Think Again: Al Qaeda

(Foreign Policy) Jason Burke - Al-Qaeda is less an organization than an ideology. Although bin Laden and his partners were able to create a structure in Afghanistan that attracted new recruits and forged links among preexisting Islamic militant groups, they never created a coherent terrorist network. Instead, al-Qaeda functioned like a venture capital firm - providing funding, contacts, and expert advice to many different militant groups from all over the Islamic world. Today, there is no longer a central hub for Islamic militancy. But the al-Qaeda worldview, or "al-Qaedaism," is growing stronger every day. Sustained by anti-Western, anti-Zionist, and anti-Semitic rhetoric, many groups act in the style of al-Qaeda, but are only part of al-Qaeda in the loosest sense. That's why Israeli intelligence services now prefer the term "jihadi international" instead of "al-Qaeda."

2004-04-30 00:00:00

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