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9/11 twenty years on: al-Qaida is defeated – but jihadism is here to stay

By Christina Hellmich, Associate Professor in International Relations and Middle East Studies, University of Reading
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Twenty years ago, the terrorist group al-Qaida carried out the deadliest attack on US soil the world had ever seen. Overnight, al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden became the most notorious terrorist to date.

Inspired by pan-Islamist ambitions and outraged by US foreign presence and intervention in the Middle East, this was the highlight of al-Qaida’s campaign to shatter the notion of US hegemony and invincibility. Their ultimate aim was to bring back the umma, the community of all Muslims once united by a political authority.

Al-Qaida first appeared on the terrorism…


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