Security experts are of the view that in the short term, attacks from Al-Qaida may go up, and in the long run, the demise of Bin laden may erode its capabilities to carry out attacks. By use of social network analysis, this paper will discuss the evolution of Al-Qaida since 1990s from a central organization to an amorphous network. This paper will analyze strengths and weaknesses of Al-Qaida as a loosely tied terror group and provide evidences of its demise.
On October 17th 2004, Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda and Zarqawi’s At-Tawhid Wal-Jihad come together under the network of Al-Qaeda. This merger made sociologist to identify what Al-Qaeda is and who its members are. The term Al-Qaeda describes a host of radical Islamic terrorist groups which might or might not have formal links with Osama bin Laden but share a common ideology. Zarqawi was a leading member of Al-Qaeda ideology in Iraq, though independent from the influences of Osama bin Laden. The evolution of Al-Qaeda can be traced with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and after the collapse of USSR in 1991; Al-Qaeda saw this as a catalyst to Islamic revolution. With the withdrawal of USSR from Afghanistan, Bin Laden made terrorist training camps in east of Afghanistan (Bergen, 34). Bin laden made a call for a crusade against the Americans in the 1990s and his success in attacking America on 11th of September 2001 affirmed bin Laden’s status as a Jihadist. The destruction of Taliban regime and bin laden’s training grounds dealt the movement a major blow while the invasion of Iraq by America in 2003 made Al-Qaeda develop a new action plan. Without its Afghan training camps (Sageman, 56), Al-Qaeda was in need of other training grounds and focus was on lawless Somalia and Iraq. Currently, Al-Qaeda under Zawahiri has an alliance with Somalia terrorist group, Al- Shabaab who are facing extensive military campaign from the African Union.