Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda: Reactionary Revolutionaries in the New Political Islam

  • Nathaniel Madison Cartmell IV College of Arts and Science of Vanderbilt University

Abstract

With the events of September 11th, an unfamiliar terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda announced its presence, its capabilities, and its willingness to engage in massive violence to the world. Americans, generally poorly informed on the history of the Middle East and blithely unaware of serious foreign threats in the post-Soviet era, were not well equipped to assess the threat. This essay, utilizing a critical analysis of Al-Qaeda’s communiqués as well as the increasingly vast body of secondary literature, defines this new threat through an exploration of the sources of its animosity and proposes a more effective means of combating the threat, all while placing the issue in a larger historical context and filling the knowledge gap for non-specialists. Among the most notable findings is the realization that Al-Qaeda’s core objective is a political one and a purely militaristic counterterrorist strategy will have a low probability of success. It may even worsen the situation by contributing to the public appearance of a clash of civilizations. Additionally, there are preliminary indications that the threat posed by Al-Qaeda, though significant, is ultimately self-destructive.

Author Biography

Nathaniel Madison Cartmell IV, College of Arts and Science of Vanderbilt University
Nathaniel Cartmell is a Senior in the College of Arts & Science. He is a History major with minors in Philosophy and French.
Published
08-12-2006
How to Cite
CARTMELL IV, Nathaniel Madison. Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda: Reactionary Revolutionaries in the New Political Islam. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, [S.l.], v. 2, aug. 2006. ISSN 1555-788X. Available at: <http://ejournals.library.vanderbilt.edu/index.php/vurj/article/view/2746>. Date accessed: 18 nov. 2017. doi: https://doi.org/10.15695/vurj.v2i0.2746.
Section
Humanities and Social Sciences

Keywords

Political Islam