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Beyond al-Qaeda. Part 1. The Global Jihadist Movement

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Defeating the global jihadist movement--which we define as al-Qaeda and the universe of jihadist groups that are associated with or inspired by al-Qaeda--is the most pressing security challenge facing the United States today. The global jihadist movement can be distinguished from traditional or local jihads, which are armed campaigns conducted by Islamist groups against local adversaries with usually limited aims and geographic scope, in that it targets the United States and its allies across the globe and pursues broad geopolitical aims. Although the U.S. campaign against al-Qaeda and the global jihadist movement campaign has had some notable successes, such as the destruction of al-Qaedas sanctuary in Afghanistan, the elimination of many of the groups leaders, and the growing resolve of many countries to take action against al-Qaeda and its associates, no informed observers believe that al-Qaeda will be eliminated anytime soon. The United States itself continues to be threatened by large-scale attacks, as suggested by heightened security alerts and reports of plans to attack financial targets in New York and Washington. Countering al-Qaeda is thus likely to preoccupy U.S. national security institutions for at least the remainder of the decade, and perhaps longer. This study explores some of the most salient aspects associated with terrorist phenomena across the world and their implications for the security of the United States and its friends and allies. The results of the study are reported in two volumes The subject of this first volume is al-Qaeda and what we refer to as the al-Qaeda nebula, an ecosystem of terrorist groups around the world that have internalized the al-Qaeda worldview and its methodology of mass-casualty terrorist attacks.

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  • Geography
  • Unconventional Warfare

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