Accession Number : ADA486393

Title :   AL Qaeda, Trends in Terrorism and Future Potentialities: An Assessment

Descriptive Note : Conference paper


Personal Author(s) : Hoffman, Bruce

Full Text :

Report Date : May 2003

Pagination or Media Count : 20

Abstract : This paper assesses current trends in terrorism and future potentialities. It examines first the presumed state of al Qaeda today with particular reference to its likely agenda in a post-Iraq war world. It then more broadly focuses on some key current terrorism trends to understand better both how terrorism is changing and what the implications of these changes are in terms of possible future attacks and patterns. The discussion is organized along three key questions: (1) What is the state of al Qaeda today and what effects have 18 months of unremitting war had on it? (2) What do broader current trends in terrorism today tell us about future potentialities? and (3) How should we be thinking about terrorism today and tomorrow? Citing administration sources, an article in the Washington Times on 24 April reported the increasingly prominent view of official Washington that al Qaeda's failure to carry out a successful strike during the U.S.-led military campaign to topple Saddam Hussein has raised questions about their ability to carry out major new attacks. Yet, while developments in recent months present new evidence of significant progress in the war against global terrorism, it would be imprudent to write al Qaeda's obituary just yet -- much less discount its ability to mutate into new, more pernicious forms. In this respect, there are at least six reasons for cautious and careful assessment: disagreement over precisely what al Qaeda is, the propaganda value of bin Laden's prescient analysis, the imperative of individual jihad fused with collective revenge, the operational possibilities presented by the occupation of Iraq, the competence and determination of the remaining al Qaeda leadership cadre, and the resiliency of al Qaeda and the likelihood of a post-bin Laden al Qaeda.


Subject Categories : Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE