Definition/Scope: Al-Qaeda, alternatively spelled al-Qaida and sometimes al-Qa'ida, (The Base or the foundation) is an international Sunni Islamist movement founded in 1988. Al-Qaeda have attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, the most notable being the September 11 attacks in 2001. These actions were followed by the US government launching a military and intelligence campaign against al-Qaeda called the War on Terror. Characteristic techniques include suicide attacks and simultaneous bombings of different targets. Activities ascribed to it may involve members of the movement, who have taken a pledge of loyalty to Osama bin Laden, or the much more numerous "al-Qaeda-linked" individuals who have undergone training in one of its camps in Afghanistan or Sudan but not taken any pledge. Al-Qaeda's objectives include the end of foreign influence in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate. Reported beliefs include that a Christian-Jewish alliance is conspiring to destroy Islam, and that the killing of bystanders and civilians is Islamically justified in jihad. Its management philosophy has been described as "centralization of decision and decentralization of execution." Following 9/11 and the launching of what's called the War on Terrorism, it is thought al-Qaeda's leadership has "become geographically isolated", leading to the "emergence of decentralized leadership" of regional groups using the al-Qaeda "brand name."
Used For:Al Qaada
Broader Terms:Central Intelligence Agency
Narrower Terms:Improvised Explosive Device
Related Terms:Anti-coalition Forces