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date: 20 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the history, nature, and meaning of the “al-Qaida.” Debates have raged within the law enforcement and intelligence communities between those who favor a conception of al-Qaida as an organized, hierarchical group with the capacity to plan and execute terrorist strikes, and those who see “al-Qaida” as a phenomenon rather than a group. The article shows that there are several “al-Qaidas” that exist simultaneously and that over time they have interacted and evolved in response to exogenous and endogenous factors.

Keywords: al-Qaida, terrorist group, terrorism, organized groups

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