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					Understanding Global Salafi Terror
            Networks
           Marc Sageman
      sageman@post.harvard.edu


                                     1
Evidence Based Terrorism Research
•   Specific threat to the U.S.
•   Application of scientific method to terrorism research
•   Started with 9/11 Perpetrators as index sample
•   400 biographies of terrorists
    – Trial transcripts
        • US, France, Germany, Egypt, Indonesia, Morocco, Canada
    – Press accounts (FBIS)
        • English, French, German, Arabic, Spanish, Turkish, Dutch
    – Academic publications
    – Internet (corroborated)



                                                                     2
               Global Salafi Jihad
• Violent Islamist born-again social movement
• Fight for justice & fairness:
   – Build a better world utopia modeled on the community of the
     Prophet & his companions (Salaf)
• Four phases:
   –   Peaceful capture of the state (al-Banna – Muslim Brothers)
   –   Against the near enemy (Faraj – “the forgotten duty”)
   –   Global expansion of defensive jihad (Azzam)
   –   Global offense against the far enemy (Zawahiri & bin Laden)
        • Expel the West from the Middle East
• Use of violence against non-Muslim governments or
  population to establish an Islamist state

                                                                     3
             Evolution of al Qaeda
• Three processes of self-selection of the most militants:
   – 1988-9: the most militants, who had come to fight the anti-Soviet
     jihad & could not go home, stayed behind and formed al Qaeda
   – 1991-2: the most militants expelled from Pakistan went to Sudan
   – Switch of strategy from “near enemy” to “far enemy”
   – 1996: 150 militants expelled from Sudan returned to Afghanistan
• 1996-2001: Golden age of al Qaeda:
   –   Control of “Golden Chain:” exclusive funding for terrorism
   –   Control of training camps & establishment of shelter
   –   Staff for planning & coordination
   –   Afghanistan, as failed state, has little ability to control al Qaeda
• Al Qaeda controls Global Salafi Jihad & focuses it on “far
  enemy”
                                                                              4
        Global Salafi Network
                Central Staff (38)
                     Shura
                 4 Committees




                                     Southeast
Maghreb Arabs        Core Arabs       Asians
   (162)               (127)           (55)


                                             5
Family of Origin (SES)
50
45
40
35
30
                         Upper Class
25
                         Middle Class
20
                         Lower Class
15
10
 5
 0
     CS   CA   MA   SA


                                        6
         Recruitment:
        Age Distribution
30

25

20

15
                                   Numbers
10

5

0
     18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 >34


                                             7
                        Age
•   Average:             25.69 years
•   Southeast Asians:    29.35 years
•   Central Staff:       27.90 years
•   Core Arabs:          23.75 years




                                       8
          Type of Education
.   100
     90
     80
     70
     60
     50                       Secular
     40                       Religious
     30
     20
     10
      0
          CS   CA   MA   SA

                                          9
     Levels of Education
50
45
40
35                       <HS
30                       HS
25                       College
20                       BA/BS
15                       MA
10                       Doctorate
 5
 0
     CS   CA   MA   SA




                                     10
     Devotion as Youth
70
60
50
40                       Religious
30                       Secular
                         Christian
20
10
0
     CS   CA   MA   SA




                                     11
          Occupation
45
40
35
30
25                       Professional
20                       Semiskilled
15                       Unskilled
10
5
0
     CS   CA   MA   SA


                                        12
              Family Status
• 73% married
  – Most had children
  – All of Central Staff and Southeast Asian
    members were married
• Most unmarried were students or too young
• Consistent with Salafi Islam


                                               13
          Criminal Background
• Vast Majority: no crime
• Some major crime
   – Robbery (Roubaix gang, Kelkal gang, JI)
• Petty crime: Maghreb logistic cells
   – Credit card fraud, false documents, insurance fraud
   – Drug traffic (more common now)
• Those least likely to do harm individually are most
  able to do so collectively.


                                                           14
                 Mental Health
• Very little evidence of mental illness
• Very little evidence of personality disorder
   – No narcissism (willingness to sacrifice for the comrade
     & cause)
   – No pathological hatred
   – Very little trauma in family studied: usually
     overprotected youths
• Overall, “good kids,” except second generation
  Maghreb Arabs, who lived life of petty crime
                                                           15
                   Diaspora
• Global Salafi Jihad is a diaspora phenomenon
• 84% of Global Salafi Mujahedin have joined the
  jihad, while living in a diaspora (87% in Western
  Europe)
• Link between terrorism & diaspora predated
  “globalization” & not specific to religion or Islam
   – Anarchists, IRA, LTTE, ETA



                                                    16
              Joining the Jihad

• Friendship (pre-existing): 68%
   – “Bunch of guys” collectively deciding to join
   – Joining childhood friends
• Kinship: 20%
   – Fathers, brothers, first cousins
   – Importance of in-laws & marriage to cement friendship
     bonds
• Discipleship: 10%
   – Students of Sungkar & Baasyir from Jamaah Islamiyah

                                                         17
        Trajectory of Core Arabs
• Upwardly & geographically mobile (“best & brightest”)
• Mostly from religious, caring & middle class families
• Global citizens, conversant in 3 or 4 languages, skilled in
  computer technology
• Separated from traditional bonds & culture
• Homesick, lonely, marginalized & excluded from society
• Seek friends
• Drifted to mosques for companionship, not religion
• Moved in together (halal food), formed cliques


                                                                18
    Trajectory of Maghreb Arabs
• Two main paths
   – Second generation in the West
   – Young economic immigrants to the West
• Upwardly mobile, & completely secular background
• Excluded from society
• Dropped out of school
   – Petty crime (false documents & drug dealing)
   – Drug addiction
• Groups of friends, who grew up together & collectively
  drifted to religion to escape their situation
• Radicalized collectively
                                                           19
                       Mobilization
• Spontaneously self-organized “bunches of guys” of trusted friends,
  from the bottom up
• No top down Al Qaeda recruitment program
    – No campaign, shura or budget dedicated to recruitment
    – Selection: 15-25% of volunteers accepted
• Gaps in the distribution (U.S., Palestine, Iran)
• Local initiative, flexibility and informal communications
    – Violated most rules of aQ manual tradecraft, which ensured operational
      success
    – Local search for links with al Qaeda
• Social bonds came before ideological commitment
• No evidence of “brainwashing”: they simply acquired the beliefs of
  their friends
• Group processes: no Robinson Crusoe narrative

                                                                               20
                     Motivation
• Insidious process:
• Low risk participation with an increasingly closer set of
  friends
• Medium risk proselytism for an ideal way of life
• Importance of specific script for the global Salafi jihad: 12
  Islamist institutions generated 50% of sample
• Salafi ideology: new values (Islam & ummah)
   – Greater jihad: “born again”, imitate Salaf through personal
     example
   – Faith & commitment grounded in intense small group dynamics
   – Gradual development of a collective identity
• Complete transformation of values

                                                                   21
                  In-group love
• Dynamics of dense social networks promotes in-
  group love
• Self-sacrifice for comrades and the cause
   –   Secular  religious
   –   Material  spiritual
   –   Short-term opportunity  long-term vision
   –   Individual concern  communitarian sacrifice
   –   Apathy  active engagement
   –   Traditional morality  takfir group morality
   –   Worldly gains  otherworldly rewards

                                                      22
               Out-group hate
• Grounded in everyday experience of
  discrimination & exclusion from highest levels of
  society
   – Endemic in Middle East & Western Europe
• Grounded in group dynamics:
   – “Bunch of guys” escalation of mutual complaints about
     the unfairness & injustice in society
   – Endorse conspiracy theories
• Endorse takfir doctrine  sanctions commission
  of crimes v. society
                                                         23
      European Social Conditions
• Alienated young Muslims, who became radicalized in Europe
• Failure of European integration policy for Muslim populations
   – Rapid immigration growth post WWII
        • Vulnerable to economic crises
   – Rigid social structure in Europe
        • Lack of bottom up integration
        • Failure of top down policy (France, Germany & Britain)
   – Europe v. countries built on immigration
        • No “European Dream”
        • Alienation & radicalization young generation
• Lack of alternative expression of social protest
   – Utopian vision for Justice & Fairness (Communist, Salafist…)
   – Demise of old Left in Europe (same people attracted to both)

                                                                    24
              Group Dynamics
• Explanation in normal group dynamics, rather
  than individual mental pathology
• Once in the movement, difficult to abandon it
  without betraying close friends & family
• This natural & intense loyalty to the group,
  inspired by a violent Salafi script, transforms
  alienated young Muslims into fanatic terrorists
• High risk terrorist operations
   – In-group love + out-group hate (under specific violent
     script, often religious)  mass murder + suicide

                                                              25
The Network

              Clumps

                     Central Staff

                     Core Arab


                     Southeast Asian

                     Maghreb Arab


              Node Size

                     Leader


                     Lieutenant


                     Other people
              Fate
                     Dead 26

                     Captured
Pre-existing social bonds




                            27
            Operational Links
                                Bali, 2002
                                Jakarta, 2003
                                Singapore Plot, 2001

9/11/01
                                Strasbourg, 1999

                                LAX,. 1999




                                France, 1995

                                Casablanca, 2003

Emb, 1998                       Morocco, 1994
                                Istanbul, 2003
                                               28
Personal v Operational Links




                               29
              Continued Evolution
• Success of Post 9/11 Counter-Terrorism campaign
   – Elimination of sanctuary, funding, communication & key leaders
   – Neutralization of al Qaeda proper
• Physical break up of formal global Salafi jihad networks
   – Expansion of home-grown initiative due to lack of leadership &
     restraints
   – Local autonomy, self-financing & self-training
   – Informal communications, difficult to monitor
   – Fuzzy boundaries: no formal initiation or fixed numbers
   – New local, more aggressive & reckless leadership



                                                                      30
                      Present Status
• Four types of networks existing in parallel:
    – The old al Qaeda organization:
        • Effectively neutralized (sanctuary denial, monitored commo)
    – The organized affiliated groups, now more autonomous:
        • Zarqawi’s organization; JI; MILF; GSPC
    – Unaffiliated informal groups:
        • Madrid group; “Salafia Jihadia”; Hofstad group; Benchellali group;
          London groups; Khan al-Khalili group; Taba group; Istanbul group
    – Singletons:
        • Osman Petmezci; Kamel Bourgass; Yehya Kadouri
• Effectiveness of U.S. CT campaign
    – pressures GSJ to evolve into the last two types of networks
    – Forces migration of the Jihad to the Internet
• Virtually connected via Internet
    – World Wide Web: mass medium (passive, informative)
    – Internet: interactive transformation of the jihad
                                                                               31
      Mass Medium for the Jihad
• WWW impacts the substance of the Salafi message
• Diffusion of Salafi message, bypassing traditional imams
• Selective sound bite version of Islam
• Rejection of traditions fosters unique interpretation of the
  Quran
• No more need for “preachers of hate”
• Jihadi message alive on WWW
• WWW is home to war of narratives, fought on the
  battlefield of interpretations


                                                                 32
                   Impact of WWW
• People anonymously post & access ideas on Websites
• Virtual market place for providers (ideologues) & consumers (home-
  grown volunteers) of ideas: goals, strategy & tactics
   – No need for leaders or training camps
• Virtual Command & Control of the jihad
    – Virtual “invisible hand” organizing terrorist activities worldwide
• Co-existence of multiple competing websites
   – Peaceful co-existence of rivals on competing sites: decrease of
     internal dissent
   – Consumers pick & choose preferred sites & messages (inspiration
     & activation)
   – Inversion of power pyramid: followers are in control
   – Natural selection of most persuasive sites & efficient operations
• Rapid evolution toward a “Leaderless Jihad”
                                                                           33
  Social Transformation of the Jihad
• Internet fosters virtual in-group love & out-group hate
• Creation of strong bonds of intimacy & belonging
   – Anonymity  self-disclosure  intimacy (very rapid)
   – Rapid formation of virtual cliques, mobilizing & motivating
     alienated young Muslims
• Lack of civility
   – Anonymity  no cost of interaction  “hate speech” & hostility
• Hobbesian nightmare of “war of all gangs v. all gangs”
• Egalitarianism & comradeship on Internet promotes reality
  of virtual ummah
• Illusion of numbers in chat-rooms consolidates beliefs
                                                                      34
       Social Impact on the Jihad
• Social Impact
   –   Websites as virtual mosques
   –   Virtual cliques, randomly distributed geographically
   –   Online cliques appearing as disconnected offline loners
   –   Trend toward younger (teenagers), middle class (IT savvy)
       alienated young Muslims conducting operations worldwide
• Internet is gender neutral
   – Women, who have been the invisible infrastructure of the jihad,
     can now participate in virtual Islamist groups
   – Women will have greater operational role in the jihad
        • Role models of women combatants in hadith


                                                                       35
Toward a Global “Leaderless” Jihad
• Decentralized, loosely connected network
   – Mobilized and motivated autonomously
   – No more 9/11, but lots of 3/11 or 7/7, especially in Europe
   – Threat to the West from Western Europe
• Military role (no hard targets)
   – sanctuary denial in potential failed or friendly states
   – Coordination of local CT activities
• Importance of the Internet
   – Virtual “Invisible hand” organizing terrorist operations: C2
   – Social transformation of the jihad
   – Enemy Center of Gravity:
        • Vision of Salafi utopia unites the leaderless jihad
        • Ideological battleground (War of Ideas)

                                                                    36

				
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