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NCJ Number: 202185 Find in a Library
Title: Al-Qaeda, Trends in Terrorism and Future Potentialities: An Assessment
Author(s): Bruce Hoffman
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Rand Corporation
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Sale Source: Rand Corporation
1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper assesses the current state of al-Qaeda in reference to its likely agenda in a post-Iraq-war world and focuses more broadly on key terrorism trends and their implications for possible future attacks and patterns.
Abstract: Although there is clear evidence that al-Qaeda has been severely weakened by the deaths and capture of some of its senior leaders and the fragmenting of its network, this paper develops six reasons for cautious and careful assessment of al-Qaeda's current threat to U.S. citizens and interests. These reasons are disagreement over precisely what al-Qaeda is; the propaganda value of bin Laden's prediction 7 years ago that the military forces of the United States and United Kingdom had established a beachhead in Saudi Arabia from which they intended to impose a new imperialism on the Middle East in order to gain control over the region's oil wealth; the imperative of individual jihad fused with collective revenge; the operational possibilities presented by the occupation of Iraq; the competence and determination of the remaining al-Qaeda leadership cadre; and the resiliency of al-Qaeda and the likelihood of a post-bin Laden al-Qaeda. An assessment of the future of al-Qaeda concludes that its main challenge will be to promote and ensure its durability as an ideology and concept by staying in the news, by moving would-be terrorist competitors out of the limelight; and through new attacks that promote its continued relevance to Muslim affairs. Violence, particularly against soft targets, will continue to be the key to ensuring its continued presence as an international force. It is likely that the focus of its attacks will be on American forces and interests in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. If the next 6 months do not see the materialization and expansion of significant al-Qaeda terrorist attacks anywhere, then this may be a sign that its network and ability to implement its goals have been severely damaged or destroyed. Still, America and other nations must remain alert over the long term, given that the attacks of September 11, involved many years of planning and a tenacious commitment to seek new and more effective ways to achieve maximum harm to al-Qaeda's perceived enemies.
Main Term(s): Domestic Preparedness
Index Term(s): Arab terrorist groups; Counter-terrorism tactics; International terrorism; Revolutionary or terrorist groups; Terrorism causes; Terrorist ideologies; Terrorist profiles; Terrorist tactics; Terrorist weapons; Threat assessment
Note: Downloaded September 25, 2003.
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