Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa


  • R. KIM CRAGIN (a1)

Scholars, journalists, and government officials have tried to understand al-Qa'ida and its predecessor, Maktab al-Khidamat, since the early 1980s. These efforts increased significantly after the 11 September 2001 attacks against the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon. Yet, despite this attention, questions remain unanswered. What factors have influenced al-Qa'ida leaders over time as they have made and executed strategic decisions? How have they defined their relationship with affiliated groups in the context of these decisions? This present article utilizes private al-Qa'ida documents, captured by United States Navy Seals during a raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, and recently released to the public, to answer these questions. In doing so, it casts doubt on some of the conventional explanations for al-Qa'ida's trajectory between 2004 and 2013.

Corresponding author
1200 S. Hayes Street, Arlington VA, 22202,
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Brian Fishman , ‘Using the mistakes of al-Qaeda's franchises to undermine its strategies’, ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 618 (July 2008), pp. 4654

Fawaz A. Gerges , The far enemy: why jihad went global (New York, NY, 2005)

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Historical Journal
  • ISSN: 0018-246X
  • EISSN: 1469-5103
  • URL: /core/journals/historical-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 37
Total number of PDF views: 88 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 241 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.