Jihad ideas of 'Abd Allah' Azzam and their implications for national security
Muhammad Haniff Hassan
Date of Issue2012
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
This study revolves around the jihad ideas of 'AbdAllah 'Azzam- an iconic figure in jihadist circles. To date there has been no single work in English dedicated to the study of his jihad ideas- a fact underscoring this study as an original academic contribution. This study has several objectives. The first is to render an in-depth description of his ideas by way of a review of his writing, hitherto little referenced in the literature. The second objective is to identify how these ideas have inspired so many to participate in militant jihad in the Soviet-Afghan war, and indeed elsewhere. The third objective of this study is to highlight the internal contradictions and inconsistencies in 'Azzaro's ideas, and to juxtapose these ideas with contemporary jihadism. The fourth objective is to identify specific aspects of 'Azzaro's ideas in order to extract key lessons for counterideology work within the framework of counter-terrorism. The primary approach of this study is that of a qualitative literature review of 'Azzaro's books, articles and transcripts of sermons and speeches. In analysing the text, the study applies Snow et. al.' s framing method, used in the study of social movements as the key analytical tool. Upon reviewing all of 'Azzam's literature and other relevant published materials, the study concludes and makes three key arguments/observations on 'Azzam's jihad ideas. The first is' Azzam's success in mobilising Muslims for jihad in Afghanistan was not due to his jihad ideas alone, although they mattered to him and were important tools for mobilisation. The study identifies two other non-ideational structural factors that were critical in effecting his mobilisation. Secondly, some aspects of 'Azzam's jihad ideas have serious implications on national security. Thirdly, some of 'Azzam's jihad ideas diverge fi·om dominant ideas held by current jihadist groups like Al-Qaeda and these could potentially be used to counter contemporary jihad ideas and practices ofjihadists. The study then addresses the above observations and all other issues arising from it with the objective of providing insights to delegitimise current jihadist ideology, thereby providing a means towards the mitigation of its threat to national and global security.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science