NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Al Qaeda Adapts

September 11, 2003

Since the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, the terrorist network formed by al-Qaeda is active, and undergoing its own transformation, according to terrorism experts.

Over the past two years, "the United States and its allies have captured or killed two-thirds of al-Qaeda's leadership, detained more than 3,000 followers, clamped down on the flow of money to the terrorists, disrupted sleeper cells and routed the Afghan training camps through which tens of thousands of men passed," says the Dallas Morning News.

  • Due to the relentless worldwide manhunt by the United States and its allies, Al Qaeda is "increasingly relying on affiliated groups in Southeast Asia and the Middle East to wage acts of terror," says Rohan Gunaratna of Singapore's Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies.
  • It has begun a massive Internet-based recruitment drive for volunteers to "wage war against America and Western-friendly governments in Iraq, Central Asia and throughout the Middle East."
  • It has "also published three electronic-books on its new Web site: Two that detail its tactics and intentions in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and a handbook called 'The 39 Steps to Jihad.'"
  • The number of strikes by al-Qaeda and affiliates is at a record high, says Ben Venzke of IntelCenter, which tracks terrorist attacks around the globe.

Sources: Michelle Mittelstadt, "'Al-Qaeda 2.0': Network reinvents itself, employs allies," Dallas Morning News, September 11, 2003, and Neil Doyle, "Al Qaeda uses Web sites to draw recruits, spread propaganda," Washington Times, September 11, 2003.


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