Al Qaeda: Ideology and action

Abstract
Serious threats to global order are said to emanate from Al Qaeda, exemplified by bombings and multiple deaths in, inter alia, Bali, Dar es Salaam, Istanbul, Nairobi, New York and Madrid. These outrages raise the question about the ideological assumptions and goals of Al Qaeda ? given that the majority of the dead were not Jews or Christians, but Muslims. What were the bombers trying to achieve? What were their ideological assumptions and goals? This article argues that Al Qaeda first emerged in the late 1980s to challenge the incumbency and authority of rulers in various Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, with the objective of replacing them with more plausibly Islamic leaders. Due to a lack of success in this regard, Al Qaeda's attention shifted from the domestic to the global: a war against ?the West? utilising the weapons of terror to achieve ideological goals relating to both specific religious concerns, as well as a wider concern with a global balance of power between the West and the world of Islam
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