A Look Into Terrorism Recruitment #2

Schweitzer, Yoram, and Aviv Oreg. Al-Qaeda’s Odyssey to the Global Jihad.

Institution for National Security Studies. Web. 9 Oct. 2014.

9/11 sparked a storm through the world, igniting fires within many youth’s hearts. Al-Qaeda used this youth movement to grow exponentially; grouping Muslim youths together to fight its holy cause. The sudden burst of activity by al-Qaeda over the years can be attributed to the sudden surge of youth volunteers, stemming from a dislike of western influence in conservative culture. Before his death, Osama Bin Laden consistently used dramatic flares of activity to stir notice within the ranks of other terrorist organizations, grouping them under the now blanket term of al-Qaeda. This sudden spread of affiliation has only led to more difficulties for Western powers to slow the spread of terrorism within the Middle East.

Like its western opposition, al-Qaeda maintains a special operation team, dedicated to the task of enlisting, financing, and managing large scale attacks, as well as recruitment. These teams spread the organization’s specialty of attack: suicide operations. These operations do not however, slow recruitment as expected. Al-Qaeda’s body count slowly has risen, totaling about 3,000 deaths by the September 11 attack on the United States. This use of offense has been adopted by many of al-Qaeda’s affiliating groups. The number of self-sacrificial attacks has continued to rise within the surrounding regions; spreading to areas very loosely affiliated with al-Qaeda ideology. This very specific method of offense becoming so closely affiliated with al-Qaeda has acted as a catalyst for recruitment through headline attacks, online social media, and reputation.

Terrorist organizations’ use of online media to target prospective recruits shows a strong attempt to keep stride with a growing social culture of youths. Propaganda and stories of success are shared instantly throughout online social media where the messages make their way to headlining news articles, only furthering the reach of the widespread pandemonium these groups wish to inflict upon their opposition. These messages only help highlight a growing anti-western sentiment within the ranks of terrorist organizations, and those who wish to join.

I would criticize that this article does not delve deeply into the online aspect of recruitment. However, the staggering statistics provided highlight the issue of dramatic attacks, going into greater detail regarding the use of humans as weapons, as the well as modernization of terrorist tactics. These statistics also show a correlation between al-Qaeda affiliates and other terrorist organizations adopting similar self-sacrificial methods to make a larger impact on the global scale. Though thoroughly convincing, I would again criticize the lack of detail regarding online social media and its use in responding to these events, as well as celebrating these moments as accomplishments in some cases.

Al-Qaeda has a well-known Twitter account, as does the organization known as Al-Shabaab. Neither of these media outlets (the organizations use them regularly) are mentioned. This is an enormous object to glance over. The twitter handles are constantly updated with messages, propaganda, as well as demeaning messages directed at the countries that oppose a misguided will of Allah. These men have no real control over rational followers of Islam, and never will. However, this does not stop them from infecting the youth of Muslim culture through other various sources.