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For criticism see Criticism of Al-Qaeda
One version of the flag of al-Qaeda
Major actions 1988–present
Leader(s) Osama bin Laden
Ayman al-Zawahiri
Active region(s) Global
Ideology Islamism
Qutbist Islamic fundamentalism
Salafi Wahhabi Sunni Islam [1]
Status Designated as Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department[2]
Designated as Proscribed Group by the UK Home Office[3]
Designated as terrorist group by EU Common Foreign and Security Policy[4]
Map of recent major attacks attributed to al-Qaeda:
1. The Pentagon, US - Sep 11,
2. World Trade Center, US - Sep 11,
3. Istanbul, Turkey - Nov 15,; Nov 20,
4. Aden, Yemen - Oct 12,
5. Nairobi, Kenya - Aug 7,
6. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - Aug 7,

Template:History of Terrorism Al-Qaeda, alternatively spelled al-Qaida and sometimes al-Qa'ida, (Arabic: القاعدة‎; al-qāʿidah; translation: The Base) is an international Sunni Islamist extremist movement founded sometime between August 1988[5] and late 1989/early 1990.[6]

Al-Qaeda has allegedly[7] attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, the most notable being the September 11 attacks in. These actions were followed by the US government launching a military and intelligence campaign against al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations called the War on Terror. As of the group is believed to have between 200 and 300 members.[8]

Characteristic techniques include suicide attacks and simultaneous bombings of different targets.[9] 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 or Sudan but not taken any pledge.[10]

Al-Qaeda's objectives include the end of foreign influence in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate. Reported beliefs include that a Christian-Jewish alliance is conspiring to destroy Islam,[11] and that the killing of bystanders and civilians is Islamically justified in jihad.

Its management philosophy has been described as "centralization of decision and decentralization of execution."[12] Following 9/11 and the launching of what's called the War on Terrorism, it is thought al-Qaeda's leadership has "become geographically isolated", leading to the "emergence of decentralized leadership" of regional groups using the al-Qaeda "brand name."[13][14]

Al-Qaeda has been labeled a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council,[15] the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General,[16][17] the Commission of the European Communities of the European Union,[18] the United States Department of State,[19] the Australian Government,[20] Government of India,[21] Public Safety Canada,[22] the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs,[23] Japan's Diplomatic Bluebook,[24] South Korean Foreign Ministry,[25] the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service,[26] the United Kingdom Home Office,[27] Russia,[28] the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs,[29] Turkish Police Forces[30] and the Swiss Government.[31]


In Arabic, al-Qaeda has four syllables. However, since two of the Arabic consonants in the name (the voiceless uvular plosive [q] and the voiced pharyngeal fricative [ʕ]) are not phones found in the English language, the closest naturalized English pronunciation is IPA: /ælˈkɑːiːdə//. More commonly, /ælˈkaɪdə/ and /ælˈkeɪdə/ are heard. Al-Qaeda's name can also be transliterated as al-Qaida, al-Qa'ida, el-Qaida, or al Qaeda.[32]

The name of the organization comes from the Arabic noun qā'idah, which means foundation or basis and can also refer to a military base or database. The initial al- is the Arabic definite article the, hence the base. In Arabic qa'idah bayanat is database where bayanat is data and qa'idah is base.[33]

Osama bin Laden explained the origin of the term in a videotaped interview with Al Jazeera journalist Tayseer Alouni in October :

The name 'al-Qaeda' was established a long time ago by mere chance. The late Abu Ebeida El-Banashiri established the training camps for our mujahedeen against Russia's terrorism. We used to call the training camp al-Qaeda. The name stayed.[34]

Saad Al-Faqih, a Saudi expert on al-Qaida, has stated that the name al-Qaida, "…originated from a documentation system in the Bait al-Ansar guesthouse back in the 1980s."[35] The United Kingdom politician Robin Cook, who served as the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons described Al-Qaeda as meaning "the database" and a product of western miscalculation. Cook wrote, "Al-Qaida, literally ‘the database’, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians."[36]

Journalist Peter Bergen argues that two documents seized from the Sarajevo office of the Benevolence International Foundation show that the organization was established in August 1988. Both of these documents contain minutes of meetings held to establish a new military group and contain the term "al-qaeda".[5] Author Lawrence Wright also quotes this document (an exhibit from the "Tareek Osama" document presented in United States v. Enaam M. Arnaout[37]), in his book The Looming Tower. Notes of a meeting of bin Laden and others on August 20, indicate "the military base" ("al-qaeda al-askariya"), was a formal group: `basically an organized Islamic faction, its goal is to lift the word of God, to make His religion victorious.` A list of requirements for membership itemized "listening and obedient ... good manners" and making a pledge (bayat) to obey superiors. [38]

According to Wright, "[t]he name al-Qaeda was not used," in public pronouncements like the fatwa to kill Americans and their allies[39] because "its existence was still a closely held secret."[40] Wright writes that Al-Qaeda was formed at a August 11, meeting of "with several senior leaders" of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, (Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and others), Abdullah Azzam, and Osama bin Laden, where it was agreed to join bin Laden's money with the expertise of the Islamic Jihad organization and continue jihad elsewhere after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan.[41]

In April the group assumed the name Qa'idat al-Jihad, which means "the base of Jihad". According to Diaa Rashwan, this was "...apparently as a result of the merger of the overseas branch of Egypt's al-Jihad (EIJ) group, led by Ayman El-Zawahiri, with the groups Bin Laden brought under his control after his return to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s."[42]


Jihad in Afghanistan

The origins of the group can be traced to the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The United States viewed the conflict in Afghanistan, with the Afghan Marxists and allied Soviet troops on one side and the native Afghan mujahedeen on the other, as a blatant case of Soviet expansionism and aggression. The U.S. channelled funds through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency to the native Afghan mujahedeen fighting the Soviet occupation in a CIA program called Operation Cyclone.[43][44]

At the same time, a growing number of foreign Arab mujahedeen (also called Afghan Arabs) joined the jihad against the Afghan Marxist regime, facilitated by international Muslim organizations, particularly the Maktab al-Khidamat,[45] whose funds came from some of the $600 million a year donated to the jihad by the Saudi Arabia government and individual Muslims - particularly wealthy Saudis who were approached by Osama bin Laden.[46]

Maktab al-Khidamat was established by Abdullah Azzam and Bin Laden in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 1984. From it began to set up a network of recruiting offices in the United States, the hub of which was the Al Kifah Refugee Center at the Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue. Among notable figures at the Brooklyn center were "double agent" Ali Mohamed, whom FBI special agent Jack Cloonan called "bin Laden's first trainer,"[47] and "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman, a leading recruiter of mujahideen for Afghanistan.

The Afghan Mujahedeen of the 1980s have been alleged to be the inspiration for terrorist groups in nations such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Chechnya, and the former Yugoslavia.[48] According to Russian sources, the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing in allegedly used a manual allegedly written by the CIA for the Mujihadeen fighters in Afghanistan on how to make explosives.[49]

Al-Qaeda evolved from the Maktab al-Khidamat (Services Office), a Muslim organization founded in to raise and channel funds and recruit foreign mujahadeen for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It was founded by Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, a Palestinian Islamic scholar and member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Maktab al-Khadamat organized guest houses in Peshawar, in Pakistan, near the Afghan border, and paramilitary training camps in Afghanistan to prepare international non-Afghan recruits for the Afghan war front. Azzam persuaded Bin Laden to join MAK, to use his own money and use his connections with "the Saudi royal family and the petro-billionaires of the Gulf" to raise more to help the mujahideen.[50]

The role played by MAK and foreign Muslim volunteers, or "Afghan Arabs", in the war was not a major one. While 250,000 Afghan Mujahideen fought the Soviets and the communist Afghan government, it is estimated that were never more than foreign mujahideen in the field at any one time.[51] Nonetheless, foreign mujahedeen volunteers came from 43 countries and the number that participated in the Afghan movement between and is reported to have been 35,000.[52]

The Soviet Union finally withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. To the surprise of many, Mohammed Najibullah's communist Afghan government hung on for three more years before being overrun by elements of the mujahedeen. With mujahedeen leaders unable to agree on a structure for governance, chaos ensued, with constantly reorganizing alliances fighting for control of ill-defined territories, leaving the country devastated.

Expanding operations

Toward the end of the Soviet military mission in Afghanistan, some mujahedeen wanted to expand their operations to include Islamist struggles in other parts of the world, such as Israel and Kashmir. A number of overlapping and interrelated organizations were formed to further those aspirations.

One of these was the organization that would eventually be called al-Qaeda, formed by Osama bin Laden with an initial meeting held on August 11, 1988.[53] Bin Laden wished to establish nonmilitary operations in other parts of the world; Azzam, in contrast, wanted to remain focused on military campaigns. After Azzam was assassinated in 1989, the MAK split, with a significant number joining bin Laden's organization.

In November 1989, Ali Mohamed, a former special forces Sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, left military service and moved to Santa Clara, California. He traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan and became "deeply involved with bin Laden's plans."[54].

A year later, on November 8, 1990, the FBI raided the New Jersey home of Mohammed's associate El Sayyid Nosair, discovering a great deal of evidence of terrorist plots, including plans to blow up New York City skyscrapers.[55] Nosair was eventually convicted in connection to the World Trade Center bombing, and for the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane on November 5, 1990. In 1991, Ali Mohammed is said to have helped orchestrate Osama bin Laden's relocation to Sudan.[56]

Gulf War and the start of U.S. enmity

Following the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in had put the country of Saudi Arabia and its ruling House of Saud at risk as Saudi's most valuable oil fields (Hama) were within easy striking distance of Iraqi forces in Kuwait, and Saddam's call to pan-Arab/Islamism could potentially rally internal dissent.

In the face of a seemingly massive Iraqi military presence, Saudi Arabia's own forces were well armed but far outnumbered. Bin Laden offered the services of his mujahedeen to King Fahd to protect Saudi Arabia from the Iraqi army. The Saudi monarch refused bin Laden's offer, opting instead to allow U.S. and allied forces to deploy on Saudi territory.[57]

The deployment angered Bin Laden, as he believed the presence of foreign troops in the "land of the two mosques" (Mecca and Medina) profaned sacred soil. After speaking publicly against the Saudi government for harboring American troops, he was quickly forced into exile to Sudan.

On April 9, his Saudi citizenship was revoked.[58] His family publicly disowned him. There is controversy over whether and to what extent he continued to garner support from members of his family and/or the Saudi government.[59]


From approximately to 1996, al-Qaeda and bin Laden were located in Sudan, coming at the invitation of Islamist theoretician Hassan al Turabi following an Islamist coup d'état, and leaving after being expelled by the Sudanese government. During this time bin Laden assisted the Sudanese government, bought or set up various business enterprises, and established training camps where insurgents trained.

But in Sudan bin Laden lost his Saudi passport and source of income in response to his verbal attacks on the Saudi king. [60] A key turning point for bin Laden occurred in when Saudi Arabia gave support for the Oslo Accords which set a path for peace between Israel and Palestine.[61]

Zawahiri and the EIJ, who served as the core of al-Qaeda but also engaged in separate operations against the Egyptian government, had even worse luck in Sudan. In 1993, a young schoolgirl was killed in an unsuccessful EIJ attempt on the life of the Egyptian Interior Minister, Hasan al-Alfi. Egyptian public opinion turned against Islamist bombings and [62] the police arrested 280 more of al-Jihad's members and executed six.

In an even more ill-fated attempt to assassinate Egyptian president Mubarak led to the expulsion of EIJ and not long after of bin Laden by the Sudanese government.

Refuge in Afghanistan

After the Soviet withdrawal, Afghanistan was effectively ungoverned for seven years and plagued by constant infighting between former allies and various mujahedeen groups.

Throughout the 1990s, a new force began to emerge. The origins of the Taliban (literally "students") lay in the children of Afghanistan, many of them orphaned by the war, and many of whom had been educated in the rapidly expanding network of Islamic schools (madrassas) either in Kandahar or in the refugee camps on the Afghan-Pakistani border.

According to Ahmed Rashid, five leaders of the Taliban were graduates of a single madrassa, Darul Uloom Haqqania (also known as “the University of Jihad",)[63] in the small town of Akora Khattak near Peshawar, situated in Pakistan but largely attended by Afghan refugees.[64] This institution reflected Salafi beliefs in its teachings, and much of its funding came from private donations from wealthy Arabs, for whom bin Laden provided conduit. A further four leading figures (including the perceived Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar Mujahed) attended a similarly funded and influenced madrassa in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Many of the mujahedeen who later joined the Taliban fought alongside Afghan warlord Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi's Harkat i Inqilabi group at the time of the Russian invasion. This group also enjoyed the loyalty of most Afghan Arab fighters.

The continuing internecine strife between various factions, and accompanying lawlessness following the Soviet withdrawal, enabled the growing and well-disciplined Taliban to expand their control over territory in Afghanistan, and they came to establish an enclave which it called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In 1994, they captured the regional center of Kandahar, and after making rapid territorial gains thereafter, conquered the capital city Kabul in September 1996.

After Sudan made it clear that bin Laden and his group were no longer welcome that year, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan — with previously established connections between the groups, a similar outlook on world affairs and largely isolated from American political influence and military power — provided a perfect location for al-Qaeda to establish its headquarters. Al-Qaeda enjoyed the Taliban's protection and a measure of legitimacy as part of their Ministry of Defense, although only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and the Pakistani border regions are alleged to have trained militant Muslims from around the world.[65][66] Despite the perception of some people, al-Qaeda members are ethnically diverse and connected by their radical version of Islam.

An ever-expanding network of supporters thus enjoyed a safe haven in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan until the Taliban were defeated by a combination of local forces and CIA Special Activities Division Paramilitary Officers, US Army Special Forces and air power in (see section September 11, attacks and the United States response). Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders are still believed to be located in areas where the population is sympathetic to the Taliban in Afghanistan or the border Tribal Areas of Pakistan.


In 1996, al-Qaeda announced its jihad to expel foreign troops and interests from what they felt were Islamic lands. Bin Laden issued a fatwa,[67] which amounted to a public declaration of war against the United States and any of its allies, and began to focus al-Qaeda's resources towards attacking the United States and its interests. Also occurring on June 25, was the bombing of the Khobar towers, located in Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

On February 23, 1998, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, along with three other Islamist leaders, co-signed and issued a fatwa (binding religious edict) under the banner of the World Islamic Front for Combat Against the Jews and Crusaders declaring:

[T]he ruling to kill the Americans and their allies - civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Makka) from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, 'and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,' and 'fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah'.[68]

Neither bin Laden nor al-Zawahiri possessed the traditional Islamic scholarly qualifications to issue a fatwa of any kind; however, they rejected the authority of the contemporary ulema (seen as the paid servants of jahiliyya rulers) and took it upon themselves.[69] Assassinated former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko alleged that the Russian FSB trained al-Zawahiri in a camp in Dagestan eight months before the fatwa.[70][71]


See also: Qutbism

The radical Islamist movement in general and al-Qaeda in particular developed during the Islamic revival and Islamist movement of the last three decades of the 20th century along with less extreme movements.

Some have argued that "without the writings" of Islamic author and thinker Sayyid Qutb "al-Qaeda would not have existed."[72] Qutb preached that because of the lack of sharia law the Muslim world was no longer Muslim, having reverted to pre-Islamic ignorance known as jahiliyyah.

To restore Islam, a vanguard movement of righteous Muslims was needed to implement Sharia and rid the Muslim world of any non-Muslim influences, such as concepts like socialism or nationalism. Enemies of Islam included "treacherous Orientalists" [73] and "world Jewry", who plotted "conspiracies" and "wicked[ly]" opposed Islam.

In the words of Mohammed Jamal Khalia, a close college friend of Osama bin Laden: Islam is different from any other religion; it's a way of life. We [Khalia and bin Laden] were trying to understand what Islam has to say about how we eat, who we marry, how we talk. We read Sayyid Qutb. He was the one who most affected our generation.[74]

Qutb had an even greater influence on Osama bin Laden's mentor and another leading member of al-Qaeda,[75] Ayman al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri's uncle and maternal family patriarch, Mafouz Azzam, was Qutb's student, then protégé, then personal lawyer and finally executor of his estate - one of the last people to see Qutb before his execution. "Young Ayman al-Zawahiri heard again and again from his beloved uncle Mahfouz about the purity of Qutb's character and the torment he had endured in prison."[76] Zawahiri paid homage to Qutb in his work Knights under the Prophet's Banner. [77]

One of the most powerful effects of Qutb's ideas was the idea that many who said they were Muslims were not, i.e. they were apostates, which not only gave jihadists "a legal loophole around the prohibition of killing another Muslim," but made "it a religious obligation to execute" the self-professed Muslim. These alleged apostates included leaders of Muslims countries since they failed to enforce sharia law.[78]

Organization structure

File:Bin laden 12 27a.jpg
Osama bin Laden in the December video

Though the current structure of al-Qaeda is unknown, information mostly acquired from Jamal al-Fadl provided American authorities with a rough picture of how the group was organized. While the veracity of the information provided by al-Fadl and the motivation for his cooperation are both disputed, American authorities base much of their current knowledge of al-Qaeda on his testimony.[79]

Osama bin Laden is the emir and Senior Operations Chief of al-Qaeda (although originally this role may have been filled by Abu Ayoub al-Iraqi), advised by a Shura Council, which consists of senior al-Qaeda members, estimated by Western officials at about twenty to thirty people. Ayman al-Zawahiri is al-Qaeda's Deputy Operations Chief and Abu Ayyub al-Masri is possibly the senior leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

  • The Military Committee is responsible for training operatives, acquiring weapons, and planning attacks.
  • The Money/Business Committee runs business operations, provides air tickets and false passports, pays al-Qaeda members, and oversees profit-driven businesses. In the 9/11 Commission Report, it is estimated that al-Qaeda requires $30,000,000 USD per year to conduct its operations.
  • The Law Committee reviews Islamic law and decides if particular courses of action conform to the law.
  • The Islamic Study/Fatwah Committee issues religious edicts, such as an edict in telling Muslims to kill Americans.
  • In the late 1990s there was a publicly known Media Committee, which ran the now-defunct newspaper Nashrat al Akhbar (Newscast) and handled public relations.
  • In al Qaeda formed As-Sahab, a media production house, to supply its video and audio materials.

The number of individuals belonging to the organization is also unknown. According to the BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares, al-Qaeda is so weakly linked together that it is hard to say it exists apart from Osama bin Laden and a small clique of close associates.

The lack of any significant numbers of convicted al-Qaeda members despite a large number of arrests on terrorism charges is cited by the documentary as a reason to doubt whether a widespread entity that meets the description of al-Qaeda exists at all. Therefore the extent and nature of al-Qaeda remains a topic of dispute.[80]

Its rank and file has been described as changing from being "predominantly Arab," in its first years of operation, to "largely Pakistani," as of.[81] It has been estimated that 62% of al-Qaeda members have university education.[82]

Organization v. concept

When asked about the possibility of Al Qaeda's connection to the 7 July London bombings in Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said:

"Al Qaeda is not an organization. Al Qaeda is a way of working ... but this has the hallmark of that approach.... Al Qaeda clearly has the ability to provide training ... to provide expertise ... and I think that is what has occurred here."[83]

However, on 13 August The Independent newspaper reported, quoting police and MI5 investigations, that the 7 July bombers acted independently of an al-Qaeda terror mastermind some place abroad.[84]

What exactly al-Qaeda is, or was, remains in dispute. In the BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares, writer and journalist Adam Curtis contends that the idea of al-Qaeda as a formal organization is primarily an American invention. Curtis contends the name "al-Qaeda" was first brought to the attention of the public in the trial of Osama bin Laden and the four men accused of the 1998 United States embassy bombings in East Africa.

As a matter of law, the U.S. Department of Justice needed to show that Osama bin Laden was the leader of a criminal organization in order to charge him in absentia under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as the RICO statutes. The name of the organization and details of its structure were provided in the testimony of Jamal al-Fadl, who claimed to be a founding member of the organization and a former employee of Osama bin Laden.[85] To quote the documentary directly:

The reality was that bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri had become the focus of a loose association of disillusioned Islamist militants who were attracted by the new strategy. But there was no organization. These were militants who mostly planned their own operations and looked to bin Laden for funding and assistance. He was not their commander. There is also no evidence that bin Laden used the term "al-Qaeda" to refer to the name of a group until after September the 11th, when he realized that this was the term the Americans had given it.[86]

Questions about the reliability of al-Fadl's testimony have been raised by a number of sources because of his history of dishonesty and because he was delivering it as part of a plea bargain agreement after being convicted of conspiring to attack U.S. military establishments.[87][88] Sam Schmidt, a defense lawyer from the trial, had the following to say about al-Fadl's testimony:

There were selective portions of al-Fadl's testimony that I believe was false, to help support the picture that he helped the Americans join together. I think he lied in a number of specific testimony about a unified image of what this organization was. It made al-Qaeda the new Mafia or the new Communists. It made them identifiable as a group and therefore made it easier to prosecute any person associated with al-Qaeda for any acts or statements made by bin Laden.[89]



On December 29, 1992, al-Qaeda's first terrorist attack took place as two bombs were detonated in Aden, Yemen. The first target was the Movenpick Hotel and the second was the parking lot of the Goldmohur Hotel.

The bombings were an attempt to eliminate American soldiers on their way to Somalia to take part in the international famine relief effort, Operation Restore Hope. Internally, al-Qaeda considered the bombing a victory that frightened the Americans away, but in the United States the attack was barely noticed.

No Americans were killed because the soldiers were staying in a different hotel altogether, and they went on to Somalia as scheduled. However little noticed, the attack was pivotal as it was the beginning of al-Qaeda's change in direction, from fighting armies to killing civilians.[90] Two people were killed in the bombing, an Australian tourist and a Yemeni hotel worker. Seven others, mostly Yemenis, were severely injured.

Two fatwa are said to have been appointed by the most theologically knowledgeable of al-Qaeda's members, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, aka Abu Hajer al Iraqi, to justify the killings according to Islamic law. Mamdouh Mahmud Salim referred to the thirteenth-century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, much admired by Wahhabis.

In a famous fatwa, Ibn Tamiyyah had ruled that Muslims should kill the invading Mongols, and so too Salim said al-Qaeda should kill American soldiers. The second fatwa followed another of Ibn Tamiyyah's, that Muslims should not only kill Mongols but anyone who aided the Mongols, who bought goods from them or sold to them.

In addition the killing of someone merely standing near a Mongol was justified as well. He ruled these killings just because any innocent bystander, like the Yemenite hotel worker, would find their proper reward in death, going to Paradise if they were good Muslims and to hell if they were bad.[6] This became al-Qaeda's justification for killing civilians.[90]

1993 World Trade Center bombing

In 1993, Ramzi Yousef used a truck bomb to attack the World Trade Center in New York City. The attack was intended to break the foundation of Tower One knocking it into Tower Two, bringing the entire complex down.

Yousef hoped this would kill 250,000 people. The towers shook and swayed but the foundation held and he succeeded in killing only six people (although he injured 1,042 others and caused nearly $300 million in property damage).[91][92][93]

After the attack, Yousef fled to Pakistan and later moved to Manila. There he began developing the Bojinka Plot plans to blow up a dozen American airliners simultaneously, to assassinate Pope John Paul II and President Bill Clinton, and to crash a private plane into CIA headquarters. He was later captured in Pakistan.[91][92]

None of the U.S. government's indictments against Osama bin Laden have suggested that he had any connection with this bombing, but Ramzi Yousef is known to have attended a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. After his capture, Yousef declared that his primary justification for the attack was to punish the United States for its support for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and made no mention of any religious motivations.[93]

Late 1990s

See also: 1998 United States embassy bombings and USS Cole bombing

The U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, resulting in upward of 300 deaths, mostly locals. A barrage of cruise missiles launched by the U.S. military in response devastated an al-Qaeda base in Khost, Afghanistan, but the network's capacity was unharmed.

In October al-Qaeda militants in Yemen bombed the missile destroyer U.S.S. Cole in a suicide attack, killing 17 U.S. servicemen and damaging the vessel while it lay offshore. Inspired by the success of such a brazen attack, al-Qaeda's command core began to prepare for an attack on the United States itself.

Continued at Al-Qaeda, part 2

See also

Wikinews has related news: Internally distributed DHS memo: al-Qaeda and Hezbollah may attack U.S. within three years

Notes & references

  1. Atwan, Abdel bari The Secret History of al Qaeda Berkeley University of california Press. p.40
  2. "Foreign Terrorist Organizations List". United States Department of State.  - USSD Foreign Terrorist Organization
  3. "Terrorism Act". Home Office.  - Terrorism Act
  4. "Council Decision". Council of the European Union. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bergen, Peter. The Osama Bin Laden I Know. Simon and Schuster. pp. 75. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 United States District Court, Southern District of New York (February 6). "Testimony of Jamal Ahmad Al-Fadl". United States v. Usama bin Laden et al., defendants. James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. 
  7. Noah, Timothy. "The Terrorists-Are-Dumb Theory: Don't mistake these guys for criminal masterminds". Slate. 
  8. Wright, Looming Tower,, p.185, 270-1, 107-8
  9. Wright, Looming Tower,, p.270
  10. Fu'ad Husayn `Al-Zarqawi ... "The Second Generation of al-Qa’ida, Part Fourteen," Al-Quds al-Arabi, July 13,
  11. al-Hammadi, Khalid, `The Inside Story of al-Qa'ida,` part 4, Al-Quds al-Arabi, March 22,
  12. Evolution of the al-Qaeda brand name
  13. NATO. "Press Conference with NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson". 
  14. Commission of the European Communities. (DOC). . 
  15. United States Department of State. "Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)". 
  16. Australian Government. "Listing of Terrorist Organisations". 
  17. The Hindu : Centre bans Al-Qaeda
  18. Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada. "Entities list". 
  19. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (March 21). 21,.htm "Summary of indictments against Al-Qaeda terrorists in Samaria". 
  20. Korean Foreign Ministry (August 14). "Seoul confirms release of two Korean hostages in Afghanistan". 
  21. United Kingdom Home Office. "Proscribed terrorist groups". 
  22. "Russia Outlaws 17 Terror Groups; Hamas, Hezbollah Not Included". 
  23. "Türkiye'de halen faaliyetlerine devam eden başlıca terör örgütleri listesi" (Emniyet Genel Müdürlügü)
  24. Listen to the US pronunciation (RealPlayer).
  25. Arabic Computer Dictionary: English-Arabic, Arabic-English By Ernest Kay, Multi-lingual International Publishers, 1986.
  26. "Transcript of Bin Laden's October interview". CNN. 
  27. Mahan Abedin (February 5). "The Essence of Al Qaeda: An Interview With Saad Al-Faqih". 2. Jamestown Foundation. "The Bait al-Ansar or “Dwelling of the Partisans” was a guesthouse established by Bin Laden in the 1980s in Peshawar for Arab volunteers wanting to travel to Afghanistan." 
  28. "The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means". The Guardian. 
  29. Wright, Looming Tower, p.133-4
  30. 1998 Fatwa
  31. Wright, Looming Tower,, p.260
  32. The Rebellion Within, An Al Qaeda mastermind questions terrorism. by Lawrence Wright. newyorker, June 2,
  33. "After Mombassa", Al-Ahram Weekly Online, January 2-8 (Issue No. 619). Retrieved September 3.
  34. "How the CIA created Osama bin Laden". Green Left Weekly. 
  35. "1986-1992: CIA and British Recruit and Train Militants Worldwide to Help Fight Afghan War". Cooperative Research History Commons. 
  36. "Maktab al-Khidamat". GlobalSecurity. 
  37. Wright, Looming Tower,
  38. Cloonan Frontline interview, PBS, July 13.
  39. Wright, Looming Tower,, p.103
  40. Wright, Looming Tower, p.137
  41. "The War on Terror and the Politics of Violence in Pakistan". The Jamestown Foundation. 
  42. "The Osama bin Laden I know". 
  43. Wright, Lawrence. Looming Tower. pp. 181. ISBN 1400030846. 
  44. MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base
  45. "Osama bin Laden: The Past". 
  46. Douglas Jehl, "Holy War lured Saudis as Rulers Looked Away", New York Times December 27, [1]
  47. "Osama bin Laden: A Chronology of His Political Life". PBS. 
  48. "Context of 'Shortly After April 1994'". Cooperative Research History Commons. 
  49. Wright, Looming Towers, p.195
  50. Reidel, p. 52
  51. Wright, p.186
  52. Islam's Medieval Outposts
  53. Ahmed Rashid, Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia, I.B.Tauris, ISBN 1860648304 
  54. Islamist Militancy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region and U.S. Policy
  55. Denmark: Danish Muslims training in al-Qaeda camps, planning attack against Denmark
  56. "Bin Laden's Fatwa". Al Quds Al Arabi. August 1996. 
  57. "Text of Fatwah Urging Jihad Against Americans". 
  58. Benjamin, Daniel; Steven Simon. "The Warrior Prince". The Age of Sacred Terror. Random House. pp. 117. "By issuing fatwas, bin Laden and his followers are ah ing out a kind of self-appointment as alim: they are asserting their rights as interpreters of Islamic law" 
  59. Nyquist, J.R. (August 13). "Is Al Qaeda a Kremlin Proxy?". jrnyquist. 
  60. "Obituary: Alexander Litvinenko". BBC News. November 24,. 
  61. Wright, Looming Tower, p.332
  62. Qutb, Milestones, p.63 p.69
  63. Wright, Looming Towers,, p.79
  64. How Did Sayyid Qutb Influence Osama bin Laden?
  65. Lawrence Wright, who interviewed Azzam. Wright, Looming Tower, p.36
  66. Sayyid Qutb's Milestones (footnote 24)
  67. Qutbism: An Ideology of Islamic-Fascism DALE C. EIKMEIER From Parameters, Spring pp. 85-98.
  68. A Traitor's Tale, Time, February 19,
  69. Gerges, Fawaz A. The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-79140-5. 
  70. Jihad's New Leaders by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Kyle Dabruzzi, Middle East Quarterly, Summer
  71. Today's jihadists: educated, wealthy and bent on killing?
  72. "Cops: London Attacks Were Homicide Blasts". Fox News. 
  73. Bennetto, Jason; Ian Herbert. "London bombings: the truth emerges". The Independent. 
  74. "WMD Terrorism and Usama bin Laden" by The Center for Nonproliferation Studies
  75. Relevant excerpt from the series, The Power of Nightmares
  76. "Witness: Bin Laden planned attack on U.S. embassy in Saudi Arabia". CNN. 
  77. "A Traitor's Tale By Johanna McGeary". Time. 
  78. The Power of Nightmares. BBC documentary by Adam Curtis.
  79. 90.0 90.1 Wright, Looming Tower,, p.174
  80. 91.0 91.1 Wright, Looming Tower,, p.178
  81. 92.0 92.1 Reeve, Simon. The new jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama Bin Laden and the future of terrorism, Boston: Northeastern University Press, c1999
  82. 93.0 93.1 "February Bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City". Center for Nonproliferation Studies. 

Further reading

External links

  • U.S. Dept. of Justice, Al Qaeda Training Manual.
  • The Pakistan Security Research Unit (PSRU)
  • PBS FRONTLINE "Al Qaeda's New Front" January
  • Al-Qaedaism: The Threat To Islam, The Threat To The World Book Review
  • Al-Qaeda - fact file at Ynetnews
  • The Power of Nightmares (BBC documentary following the rise of Islamic Terrorism and Al-qaeda)

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