Is Al Qaeda still Alive? Essay

Is Al Qaeda still Alive? Essay

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The debate between Bruce Hoffman and Marc Sageman over the perceived threat
posed by Al-Qaeda is an intriguing one. Both Hoffman and Sageman are well known terrorist
experts and present an interesting thesis in support of their respective arguments. Hoffman
argues that Al-Qaeda is still active after reconstructing itself in the Tribal Areas in Pakistan,
and therefore, the threat posed by Al-Qaeda cannot be discredited. However, Sageman argues
that the threat posed by Al-Qaeda is no longer critical, and suggests that the threat posed by
terrorists emerging from the concept of leaderless resistance are of greater importance due to
the fact that they are harder to detect since they emerge from pretty much everywhere
(internet, chat rooms, and online forums) and they do not report to anyone. This essay will
argue that Hoffman’s argument is more convincing for several reasons: (1) Al-Qaeda is an
organization that is very versatile, adaptable, and capable of making a spectacular return
with a massive impact if it wants due to its protean nature, thus, it still remains a threat,
and (2) even though terrorists emerging through the concept of leaderless resistance are hard
to detect and infiltrate, they are not capable enough of creating an impact that an organization
like Al-Qaeda is capable of due to the lack of resources, funding, and training and as Peter
Bergen notes, “Leaderless things don’t produce big outcomes.” That being said, it does not
mean that Sageman’s arguments are all flawed, to a certain degree, he makes some credible
points and this paper will analyse those arguments in greater depth. To illustrate key points
found in both Hoffman’s and Sageman’s argument, this essay will make use of the ...


... middle of paper ...


...ti-layered threat. Furthermore, the report also states the domestic radicalization leading to
terrorism is a problem as well and one that is actually accelerating and the two threats
actually complement one another. Al Qaeda messaging plays a key role in radicalization,
while domestically radicalized individuals (7/7 bombers) often cycle through al Qaeda-run
training camps.
Furthermore, the CSIS report highlights the threat of al Qaeda, “the al Qaeda threat
has not disappeared despite the successes by intelligence and security forces in targeting
and neutralizing much of the group’s pre-9/11 leadership. CSIS’s focus is on the threat posed
by individuals and groups inspired by the ideology of al Qaeda. The primary threats to
Canada and interests would those posed by Islamist extremism and this threat exists both
domestically and internationally.

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