Select an issue of interest that is relevant to criminal justice. This assignment requires that you summarize the current research on that topic for the general public. In many sections of the brief, you will summarize the existing literature. In other sections, you should provide the reader with your own analysis of the issues. Selecting a topic you have worked on before is helpful.

 Your topic selection will guide the length of your paper. If you select a very broad topic, usually more is involved in summarizing the current work on that topic. If you select a specific topic, often the body of research that you must cover is more limited. Topic selection and refinement will be your greatest challenge!

Paper Title: How did the events of September 11, affect the Al Qaeda’s membership, internal operation, Untied States Perception?

How Al Qaeda propaganda tools for recruitment and social support

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Al Qaeda has been on the back foot to provide any narrative to its followers because an international outrage against these hideous acts of terror. Al Qaeda had to employ new tactics to make its recruiting process possible. Successful strategies have been used by the international community to black out the Al Qaeda propaganda. This fact was recognized by the Al Qaeda Media in the first edition of Sada al-Malahim where it is stated that they have rolled up their sleeves to expose their enemies in the form of Sada al-Malahim because they have been blacked out of the media.   Since then the main source of Al Qaeda to reach out to its audience have been Sada al-Malahim (The Echo of Epic Battle), an electronic magazine (Page, Challita, & Harris, 2011). Sada al-Malahim has been used to release many Jihadist propaganda articles, video and audio recordings and statements from the terrorist group leaders since 2008, the year it was founded.

Apart from Sada al-Malahim, Al Qaeda utilizes many more web resources to reach out to young Muslims and promise an Islamic Jihadist ideology that is based on truth and success in the afterlife. The prominent ones among these web resources are Mu’assat al-Malahim lil-

Intaj al-I‘lami and Markaz al-Fajr lil-I‘lam) which form a nexus with Sada al-Malahim (Page, Challita, & Harris, 2011) in spreading the Jihadist ideology and recruitment. It can be argued here that by shifting their recruitment tactics towards internet, Al Qaeda has made it possible to remain as an active terror group which could otherwise would have been limited to just a few sleeping cells.

Social media has become a lethal tool by the terrorist groups like Al Qaeda in the recent years. Al Qaeda uses social media networks like Facebook and Twitter to spread their ideology and find followers in many countries including US and EU (Hoffman, 2014).

Jihadi Motivation

Al Qaeda has been finding its ideological basis from propagating a Salafi brand of Islam.  Al Qaeda has portrayed the military actions taken against them in many countries of the world including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen as an act of Crusade against Muslims by the Non-Believers. Their electronic media outlets have been encouraging Muslims to follow the true path of Islam and Sharia and rise against their so called enemies. Al Qaeda claims to be the savior of Muslims at all fronts and to be the only true voice of Islamic ideology (Page, Challita, & Harris, 2011). They use these emotional tactics to find their audience all over the world and especially among the Muslim youth.

Al Qaeda utilizes the sufferings of the poor and ordinary people at the hands of the rulers of their countries and uses their social and economic deprivation as a tool for their propaganda. Abu Bassir, an Alqaeda leader in the Arabian Peninsula in his article in the Nasser A-Wahayshi magazine wrote that Salih, the Yemeni President, utilized the oil and gas for his personal interests and the poor of the country get only suffering and derivation. In this article Abu Bassir asked the people to support the Mujahedeen (Al Qaeda) against Salih and they will get the power back to the ordinary people.

Post September 11 Al Qaeda in Yemen

After the Cold War and the withdrawal of Russian troops from Afghanistan, many jihadist were interested to return to their home countries in the Arabic world. They were not encouraged by the majority of Arab countries because they were considered to be potential threat due to the level of their military training for the purpose of Afghanistan conflict. Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih was interested in using these militants against the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSM) and enlisted them for a conflict against YMS (Page, Challita, & Harris, 2011). But the scenario had changed dramatically after the September 11 attacks. The United States announced a worldwide campaign to root out Al Qaeda as they had accepted the responsibility for the attacks. President Salih became a partner to the US lead war and it resulted in a conflict between the militants who had come back to Yemen from Afghanistan and had by then become a part of Al Qaeda (Page, Challita, & Harris, 2011). United States carried out airial strikes agains Yemeni Al Qaeda and the Yemeni government als oengaged in a fight against the Al Qaeda. This resulted towards the decline of a safe haven for the Al Qaeda in Yemen.

Decentralization of Al Qaeda

I an effort to reorganize itself after the successful campaign against its organizational structure and activities by USA in the post September 11 world, Al Qaeda has focused on a more decentralized network. Research has suggested that after 2003, AL Qaeda has either emerged or has absorbed with 10 other terrorist groups to reemerge and speedup their activities to save them from extension (Rudner, 2013). Before September 11, Al Qaeda had a physical presence just a few countries of the world but at present their network is present in 19 countries of the world. Al Qaeda is believed to have made gains on tactical grounds.

The decentralization of the Al Qaeda network is largely based on the theological teachings of Mustafa Sethmariam who called on all world Jihadists to focus their capabilities on activating the local grown potential militants instead of spending energy on addressing them in general from a global perspective (Rudner, 2013). These tactics have enabled Al Qaeda to raise funds, recruit, organize and develop terror networks on regional levels with a lose control from a centralized authority.

Al Qaeda 20 Years Strategic Plan

            There is enough evidence that Al Qaeda has devised a 20 years strategic plan which comprises of 7 stages during that time period (Rudner, 2013). The plan starts with provoking the US to attack different Muslim countries by infighting terror inside America and around the world against American interests. Al Qaeda believe that they will be then able to make a bad perception of the US in the Muslim world which will help them gain a Muslim sympathy and recruit militants and gather funds for their terrorist activities. September 11 terror attack is an evidence of this part of the strategic plan. Al Qaeda believe that they will be successful in installing a Global Caluphate, a sharia rule over the world by 2020 (Rudner, 2013). The details of different stages of the twenty years of strategic plan can be seen in the Table 1.

Financial transfers after September 11

The transfer of money use to happen thorough a variety of ways around the world. Due to the nonexistence of legal and technical frameworks that could limit the finances of terrorism through legal bank transfers, terrorist groups like Al Qaeda used to facilitate itself through bank transfers from its financers from the around the world. In some cases it was in the form of on the name of charities from Muslims. After assessing this threat, American government and the United Nations have introduced new rules and regulations that is aimed at limiting the financial help of terror groups like Al Qaeda.  Most of the terror funding is done through money laundering and Hawala. These are not reliable sources of money transfer and terror groups find it hard to finance their activities (Rudner, 2013).

Al Qaeda’s fall and re-branding to Islamic State (IS)

After the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011, it was widely speculated that it would be the end of Al Qaeda. A Qaeda did not participate in the recent Arab Spring in any form what so ever (Hoffman, 2014). Many countries in the Arab world were affected by the democratic struggle in the form of Arab Spring. Governments were toppled. Many believed that the nonexistence of Al Qaeda in the struggle against dictators in the Arab World had made many to assume that Al Qaeda has vanished for good.

No one anticipated that Islamic State (IS) would emerge as a re-branding of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda had become irrelevant but its replacement in the form of IS has captured many parts of Iraq and Syria. IS has the same ideological (Hoffman, 2014) Salafi Islam foundations just like Al Qaeda but they are more brutal and disastrous. They have undoubtedly become a greater threat to the world peace as they have established an organized form of governmental structure in parts of Syria and Iraq where they can train their terrorist and send them across the world to carry out terrorist attacks.




Hoffman, B. (2014). A First Draft of the History of America’s Ongoing Wars on Terrorism. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 38(1), 75-83. doi:10.1080/1057610x.2014.974405

Page, M., Challita, L., & Harris, A. (2011). Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: Framing Narratives and Prescriptions. Terrorism and Political Violence, 23(2), 150-172. doi:10.1080/09546553.2010.526039

Rudner, M. (2013). Al Qaeda’s Twenty-Year Strategic Plan: The Current Phase of Global Terror. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 36(12), 953-980. doi:10.1080/1057610x.2013.842136