Al Qaeda is Scared and No Match to American Gangs
Al-Qaeda is Scared and No Match to American Gangs
Al-Qaeda (/ælˈkaɪdə/ al-KY-də; Arabic: القاعدة al-qāʿidah, Arabic: [ælqɑːʕɪdɐ], translation: “The Base” and alternatively spelled al-Qaida and sometimes al-Qa’ida) is a global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden in Peshawar, Pakistan, at some point between August 1988 and late 1989, with its origins being traceable to the Soviet War in Afghanistan. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad and a strict interpretation of sharia law. It has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, India and various other countries (see below). Al-Qaeda has carried out many attacks on non-Sunni Muslims, non-Muslims, and other targets it considers kafir.
Al-Qaeda has attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, including the September 11 attacks, 1998 U.S. embassy bombings and the 2002 Bali bombings. The U.S. government responded to the September 11 attacks by launching the War on Terror. With the loss of key leaders, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s operations have devolved from actions that were controlled from the top-down, to actions by franchise associated groups, to actions of lone wolf operators.
Characteristic techniques employed by al-Qaeda include suicide attacks and simultaneous bombings of different targets. Activities ascribed to it may involve members of the movement, who have taken a pledge of loyalty to Osama bin Laden, or the much more numerous “al-Qaeda-linked” individuals who have undergone training in one of its camps in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq or Sudan, but who have not taken any pledge. Al-Qaeda ideologues envision a complete break from all foreign influences in Muslim countries, and the creation of a new world-wide Islamic caliphate. Among the beliefs ascribed to Al-Qaeda members is the conviction that a Christian–Jewish alliance is conspiring to destroy Islam. As Salafist jihadists, they believe that the killing of civilians is religiously sanctioned, and they ignore any aspect of religious scripture which might be interpreted as forbidding the murder of civilians and internecine fighting. Al-Qaeda also opposes man-made laws, and wants to replace them with a strict form of sharia law.
Al-Qaeda is also responsible for instigating sectarian violence among Muslims. Al-Qaeda is intolerant of non-Sunni branches of Islam and denounces them by means of excommunications called “takfir”. Al-Qaeda leaders regard liberal Muslims, Shias, Sufis and other sects as heretics and have attacked their mosques and gatherings. Examples of sectarian attacks include the Yazidi community bombings, the Sadr City bombings, the Ashoura Massacre and the April 2007 Baghdad bombings.
Main article: Prison gangs in the United States
American prison gangs, like most street gangs, are formed for protection against other gangs. The goal of many street gang members is to gain the respect and protection that comes from being in a prison gang. Prison gangs use street gangs members as their power base for which they recruit new members. For many members, reaching prison gang status shows the ultimate commitment to the gang.
Some prison gangs are transplanted from the street, and in some occasions, prison gangs “outgrow” the penitentiary and engage in criminal activities on the outside. Many prison gangs are racially oriented. Gang umbrella organizations like the Folk Nation and People Nation have originated in prisons.
One notable American prison gang is the Aryan Brotherhood, an organization known for its violence and white supremacist views. Established in the mid-1960s, the gang was affiliated with the Aryan Nations and engages in violent crime, drug trafficking, and illegal gambling activities both in and out of prisons. On July 28, 2006, after a six-year federal investigation, four leaders of the gang were convicted of racketeering, murder, and conspiracy charges. Another significant American prison gang is the Aryan League, which was formed by an alliance between the Aryan Brotherhood and Public Enemy No. 1. Working collaboratively, the gangs engage in drug trafficking, identity theft, and other white collar crime using contacts in the banking system. The gang has used its connections in the banking system to target law enforcement agencies and family members of officers.
There has been a long running racial tension between black and Hispanic prison gangs, as well as significant prison riots in which gangs have targeted each other.
The United States has a significant population of motorcycle gangs, which are groups that use motorcycle clubs as organizational structures for conducting criminal activity. Some motorcycle clubs are exclusively motorcycle gangs, while others are only partially compromised by criminal activity. The National Gang Intelligence Center reports on all motorcycle clubs with gang activity, while other government agencies, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) focus on motorcycle clubs exclusively dedicated to gang activity. The ATF estimates that approximately 300 exclusively gang-oriented motorcycle clubs exist in the United States.
Organized crime gangs
Organized criminal groups are a subtype of gang with a hierarchical leadership structure and in which individuals commit crime for personal gain. For most organized criminal group members, criminal activities constitute their occupation. There are numerous organized criminal groups with operations in the United States (including transnational organized crime groups), such as the American Mafia, Triad Society, Russian Mafia, Yakuza, Sicilian Mafia, Irish Mob, and Folk Nation.
The activities of organized criminal groups are highly varied, and include drug, weapons, and human trafficking (including prostitution and kidnapping), art theft, murder (including contract killings and assassinations), copyright infringement, counterfeiting, identity theft, money laundering, extortion, illegal gambling, and terrorism. The complexity and seriousness of the crimes committed by global crime groups pose a threat not only to law enforcement but to democracy and legitimate economic development as well.
American national and local street gangs will collaborate with organized criminal groups.
Youth gangs are composed of young people, male or female, and like most street gangs, are either formed for protection or for social and economic reasons. Some of the most notorious and dangerous gangs have evolved from youth gangs. During the late 1980s and early 1990s an increase in violence in the United States took place and this was due primarily to an increase in violent acts committed by people under the age of 20. Due to gangs spreading to suburban and smaller communities youth gangs are now more prevalent and exist in all regions of the United States.
Youth gangs have increasingly been creating problems in school and correctional facilities. However youth gangs are said to be an important social institution for low income youths and young adults because they often serve as cultural, social, and economic functions which are no longer served by the family, school or labor market. Youth gangs tend to emerge during times of rapid social change and instability. Young people can be attracted to joining a youth gang for a number of reasons. They provide a degree of order and solidarity for their members and make them feel like part of a group or a community.
The diffusion of gang culture to the point where it has been integrated into a larger youth culture has led to widespread adoption by youth of many of the symbols of gang life. For this reason, more and more youth who earlier may have not condoned gang behavior are more willing, even challenged to experiment with gang-like activity Youth Gangs may be an ever-present feature of urban culture that change over time in its form, social meaning and antisocial behavior. However, in the United States, youth gangs have taken an especially disturbing form and continue to permeate society.
Gang demographics and ethnic gangs
Law enforcement agencies reported in 2011 that gangs affiliated with ethnicity and non-traditional gangs have expanded in recent years.
Hispanic gangs form a significant group of ethnic-based gangs in the United States. One of the concerns of increased illegal immigration to the United States is gang-related activity. U.S. immigration investigation programs such as Operation Community Shield, have detained more than 1,400 illegal immigrants who were also gang members. ICE’s Operation Community Shield has since arrested 7,655 street gang members. . A confidential California Department of Justice study reported in 1995 that 60 percent of the twenty thousand members of the 18th Street Gang in California are illegal immigrants.
The Latin Kings is the largest and most organized Hispanic street gang in the United States. The group has roots dating back to the 1940s in Chicago. The Latin Kings first emerged in Chicago in the 1940s after several young Puerto Rican men on the north side—and later, Mexican men on the south side—organized into a self-defense group to protect their communities. The initial intention was to unite “all Latinos” into a collective struggle against “oppression” and to help each other overcome the problems of racism and prejudice that newly arriving Latino immigrants were experiencing. Hence, the name “Latin Kings and Queens”, which as it denotes, is a reference to members of all Latino heritages. They organized themselves as a vanguard for their communities. Like the Black Panthers, the Young Lords, and many other groups perceiving social injustices directed at their kind, the Latin Kings were broken as a movement. They lost touch with their roots and grew into one of the largest and most infamous criminal gangs in America. The group’s members became involved in crimes including murder, drug trafficking, robberies and other organized criminal activities.
Mara Salvatrucha, commonly abbreviated as “MS”, “Mara”, or “MS-13”, is another Hispanic street gang operating in the United States. It originated in Los Angeles and has spread to Central America, other parts of the United States, and Canada. Mara Salvatrucha is one of the most dangerous gangs in the United States, and its activities include drug and weapons trafficking, auto theft, burglary, assault, and murder (including contract killings). The gang also publicly declared that it targets the Minutemen, an anti-illegal immigration group who take it upon themselves to control the border, to “teach them a lesson”, possibly due to their smuggling of various Central/South Americans (mostly other gang members), drugs, and weapons across the border. The majority of gang members are ethnically Salvadoran, Honduran, Guatemalan, and Nicaraguan, and the gang has 70,000 members. Mara Salvatrucha has been investigated by the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and in September 2005 the gang was targeted by raids against its members, in which 660 people were arrested across the United States.
Other ethnic gangs
Among other ethnic-based gangs are Asian gangs, which operate similar to Asian organized crime groups with a hierarchical structure and little concern for control of territory. Asian gangs often victimize Asian populations, and law enforcement faces difficulty investigating Asian gangs due to language barriers and distrust among the Asian population. Asian gangs engage in a variety of crime, including violent crime, drug and human trafficking, and white collar crime.
East African gangs operate in over 30 jurisdictions in the United States. They are generally divided between Sudanese gangs, Ethiopian gangs and Somali gangs. Unlike the majority of traditional street gangs, Somali gang members adopt names based on their clan affiliation. Largely keeping to themselves, they have engaged in violent crime, weapons trafficking, human, sex and drug trafficking, and credit card fraud. As of 2013, there has been a decrease in gang-related activity among disaffected Somali youths, as they have grown more settled. Sudanese gangs have emerged in several states since 2003. Among the most aggressive of these Sudanese gangs is the African Pride gang. Some Sudanese gang members also possess strategic and weapons knowledge gained during conflicts in Sudan.
Primarily operating along the East Coast, Caribbean ethnic-based gangs include Dominican, Haitian, and Jamaican gangs. The largest Dominican gang and the fastest-growing Caribbean gang is the Trinitarios. Although a prison gang, Trinitario has members operating as a street gang, and it is known for violent crime and drug trafficking in the New York and New Jersey area. Haitian gangs, such as Zoe Pound, are involved in a variety of crime, including violent crime and drug and weapons trafficking. U.S.-based Jamaican gangs, unlike those in Jamaica, are unsophisticated and lack hierarchy; however, they often maintain ties to Jamaican organized crime and engage in drug and weapons trafficking.