Accession Number:

ADA550215

Title:

Deadly Vanguards: A Study of al-Qa'ida's Violence Against Muslims

Descriptive Note:

Occasional paper

Corporate Author:

MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY COMBATING TERRORISM CENTER

Report Date:

2009-12-01

Pagination or Media Count:

57.0

Abstract:

In a 2007 online forum, al-Qaidas second in command, Ayman al Zawahiri, confronted questions about the organization s use of violence and especially violence against Muslims. Zawahiri and other leaders have defended al-Qaidas use of violence, arguing that their operations do not kill Muslims, and on the rare occasions they do, such individuals are apostates or martyrs. The fact is that the vast majority of al-Qaidas victims are Muslims the analysis here shows that only 15 of the fatalities resulting from al-Qaida attacks between 2004 and 2008 were Westerners. This report used Arabic media sources to study the victims of al-Qaidas violence through a nonWestern prism. This allows researchers to avoid accusations of bias associated with Western news outlets or U.S.-based datasets. Almost all of the major terrorism incident databases utilize Western and English-language reporting as primary source material. Al-Qaida and sympathizers consistently argue that Western media outlets are no more than propaganda machines, and therefore, any reports or data they release distort facts or lack accuracy. English-language sources lack credibility in certain parts of the world. In order to ensure both the accuracy and credibility of the analysis and conclusions, the report relied exclusively on Arabic-language media sources when coding fatalities. All of the sources used in this exercise are available as an appendix to this report to ensure that other researchers can reproduce these results.

Subject Categories:

  • Weapons Effects (Biological)
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE