Osama Bin Laden: The Psychological Effects Of Global Terrorism

1482 Words 6 Pages
The world is run by communication and influence from the top tiers of politicians down to the underground terrorist groups. In order to control the hearts and minds of followers, one must maintain a strong consistent message that inspires people from many walks of life (Immelman, 2002, p. 4). Osama bin Laden was an enthusiastic communicator who grew a small terrorist group into a large terrorist network by maintaining a strong narrative with al Qaeda, affiliated groups, and the world at large. Conversely, after the World Trade Center attack of 2001, bin Laden began to lose influence leading up to his death (Lahoud et al., 2012, p. 2).
First, the creation of al Qaeda in 1993 by Osama bin Laden was a turning point in global terrorism due to the
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The psychological impact of fear was easily spread through media outlets that were eager for increased viewership (Stewart, 2007, p. 7). The impending threat of future attacks grew as violent imagery expanded its reach into the imagination of its psychological victims (Stewart, 2007, p. 10). Mainstream media is manipulated by al Qaeda as a platform of fear by making hostage situations and attack videos last longer to create more impact for a headline story (Stewart, 2012, p. 6).
As a result, the fear of future violence, the global influence of al Qaeda expanded rapidly. Innocents far removed from world violence in their suburban homes and metropolitan workplaces were no longer safe as fear implanted itself into their daily lives (McCabe, 2010, p. 63). The use of terror attacks to influence political change became a principal goal for al Qaeda. Politicians in the United States were forced by the public to create new legislation that would be used to prevent and combat acts of terror and make decisions that would protect American lives
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After American forces rushed to the Middle East to pursue bin Laden, al Quaeda saw an eighty percent structural breakdown (Lahoud et al., 2012, p. 2). Americans adopted a revengeful “at all costs” mentality when hunting down group’s leader, which had a drastic negative effect on all of the terrorist groups within the al Qaeda network (McCabe, 2010, p. 64).
For this reason, many affiliated groups began to work towards their own internal goals while leeching resources from al Qaeda (Lahoud et al., 2012, p. 52). Osama bin Laden was providing training and funding to affiliated groups but slowly began to lose operational control, which resulted in intense frustration (Lahoud et al., 2012, p. 2). A leader without control over his people is not a leader at all. The mystique of al Qaeda began to slowly wear off as bin Laden went into hiding over the 10 years preceding his death (“Osama bin Laden Biography,” 2011, para.

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