Al-Qaeda Terrorism in US
Al-Qaeda or “The Base developed from the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s. As the Soviets were getting ready to withdraw their forces and end the problematic conflict, Osama Bind Laden “decided to capitalize on the network he had built to take jihad global (Byman 2015). Bin Laden’s goal was clear. He wanted to create an army of trained jihadist that for the purpose of overthrowing corrupt Muslim regimes in the Middle East and replace them with true Islamic Caliphates. The United States was seen by Bin Laden as a root cause of all the problems in the Middle East. He believed that by targeting the United States, the country will finally give in and withdraw from the region completely.
The 1998 attacks on US embassies and obviously, the 9/11 attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon truly demonstrated Al-Qaeda’s power and enormous capabilities. US response was quick and devastating for the group. For the next 12 years, US forces persistently pursued Al-Qaeda soldiers and in 2011, they finally captured and killed Osama Bin Laden. However, badly wounded as the faction got, Al-Qaeda survived.
As mentioned in the previous paper, although “Al-Qaeda’s core remains a source of inspiration for its affiliate groups (Counter Extremism Project 2017), the faction went through many organizational changes in recent years. Today’s Al-Qaeda is s “a complex and decentralized enemy that requires strategies tailored to each of its franchises (Riedel 2013). Although US response to 9/11 attacks inflicted serious damage on Al-Qaeda, the worrisome truth is that recently, the terrorist association has managed to revive itself as most of the focus of counter terrorism forces shifted to ISIS. Almost 10 years after Bin Laden’s death, Al-Qaeda is again ready to activate its sleeper cells and wreak major havoc on US soil.
This paper will attempt to illustrate a hypothetical terrorist attack orchestrated by Al-Qaeda on US soil. The attack will take place in 2021 as the date represents 20th anniversary of 9/11 attack and 10th anniversary of Bin Laden’s Death. Two targets Al-Qaeda may find appropriate to attack will be discussed in detail. Subsequently, methods of prevention and contingency plans based of current protocols in place, academic research and personal knowledge will be presented.
It is 2021 and the preparation for a massive terrorist attack on US soil is rapidly gaining momentum after the Islamic extremists witnessed the striking of their strongholds by the US in Iraq and Syria. The attempt made by the former president Barrack Obama and current president Donald Trump helped dismantle the otherwise rise of terror activities in these countries. However, the effort made by Americans has created a lot of grumble with the Al-Qaida after they were responsible for killing one of their most prominent leaders, Osama Bin Laden. The Al-Qaeda terror attack is pre-planned to happen across the globe including several strategically selected hot spots areas in the United States. This includes New York, Washington D.C and the Pentagon in Arlington County. A diverse attack in this sense will not only cripple the economic performance of United States but also lessen its influence and power over Islamic states all over the world, giving them more power and authority to function as the US is in the process of surviving the attack (Byman, 2015).
The move is consequently planned to dismantle the leadership of US making it easy to gain more access to country’s security mechanisms and negatively affects the economy. Such a move will see a reduction in powers and authority. The attack is coordinated by the son of Osama Bin Laden. Conducted report by the National Consortium that attempts to find the terrorism responses in all US cities articulated that most attacks in the US soil range from the left wing and right-wing radical groups, in most cases those of nationalist and religious natures. Figures also show the probability to which one city to another is likely to be affected by the terrorist attacks, indicating key figures and buildings likely to be the subjects of a terror attack as well as evacuation plans and emergency routes. Such information was made widely available on many government websites. By disclosing their emergency and evacuation plans on various websites, the intentions of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) analysts were to prepare and warn the public. By doing so however, relevant information related to potential attacks on US soil became also available to terrorist groups. Based on the analysis and research, the success and growth of Al-Qaeda are enabled through online platforms that unintentionally avail all required information to terrorists for attacks. Al-Qaeda leaders are aware of the fact that the United States’ high global standing is closely connected to the security of the homeland. An attack in one city would significantly affects the credibility and power of the United States (Chomsky, 2015).
The Global Terrorism Database shows the main attacks on US soil is prone to be based on available research, logistics, history of selected cities as well as their populations. According to the most recent census, the current population of New York City is over 8 million but unofficial estimates put the population at over 12 million. Moreover, NYC is one of the most culturally diverse places on the planet and Al-Qaeda leaders cleverly exploit that diversity. The politicized issue of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in the United States, became crucially relevant to Al-Qaeda in recent time after Congress squashed the Act and left almost 4 million “dreamers undocumented. As many youths in the US have no jobs nor access to quality medical care, they are more susceptible to radicalization and highly motivated to join fundamentalist groups that promise them better future. Al-Qaeda materializes on that notion every day.
A look at DACA figures shows that many of those affected are Muslims and other minorities that have been living in the United Stated for a very long time. Al-Qaeda plan is therefore bound to yield more success given the diversity element and concentrating recruitment efforts on distressed young people who understand the US culture well. According to a report published by National Intelligence Estimate, the Al-Qaeda motive is political in nature and it aims to demoralize the recent movements that seeks to render out the Sharia law in Muslim communities across the globe. As creation of caliphate is Al-Qaeda’s main goal, especially in the Middle East, the faction is concentrated on ensuring that western powers, mainly the United States, have no authority over Islamic lands in that region. Al-Qaeda is not only willing to terrorize the US to guarantee they pull their troops out of Islamic lands but the faction is ready to wage long wars across the US homeland in order to cripple country’s financial resources thus inflaming sentiments of those already opposing current government structure. Also, their succession plan will enable Al-Qaeda to gain even more power and territory, making them the most fearsome Islamic Caliphate.
Al-Qaeda soldiers have long been ready to strike the US. They seek vengeance for the death of their notorious leader Osama Bin-Laden who was killed by US military 10 years ago in Pakistan. Their plan to strike the US has been born out of anger, with religious affiliation and political influence also playing a major role. Al-Qaeda began their recruitment on US soil several years ago. From rural to urban areas sometimes using intimidation and violence, they were able to recruit many. Although the United States homeland security forces have increased exponentially in recent years in order to combat such attacks, the law enforcement leadership is completely unaware that most major police departments around the country are under the influence of Al-Qaeda forces. Al-Qaeda managed to radicalize numerous police cadets while they were still in training. These are now sworn police officers that will provide crucial intelligence related to police movements once the attacks begin.
Planning the attack:
This operation will consist of simultaneous attacks across the United States. It would be orchestrated in that way in attempt to confuse the police forces and response teams as they will be forced to shift and divide their attention between several US cities. Therefore, the initial attack will take place in several smaller towns in states of Arizona, Texas, and Nebraska. These smaller attacks w will draw most of the attention of US law enforcement personnel thus giving the Al-Qaeda a better chance to mobilize its operatives in New York City and Washington DC- two main targets of their planned terrorist attack.
Al-Qaeda forces are planning to attack one of New York City most iconic buildings- The Freedom Tower. They are also planning an attack on Washington DC. These areas were carefully selected. They are densely populated and their architecture represents modern, western culture as it defines the global influence and economic power of the United States. Small areas of Maricopa county and King County will also experience random attacks that are meant to forestall the efforts made by the police officers across the country. The attacks, therefore, were planned and coordinated to take place simultaneously across all selected areas. Collaborators used IED and vest bombs as well as crude nuclear bombs.
Trained Al-Qaeda operatives have been studying emergency response plans and geographic maps of selected locations for the past two years. Around the same time, they also activated most of the officers affiliated with Al-Qaeda on US soil. Their work was to study, report, and silently gain more access to leadership forums plans for meeting and the kind of security attached (Levin et al., 2016). Al-Qaeda made preparations for the attack by carefully observing and studying local emergency response forces and law enforcement personnel. The affiliated Al-Qaeda supporters were divided into 10 groups with each accorded different responsibility depending on current operational needs. Some were involved in ascertaining the time it takes for police officers to respond to various crimes such as robberies and burglaries while others were involved in accessing the surveillance loopholes. Moreover, another group of fanatics was trained in a riot creating. In the New York, use of this tactic saw them detained by the police officers. While in police custody, they took turns to survey the kind of weaponry the local police have at their disposal as well as how easily accessible the weapons are. Some member of “riot group that are also former DACA recipients created a bogus demonstration in US capital. By doing so, they instigated other violent riots across the city. The tactic allowed terrorists to analyze the law enforcement response and the response of political leaders. During riots, near the White House, Al-Qaeda operatives were also able to pinpoint the best location for planting a vehicle loaded with a crude nuclear bomb.
The last team focused on espionage. In 2019, our diplomatic relations with Russia deteriorated exponentially. Al-Qaeda leaders seized the opportunity and scheduled a secret meeting with top Russian officials on a Yacht docked near Seychelles Islands. During the meeting, Russians provided Al-Qaeda with a list off all of their US spies and made them available to the terrorist faction. Some of these people were already in high positions in places like US Attorney General’s Office, FBI and CIA. Under Al-Qaeda’s supervision, these individuals were able to infiltrate these organizations, learn the data frameworks, gain access to restricted areas and get ready to facilitate future distribution of weaponry to their fellow attackers (Taylor, Fritsch & Liederbach, 2014). Russian also agreed to provide Al-Qaeda with vast financial resources. Using several crypto currencies, they provided Al-Qaeda with 500 million dollars. Money was used for bribes, shelter and food for all US operatives and to buy explosives including two crude nuclear bombs that were built in Iran in 2019. The devices were smuggled from Iran to Cuba and from there, they were transported to Mexico in a high speed boat that belonged to Sinaloa Cartel. For a hefty fee of 50 million dollars, the cartel smuggled the bomb to the US through the open border in Arizona State.
As earlier discussed, the attack will be well coordinated and take place on September 11, 2021. Washington DC will be targeted first, followed by New York City.
Target 1 (Washington DC):
Washington DC was selected by Al-Qaeda as on of the group objections is to coerce the United States Government into driving US troops out of Islamic world. “With the goal of coercion in mind, the group decided to carry a nuclear assault that would target particularly politically influential personalities and organizations (RAND 2016). According to most recent official Washington DC visitor statistics, “in the past year, DC welcomed a total of 22.0 million visitors, setting a new record for the city. (Washington DC statistics 2016). Moreover, if properly timed, the nuclear attack could potentially kill majority of our leaders in an instant, leaving the US in a state of total chaos for months.
“We have the right to kill 4 million Americans-2 million of the children was a message Al Qaeda spokesman Suleiman Abu Suleiman Abu Gheith conveyed to the western world in 2002. According to the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities, “Al Qaeda probably had access to nuclear expertise (power point). However, not many believed that such attack could happen on US soil. The attack took place at 9:30 in the morning. A cargo van driven by two Al-Qaeda’s martyrs was prepared the night before in a secret warehouse 50 miles from the city center.