Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Conflict Resolution Institute

First Advisor

Karen Feste, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joe Szyliowicz, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Darrin Hicks


9/11, Al Qaeda, Grievances, Osama Bin Laden, Terrorism, USS Cole


This study analyzes how the United States responds to Al Qaeda's messages and expressions of grievances and how America's responses escalate the conflict between the United States and Al Qaeda.

After its first two attacks against America, Al Qaeda devised a strategy to draw America into a guerrilla war in Afghanistan, stating its intentions in its "Declaration of War" in 1996. Before this declaration, Al Qaeda worked from the shadows and denied reports it was either funding terrorism or participating in terrorism. Bin Laden continued his denials but took responsibility for some terrorist acts in his messages. President Clinton did not mention Osama bin Laden's name until the two US Embassy bombings in East Africa, which was the only terrorist act to which President Clinton responded militarily. Al Qaeda escalated its rhetoric and violent actions with each successive message and attack. After the September 11th attacks, Al Qaeda changed its rhetoric by offering peace overtures to the United States and its allies. Osama bin Laden continued his peace overtures throughout President Bush's two terms in office and into President Obama's first year. The peace overtures are discounted by both President Bush and President Obama, who say that Al Qaeda is not an organization that will negotiate peace. The rhetoric from Al Qaeda is that the long war will continue as long as the United States continues to occupy Arab and Muslim land, which is their primary grievance against America and its allies.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Richard Craig Rosthauser


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

206 p.


American history, International relations, Political Science