Al-qaeda is an Arabic word also written as Al-qaida. It is a network of international alliance of Islamic militant group. Abdullah Yusuf Azzam who was later replaced by Osama bin Laden formed the organization in 1988. Other veteran Arabs from Afghanistan joined the leadership after the soviet war in Afghanistan. Al-qaeda network advances Islamic fundamentalism by carrying out attacks and disrupting western countries influences to the Islamic states. Al-qaeda finances and trains various radical Islamic groups that oppose western countries ideologies especially the United States of America and Britain.
Al-qaeda groups or network have various operational bases in more than fifty countries in the world. Al-qaeda uses force, intimidation and instilling fear to attain their goals. They carry out acts of terrorism (an act or a threat against civilian life) aimed at attaining political, economical and religious goals. Al-qaeda aims at ending foreign influence in Islamic states by creating a new Islamic caliphate or authority. The Al-qaeda network is very active in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. History of al-qaeda
Al-qaeda was founded in the late 1980’s as an alliance of Islamic militia group with an aim of expanding Islamic fundamentalism. Al-qaeda has it roots during the Afghanistan’s soviet occupations. Anti-Muslim afghan guerillas (mujahidin), the afghan government and soviet forces were involved in the conflict. The Soviet invasion sparked the afghan resistance. The Afghan government was supported by the USA, China and Saudi Arabia. Mujahidin came from the Middle East to Afghanistan to assist their fellow Muslims in the war. Osama bin laden was the main financier he started recruiting Muslims around the world to join the group.
The recruited army in there thousands defeated the soviet forces making them withdrew from Afghanistan. Osama bin laden later founded an organization that could help veterans of Afghans war; this comprised the bases of Al-qaeda. (Biri A. 2001). Bin laden and other radical Islamic thinkers at that time had been organizing Al-qaeda in the Iraq invasion to Kuwait in 1990. The Saudi government had allowed the United States government to station a military base in Saudi Arabia. This was very outrageous to Laden and the radical group. Osama was later expelled from Saudi Arabia by opposing the government.
Al- qaeda basis shifted from Saudi Arabia to Khartoum in Sudan, their first task against the interest of the United States of America was in Somalia where they attacked the U. S army during the Somalia crisis. Further attacks perpetrated by al-qaeda followed. In august 1996 bin laden issued a “declaration of war” against the U. S. A Al- qaeda and radical Islamic group had worked together to alliance in their acts of terrorism against western influence on Islamic interests. Osama shifted his base from Sudan to Afghanistan in 1994 after the U. S had put pressure on the Khartoum government to expel him.
Osama joined the Talibans in Saudi Arabia where al-qaeda established military bases in mountains. In Iraq the main objective of the Al-qaeda organization is the governing of Iraq. After president Sadaam Hussein was brought down from power by the U. S. A who sent thousands of troops to help in putting in place the government in Iraq. Al-qaeda was against the US invasion of Iraq. According to the U. S government, Al- qaeda wanted to be seen as a legitimate political organization in Iraq. Al-qaeda in Iraq is composed of both Sunni Iraq members plus other foreign members who wage jihad or holy war.
This group was formed in 2004, but it is not clear, who founded it in Iraq between Bin Laden and Nusab Al Zarqawi. The group had been a force behind the violence and civil war between the Shiites and Sunnis. They accuse the US government of murdering innocent civilians in their “war on terror”. The Al-Qaeda has been behind many attacks in Iraq against the U. S government interests. Insurgency in Iraq is still continuing up to now. Members of the group had shifted to other bases where they mastermind suicide bomb attacks. Other military organizations had joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq in their activities.
Abu Musab al-zarqawi from Jordan had affiliated with Al-qaeda in Iraq. He joined the Al-qaeda in Iraq and threatened the U. S government over its interest in Iraq. The group had killed many U. S army personnel and they are believed to have killed ordinary Iraq civilians. The group continues to instigate violence in Iraq despite the U. S government efforts on war on terror by president Bush administration. Al-qaeda is against the U. S invasion of Iraq. Members of the terrorist group had carried out many suicide attacks, kidnapping and even shooting their perceived enemy. The leadership of al-qaeda
The leadership of Al-qaeda in Iraq, according to some sources from Jihad’s was put under Abu Ayyub Al Masri in 2006. This is following the death of its former leader Musab Al Zarqawi. Al Masri is considered as lacking good military organization that he relies on his intellectual abilities (Hajez M. 2007 p. 136-147). Al-qaeda in Iraq is composed of both Sunni Iraq members and the jihads (foreigners who came to aid in Jihad war). Osama bin Laden is the top active leader of the Al-qaeda group. The leadership coordinates with others groups; Al-qaeda group of jihad in Iraq, Al-qaeda in land of the two rivers plus others.
Through the official statement of the U. S government, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi forms the top leadership responsible for the insurgency in Iraq. It is believed that the leadership organizes and masterminds attacks on civilians and U. S troops. It is also believed that the leadership of Al-Qaeda in Iraq composes other foreign terrorist and senior Al- Qaeda leadership. The U. S administration believes that Abu-Musab Al Zarqawi was not an Iraq even his successor Abu Ayyub Al Masri. The leadership of Al-queda is decentralized.
There is collaboration between Al-qaeda senior leaders and Al- qaeda leaders in Iraq. The leader’s role is to finance, command, advice, and make bombs including others roles in the group. The leadership also provides intelligent information’s and facilitates its operations. They have their former headquarter in Fallujah in Iraq. Various operations they have performed: The al qaeda has claimed responsibility of the chlorine bombings in Iraq in mosques. The group also is targeting wealth people by kidnapping and killing their family members when they fail to remit ‘protection’ fee.
They are also inciting violence by causing hatred among the Shiites and Shia groups to cause civil war. What were the targets of the operations? Al-qaeda operates in Iraq but it is limited in the broad Middle East. They play actively in the Iraq insurgency. Their deputy leader, Ayman alzawahiri, in July 2005 through a letter indicated four plans in expanding the war in Iraq. They were to expel US forces out of Iraq and an Islamic authority put in place. Other missions were to spread the Iraq conflict to their neighbors and fight with Israel.
Al-qaeda in Iraq (AOQ) created an organization called mujahidee shura council in January 2006. This was to unite the Sunni insurgents in Iraq. However, this attempt failed due to the methods they used against civilians and their extreme fundamentalists doctrines. Alqaeda is the most feared organization; experts regard it as an enemy of the US. Al-qaeda is associated with terrorist’s activities in Iraq that targets international forces and civilians. The US government holds that they have an extended network to other parts of the world especially the Islamic states although there operations are based in Iraq.
In 2005, Al-qaeda is believed to be responsible for about more than 1800 attacks in Mosul city in Iraq; they were aiming at Iraq forces and coalition government. They use bombs and other explosives in their suicide attacks. They mainly targeted Iraq security forces, Shiite militaries and the US troops. The group was responsible for the killing of 35 children and seven adults in Baghdad in September 2004. The bombs were directed at the US forces. In the same year on December 19, they had bombed a Shiite funeral procession killing about 60. Their attacks were aimed at Iraq security forces, civilians and the Iraq government.
In 2005 they carried out and co-coordinated suicide attacks including the Sheraton Ishtar and Palestine hotel in Baghdad during the Iraq elections. (Napoleni L. 2005) They claimed responsibility of killing of Ihab Al-Sherif an Egyptian envoy to Iraq; they also killed many unemployed Shiite workers in Baghdad. They had abducted and executed American soldiers. In 2006, many of the top leadership were captured and killed by US army. They had carried on with their attack such as the 23rd March 2007, assassination attempts of the Iraq deputy Prime Minister Salam al-zaubai a Sunni.
They had claimed responsibility of the Iraq parliament bombing in April 12 2007. The execution of the three US force soldiers in May the same year. Activities of Al –qaeda in Iraq, have received negative publicity due to attacks and intimidation against the civilian’s making it lack local support. The Sunni militias had abandoned them and joined the government and US forces. Many of their leaders have been captured and killed making their activities crippled. The Al-qaeda had been involved in other operations outside Iraq; in April 2004 they claimed responsibility of the chemical bomb plot in Jordan.
They had also targeted Israel in December 2005 by firing rockets from Lebanon. They are also implicated with 2006 train bombing plot in Germany. What were the goals of the operations? Al-qaeda in Iraq had an aim of expelling all the U. S soldiers and their allied forces. In July2005, top Al-qaeda leadership had urged that the entire US soldier to withdraw from Iraq. They had threatened to carry military operations and executions; they perceive the US as the enemy who must leave the Islamic state. The group also had an aim in the governance of Iraq.
The Al –qaeda in Iraq had wanted to form a political group that would be the legitimate political organization in Iraq. They had wanted to fight and overthrow the existing government. Al-qaeda aims to control key areas in the economic, political and religious sector in Baghdad. They want to portray that the Iraq government has failed to expel the US army, by discrediting the government they aims at removing people support. It aimed at initiating conflict between the Shia and Sunni Muslims. This would force the USA to take a neutral stand and depart from Iraq.
This would enable them to establish their rule in Iraq. Al-qaida in Iraq wanted to spread propaganda through the media that, the coalition forces and the government of Iraq were attacking the Sunni Islam. They wanted the Sunnis to join their side, portraying themselves to defend rights of those who are oppressed. This would give them a positive image to the Sunni Islamic group. Part of their aim was to spread propaganda that the Iraq social-economic problems were the government responsibility. They regarded themselves as an organization that can free Iraq’s from their problems.
(Hoofman B. 2004). It was also believed that operations of Al-qaeda in Iraq involved bringing foreign fighters and terrorist in order to kill innocent civilians to encourage hatred between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Abu Hamza Al-Muhajir an Al-qaeda leader in Iraq through his message said that they aimed at creating an Islamic state in Iraq. They were willing to die for God’s sake “there is no rule but that of Allah”. The attacking and killing of the Sunni by al-qaeda in Iraq was aimed to compel them to join their group and withdraw the support of the US forces.
“Dedicate yourself to fighting the true enemy in order to avoid opening up new fronts against the Sunni Arabs” (Abu Hamza al Muhajer), they attempted to portray the US as a common enemy. What were the ideologies of this group? Al-qaeda in Iraq was organized and carried its operation on basis of different ideologies. They had issued a manifesto calling for violence and destruction of American empire. They had vowed to continue with the insurgency and destroy America. Their ideologies were religiously based “we vow by the name of God and we are determined to destroy the American empire”.
They believed that attacking the United States was a call from God. They believed that that who dies in their mission becomes a saint. Their leader Abu Musab al- zarqawi had justified their violent means through audio messages. Al-qaeda called for all Muslims to start attacking their enemies in Iraq and their associates. They believed that through Islam their faith, no harm would be inflicted on true Muslims. Shedding blood of a true Muslim would lead to destruction of the whole world. The attack against Americans and aides in Iraq was an order from God. It was a holy war or jihad to bring justice and glory in the world.
They calls for those betraying them to repent, by collaborating with their enemy all they deserve is to have their neck cut. Al-qaeda through their documents, vows that insurgency will not end soon, they believe that Islam is the only true religion in the world. It is their duty to have Allah worshiped. The Al-qaeda beliefs that the US government wants to seek control of the region through the assistance of the Iraq government. It argues that those who oppose and fight the group are enemies of Islam. Their ideologies hold that the American government wanted to control the region to access oil wells.
Osama bin laden through a video tape on December 29 2007, said that the Iraq government had “agreed to having large American bases on Iraq land and giving the Americans all the Iraq oil they may wish” Muslims perceive the war in Iraq widely as a war on Islam giving strength to al-qaeda’s ideology, Islamic sympathizers of the group are now trying to support the idea of universal holy war on western world and their allies. Al-qaeda sympathizers are justifying the acts of terrorism by using propaganda about the Iraq war. This is evidence in Madrid bombing in 2004 and London attacks in transport network to oppose the invasion of Iraq.
Conclusion The Al-qaeda networks’ operating in all over the world seems to be well-organized coordinated and funded group. Al-qaeda in Iraq has escalated more violence in the country. The group has forged alliances with other front in order to work together against their perceived common enemy. According to them the enemy must be defeated by all mean, as it is the will of God. These militia groups have threatened peace in the world. They have claimed responsibility for various attacks in the world; the issue of terrorism in the world needs to look at carefully to avert more acts of death and hatred.
The world should not draw too much conclusion about Al-qaeda and war in Iraq. This is to avert from having propaganda war, whose truth cannot be determined thus sparking more conflict. (US state report on terrorism) Work cited Biri Abdel, The secret History of Al-Qaeda, 1998. Bruce Hoffman, Insurgency and Countersurgency in Iraq, 2004. Hajez Mohammed; Suicide Bombers In Iraq: The strategy and Ideology of Martyrdom, 2007. Napoleni Lorreta; Insurgent Iraq: The Al-zarqawi and The New Generation, 2005. The United State Department Country Report on Terrorism, 2005.
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