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The impact of Al Qaeda’s attacks on the financial sector

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  1. Introduction
  2. Foster's view on the World Wars
  3. Civil War of the United States
  4. Al Qaeda's adaption of General Ludendorff's concept of Total War
  5. Military strategies adopted by Al Qaeda
  6. The future of the war by Al Qaeda
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

?Five-and-a-half years ago, 19 terrorists hijacked four airplanes and changed the course of history. Just as we underestimated Al Qaeda then, we risk repeating the same mistake now.? (Hoffman 2007, 44).
First, the question itself merits a two or so sentences ? it is interesting by itself. Clausewitz's concept of war is ?Absolute War? rather than a ?Total War.? The concept of ?Absolute War? is an abstract concept or a war free of politics, which is actually impossible. ?Total War,? on the other hand, is the idea that a country's entire effort can be put behind a war effort which was mainly advocated by General Erich Ludendorff. He thought that if a country views a war as a total war, then everything becomes a legitimate target. Unfortunately, his concepts on ?Total War? was one of the reasons why General Ludendorff was included the list of war criminals handed down by the Allies to the Germans in 1919.
Foster was right in saying that ?[t]he Great War was long, painful and costly. The Second World War was total and murderous. Both wars haunted the last century and haunt us still? (2003, 321). These wars are examples of a ?Total War.? Fortunately, the Iran ? Iraq War in the 1980s was the last ?Total War? conducted. As a result of the destruction caused by the Second World War or WWII military theorists in both the West and the Soviet Block began to reject the idea of a ?Total War.? They began looking at this type of war as a waste and counterproductive. The destruction resulting from these wars resulted to an expanded sense of international humanitarian law which demanded that the idea of ?Total War? in battles be replaced by a more ?humane? form of war. The international humanitarian law demanded that the sanctity of basic human rights be protected at all times ? in war and in peace. This resulted to the declaration of the United Nations of the common pledge to ?preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands? (Betts 2005, 53).

[...] An Al Qaeda document, supposedly written by the group's Arabian Peninsula commander, Abdul Azziz al-Moqrin, shed light on how Al Qaeda adapted ?Total War.? The document ?shed considerable light on the current pattern of jihadist attacks in Saudi Arabia and Iraq? (Hoffman 2004, 425). The document identified as attack priorities economic targets in the Middle East with the purpose, according to Moqrin, destabilize the situation and not allow economic recovery? (Hoffman 2004, 425). Another identified purpose is to ?encourage? foreign capital or investments to be withdrawn from the local markets. [...]

[...] It seems that the West and its military strategists and theorists need to go back to General Erich Ludendorff's main ideas on the concept of ?Total War.? In doing so, they may be able to comprehend how Al Qaeda and its main leaders think and operate. Moreover, rather than asking we there meaning are we in a world where war is fought under the concept of ?Total the West and its strategists should start thinking that truly, we are. From all the discussions above, I disagree with what Hugh Galford said that Qaeda is the contemporary bete noire, the unknown and unknowable monster that strikes without rhyme or reason? (2004, 90). [...]

[...] A similar study was undertaken by Chen and Siems for the capital markets of the United States one of the main players in the global war against terrorism and specifically, Al Qaeda. The findings of Chen and Siems is that the United States' ?capital markets are more resilient than in the past and recover sooner from terrorist attacks than other global capital markets? (2004, 349). Hence, terroristic attacks do have impact on capital markets, but the magnitude of these impacts have been diminishing over time. [...]

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