According to Burke 2004, Al-Qaeda is army of Islamic militants that comprises several Afghanistan war commanders and Veterans that started in the late 1980 under its leader Osama Bin Laden. It was aimed at protecting Saudi Arabia .Despite his efforts to build a strong army Osama failed and was thus forced to flee his homeland to hide in Sudan from 1991-1996.Through this period Al-Qaeda vanished from the American Intelligence radar.
The American intelligence faulted an attempted bombing of the world trade center in 1993 but only tied it on one individual Osama Bin Laden, but not the Al-Qaeda network. It reported that this terrorist movement Matured in the period between 1996 and 2001.Burke 2004 further reports the group of existing in fewer than three elements namely; an ideology, a hardcore and a network co-opted groups. The Hardcore that was the heart of the Al-Qaeda consisted of the Militants who had stuck with Osama from the 1980’s (Burke 2004).
Rabasa defines Al-Qaeda an internationally known terrorist organization believed to be under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden a Saudi Arabian citizen who fled to Sudan after being expelled from his native country for war propaganda against the Government. It is reported to have been established in 1988 by Osama himself, It is said to have recruited, trained, financed and transported several thousands of fighters from different countries so as to form a force to resist the Soviets during the afghan war.(Rabasa 2006)
Tactics and Attacks
Al-Qaeda as a terrorist organization employs tactics such as bombing. They include; the 1998 Nairobi and Dar salaam bombing of the American embassies, the U.S.S coal bombing in Aden, Yemen living 17 crew members dead and 39 wounded on 12th October, 2000.The 2001 September 11th New York twin bombings .April 2002 blowing up of a Fuel tanker outside Tunisian synagogue, 2002 October the attack on French owned Tanker of the Yemenis coast. Several Bombings in Pakistan .the 2002 November car bomb attack and the failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli jetliner in Mombasa, Kenya using a shoulder-fired missile. the May 12th,2003 car bomb attack on three residential compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 2005 railway station bombing and the September 11th New York twin bombings. They also use hijackings and Kidnappings which include; the Flight 9/11 among others. They further use suicide bombers and Assassinations among other tactics (military).
It has been rumored on several occasions that Osama is out to acquire and utilize nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. His main areas of interest has been reported to include the following; embassies, public buildings and military personnel, all belong to its biggest enemy the United States of America, her allies and moderate Muslim governments. It was also reported that Al-Qaeda was employing the use of indictable surrogate groups to carry out attacks on its behalf. Some of the surrogate groups closely linked to the Al-Qaeda includes; the Egyptian Islamic Jihad that is believed to have its network well spread throughout Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Europe. The reported further indicate a strong alliance between the Extremist Sunni world over. They cover Radical Palestinians, North Africans, Central Asians and Pakistani .Sources report that some Governments that have a grange against the United States of America secretly sponsor these groups. According to the U.S intelligence chief “Al-Qaeda is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S.: the identification, training, and positioning of operatives for an attack in the homeland,” (Huffington post).
The global security organization reports the following to be some of the Goals of the Al-Qaeda terrorist movement; to attain martyrdom in the cause of God, by this the Al-Qaeda operatives believe that if one dies serving the Al-Qaeda he automatically qualifies as a Martyr. Another Goal is that of establishing the rule of God on Earth, this has been through their advocating for Islam as the only one true religion in the world. Further still it has been reported that Purification of the ranks of Islam from the elements of depravity is yet another of the Al-Qaeda goals.
Al-Qaeda’s goal is to establish and continue the Jihad (Holy war) beyond Afganistan.its other goals is to work with other extremist Islam groups through out the world to topple non-Islamic regimes and barring non-Muslims and other people from the west from Countries dominated by Muslims (Military).
The Al-Qaeda propaganda
According to (Rabasa et al, 2006) the Al-Qaeda website has proven to be a valuable source to many journalist. He adds that many journalists have turned to these websites to write about the expected attacks and the sought. It has thus influenced the Media’s perception on its capabilities, intentions and future trajections. Rabasa further reports of psychological effect the Al-Qaeda‘s propaganda effect on the U.S Government. It is reported that the Al-Qaeda threats since the September 11 terrorist attack on the world trade center and the pentagon in the U.S through Aljazeera and the Al-Qaeda website have been treated with almost seriousness by the media and the American Government. The same has also made the U.S government raise its terror alert level and constantly sent a chill down the American people’s spines. Rabasa concludes that it is true to note that the Al-Qaeda propaganda has always achieved its target of sending fear down the spines of her “intended audiences” (Rabasa et al 2006).
According to Roggio 2007, the failed attempt by a Nigerian Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up An American airliner before landing in Detroit was purely based on the al-Qaeda war propaganda in the Arabian Peninsula through the internet. It is reported that the Al-Qaeda had take responsibility over the failed bombing on Christmas Day bombing of an American plane. A source from the Al-Qaeda is quoted to have remarked as follows on the same “"... [W]e have come to slaughter you (and) will strike you with no previous (warning), our vengeance is near,"(Roggio 2009)
It ‘s reported that the Al-Qaeda propaganda on the internet with posts about suicide bombers, road side Bombs has earned it the title as the most feared terrorist group in the world. Kaplan is quoted to have remarked as follows on the Terrorist use of the internet to spread its propaganda of fear. “Terrorists have developed sophisticated encryption tools and creative techniques that make the Internet an efficient and relatively secure means of correspondence. These include steganography, a technique used to hide messages in graphic files, and "dead dropping": transmitting information through saved email drafts in an online email account accessible to anyone with the password.”(Kaplan 2009).It is further reported that not only are the videos posted on the internet viewed by the terrorist sympathizers but by also other non-sympathizers.
The homeland security policies to counter Terrorism
Further still after the September 11 terrorist attack in New York the American Government together with her allies embarked on what it termed as the “Global war on terrorism (GWOT).There arose a need for a unified emphasis and action on terrorism. The coming up with a counter terrorist policy was bestowed upon the Department of State. The department of state thus set up its agenda on; ending the state sponsorship to terrorism,
The national strategy was the broad American Government initiate aimed at denying extremist groups the functions and resources they needed to survive and operate internationally. It comprised of three elements namely; attack terrorist and their capacity to operate effectively at home and a broad, support mainstream efforts to reject violence extremist and defend and protect the homeland (Homeland security).
It has always been the American president’s priority number one to keep the American citizens safe from all enemy threats. It has one of his top agendas to ensure that the American people stay true to the founding fathers’ values while protecting its citizens. It hence becomes the president’s prerogative to plan for emergencies, invest in strong recovery and response capabilities while ensuring protection of her citizens from terrorist threats (Homeland security).
According to the Homeland security report, the National Security Strategy released on May 27 2010 lays down strategies for advancing the American interests that includes growing of the American economy, international address of the 21-century challenges and above all protecting the American citizen (Homeland security).
The pursue of Comprehensive Trans border Security, In order to effectively address the transnational threats almost effectiveness. This policy has been formulated to secure the United States of America borders with her enemies. It has been perceived to be achieved through working out partnerships with the local government, the state and other international allies. It is further proposed that this policy is to be made possible by the government’s development and deployment of high technology equipment to maximize port security with the least effect possible on the economy. This is also aimed at boosting security for key transport networks namely; Air, surface and marine that link American to the rest of the world. Where as this is being implemented the issue of immigration also comes into play. This policy would however prove tricky with the reported influx of illegal Immigrant into the U.S annually some of whom may cause threats to the American security (Homeland security).
The Obama’s administration in a move to boost homeland security, will availing $5Billion to boost the shared security partnership for the next several years. This will enhance the capability of other partners in improving individual security and partner with America to defeat Terrorism. President Obama was quoted saying the following on partnership “Security demands a new sense of shared responsibility. In addition, that is why we will launch a standing, trilateral dialogue among the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Our nations will meet regularly, with Secretaries Clinton and Secretary Gates leading our effort. Together, we must enhance intelligence sharing and military cooperation along the border, while addressing issues of common concern like trade, energy, and economic development.”(Homeland security)
Improving Intelligence Capacity and Information Sharing.
It is important to note that Gathering, analyzing and consequential sharing of intelligence is a vital process of American security .It is the American priority to strengthen its intelligence network in the collection, identification and final interdiction of the potential threats to the American security. The collected information must hence be analyzed and shared throughout the government levels. It is thus the president’s prerogative under this policy to ensure that the American citizen’s rights and freedoms are not violated in the process. This policy is however challenging as it has become difficult to trust the intelligence collection systems itself with the reported rise in the Al-Qaeda recruitment and financing of operatives through out the world. The American Security is still at risk, as there might exist moles in the intelligence system (Homeland security).
Another one of the Homeland security policies is that one on Ensuring a secure Global Digital information and Communication Infrastructure. The United States of America boasts of an Economical infrastructure muscled up by its diversity in “cyberspace”. A change in policies, education and technology .When Obama came into power he called for the immediate review of the resiliency of the Global infrastructure .This policy called for partnerships with the private sector, the international community, the civil liberties community, congress and the state, in drumming up support for the continued adaptation and innovation of state of the art technology. The challenge happens to pass its messages inform of secret codes right before the intelligence nose (Homeland security).
Promotion of the Resiliency of the Physical and Social Infrastructure is yet another of the Homeland security policies that has been put forward to counter terrorism. Reports indicate that the resilience of critical infrastructure is of vital importance to enhancing homeland security. It is thus prudent to work with all private sectors and other government partners at different levels with an aim of developing a holistic, effective, critical infrastructure resiliency and infrastructure that is zeroed around business investments, civil society, education, technology and Government. This includes modernizing electricity grills; railway, marine and aviation, enhancing security within the chemical and nuclear sector; finally safeguarding the American public transport system. This policy however becomes tricky since the Al-Qaeda terrorist group mostly targets public transportation and public buildings not mentioning the fact that the Al-Qaeda is also trying hard to attain biological and nuclear weapons (Homeland security).