by Rohan Gunaratna
Three to four dozen international and local organizations, up to one hundred thousand individuals, and millions of supporters are part of the phenomenon of Global Jihad. The Global Jihad Movement endeavors to name and differentiate these organizations and to explain their infrastructure, operational capabilities, and activities. It also analyzes their mutual and multi-lateral relations inside and outside the “jihadi framework.” In essence, this is a “who’s who” in the Global Jihad.
The first section deals with ideology, focusing on the emergence of the Salafi and the Salafi-jihadi ideologies, which are still the most important factors behind the operational performance of Global Jihadi elements. The second section addresses the “affiliate groups” of al-Qaeda, such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and al-Qaeda in Iraq. This section focuses mainly on the groups that adopted al-Qaeda’s Global Jihad strategy by incorporating Western targets in their vicinity of operations in their targeting policies. The next section discusses the different jihad arenas that have emerged over the last three decades, absorbing jihadi fighters from Islamic communities around the world. Finally, tThe last section examines the long process of radicalization, from regular and normative lifestyle patterns to the final jihadi stage-which in many cases involves martyrdom as suicide bombers in the name of radical Islam.