Chapter 4: Al Qaeda’s Global Presence
[The ummah] has a duty to maintain the jihad that exists today and to help it with all its might, for this jihad is very dear to us in Palestine, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other lands of Islam. Osama bin Laden1 Since its inception in 1988, al Qaeda has evolved from a single entity into a global network of like-minded terrorist organizations. Al Qaeda is ‘ “larger, more ethnically diverse, more geographically dispersed, younger, richer, better educated, better led, and more military trained and combat experienced” than other terrorist groups in history.’2 The group’s terror network is comprised of a core group, aﬃliates, sympathizers and willing partners working in concert for common goals.3 Its ultimate goal is to unite the world’s Muslim population in an Islamic caliphate governed by a radical version of Islamic law.4 Al Qaeda’s global jihad is being fought on multiple fronts by al Qaeda surrogate groups around the world. Al Qaeda’s brigades occupy a realm much larger than the Arabian Peninsula. Bin Laden proudly notes that their terror operations extend ‘from the easternmost point in the Islamic world to its westernmost point, from Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan to the Arab world and ﬁnally to Nigeria and Mauritania.’5 Al Qaeda’s aﬃliated entities are principally located in ﬁve regions around the world: the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, and South Asia.6 Money has been central to the growth and development of al Qaeda’s terror network. Al Qaeda has used its...
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