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Posted: November 30th, 2022

Compare And Contrast The Leadership And Communication Techniques

Compare And Contrast The Leadership And Communication Techniques Of Former Al Qaeda Leader Osama bin Laden
We have been focusing upon how those at the top of terrorist groups perform leadership roles and influence various audiences (both within their organizations and to the world at large). For this research paper compare and contrast the leadership and communication techniques of former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with those of one other terrorist leader. Select one other terrorist leader from al Qaeda or affiliated groups such as Zawahiri, Baghdadi or Awlaki to compare and contrast with bin Laden’s leadership and communication approaches. Include and state the topic question as presented.

Ayman al-Zawahiri (al Qaeda successor of Osama bin Laden)

Gohel, S. M. (2017) Deciphering Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Al-Qaeda’s strategic and ideological imperatives. Perspectives on Terrorism, 11 (1). pp. 54-67. ISSN 2334-3745. http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/86743/1/Gohel_Deciphering Al-Qaeda_2018.pdf

Ayman al-Zawahiri (2020). The Counter Extremist Project. https://www.counterextremism.com/extremists/ayman-al-zawahiri

Sude, B. (2015, September). Assessing Al-Qa`ida Central’s Resilience. https://ctc.usma.edu/assessing-al-qaida-centrals-resilience/

Council on Foreign Relations. (2011, July 14). Profile: Ayman al-Zawahiri. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/profile-ayman-al-zawahiri

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (former Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham [ISIS] leader)

McCants, W. (2015, September 1). The Believer. http://csweb.brookings.edu/content/research/essays/2015/thebeliever.html

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (2020). The Counter Extremist Project. https://www.counterextremism.com/extremists/abu-bakr-al-baghdadi

Atwan, A. B. (2015). A Portrait of Caliph Ibrahim. The Cato Review. https://www.thecairoreview.com/essays/a-portrait-of-caliph-ibrahim/

Anwar al-Awlaki (former al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader, online jihadist radicalizer)

Shane, S. (2017). The Enduring Influence of Anwar al-Awlaki in the Age of the Islamic State. https://ctc.usma.edu/the-enduring-influence-of-anwar-al-awlaki-in-the-age-of-the-islamic-state/

Anwar al-Awlaki (2020). The Counter Extremist Project. https://www.counterextremism.com/extremists/anwar-al-awlaki

Zimmerman, K. (2010, March 12). Militant Islam’s Global Preacher: The Radicalizing Effect of Sheikh Anwar al Awlaki. Critical Threats. https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/militant-islams-global-preacher-the-radicalizing-effect-of-sheikh-anwar-al-awlaki

Assignment Specifics:

The body of your report is to be at least FOUR FULL pages in length (not counting title page and references) and is to contain the following:
A brief and stated “introduction”, with the topic and your thesis
A main body, containing the “meat” of the paper, where you provide the requested information supported by class readings and with your analysis
A stated “conclusion”, summarizing your information clearly and concisely
Technical Requirements

Your paper must be at a minimum of 4-6 pages (the Title and Reference pages do not count towards the minimum limit).
Scholarly and credible references should be used. A good rule of thumb is at least 2 scholarly sources per page of content.
Type in Times New Roman, 12 point and double space.
Students will follow the current APA Style as the sole citation and reference style used in written work submitted as part of coursework.
Points will be deducted for the use of Wikipedia or encyclopedic type sources. It is highly advised to utilize books, peer-reviewed journals, articles, archived documents, etc.
All submissions will be graded using the assignment rubric.

Compare and contrast former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s leadership and communication techniques. In terms of organization and structure, Al Qaeda has been a distinct terrorist organization (Gillon, 2021). This is due to the primary leaders who are in charge of their operations. In 1988, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri co-founded Al-Qaeda, with bin Laden serving as its leader. Following the 9/11 attacks, Bin Laden’s popularity as the organization’s leader skyrocketed (Bergen, 2011). He claimed that his militant group represented Islam and that America was the crusader waging religious war. Following bin Laden’s death in 2011, Al-Zawahiri assumed leadership of the terrorist organization. Notably, the two leaders’ leadership and communication styles have demonstrated some similarities and differences in order to achieve their primary goal of becoming the jihadist group capable of forming a global caliphate.
This research paper will compare and contrast former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s leadership and communication techniques with those of his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-leadership, Qaeda’s led by co-founders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, has gone through various motions, with the leaders taking similar or different approaches depending on the issues they were dealing with.
Former Al Qaeda Leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Leadership Zawahiri’s and Communication Techniques
Bin Laden and Al-leadership Zawahiri’s approaches have focused on calling for revolutionary change in Islamic societies. They intended to establish a model of governance in which Muslims would be able to choose and depose their leaders in accordance with Islamic principles and traditions of consultation, also known as shura. It is important to note, however, that bin Laden explicitly argues that all Muslims must engage in reforms that are consistent with religious laws. Adherence to and enforcement of the organization’s particular interpretation of religious laws would thus be the criteria used to judge the secular and Islamist parties. Despite the fact that the two have different leadership and communication styles, their intentions remain the same.
Both bin Laden and Zawahiri advocated for a global caliphate as the organization’s long-term goal (Glenn, 2015). Instead of an immediate purpose, the leaders have used the concept as a motivator. During bin Laden’s reign in the early twenty-first century, affiliates of the militant group proposed the establishment of caliphates in Yemen and Iraq. However, the leader cautioned that it was not the appropriate time, and the attempts were more likely to fail. Before declaring a caliphate, certain conditions had to be met. Zawahiri stated in 2005 that the first condition was the expulsion of Americans from Iraq (Bajoria & Hudson, 2006). As of mid-2015, when the militant group was already under Zawahiri’s command, it had not attempted to seize territory that would form a state (Glenn, 2015). Their operatives established bases in Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries while making no attempt to govern them. The global caliphate would continue to serve as a motivator for both leaders in their operations.
Both leaders’ decision-making and execution processes demonstrated both similarities and differences. Their contributions to the decisions and actions were significant but varied. Bin Laden established a one-of-a-kind management structure that included the centralization of decisions and the decentralization of execution (Sude, 2017). In general, before providing funds and institutional support to plots he approved, bin Laden would assess the feasibility of the proposed missions and determine their strategic value. Notably, he delegated authority to his deputies to carry out the mission as they saw fit. According to Nasser al-Bahri, one of bin Laden’s bodyguards, the individuals who developed the attack plans could bypass the entity’s bureaucracy and directly present their proposals to bin Laden and the senior commanders. Bin Laden or a trusted deputy could determine whether the proposed attack was consistent with the group’s military strategy. If approved, responsibility for the planning and execution processes would be delegated to subordinates.
In contrast, Zawahiri’s leadership has primarily used a decentralized approach, with authority primarily resting in the hands of affiliate leaders within militant groups (Bomfim, 2020). Zawahiri would facilitate mergers with various Islamist groups and would also approve the formation of several al-Qaeda affiliates, including al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Nusra Front. The leader has not asserted direct hierarchical control over the current vast and networked structure (Counter Extremism Project, 2022). Its primary leadership sought to centralize the organization’s messaging and strategy rather than managing the franchises’ day-to-day operations. However, before carrying out large-scale attacks, the former affiliates must consult with the primary leadership. During Zawahiri’s tenure, the decision-making and execution processes became more decentralized, with senior leaders’ input required only during major attacks (Counter Extremism Project, 2022). Furthermore, because the militant group established a shura council and committees, these would be responsible for military operations, financing, and information sharing.
Bin Laden’s leadership was based on a single self-perpetuating mythology, which he carefully crafted and skillfully communicated (Hoffman, 2015). He claimed that the United States was a hegemonic power that opposed change, supported Israel, and corrupted and reprobated regimes that could not exist without American support. Bin Lad believed that terrorist attacks against the US and its Western allies would be feasible because the US could not bear the costs of pain and loss from terrorist attacks (Hoffman, 2015). The leader drew parallels between how the US withdrew from Lebanon following the bombings at its marine barracks in 1983 and how the US withdrew from Somalia following the deaths of eighteen American Army Rangers and Delta Force commandos. Bin Laden urged all Muslims around the world to kill all Americans, both civilians and military personnel, regardless of country, as long as it was possible (Porter, 2002). Bin Laden’s fight for jihad had clearly taken on a more international tone.
Zawahiri, on the other hand, took a more local approach in carrying out the militant groups’ activities. Regardless of the existing ambiguous relationship, he prioritized local Arab and Islamic world actions, including countering Iranian-sponsored Shiite militias in Iraq. Out of necessity, he supported the Taliban in Afghanistan and opposed apostate regimes such as those in Egypt and Syria (Gohel, 2017). He believed that these strategic priorities had to be met despite al-Qaeda supporters’ constant calls for attacks on the West, particularly the United States. Zawahiri believed that carrying out transnational attacks alone was insufficient. To ensure that the militant group and its affiliates have safe bases throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds, a proper strategy was required. Zawahiri has gradually prohibited external operations in the West to rebuild without interference. This would entail the implementation of three specific pillars: strengthening the decentralized franchise through streamlined communication between them in order to establish an all-encompassing grand strategy; (Bomfim, 2020). The second pillar was his 2013 order prohibiting mass casualty operations, particularly those that could kill Muslim civilians (Bomfim, 2020). The third pillar focused on rebuilding the organization’s military strength and allowing ISIS to absorb all blows from the coalition fighting it.
Bin Laden was primarily the centralized figure who would oversee the Business Committed, which has grown and continues to grow the entity’s extensive and complex global financial resources (Post, 2002). This committee is made up of professional bankers, financiers, and accountants who work together to manage the organization’s vast financial empire. Zawahiri, on the other hand, would be the chairman of the Islamic Studies Committee. It is made up of several Islamic scholars and religious clerics whose main goal is to issue Fatwas and other formal writings on behalf of the entity (Post, 2002). While there are few writings about the latter committees, they are critical to maintaining and generating support from the many followers who have subscribed to their ideologies.
In terms of communication techniques, the two leaders have purposefully used master narratives to spread their ideologies and advance their agendas (Bockstette, 2012). The group’s main goal has been to master support for the ultimate strategic objectives by exploiting deeply ingrained belief systems based on ethnic, religious, and cultural identities. This would entail attacking high-profile symbolic targets capable of provoking enemy governments to overreact and harm their long-term desires, resulting in the organization strategically profiting (Bockstette, 2012). Sensitizing the masses in order to gain sympathy or instill fear, the leaders recognized the importance of publicity. Peter Bergen, CNN terrorism analyst and author of Holy War, Inc.: Inside Bin Laden’s Secret World, conducted the first television interview with bin Laden in 1997, and discovered that the leader had a well-planned media strategy within his Afghani base (Gianluigi CESTA, n.d.). It was critical that the Sheik knew the questions, and bin Laden would only respond to those deemed appropriate for the interview. Zawahiri, bin Laden’s successor, has always recognized the numerous advantages of utilizing the International Media to draw attention to their cause (Gianluigi CESTA, n.d.). As a result, when Al Qaeda declares war, it does so publicly through official channels. Zawahiri was also convinced that successfully broadcasting images from attacks instilled widespread fear in the public, while also encouraging “martyrs to come forward and take part in suicide missions in the name of the Islamist cause.”
Conclusion
Al-leadership, Qaeda’s led by co-founders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, has gone through various motions, with the leaders taking similar or different approaches depending on the issues they were dealing with. While the two leaders were working toward the same goal, they used different decision-making processes, worked with different departments, and focused on different regions. In terms of communication, the two recognized the importance of and used international media to spread their agendas. Finally, the two leaders established the al-Qaeda terrorist group as one of the most widespread and well-known terrorist organizations.

References
J. Bajoria and L. Hudson (2006, February 2). Ayman al-bio. Zawahiri’s Retrieved from http://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/profile-ayman-al-zawahiri.
P. Bergen (2011). What direction will Zawahiri take al-Qaeda? Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/al-qaedas-new-leader-probably-cant-save-the-struggling-group/2011/06/16/AGZKeMZH story.html.
C. Bockstette (2012). A Clausewitzian Opposition to Jihadi Communication Strategy Maxwell AFB, United States, Air University School of Advanced Air and Space Studies
S. Bomfim Al Qaeda has evolved from a hierarchical to a decentralized organization. Obtainable at https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/9a81980efcf04a6dbe003df94b300297
Project Against Extremism. Al-Zawahiri, Ayman. Retrieved from www.counterextremism.com/extremists/ayman-al-zawahiri
CESTA, Gianluigi The media and Al Qaeda Strategies for communication Obtainable at https://gnosis.aisi.gov.it/gnosis/Rivista29.nsf/ServNavigE/17.
J. Gillon The rise of al-Qaeda, from bin Laden to al-Zawahiri. Retrieved from https://www.theafricareport.com/85342/from-bin-laden-to-al-zawahiri-the-story-of-al-qaedas-rise/
C. Glenn Leaders and structure in Al Qaeda vs. ISIS Retrieved from https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/al-qaeda-vs-isis-leadership-structure
S. M. Gohel Deciphering Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Al-Qaeda’s strategic and ideological imperatives. Perspectives on Terrorism, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 54-67.
Hoffman, B. (2015, August 25). The leadership secrets of Osama bin Laden. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/04/the-leadership-secrets-of-osama-bin-laden/302702/
Porter, J. M. B. (2002). Osama Bin-Laden, jihad, and the sources of international terrorism. Ind. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev., 13, 871.
Post, J. M. (2002). Killing in the Name of God: Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. USAF Counterproliferation Center Maxwell AFB al.
Sude, B. (2017, November 16). Assessing al-qa`ida central’s resilience. Retrieved from https://ctc.usma.edu/assessing-al-qaida-centrals-resilience/

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