Cover Story Overview

Al-Qa`ida’s Five Aspects of Power

This article examines al-Qa`ida across five factors that encompass all aspects of the group’s power: 1) the power to destroy; 2) the power to inspire; 3) the power to humiliate; 4) the power to command; and 5) the power to unify. These aspects of power are not unique to al-Qa`ida, but they are particularly relevant for a terrorist organization with global ambitions and reach. From this vantage point, al-Qa`ida and its associated movement remain a significant threat that cannot be dismissed.

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