Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Crushed in the shadows: why Al Qaeda will lose the war of ideas

By Alia Brahimi


As a network of affiliate groups, Al Qaeda's more diffuse structure, since the end of 2001, is described as one of its greatest strengths. Certainly, after losing its territorial base in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda as “network” has gained in tactical agility and global reach. This article argues, however, that Osama bin Laden's ceding of command-and-control to autonomous Al Qaeda “franchises” represents an important source of weakness in the battle for hearts and minds in the Muslim world. As Al Qaeda's global jihad is increasingly imported by its affiliates into local and sectarian conflicts, the death toll is largely Muslim and civilian. The targeting of Muslim civilians is exceptionally difficult to justify, morally, theologically, and by bin Laden's own standards of legitimate jihad. This article will show how the killing of Muslim civilians undermines the crucial lynchpins of bin Laden's ideology and alienates the popular support that “Al Qaeda central” see as indispensable to Al Qaeda's success

Topics: BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc, JQ Political institutions Asia
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1080/10576100903488402
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • (external link)
  • (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.