Terrorism and International Relations Essay

2047 Words9 Pages
The immediacy and the primacy of any truly potent force is the ability to perpetuate itself. Sharp and energetic outbursts have their place, and can be known to have great effect-cataclysmic forces, despite their maximum destructive potential, are temporary in their total effects in relation to some absolute goal. In other words, they are generally limited in scope, and well defined in purpose; there is a tactical objective, which is usually consummated quickly. The more dreaded force creeps along, escalating incrementally, and while it may abide a strategic goal, or even a policy, it is generally open-ended. This sort of ambiguity I am referring to differs from the flexible tactical necessity in that strategic outcomes are very much…show more content…
Differing accounts on either pole focus on al-Qaeda’s continued relevance as the premier terrorist network, whether it is any longer effective or not. From there, the natural conclusion comes around to asking how effective al-Qaeda is, and by which mechanisms does it project that effectiveness. Aside from this, both parties agree that al-Qaeda has an uncanny habit of surviving in the turbulent international dialectic that spawned radical Muslim distress, vicariously. If anything is clear, al-Qaeda has a tremendous insulating capability. It is like a fungus that germinates through spores, reaching ever remoter places, ready to bloom when the conditions are right. While in reality it is probably not so simple, this is the crux of Sageman’s argument. Sageman contends that the current breed of al-Qaeda, in its “third wave…consists mostly of would-be terrorists, who…aspire to join the movement and the men they hail as heroes (emphasis added).” This new generation, riding the wave of Muslim condemnation of the Iraq War, in contrast to the previous two has, apart from the Iraq rage, neither the Mujahidin casus belli of the first generation, nor the expatriate marginalization of the second. Rather, the “tolerant, virtual environment of the Internet offers them a semblance of unity and purpose. Theirs is a scattered, decentralized social structure—a leaderless jihad (emphasis added).” It is important to note the italics. The words are “social” and
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