Political Science Essay: Al-Qaeda’s Use of Propaganda

Al-Qaeda’s Use of Propaganda

Al-Qaeda is a global terrorist organization, which was formally founded in 1998 due to fatwa and press release. The head of al-Qaeda is considered Osama Ben Laden, who was killed on 2nd May in 2011. Since its foundation the organization has been seeking how to expand the use of broadcast media in Arabic language. They even pretended to have media office in the UK in London. Today the branches of this organization are detected in 34 countries of the world. They made a lot of attacks for example on the U.S. embassies.

The members of al-Qaeda as well as other terrorist organization know that to have success in such deeds like violence is practically impossible without dispelling fear. The will of people is to preserve their lives in secure, that’s why fear of death is one of the most powerful mechanisms of manipulation. This method also belongs to those, which are frequently used in al-Qaeda. So, propaganda of the biggest terrorist organization is a good tool, isn’t it?

Al-Qaeda has always appreciated a power of communication. All al-Qaeda’s branches always wanted to spread ideological propaganda, although its effectiveness depended on circumstances. Al-Qaeda’s in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) media arm is considered as the least active and effective.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had the most active and reliable media tool of manipulation for a long time, but to my mind, their recent material is less effective since the army of Yemen drove some of their representatives out of their secure resorts in 2012. It is said that today Al-Qaeda thinks globally, but kills locally.

There are acute discussions as for the Jews, America, the West, but the real victims of their deeds are just local people. For example, according to the research, carried out by West Point – military Academy in the USA, most of victims (88%) of al-Qaeda’s malicious actions in 2004-2008 are not citizens of Western countries, but on the contrary most of them are from Iraq.

The researches come to the conclusion that Muslims, whom they supposedly defend, can be in reality probably an object for violence more than western governments which are claimed to be their enemies. We can see actually disconnect between what al-Qaeda’s leaders say and what they do.  So, al-Qaeda has its own dirty secrets, but I wouldn’t like stress on them now.

Not long time ago al-Qaeda shifted to password-protected forums and in late 2012 the migration of terrorists to social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and others accelerated.

Alexander Bortnikov, director of FSB in Russia, claims that ideological guidelines of al-Qaeda allow it to enroll new supporters and followers, and its wide use of modern communicatory technologies make the process of radicalization of population more widespread and effective.

Direct digital engagement is one of possibilities to restrain al-Qaeda’s influence of propaganda. It is the one part of CSCC that is comparatively well known. Since 2011 they have produced over 20,000 engagements in forms of texts, video and graphics. The immediate purpose of their engagement is first of all to contest the space. This informational space had previously been largely presented the enemy. This digital challenges terrorist messages online in Somali, Arabic, Urdu, and largely in English, through social media using video, images as well as words, to undermine all al-Qaeda’s propaganda.

So, the propaganda of al-Qaeda is malicious enough to spoil the minds of people, especially teenagers. That’s why society and government should conduct anti-propaganda of violence, extremism via media to preserve us from foundation such organizations as al-Qaeda.


  1. Burke, Jason (2004). “What exactly does al-Qaeda want?”. The Guardian (London).
  2. Cooley, John K. (2003). Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism.
  3. “The Future of Terrorism: What al-Qaida Really Wants”. Der Spiegel. October 18, 2011.

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