The Evolution of Al-Qaeda: Between Regional Conflicts and a Globalist Perspective
Abstract The article analyzes the prospects for the evolution of the odious terrorist group of modern times, al-Qaeda. This topic is relevant since the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Asia continue to serve as an “ideal” environment for the development of radical groups and ideologies. Based on a detailed study of the history of the formation of this organization, its ideology, goals, objectives and strategy, the authors consider the possibility of al-Qaeda becoming the dominant force in the global extremist movement in the coming years. The article examines the main stages of activity of this group, presents the results of a comparative analysis of the tactics of al-Qaeda and its main competitor ISIS.3 It is concluded that the strategic goal of al-Qaeda is to strengthen unity among foreign fighters of the global extremist movement. Al-Qaeda’s tactics with regard to civil wars demonstrate its capacity for pragmatism. The entanglement of local concerns with problems of global jihad has fostered al-Qaeda relationships and sustained alliances in a number of countries and regions. By engaging in some conflicts that are both fundamental and highly symbolic, al-Qaeda can further enhance its image as the “true” vanguard of Islamist insurgents. The article focuses on the relationship between al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq, Algeria, Yemen, and South Asia. In addition to the obvious advantages of demonstrating “worldwide reach” and growing influence, the creation of affiliates also has some negative aspects. The authors’ conclusions are based on an analysis of publications and speeches in the media space of A. al-Zawahiri, the leader of the radicals. The authors conclude that modern al-Qaeda is a decentralized, networked transnational terrorist organization. A conclusion is made about the possibility of al-Qaeda entering a new phase of activity, which will include strengthening territorial control, expanding recruitment and high-profile terrorist attacks around the world.