World Summit on Counter-Terrorism

 ICT's 8th International Conference - September 11, 2008

Workshop - Al Qaeda and Global Jihad

Eight years after al Qaeda attacked America's most iconomic landmarks, the US, its allies and friends face a sustained threat from the Global Jihad Movement. Led by the iconic leaders of the Global Jihad, Osama bin Laden and Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, the Global Jihad Movement presents the pre-eminent threat to international security. The constituents of the Global Jihad Movement are al Qaeda, its operationally connected associated groups, and, its ideologically driven homegrown cells.

Al Qaeda frames the fight as a struggle to protect Muslims and defend Islam. By building an alliance of about 40 jihad groups and ideologically indoctrinating Muslims, al Qaeda has built a movement campaigning to create Islamic states. Al Qaeda enlists both Muslim territorial and emigre support. Although the percentage of Muslims advocating, supporting and participating in violence is a tiny minority, it is sufficient to maintain a campaign of extremism and terrorism. The US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 compounded the threat.

As we grapple with approaches and methods to reduce the threat, both practitioners and scholars debate on the shape, size, structure, location and leadership of al Qaeda. The ICT Workshop on Al Qaeda and Global Jihad brings together the leading minds on the current threat to examine the origins and development of al Qaeda, its operational influence on the associated groups and ideological influence on the diaspora and migrant communities. Collectively, these three entities are known as the Global Jihad Movement.

Current U.S. led coalition strategy is oriented towards using lethal and kinetic force. The US-led Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) strategy is focused on operational counter terrorism – catch, kill, and disruption. The Jihadists have a higher potential to regenerate – replenish its human losses and material wastage - and fight back. By improving intelligence and operational capabilities, governments can locate, identify and target both jihadist support and operational infrastructures. Nonetheless, by targeting these physical infrastructures, it is not possible to end extremism or violence. The ICT Workshop will also discuss response especially how to sustain, remain effective, and win the fight over the long term.

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