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Illusions of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism$
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Richard English

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265901

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265901.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Al-Qaida and the 9/11 Decade

Al-Qaida and the 9/11 Decade

(p.21) 2 Al-Qaida and the 9/11 Decade
Illusions of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism

Alia Brahimi

British Academy

The declaration of a Caliphate in June 2014 by an al-Qaida offshoot implied a strong sense of political–religious unity, but, in reality, the announcement reflected deep division at the heart of radical Islam. This article critically assesses al-Qaida’s progress on its four main objectives over the course of the 9/11 decade, and suggests that its principal setbacks were due to the fragmentation of Islamic authority. In particular, Osama bin Laden’s inability to reverse the misguided focus, by some affiliated groups, on the ‘nearer enemy’, began to portend al-Qaida’s downfall. However, after the Arab Spring, in the chokeholds of strong states and the chaos of weak states al-Qaida found advantage. Furthermore, with the rise of groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a new pattern of radicalism emerged, in which the threat to ‘far enemy’, ‘near enemy’ and ‘nearer enemy’ were combined.

Keywords:   al-Qaida, 9/11, War on Terror, Osama bin Laden, ISIL, AQIM, AQAP

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