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Decoding Al-Qaeda's StrategyThe Deep Battle Against America$
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Michael Ryan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231163842

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231163842.001.0001

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The Leadership Inspires a New Strategy

The Leadership Inspires a New Strategy

(p.51) Two The Leadership Inspires a New Strategy
Decoding Al-Qaeda's Strategy

Michael W. S. Ryan

Columbia University Press

This chapter describes the relationship between Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, with a focus on the development of a post-9/11 strategy, by examining al-Zawahiri's brief strategic template, which he offers in his post-9/11 book Knights Under the Prophet's Banner. Osama Bin Laden founded al-Qaeda, the first organization dedicated to global jihad, in 1988, with the help of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Together they began a series of bombings in U.S. embassies, which eventually culminated in the 9/11 attack. The success of al-Qaeda efforts can be attributed to the organization's ideology and strategy. They believe they could defeat the U.S. using the same strategy they have used in defeating the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The first task in their strategy was to convince their own members and allies that the United States was not all-powerful and impossible to defeat.

Keywords:   Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden, Knights Under the Prophet's Banner, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, jihad

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