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A Resurgent Al-Qaeda or a Resurgent Fear-Mongering, Essay Example

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Essay

A September 28th, 2013 piece in The Economist, dramatically titled “The Unquenchable Fire”, presents the all-too-familiar narrative of an “adaptable and resilient al-Qaeda”, continually threatening American security, despite over a decade of the War on Terror. The text proclaims that “from Somalia to Syria, al-Qaeda franchises and jihadist fellow travelers now control more territory, and can call on more fighters, than at any time since Osama bin Laden created the organization 25 years ago.” If one accepts the War on Terror rhetoric, this seems to imply a failure of American foreign policy directed against terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda. Namely, taking the article’s thesis at face value, the renewed focus of American intelligence and military operations on terrorism has only caused terrorism to grow. From one perspective this appears legitimate: if one combats terrorism with increased military action — which (inevitably) results in the deaths of innocent civilians — this only supports the terrorist’s view of the aggressive nature of U.S. foreign policy. Hence, the decision to fight terrorism through war is self-defeating: it encourages more violence, since Jihadi terrorism is founded in a belief, as the article itself acknowledges, that the U.S. and Israel pursue an aggressive policy in regards to the Islamic world.

Of course, this piece in The Economist is assuming that what the U.S. government says publically about al-Qaeda is the same as their real policy towards al-Qaeda. For example, the text notes that al-Qaeda has now become established in Syria. Yet the U.S. is supporting the opposition to the Syrian government, of which al-Qaeda is a part. Therefore, the U.S. is directly supporting the growth of al-Qaeda in Syria. Accordingly, the piece resembles the familiar rhetoric of fear-mongering as opposed to a serious academic analysis of geopolitical events.

Works Cited

Author Unknown. “The Unquenchable Fire: Adaptable and Resilient, al-Qaeda and its allies keep bouncing back”, The Economist, September 28, 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013 at: http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21586834-adaptable-and-resilient-al-qaeda-and-its-allies-keep-bouncing-back-unquenchable-fire

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