CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY: Why current US strategy is setting the stage for al Qaeda to lead the Salafi-jihadi movement

American Enterprise Institute's picture
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

View related content:

, ,

In testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, al Qaeda expert Katherine Zimmerman discusses the continued threat posed by al Qaeda, and its efforts to once again take leadership of the global jihadist movement.

Al Qaeda sees itself as the vanguard of the Salafi-jihadi movement. It does not seek to establish a state in the short term, unlike ISIS. It aims, rather, to provide strategic guidance and capabilities to the network of individuals, groups, and organizations that subscribe to the Salafi-jihadi ideology and form the true base of the movement.

Al Qaeda prioritizes the Muslim world rather than attacking the West. It works hard to teach its religion to the masses, having learned through experience that too-rapid imposition of its views will alienate the population. It compares Muslims today to children, who must first learn right from wrong before they can be held accountable. Al Qaeda senior leadership directed attacks against the United States and the West to compel them to retreat from the Muslim world and end their support for state governments, which al Qaeda believed would pave the way for the success of popular revolutions in the name of Islam. Attacks against the West were always subordinate to the larger aims al Qaeda pursues in the Muslim world itself.

Al Qaeda’s evolution and adaptation to conditions ensures that it will threaten the United States long term and emerge stronger from the chaos that has enveloped the Muslim world. It is poised to take over the reins of the Salafi-jihadi movement. Yet, it is not sufficient just to defeat al Qaeda and ISIS. The Salafi-jihadi movement predates both groups and will generate another transnational organization if they are defeated. Instead, the US must move beyond focusing on the groups and instead seek to weaken and defeat the global Salafi-jihadi movement.

Read the full testimony here.

Stay tuned next week for the release of Zimmerman’s forthcoming report on Salafi-jihadi ideology and its threat to the US homeland.

Copy this html code to your website/blog to embed this press release.


Post new comment

7 + 7 =

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.