and aligned themselves with Al Qaeda and sometimes adopted its name. In most cases, however, these groups were focused on local issues and battles, and often fighting against other Muslims, especially Shiites, rather than attacking Western nations.

Deadly terrorist attacks supported or inspired by Al Qaeda continued, the most serious of which were the anti-Western bombings on Bali in 2002, the commuter rail bombings in Madrid, Spain, in 2004, and the public transit bombings in London, England, in 2005. Al Qaeda–associated fighters also have been involved in attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and against Muslims they regard as apostate, such as Shiites in Iraq. In 2011 U.S. special forces killed bin Laden in a helicopter raid on his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Ayman al-Zawahiri succeeded him as the group's leader.

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References in periodicals archive ?
(64.) See New audio message from al-Qa'idah in the Islamic Maghrib's Abu Mus'ab 'Abd al-Wadud ('Abd al-Malik Drukdil): "To the Mujahidin in Sahara Azawad" (accessed January 7, 2017) See also http://jihadology.net/2014/03/19/the-jihad-media-elite-presents-a-new-release-from-al-qaidah-in-the-islamic-maghrib-general-guidance-for-the-project-of-the-islamic-jihad-in-azawad/ (accessed January 7, 2017).
In the eastern town of Ajdabiya, Gaddafi warned on TV that any journalists caught behind the lines would be treated like "Al-Qa'idah".
The threat from Al-Qa'idah has put Yemen in the headlines in recent weeks.
Abdallah Azzam, the spiritual father of al-Qaeda, once put it, "the solid base (al-Qa'idah al-Sulbah) for new generations of proud Islamists."
In times such as these, when "common knowledge" has it that Al-Qa'idah and Sheikh Osama bin Laden are responsible for all the devastation of September 11, for example, only the reckless or the prophetic still speak about "the rule of law" and the separation of powers.
Zelin, "New statement from al-Qa'idah in the Islamic Maghrib: "About the Rumor of the Allegiance of Katibat al-Ansar to the 'State Organization'," Jihadology, September 5, 2015; Aaron Y.
See, "Web: Rising profile of Al-Qa'idah in Yemen," Open Source Center, Caversham BBC Monitoring in English, April 27, 2009.
As for Sana'a, one of the oldest cities in the world, and the birth place of Osama Bin Laden's Islamic emirate and Al-Qa'idah, it constitutes an essential stop in these men's trip to an "Islamic land" in search for a place in which they can observe their religion in its Arab flavor.
(3) Abdullah Azzam, "Al-Qa'idah al-Sulbah," Al-Jihad, 41, April 1988, p.
(10) Aaron Zelin, "As-Sahab Media presents a new video message from al-Qa'idah's Hamzah Bin Usamah Bin Laden: 'Greetings of Peace to the People of Islam,'" August 14, 2015.
Bin Laden's endorsement read, "It should be known that Mujahid brother Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi is the Amir of the Tanzim al-Qa'idah fi Bilad al-Rafidayn [Al-Qa'ida Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers].
(1) "Al-Malahim Media Presents a New Video Message from al-Qa'idah in the Arabian Peninsula: 'Repelling the Transgressor #2,'" Jihadology.net, October 16, 2013.