What is an Al Qaeda Connection?

I realize that this idea gets tossed around on most of the Iraq War threads, but I feel it deserves its own debate beyond the usual Iraq rhetoric.

I think one problem with the question is that every one has their own belief of what Al Qaeda is. So perhaps a more appropriate question would be, what is Al Qaeda?

I don’t see it as an organized group with a hierarchy and membership cards like the NRA. To me, it represents more of an ideology, if you hate the US and Israel and seek the destruction of infidels, you’re part of Al Qaeda.

How wrong is that statement? I have to admit it sure would help a lot if a few members of Al Qaeda would weigh in…

If it is true, or if enough people agree with it, then an Al Qaeda connection becomes very simple; or possibly too simple. Such that if a group is free to hate America and Israel and wishes to destroy infidels, then I see their government as supporting Al Qaeda.

I’d really like to clear this up before the next year’s war.

This is just a guess:

A terrorist or terrorist act gets the Al Qaeda stamp based on a money trail and personal connections (for instance the guy who did the bombing was known to have lived in Hamburg with a guy who was at such and such training camp in Afghanistan). Even though the ideal terrorist organization is decentralized it’s orders and funding have to come from somewhere. Unfortunately it’s easier to work backward tracing a terrorist/act to Al Qaeda than it is to predict what’s being planned.

And this is where I disagree, you seem to imply a very direct connection, ie money and training.

Perhaps a better question would be, could I set up my own little terrorist camp and call it Al Qaeda with out the approval of bin Laden?

This is a bit silly, but assume for the moment that someone wanted to become part of Al Qaeda. What would it take? If the US can’t find them, how would they?

Does the term al Qaeda NEED to have that connection between the new group and the bin Laden group? Or can a new group spring up autonomously?

There are many terrorist organisations throughout the world, with many of them holding anti-Western views.

al-Qa’ida is merely one such organisation, among many.

You obviously could say you were a part of al-Qa’ida if you wished, but would that make you so, in reality?

I suppose you could, but then you might be contacted by an attorney representing Al Qaeda telling you to cease and desist or you and your camp will be a smoking crater. After all, they wouldn’t want to be blamed for something they didn’t do.

Yes they would. If your terrorist group was called “the boy scouts” then yeah, the real boy scouts might have some objections. But if some nutcase blows up a drugstore and writes “Al-Queda rulez!” on the wall, and people ask al-queda if they did it they’d just say “um… sure. damn fine job.”