Voices Friday, June 20, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute| June 20, 2014| 8.58 am IST A look at how far and wide the tentacles of the Al-Qaeda and other terror groups are spread. SYRIA- Al-Nusra Front: Al-Nusra Front, or Defence of the Syrian People is a Jihadist group with a claim to be the ‘Muslim nation’s weapon’ in Syria. The group came into existence in early 2012 and has an active media presence managed by its media al-Manara al-Baida (The White Minaret). The organization has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda though its chief has insisted that the oath will not change the organizations decisions in Syria where it has been fighting the Bashar government. The organization’s attacks are termed as retribution for alleged atrocities committed by Syrian security forces and pro-government militia. Other than the government, it lists the US and Israel as enemies of Islam and is also in a fight with ISIL- the other Jihadist organization in Syria. YEMEN- AQAP- Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP is a militant Islamist organisation works actively in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It also known as Ansar al-Shari’a and is often considered to be the most lethal franchises of the Al-Qaeda. When the Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, considered to be the centre of the organisation, considerably declined in power, AQAP was formed in 2009. The US identifies it as a terrorist organisation. It works against the Saudi Royal family, an ally of the US. The AQAP is said to have been responsible for several violent activities including USS Cole Bombing (2000) and the Sana’a bombing (2012), one of the deadliest attacks in Yemen’s history. IRAQ- The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also known as ISIS)  ISIL is a Jihadist militant group that functions mainly in Iraq and Syria. The group was formed in 2013, with the help of other insurgent groups. The Al Qaeda broke all ties with ISIL earlier in 2014.  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is said to be the leader of the organisation. According to a BBC profile of ISIL, the organisation claims to have fighters from UK, France, Germany, US, the Arab world and the Caucasus. ISIL aims at establishing a Muslim state across Syria and Iraq. Over the last few years, the group has made most of the instability in the Syria and Iraq. They have taken over the Syrian city of Raqqaand Iraq’s Fallujah among others. NIGERIA- Boko Haram The group Jama’atu Ahlus-Sunnah Lidda’Awati Wal Jihad, known the world over as Boko Haram, is an extremist Islamic sect in Nigeria that has created havoc across the north of the country and in the capital, Abuja. Journalist Andrew Walker in his paper on Boko Haram says, “Boko Haram is an Islamic sect that believes northern politics has been seized by a group of corrupt, false Muslims. It wants to wage a war against them, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria generally, to create a “pure” Islamic state ruled by sharia law.” MALI- Ansar Dine Ansar Dine, which roughly translates to “defenders of the faith,” is a rebel group that emerged in Mali in March 2012 that seeks the installation of a strict interpretation of sharia law. In March 2013 it was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. Department of State, and similarly classed as a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council.' LIBYA- Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghred (AQIM) Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is a Salafi-jihadist militant group which was formed with an aim to overthrow the Algerian government in the 1990s. Though it was initially called the Armed Islamic Group, by 2000 it aligned with the Al Qaeda and by 2006 was renamed as AQIM. Later it spread activities to other countries and wants to institute an Islamic state. AQIM now believed to be headquartered in Libya wants to get rid of western influence over North Africa; overthrowing governments of Algeria, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia. SOMALIA –Al Shabaab Al Shabaab or Movement of Striving Youth is a Qaeda affiliate based out of Somalia. The group is fighting an insurgency against the internationally recognized Somali Federal Government. Al-Shabaab is said to have many foreigners within its ranks, particularly at the leadership level. Al-Shabab, which is believed to have links to al-Qaeda, is regarded by the US and many other governments as a terrorist organisation. AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN- Al-Qaeda and Taliban Al Qaeda The Al-Qaeda (the base) is a transnational militant Islamist organization. Its roots can be traced to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan when the US, to counter the Soviet forces, gave funds to the Afghan Mujaheedin. Its ideology comes from the Islamic revival and the Islamic movement of the late 20th century. The organization is primarily based in West Asia but also has a presence in Northern Africa, parts of Europe and J&K, India. Al-Qaeda is known to have perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, an earlier attack on the WTC in 1993 and a failed attempt to assassinate President Clinton. The organization became the target of Bush’s War on Terrorism and its chief Osama bin Laden was killed by a special US task force in 2011.  Taliban The Taliban began as a movement in Afghanistan but has now been given diplomatic recognition by Pakistan, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Its origins are attributed to Pakistan’s ISI which used the organization to establish a Pakistan-friendly regime in Afghanistan. Its ideology is supposed to be a fundamental interpretation of the shari’a and Pahtun tribal codes. The organization has an active Pakistan wing- the Tehrik-i-Taliban whose goal is to establish their rule over the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The organization was once allied with the Al-Qaeda but has been in disagreement with the latter on many points.

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