February 19, 2011

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(page10)

rights, environmental, and anti-abortion movements, may also pose

a signifi cant threat, and can not be overlooked. Additionally, the new

millennium is an important apocalyptic milestone for many religious or

extremist cults. Many terrorist groups, both traditional and “new,” have

privatized their practices through a few standard business techniques

(fund-raising, use of technology, etc.)


Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(page9)

5. Al Qaeda functioned both on its own and through some of the

terrorist organizations that operated under its umbrella, including:

Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and at times, the Islamic Group (also

known as “el Gamaa Islamia” or simply “Gamaa’t”), led by Sheik

Omar Abdel Rahman and later by Ahmed Refai Taha, a / k/a “Abu

Yasser al Masri,” named as co-conspirators but not as defendants

herein; and a number of jihad groups in other countries, including

the Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea,

Djibouti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Albania, Algeria,

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(page8)

decision resulted from a change of government rather than intimidation,

al-Qaeda claimed victory. Italy, too, left the coalition following the deaths

of 12 of its soldiers in Iraq.

On the eve of the 2004 presidential election, bin Laden spoke again

to the American people. He admonished them to repudiate the wicked

policies of their government and explained al-Qaeda’s long-term strategy

of attrition. “All we had to do was send two mujahedeen to the farthest

east to raise aloft a piece of rag with the words ‘al-Qaeda’ written on it, and

the [U.S.] generals came a-scurrying — causing America to suffer human,

economic, and political damages while accomplishing nothing worth

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(page7)


1 . Osama Rushdi, quoted in Peter Bergen, The Osama bin Laden I Know

( New York: Free Press), p. 106.

2 . Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

( New York: Knopf, 2006), p. 151.

3 . Abu Walid al Misiri, in Bergen, The Osama bin Laden I Know , p. 109.


4 . Turki and Clarke quoted in Steve Coll, The Bin Ladens: An Arabian

Family in the American Century ( New York: Penguin, 2008), p. 46.

5 . Bruce Riedel, The Search for al-Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(page6)

boasting that he had 40,000 mujahedeen in Saudi Arabia alone and

could raise an army of more than 100,000 in three months. 7 Prince Turki

recalled that bin Laden “ believed that he was capable of preparing an

army to challenge Saddam’s forces.” Turki also noted a disturbing difference

in bin Laden. “ I saw radical changes in his personality as he

changed from a peaceful and gentle man interested in helping Muslims

into a person who believed that he would be able to amass and

command an army to liberate Kuwait,” Turki remembered. “ It revealed

his arrogance.” 8 Given the small numbers and, at best, mediocre performance

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(page5)

the “ internecine fi ghting within the mujahedeen movement and among

the Arabs congregated around it in Pakistan. ” He also notes that Azzam

and the Egyptian radical Ayman al-Zawahiri competed for bin Laden’s

support and money.8 Other sources corroborate this competition.


Al-Qaeda, Arabic for the “ the base, ” grew out of the Maktab al Khidmat

lil Mujadidin al Arab (Afghan Services Offi ce), founded in 1984 or 1985

by bin Laden and Azzam to facilitate recruitment and travel of foreign

mujahedeen to fi ght the Soviets in Afghanistan. Several accounts document

the formation of al-Qaeda, although they do not always agree on

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(page4)

No records of bin Laden’s conversations with Azzam exist, but the

content is easy to conjecture from Azzam’s writing and bin Laden’s decision

to relocate to Pakistan in order to aid the jihad. He sought to raise

both money and recruits for the Afghan cause. While he understood the importance

of resources, he rejected the notion that sending money to help

the Afghan insurgents suffi ced. “There is no doubt that jihad by one’s person

is superior to jihad by one’s wealth,” he argued. “Consequently, the

rich in the time of the Prophet . . . were not excused from participating

with their persons, such as Uthman and Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf (ra). Because,

the purifi cation of the soul and the evolution of the spirit, is lifted

to great heights in the midst of the battle.”9

Azzam proclaimed jihad a sacred obligation incumbent upon Islamic

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(page 3)

Islam is the last of three great monotheisms that trace their origins to

the patriarch Abraham. While Jews trace their lineage from Abraham

through his son Isaac, Muslims claim descent from Abraham’s son Ishmael.

According to Islamic teaching, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the

Prophet Muhammad while he was fasting and praying in a cave outside

Mecca during the “night of power” in 610 c.e. Over the next several

years, the Archangel revealed divine truth to the Prophet. Written down

shortly after Mohammed’s death, these revelations became the Holy

Qu’ran, the sacred text of Islam. Gabriel proclaimed that God ( Allah

in Arabic) had spoken the same message twice before, fi rst to the Jews,

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(page 2)


The rise of the bin Laden family to a position of unprecedented wealth

and power paralleled the emergence of Saudi Arabia as a modern state.

Bin Laden’s father, Mohammed bin Laden, was born in the Hadramut region

of Yemen in or around 1905. He left home in 1925 (again, the date

is uncertain) and settled in Jeddah, a major city in western Saudi Arabia.


There he held menial jobs, fi nally settling down in the construction business,

a fi eld for which he demonstrated an aptitude. He founded his own

company in 1931, according to the Binladen Group offi cial history. 2 He

began building houses, worked as a bricklayer for the Arabian American

Oil Company, and eventually secured government contracts. His ability

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(page 1)


Series Foreword ix

Preface xi

Introduction xiii

Timeline: Events in the Life of Osama bin Laden xix

Chapter 1 Osama bin Laden the Man 1

Chapter 2 Osama bin Laden’s Worldview 17

Chapter 3 Afghanistan 35

Chapter 4 Al-Qaeda 51

Chapter 5 Fighting the Great Satan 69

Chapter 6 Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, Post-9/11 91

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY(11)


Buchanan, Michael. “ London Bombs Cost Just Hundreds.” BBC Online. January

3, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4576346.stm.

“Bundestagwahl im Visier von al-Qaieda.” Die Welt, July 5, 2009, p. 4.

Comas, Victor. “Al Qaeda Financing and Funding to Affi liate Groups.” Strategic

Insights 4, no. 1 ( January 2005). http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/si/2005/Jan/


“ The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan.” Le Nouvel Observateur. Paris, January

15– 21, 1998. http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/ BRZ110A.html.

Starkey, Jerome. “Drugs for Guns: How the Afghan Heroin Trade is Fuelling the

Taliban insurgency.” The Independent (UK). April 29, 2008. http://www.

Osama bin Laden BIOGRAPHY

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