Title page for ETD etd-03102010-205631


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Du Plessis, Gideon Johannes Jacobus
URN etd-03102010-205631
Document Title In search of the roots of terrorism : the role of the Afghan and Bosnian conflicts in the emergence of contemporary international terrorism
Degree MSS
Department Political Sciences
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Prof M Hough Supervisor
Keywords
  • international terrorism
  • Caliphate
  • Salafism
  • new terrorism
  • jihad
  • Al-Qaeda
  • fundamentalism
  • mujahedin
  • puritan
  • Wahhabism
Date 2009-04-18
Availability restricted
Abstract

The objective of this study is to trace the origins of contemporary international terrorism and terrorist groups, inspired by religious (Islamic) fundamentalism, to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In order to achieve this aim the study focused on the historical role of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Bosnia- Herzegovina, more specifically on the role played by the resistance fighters (also known as holy warriors or mujahedin) in the Afghanistan conflict, their progression to, and involvement in the Bosnian conflict, and their subsequent association with and involvement in contemporary international terrorist groups and international acts of terrorism.

The study analyzed the concept of terrorism, specifically religiously-inspired terrorism and terrorism inspired by the puritan Wahhabist and Salafist interpretation of Islam. The role of the conflict in Afghanistan in the emergence of the Al-Qaeda network as well as the role of the civil war in Bosnia in the coalescence and internationalization of the Al-Qaeda network was analyzed. This was followed by an analysis of a number of international terrorist attacks attributed to the Al-Qaeda network. The intention was to point out the key role played by the former mujahedin veterans from Afghanistan and Bosnia in the planning, directing and execution of international acts of terrorism attributed to the Al-Qaeda network.

The study found that the fundamentalist Islamic terrorist groups that constitute the Al-Qaeda network have developed as a result of a complex combination of historical, political and social factors, and are united in a common ideological and spiritual heritage that is rooted in the puritan and fundamentalist Wahhabist and Salafist interpretation of Islam. The study further found that the jihad in Afghanistan and Bosnia led to the emergence of a large cadre of militant and fundamentalist mujahedin veterans who would form the nucleus of the Al-Qaeda network and would play a key role in exporting the jihad, guided by Osama bin Ladinís vision of internationalizing the jihad and ultimately establishing an Islamic caliphate. The study confirmed that the mujahedin veterans from Afghanistan and Bosnia, assisted by the complex international network of humanitarian organizations that supported the jihad in these theaters, went on to play a key role in the transnational Al-Qaeda network and specifically in the planning, supporting, directing and execution of international acts of terrorism attributed to this network.

Copyright © 2009, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Du Plessis, GJJ 2008, : In search of the roots of terrorism : the role of the Afghan and Bosnian conflicts in the emergence of contemporary international terrorism, MSS dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-03102010-205631/ >

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