al Qaeda and its affiliates
Discussion Questions: What were the key characteristics that OBL possessed that allowed him to have such influence upon the minds and actions of members of al Qaeda and its affiliates? Also, what were the ‘leadership secrets’ of OBL described in the required reading by Hoffman, and how did they help him lead the al Qaeda organization?
Please respond to these post. Responses should be a minimum of 150 words and include direct questions.
1. Unfortunately, Osama Bin Laden actually possessed many great characteristics, he simply didn’t use them for great purposes. As David Hoffman and Dawson write, Bin Laden was actually charismatic. It is a characteristic few would think of when picturing a terrorist but when putting it in context it actually makes a lot of sense. We have seen why some people become terrorists, because they feel excluded in some cases or other cases because they have a strong sense of religion or politics. A charismatic leader can make you feel welcome or convince you that what you’re doing truly is right.
Authors Charles and Mara also bring up an interesting angle on things in terms of Bin Laden’s leadership traits. Specifically, they reference how high he scored in terms of his “distrust” of others. At first this seems like it wouldn’t be a good trait but for Bin Laden’s cause it was. It made him question everyone around him. In some cases, someone who is seeking to belong may work even harder to earn that trust or would be less likely to question anything as it could create a divide. This creates more blind followers.
When you combine these two traits it easy to see how Bin Laden was able to rise to power. A charismatic figure who was very careful in who he chose to allow by his side. It created a dangerous yet powerful leader who unfortunately used these traits for evil.
Finally, we come to the writings of Bruce Hoffman and Osama Bin Laden’s “secrets” ironically these tricks of the trade aren’t so secret and more so that he look at Al Qaeda as a business and applied the proper techniques for that. It’s seen in the fact that it’s work has unfortunately continued despite the loss of their “CEO” Bin Laden. He was well educated and had experience in running a business. Unlike many terrorists he was well organized and make good business decision. He was even good at “branding” you could say as he knew how to advertise their and for lack of a better word, “market” their attacks. He even diversified the way many businesses do and this is seen as Al Qaeda has been difficult to full defeat years after his passing.
2. Unfortunately, Osama Bin Laden was a highly educated and wealthy individual. Bin Laden was one of many children to a billionaire father. He was father himself to many children, but more importantly he was very influential and successful leader. Bin Laden attended King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He studied civil engineering and business management. Business management helped prepared and provided him with the leadership traits to take on his family business that his father started. From this week’s reading I learned that Bin Laden was very charismatic person. Typically charismatic individuals are great communicators, which is paramount when leading a group especially a terrorist organization. Charismatic leaders utilized their wisdom and knowledge that they have gain over the years to ensure that they achieve their goals. Throughout this course we have learn that individuals become terrorist for many different reason, however if you have charismatic leader like Bin Laden he would convince you that you are doing the right thing and make you feel very welcomed. I personally believed that is one of his greatest strength. Bin Laden also had trust issues, which only makes sense when you are leading one of the most feared terror groups in the world. Bin Laden trust issues actually benefited him more than anything. It allowed him to gain the most out of his workers, because his workers would go the extra mile or two to ensure that they gain the trust of their fearless leader. According to an article titled, “A leadership Trait Analysis of Osama bin Laden on the run” the authors stated that Bin Laden “did not trust the local people he demanded complete loyalty from his aides and body guards” (Charles & Maras, 2015).
Lastly, the article titled, “The Leadership Secrets of Osama Bin Laden, the author stated that, “Osama bin Laden is perhaps best viewed as a terrorist CEO” (Hoffman, 2003). Like I mentioned earlier in this forum Bin Laden was a highly educated man who ran a terror organization like a business. According to Hoffman, “in the 1990s he did what the executives of transnational companies did throughout much of the industrialized world—namely, design and implement a flexible new organizational framework and strategy incorporating multiple levels and both top-down and bottom-up approaches. In his top-down mode bin Laden has defined specific goals, issued orders, and ensured that they are carried out” (Hoffman, 2003). The success of Al Qaeda with out doubt hinged on Osama Bin Laden and his skillset, and the ongoing success of Al Qaeda without his presence is due to him as well.