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Osama Bin Laden’s Strategy Essay

What were Osama bin Laden’s intended strategies in response to the “Arab Spring and why did he consider it a formidable event?” In response to the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protest (both non-violent and violent) throughout the Arab world, Osama Bin Laden wanted to reevaluate how Al-Qaida as a whole conducted their operations within the Muslim world. Osama Bin Laden viewed Al Qaeda’s in ability to attract followers as a weakness, “He believed that a media campaign should be launched to incite people who have not yet revolted and exhort them to rebel against the rulers”, (Lahoud et al. 2012, 3). By avoiding joining political parties and focusing on combat operations, for example in Afghanistan the Taliban were “weakening” the United States which had a negative effect on the United States ability to assist leaders in the Muslim world with combating the Arab Spring, (Lahoud et al. 2012, 3). Osama Bin Laden viewed the Arab spring, which was sweeping across the Muslim World causing riots and protest as a time filled with great opportunity because of the effect it was having on Governments such as Tunisia and Egypt. “At the time he was writing, the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt, Zein al-`Abidin bin `Ali and Husni Mubarak had fallen.

Bin Laden was convinced that their fall was bound to trigger a domino effect, and “the fall of the remaining tyrants in the region was inevitable”, (Lahoud et al. 2012, 48). Explain Osama bin Laden’s relationship with regional jihadi groups at the time of his death. Senior Al Qaeda leadership held mixed feelings in regards to how to deal with regional jihadi groups. These regional groups were likely attracted to Al Qaeda after its much successful attack on September 11, 2009. While some Al Qaeda leadership felt that regional Jihadis should not be accepted into Al Qaeda, other leadership felt that only be including regional insurgents could Al Qaeda grow it’s numbers. “Bin Laden represented a third position, as he wanted to maintain communication, through his own pen or that of his inner circle, with “brothers” everywhere, to urge restraint and provide advice, without granting them formal unity with al-Qa`ida”, (Lahoud et al. 2012, 11-12).

Explain how King and Taylor describe the radicalization process for the purposes of their study, and why their study focused on the radicalization of “homegrown” jihadists. King and Taylor describe the radicalization process as one, which requires more than point of view to understand. This is why King and Taylor conducted analysis of all five radicalization models at one time in order to understand the process of radicalization. By comparing each method King and Taylor were able to note similarities and difference amongst the methods. The study focused on “homegrown Jihadists” because of the current threat towards the west as a result of radical ideology produced by terrorist organization such as Al Qaeda, (King and Taylor, 2011).

Why do King and Taylor take the position that basing counter-terrorism or counter-radicalization strategies on models that have not been empirically validated can be misleading and risky? In addition, why do King and Taylor take the position that the narrative promoted by jihadists is amenable to empirical research? King and Taylor believe the understanding and process of radicalization cannot be narrowed down to one method because the reason behind one individuals path towards terrorism may differ from another, (King and Taylor 2011, 616). Also, King and Taylor believe insurgents use propaganda to their benefit. For example, by leading Muslims to believe the West is attacking not only Muslim countries but also Islam itself they are able to instill into Muslim that they must defend their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. This is one method that is used in describing the early stages of the Radicalization, as described by the NYPD, (King and Taylor 2011, 617).

What conclusions do King and Taylor reach, regarding their study of radicalization of homegrown jihadists and what recommendations do they make regarding future research? At the conclusion of their research, King and Taylor decided that each method provided important information in regards to their own respected method. “When brought together, however, the commonalities and discrepancies between these models offered even greater insights, which may be used as a guiding framework for future research concerning homegrown jihadi radicalization”, (King and Taylor 2011, 617). The conclusion primarily focused on three factors which King and Taylor label as “contributing factors” to the radicalization process, reaction to group relative deprivation, management of identities and lastly personality characteristics, (King and Taylor 2011, 617-618). Along with these three factors King and Taylor suggest further research also focused on the internet and how it leads to radicalization and also the
Jihadi narrative and its ability to influence homegrown jihadists, (King and Taylor 2011, 618)


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