The Rise and Fall of Terrorist Organizations
In years past, the terrorist organization al-Qaeda dominated newscasts, striking fear and concern across the world as the foremost focus in the war against terror. While al-Qaeda is still a cause for alarm, the recent rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has shifted terrorism fears away from the group that carried out the September 11th attacks. The Joint Special Operations University has published a report that details the decline of al-Qaeda during ISIL’s climb to influence. In the report, The War Within: A Look Inside al-Qaeda’s Undoing, author Jarret Brachman explores this apparent unraveling of al Qaeda in the years since bin Laden’s death as the group’s global terror relevancy is replaced by ISIL.
To perform this analysis, Brachman, “…analyzes letters, blog posts, and social media comments from various ranks within al-Qaeda that show the discontent, frustration, and confusion the once prominent terrorist organization has faced in recent years.” Specifically, 17 letters discovered in bin Ladin’s Abbottabad hideout form the basis for this analysis of organizational fracturing. The organizational fracturing of al Qaeda is further investigated in regards to senior leadership uncertainty and incapability. In addition to this analysis of al Qaeda’s splintering, Brachman reviews the conflicting relationship between ISIL and al Qaeda as well as ISIL’s apparent ability to utilize social media as a recruitment advantage in a way that al Qaeda has been unable to master.
To learn more about the decline of al Qaeda, please review the following resources:
- Al Qaeda in Its Third Decade: Irreversible Decline or Imminent Victory?
- Future of Al-Qaeda: Results of a Foresight Project
- Lost Caravan: The Rise and Fall of Al Qaeda in Iraq, 2003-2007
- Al-Qaeda v. the West: 2012 and Beyond
Additional information about the rise of ISIL can be found within the following reports:
- Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2014: The Rise of ISIS & Sustained Online Recruitment
- From Al-Qaida Affiliate to the Rise of the Islamic Caliphate: The Evolution of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
- Findings from the State Department’s Annual Terrorism Report (Part 2): The Rise of ISIL
- Black Flag Rising: ISIL in Southeast Asia and Australia