Initially, Al Qaeda began as a logistic organization and network that played a pivotal role in helping the Muslims to fight against the Soviet Union. During this time Afghan War was at its peak. Al Qaeda recruited its members across all the Islamic states to form a strong and formidable group for their protection. After the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghan, Al Qaeda dispatched and began opposing what their leaders considered as corrupt and the United States presence in Islamic countries. The group continued to establish camps for training people, especially the youths to acquire the paramilitary skills while its agents started to engage in numerous terrorist attacks. Among the major attacks included the bombing of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya in the year 1998. In 2001, Al Qaeda and other militants affiliated to the group staged the September Eleven Attacks which left hundreds of people dead, others critically injured, and valuable properties destroyed in the US. Osama Bin Laden, the then leader, was claimed to be behind the attack and mission to apprehend him began immediately. This leader was killed later, but the group is still in operation with fewer activities taking place.
Techniques Used by Al Qaeda
Up to Date, Al Qaeda still exists, but its operations have decreased significantly. The death of its main leader Osama Bin Laden on May 2011, had significant impacts on the group since their organizational structure, and manpower was disoriented. Besides, the members of Al Qaeda got dispatched to other affiliate terror groups (Wiktorowicz, 2004). However, the group and its members are still involved in terrorism where they use modern and critical techniques to complete their missions. Message Framing is one of the techniques that the group uses to increase recognition, support, and power with the people. Messaging framing, particularly in spreading violence or creating a “defense” after an attack is known as propaganda. Al Qaeda uses this technique to influence public opinion by waging their propaganda campaigns, for instance, against the United States. This technique began to gain prominence after the September 11th Attacks. This group propagates framed messages and others with online videos to get support and recognition from the public. They enlist public relations as a way of spreading their framed messages in the world, a similar technique that has been used by regimes throughout the history.
“Denial and Deception” is another primary technique used by Al Qaeda to achieve their strategic missions. They use denial and deception as a tactical and operational technique to ensure that the public still has their trust and support. It is surprising that this tactic should work in opposite for most of the organization, but for Al Qaeda, they believe it favors them. Members of Al Qaeda engage in terror attacks as they attempt to make their views and plights to be heard. Therefore, they end up bombing, especially the major cities and urban centers as a way of showing that they are discontented with certain issues (Gunaratna, 2005). For example, since the United States’ soldiers established their presence in most of the Islamic states, the group did not like the idea and has never been engaged in terrorism to show their discontentedness. After conducting the attacks and other terror activities, the group results in denial and deception. Once claims and allegations have been put on Al Qaeda, the group denies and act dishonestly by saying they are being pinpointed from the negative perception, particularly the US has against them.
External Forces Strengthening Al Qaeda
Some external forces are and have multiplied the strength of Al Qaeda over time. These forces have facilitated execution of attacks and other terror activities by the members of the group even after the death of its principal leader Osama Bin Laden in 2011. Changes in the western world’s counter-terrorism plan and shifts or changes in the world’s economy are the main forces behind the strength of Al Qaeda (Jackson, 2007). Easy traveling and gaining of citizenship of other countries is the main factor under shifts in the global economy that has resulted in the strengthening of Al Qaeda operations. The members of this group can become statesmanship of targeted regions and facilitate the execution of the attacks and terrorism in those places. Changes in the counter-terrorism techniques have facilitated the inclusion of Islamic governments in the groups. These changes are hampering their counter-terrorism measures since some leaders of groups like Al Qaeda are close government allies. Therefore, the measures end up strengthening the group as the members get information about how they are “hunt” down.