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A blog on terrorism, democracy and international politics

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Al-Qaeda's Revolutionary Model 

I have uploaded the full text of my recent talk, Al Qaeda's Revolutionary Ideology: Madrid and the Iraq War in Context.

The document covers a lot of ground, being a basic primer on the ideology of al-Qaeda and its precursor groups, showing how al-Qaeda radically altered the understanding of key technical terms (which are explained in the text) by synthesising rival ideologies. Some of the key concepts and Arabic terms used by Jihadi Salafis such as al-Qaeda and its affiliates are explained, which should give the reader a better understanding of groups such as Ansar al-Islam and al-Muhajiroun. Some of the material in this document is based on my thesis research, and is the only place this understanding of al-Qaeda's methodological ideology for political change is available.

Finally, I tried to cover the events in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and the Madrid bombings and election result - essentially an up to date picture of what is at stake and what al-Qaeda's specific objectives are at present. The talk was given just before the horrible prisoner abuse scandal broke.

In addition to putting the talk online, I have revamped one page, initiating The Middle East Project by adding ten separate biographical pages to the website. Eventually, the Middle East Project will be a portal to information on various Middle Eastern issues, but particularly to documents on Al-Qaeda-linked terrorism.

One other thing to blog on:
I found an interesting article on bin Laden's gold award offer on an Arab publication called Dar al-Hayat. The analysis of bin Laden's strategy in Iraq is spot on, and matches the predictions I made in my talk. For al-Qaeda, Iraq is not only an open arena for terrorist attacks against American and 'hypocrite' targets, it is also an opportunity to regenerate its network by training recruits in jihad in Iraq. These muhajiroun will then either travel to other hot spots or return to their home countries (eg in the West) to commit terrorist attacks.

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