Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda

Overview
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

. It has been designated a "terrorist organization" by the United States, the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, NATO, and various other countries (see below).

Al-Qaeda has attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, such as the September 11 attacks, 1998 US embassy bombings and 2002 Bali bombings.
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Encyclopedia
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

. It has been designated a "terrorist organization" by the United States, the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, NATO, and various other countries (see below).

Al-Qaeda has attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, such as the September 11 attacks, 1998 US embassy bombings and 2002 Bali bombings. The US government responded by launching the War on Terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

. Al-Qaeda has continued to exist and grow through the decade from 2001 to 2011.
With the loss of key leaders culminating with the death of Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

, al-Qaeda's operations have devolved from top-down controlled, to franchise associated groups, to lone wolf operators. With the death of key communicators, like Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki was an American and Yemeni imam who was an engineer and educator by training. According to U.S. government officials, he was a senior talent recruiter and motivator who was involved with planning operations for the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda...

, the ability of al-Qaeda's "brand" to inspire, motivate and instill fear has sharply declined.

Characteristic techniques include suicide attack
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

s and simultaneous bombings of different targets. 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, Pakistan, Iraq or Sudan, but not taken any pledge.

Al-Qaeda ideologues envision a complete break from all foreign influences in Muslim countries
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

, and the creation of a new Islamic world wide caliphate
World government
World government is the notion of a single common political authority for all of humanity. Its modern conception is rooted in European history, particularly in the philosophy of ancient Greece, in the political formation of the Roman Empire, and in the subsequent struggle between secular authority,...

. Reported beliefs include that a Christian–Jewish alliance is conspiring to destroy Islam. Under Salafist jihadism they believe that the killing of civilians is religiously sanctioned, and they ignore holy text which forbids the murder of civilians and also internecine fighting.

Al-Qaeda is also responsible for instigating sectarian violence among Muslims
Sectarian violence among Muslims
Sectarian violence among Muslims has been noted from the time of the first century of islam to the present day.-In Iraq:In February of 2006, more than 100 people were killed across Iraq, when violence between the two Muslim rival sects erupted...

. Al-Qaeda is intolerant of non-Sunni branches of Islam and denounces them with excommunication
Excommunication
Excommunication is a religious censure used to deprive, suspend or limit membership in a religious community. The word means putting [someone] out of communion. In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group...

s called "takfir
Takfir
In Islamic law, takfir or takfeer refers to the practice of one Muslim declaring another Muslim an unbeliever or kafir...

". Al-Qaeda leaders regard liberal Muslims
Liberal movements within Islam
Progressive Muslims have produced a considerable body of liberal thought within Islam or "progressive Islam" ; but some consider progressive Islam and liberal Islam as two distinct movements)...

, Shias, Sufis, Ahmadiyyas and other sects as heretics and have issued attacks on their mosques and gatherings. Examples of sectarian attacks include the Yazidi community bombings
2007 Yazidi communities bombings
The 2007 Yazidi communities bombings occurred at around 8pm local time on August 14, 2007, when four co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks detonated in the Yazidi towns of Qahtaniya and Jazeera , near Mosul....

, Sadr City bombings, Ashoura Massacre and April 2007 Baghdad bombings.

Organization


Al-Qaeda's management philosophy has been described as "centralization of decision and decentralization of execution." Following the War on Terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

, it is thought that al-Qaeda's leadership has "become geographically isolated", leading to the "emergence of decentralized leadership" of regional groups using the al-Qaeda "brand".

Many terrorism experts do not believe that the global jihadist movement is driven at every level by al-Qaeda's leadership. Although bin Laden still had huge ideological sway over some Muslim extremists before his death, experts argue that al-Qaeda has fragmented over the years into a variety of disconnected regional movements that have little connection with each other. Marc Sageman
Marc Sageman
Marc Sageman , M.D., Ph.D., is a former CIA Operations Officer who was based in Islamabad from 1987 to 1989, where he worked closely with Afghanistan's mujahedin. He has advised various branches of the U.S. government in the War on Terror...

, a psychiatrist and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, said that al-Qaeda would now just be a "loose label for a movement that seems to target the West". "There is no umbrella organisation. We like to create a mythical entity called [al-Qaeda] in our minds, but that is not the reality we are dealing with."

This view mirrors the account given by Osama bin Laden in his October 2001 interview by Tayseer Allouni
Tayseer Allouni
Tayseer Allouni is a journalist from the Al Jazeera news channel. He was born in Deir ez-Zor in Syria in 1955 then in 1983 he moved to Spain where he studied Economics, and has lived there ever since, adopting Spanish citizenship in 1988...

:

"...this matter isn't about any specific person and...is not about the al-Qai`dah Organization. We are the children of an Islamic Nation, with Prophet Muhammad as its leader, our Lord is one...and all the true believers [mu'mineen] are brothers.

So the situation isn't like the West portrays it, that there is an "organization" with a specific name (such as "al-Qai`dah") and so on. That particular name is very old. It was born without any intention from us. Brother Abu Ubaida... created a military base to train the young men to fight against the vicious, arrogant, brutal, terrorizing Soviet empire... So this place was called "The Base" ["Al-Qai`dah"], as in a training base, so this name grew and became.

We aren't separated from this nation. We are the children of a nation, and we are an inseparable part of it, and from those public demonstrations which spread from the far east, from the Philippines, to Indonesia, to Malaysia, to India, to Pakistan, reaching Mauritania... and so we discuss the conscience of this nation."


Others, however, see al-Qaeda as an integrated network that is strongly led from the Pakistani tribal areas and has a powerful strategic purpose. Bruce Hoffman
Bruce Hoffman
Bruce Hoffman is the Director of the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and a specialist in the study of terrorism and counter-insurgency...

, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

, said "It amazes me that people don't think there is a clear adversary out there, and that our adversary does not have a strategic approach."

Al-Qaeda has the following direct franchises:
  • Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
    Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
    Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is a militant Islamist organization, primarily active in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It was named for al-Qaeda, and says it is subordinate to that group and its now-deceased leader Osama bin Laden, a Saudi citizen whose father was born in Yemen...

    , which comprises
    •   Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia
      Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia
      Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia was a terrorist group, based in Saudi Arabia.Saudi security officials were able to kill or apprehend some of its members, including Younis Mohammed Ibrahim al-Hayari, who was killed in a shootout on July 3 2005....

      , and
    •   Islamic Jihad of Yemen
      Islamic Jihad of Yemen
      The Islamic Jihad of Yemen is an al Qaeda terrorist affiliate that claimed responsibility for the 2008 American Embassy attack in Yemen...

       Al-Qaeda in Iraq
      Al-Qaeda in Iraq
      Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a popular name for the Iraqi division of the international Salafi jihadi militant organization al-Qaeda. It is recognized as a part of the greater Iraqi insurgency....

           Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb
      Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb
      The Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb, previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat is a radical Islamist militia which aims to overthrow the Algerian government and institute an Islamic state. To that end, it is currently engaged in an insurgent campaign.The group...

       Al-Shabaab (Mujahideen Youth Movement) in Somalia Egyptian Islamic Jihad Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
      Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
      Libyan Islamic Movement formerly known as The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group also known as Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya is a group active in Libya which played a key role in deposing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime, allying itself with the National Transitional Council.However...

       East Turkestan Islamic Movement
      East Turkestan Islamic Movement
      The East Turkestan Islamic Movement The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) (also known as the Turkistan Islamic Movement (TIM), and other names; is a Waziri based mujahideen organization. Its stated goals are the independence of East Turkestan and the...

       in Xinjiang
      Xinjiang
      Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

      , China


Leadership



Information mostly acquired from Jamal al-Fadl
Jamal al-Fadl
Jamal Ahmed Mohamed al-Fadl is a Sudanese militant and former associate of Osama bin Laden in the early 1990s. Al-Fadl was recruited for the Afghan war through the Farouq mosque in Brooklyn. In 1988, he joined al Qaeda and took an oath of fealty to Bin Laden...

 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.

Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

 was the most historically notable emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

, or commander, and Senior Operations Chief of al-Qaida prior to his assassination on May 1, 2011 by US forces. Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri is an Egyptian physician, Islamic theologian and current leader of al-Qaeda. He was previously the second and last "emir" of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, having succeeded Abbud al-Zumar in the latter role when Egyptian authorities sentenced al-Zumar to life...

, al-Qaeda's Deputy Operations Chief prior to bin Laden's death, has assumed the role of commander as announced by al-Qaida on June 16, 2011, replacing Saif al-Adel
Saif al-Adel
Saif al-Adel is an Egyptian explosives expert and a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda.Adel is under indictment for his part in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa...

, who served as interim commander.

As of August 6, 2010, the chief of operations was considered to be Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah
Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah
Born in Saudi Arabia, Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah is a member of al-Qaeda, who grew up in the United States and worked as a school teacher....

, replacing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Bin Laden was advised by a Shura Council
Shura Council
The Shura Council is the upper house of Egyptian bicameral Parliament. Its name roughly translates into English as "the Consultative Council". The lower house of parliament is the People's Assembly....

, which consists of senior al-Qaeda members, estimated by Western officials at about 20–30 people. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ; October 30, 1966 – June 7, 2006), born Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh was a Jordanian militant Islamist who ran a paramilitary training camp in Afghanistan...

 was the senior leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, but his safe house was hit by U.S. missiles in a targeted killing
Targeted killing
Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

, and Abu Ayyub al-Masri
Abu Ayyub al-Masri
Abu Ayyub al-Masri , also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir and other aliases , was an active combattant of al-Qaeda and at least a senior aide to former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. When Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike on 7 June 2006, U.S...

 succeeded him who was also later killed by US and Iraqi forces on April 18, 2010.

Atiyah Abd al-Rahman
Atiyah Abd al-Rahman
Atiyah Abd Al Rahman was reported by the US State Department to be a senior member of al-Qaeda and a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and Ansar al-Sunna...

 was alleged to be second in command prior to his death on August 22, 2011.

Al-Qaeda's network was built from scratch as a conspiratorial network that draws on leaders of all its regional nodes "as and when necessary to serve as an integral part of its high command."
  • The Military Committee is responsible for training operatives, acquiring weapons, and planning attacks.
  • The Money/Business Committee funds the recruitment and training of operatives through the hawala
    Hawala
    Hawala is an informal value transfer system based on the performance and honor of a huge network of money brokers, which are primarily located in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and South Asia...

     banking system. U.S-led efforts to eradicate the sources of terrorist financing
    Terrorist Financing
    Terrorist financing came into limelight after the events of terrorism on 9/11. The US passed the USA PATRIOT Act to, among other reasons, attempt thwarting the financing of terrorism and anti-money laundering making sure these were given some sort of adequate focus by US financial institutions...

     were most successful in the year immediately following September 11; al-Qaeda continues to operate through unregulated banks, such as the 1,000 or so hawaladars in Pakistan, some of which can handle deals of up to $10 million. It also provides air tickets and false passports, pays al-Qaeda members, and oversees profit-driven businesses. In the 9/11 Commission Report
    9/11 Commission Report
    The 9/11 Commission Report, formally named Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, is the official report of the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks...

    , it was estimated that al-Qaeda required $30 million-per-year to conduct its operations.
  • The Law Committee reviews Sharia law, and decides whether particular courses of action conform to the law.
  • The Islamic Study/Fatwah
    Fatwa
    A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

     Committee issues religious edicts, such as an edict in 1998 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
    Public relations
    Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

    .
  • In 2005, al-Qaeda formed As-Sahab
    As-Sahab
    The As-Sahab Foundation for Islamic Media Publication , is the media production house of al-Qaeda, used to relay the organization's views to the world...

    , a media production house, to supply its video and audio materials.

Command structure


When asked about the possibility of al-Qaeda's connection to the July 7, 2005 London bombings in 2005, 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."

However, on August 13, 2005, The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

 newspaper, quoting police and MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 investigations, reported that the July 7 bombers acted independently of an al-Qaeda terror mastermind someplace abroad.

What exactly al-Qaeda is, or was, remains in dispute. Author and journalist Adam Curtis
Adam Curtis
Adam Curtis is a British BAFTA winning documentarian and a writer, television producer, director and narrator. He works for BBC Current Affairs.-Early life and education:Curtis was born in 1955...

 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 2001 trial of bin Laden and the four men accused of the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa:

The reality was that bin Laden and Ayman al-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 11, when he realized that this was the term the Americans had given it.


As a matter of law, the US Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 needed to show that bin Laden was the leader of a criminal organization in order to charge him in absentia
In absentia
In absentia is Latin for "in the absence". In legal use, it usually means a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. The phrase is not ordinarily a mere observation, but suggests recognition of violation to a defendant's right to be present in court proceedings in a criminal trial.In...

 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization...

, 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
Jamal al-Fadl
Jamal Ahmed Mohamed al-Fadl is a Sudanese militant and former associate of Osama bin Laden in the early 1990s. Al-Fadl was recruited for the Afghan war through the Farouq mosque in Brooklyn. In 1988, he joined al Qaeda and took an oath of fealty to Bin Laden...

, who said he was a founding member of the organization and a former employee of bin Laden. 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
Plea bargain
A plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case whereby the prosecutor offers the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge or to the original criminal charge with a recommendation of a lighter than the maximum sentence.A plea bargain allows criminal defendants to...

 agreement after being convicted of conspiring to attack U.S. military establishments. Sam Schmidt, one of his defense lawyers, said:

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.

Field operatives


The number of individuals in the organization who have undergone proper military training, and are capable of commanding insurgent forces, is largely unknown. In 2006, it was estimated that al-Qaeda had several thousand commanders embedded in 40 different countries. As of 2009, it was believed that no more than 200–300 members were still active commanders.

According to the award-winning 2004 BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares
The Power of Nightmares
The Power of Nightmares, subtitled The Rise of the Politics of Fear, is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis. Its three one-hour parts consist mostly of a montage of archive footage with Curtis's narration...

, al-Qaeda was so weakly linked together that it was hard to say it existed apart from 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, was cited by the documentary as a reason to doubt whether a widespread entity that met the description of al-Qaeda existed.

Insurgent forces


According to Robert Cassidy, al-Qaeda controls two separate forces deployed alongside insurgents in Iraq and Pakistan. The first, numbering in the tens of thousands, was "organized, trained, and equipped as insurgent combat forces" in the Soviet-Afghan war. It was made up primarily of foreign mujahideen from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Many went on to fight in Bosnia and Somalia for global jihad. Another group, approximately 10,000 strong, live in Western states and have received rudimentary combat training.

Other analysts have described al-Qaeda's rank and file as being "predominantly Arab," in its first years of operation, and now also includes "other peoples" as of 2007. It has been estimated that 62% of al-Qaeda members have university education.

Financing


The majority of financing for al-Qaeda in the 1990s and 2000s came from the personal wealth of Osama bin Laden which was estimated at around $300 million. Other sources of income include the heroin trade and donations from supporters.

Strategy


On March 11, 2005, Al-Quds Al-Arabi
Al-Quds Al-Arabi
Al-Quds Al-Arabi , is an independent pan-Arab daily newspaper published in London since 1989. The paper is owned by Palestinian expatriates, and edited by Abd al-Bari Atwan who was born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Gaza Strip in 1950. Its motto is . Its circulation is estimated to be...

 published extracts from Saif al-Adel
Saif al-Adel
Saif al-Adel is an Egyptian explosives expert and a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda.Adel is under indictment for his part in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa...

's document "Al Quaeda's Strategy to the Year 2020". Abdel Bari Atwan summarizes this strategy as comprising five stages to rid the Ummah
Ummah
Ummah is an Arabic word meaning "community" or "nation." It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or the whole Arab world...

 from all forms of oppression:
  1. Provoke the United States into invading a Muslim country.
  2. Incite local resistance to occupying forces.
  3. Expand the conflict to neighboring countries, and engage the U.S. in a long war of attrition.
  4. Convert al-Qaeda into an ideology and set of operating principles that can be loosely franchised in other countries without requiring direct command and control, and via these franchises incite attacks against countries allied with the U.S. until they withdraw from the conflict, as happened with the 2004 Madrid train bombings, but which did not have the same effect with the July 7, 2005 London bombings.
  5. The U.S. economy will finally collapse under the strain of multiple engagements in numerous places, making the worldwide economic system which is dependent on the U.S. also collapse leading to global political instability, which in turn leads to a global jihad led by Al-Qaeda and a Wahhabi Caliphate
    Caliphate
    The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

     will then be installed across the world. Atwan also noted, regarding the collapse of the U.S., "If this sounds far-fetched, it is sobering to consider that this virtually describes the downfall of the Soviet Union
    Dissolution of the Soviet Union
    The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

    ."

Etymology


In Arabic, al-Qaeda has four syllables (ælˈqɑːʕɪdɐ). However, since two of the Arabic consonants in the name (the voiceless uvular plosive [q] and the voiced pharyngeal fricative
Voiced pharyngeal fricative
The voiced pharyngeal approximant or fricative is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents it is , and the equivalent X-SAMPA symbol is ?\....

 [ʕ]) are not phones found in the English language, the closest naturalized English pronunciations
English phonology
English phonology is the study of the sound system of the English language. Like many languages, English has wide variation in pronunciation, both historically and from dialect to dialect...

 include æ, æ and ˌ. al-Qaeda's name can also be transliterated
Transliteration
Transliteration is a subset of the science of hermeneutics. It is a form of translation, and is the practice of converting a text from one script into another...

 as al-Qaida, al-Qa'ida, el-Qaida, or al-Qaeda.

The name comes from the Arabic noun qā'idah, which means foundation or basis, and can also refer to a military base
Military base
A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military or one of its branches that shelters military equipment and personnel, and facilitates training and operations. In general, a military base provides accommodations for one or more units, but it may also be used as a...

. The initial al- is the Arabic definite article
Article (grammar)
An article is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Articles specify the grammatical definiteness of the noun, in some languages extending to volume or numerical scope. The articles in the English language are the and a/an, and some...

 the, hence the base.

Bin Laden explained the origin of the term in a videotaped interview with Al Jazeera journalist Tayseer Alouni in October 2001:
The name 'al-Qaeda' was established a long time ago by mere chance. The late Abu Ebeida El-Banashiri
Abu Ubaidah al-Banshiri
Abu Ubaidah al-Banshiri was the nom de guerre of Ali Amin al-Rashidi , one of the "most capable and popular leaders" of al-Qaeda....

 established the training camps for our mujahedeen against Russia's terrorism. We used to call the training camp al-Qaeda. The name stayed.


It has been argued that two documents seized from the Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

 office of the Benevolence International Foundation
Benevolence International Foundation
The Benevolence International Foundation was a purported nonprofit charitable trust based in Saudi Arabia. It was a front for al-Qaeda and is now banned worldwide by the United Nations Security Council Committee 1267...

 prove that the name was not simply adopted by the mujahid movement and that a group called al-Qaeda 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".

Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook
Robin Cook
Robert Finlayson Cook was a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Livingston from 1983 until his death, and notably served in the Cabinet as Foreign Secretary from 1997 to 2001....

 wrote that the word al-Qaeda should be translated as "the database", and originally referred to the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen militants who were recruited and trained with CIA help to defeat the Russians. In April 2002, the group assumed the name Qa'idat al-Jihad, which means "the base of Jihad". According to Diaa Rashwan
Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies
Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies was established in 1968 as an independent research unit functioning within the framework of Al-Ahram Foundation....

, this was "apparently as a result of the merger of the overseas branch of Egypt's al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamist Jihad, or 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."

Ideology


The radical Islamist movement in general and al-Qaeda in particular developed during the Islamic revival
Islamic revival
Islamic revival refers to a revival of the Islamic religion throughout the Islamic world, that began roughly sometime in 1970s and is manifested in greater religious piety, and community feeling, and in a growing adoption of Islamic culture, dress, terminology, separation of the sexes, and values...

 and Islamist movement
Islamism
Islamism also , lit., "Political Islam" is set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system. Islamism is a controversial term, and definitions of it sometimes vary...

 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
Sayyid Qutb
Sayyid Qutb was an Egyptian author, educator, Islamist theorist, poet, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and '60s....

, "al-Qaeda would not have existed." Qutb preached that because of the lack of sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

 law, the Muslim world was no longer Muslim, having reverted to pre-Islamic ignorance known as jahiliyyah
Jahiliyyah
Jahiliyyah is an Islamic concept of "ignorance of divine guidance" or "the state of ignorance of the guidance from God" or "Days of Ignorance" referring to the condition in which Arabs found themselves in pre-Islamic Arabia, i.e. prior to the revelation of the Qur'an to Muhammad...

.

To restore Islam, he said a vanguard movement of righteous Muslims was needed to establish "true Islamic state
Islamic State
An Islamic state is a type of government, in which the primary basis for government is Islamic religious law...

s", implement sharia, and rid the Muslim world of any non-Muslim influences, such as concepts like socialism and nationalism. Enemies of Islam in Qutb's view included "treacherous Orientalists" and "world Jewry", who plotted "conspiracies" and "wicked[ly]" opposed Islam.

In the words of Mohammed Jamal Khalifa
Mohammed Jamal Khalifa
Mohammed Jamal Khalifa was a Saudi Arabian businessman from Jeddah who married one of Osama bin Laden's sisters.-Overview:The first glimpse U.S...

, a close college friend of bin Laden:
Islam is different from any other religion; it's a way of life. We [Khalifa 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.


Qutb had an even greater influence on bin Laden's mentor and another leading member of al-Qaeda, 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." Zawahiri paid homage to Qutb in his work Knights under the Prophet's Banner.

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

Religious compatibility


Abdel Bari Atwan writes that:

History


Researchers have described five distinct phases in the development of al-Qaeda: the beginning in the late 1980s, the "wilderness" period in 1990–96, its "heyday" in 1996–2001, the network period of 2001–05, and a period of fragmentation from 2005 to today.

Jihad in Afghanistan



The origins of al-Qaeda as a network inspiring terrorism around the world and training operatives can be traced to the Soviet War in Afghanistan
Soviet war in Afghanistan
The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

 (December 1979 – February 1989). The U.S. viewed the conflict in Afghanistan, with the Afghan Marxists and allied Soviet troops on one side and the native Afghan mujahideen, some of whom were radical Islamic militants, on the other, as a blatant case of Soviet expansionism and aggression. The U.S. channeled funds through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 agency to the Afghan Mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation in a CIA program called Operation Cyclone
Operation Cyclone
Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency program to arm, train, and finance the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, 1979 to 1989...

.

At the same time, a growing number of Arab mujahideen joined the jihad against the Afghan Marxist regime
Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan was a government of Afghanistan between 1978 and 1992. It was both ideologically close to and economically dependent on the Soviet Union, and was a major belligerent of the Afghan Civil War.- Saur Revolution :...

, facilitated by international Muslim organizations, particularly the Maktab al-Khidamat, whose funds came from some of the $600 million a year donated to the jihad by the Saudi Arabia government and individual Muslims—particularly independent Saudi businessmen who were approached by bin Laden.

Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK), or the "Services Office", a Muslim organization founded to raise and channel funds and recruit foreign mujahideen for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, was established by Abdullah Yusuf Azzam
Abdullah Yusuf Azzam
Abdullah Yusuf Azzam was a highly influential Palestinian Sunni Islamic scholar and theologian, who preached in favor of defensive jihad by Muslims to help the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet invaders...

, a Palestinian Islamic scholar and member of the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

, and bin Laden in Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

, Pakistan, in 1984. MAK organized guest houses
Al-Qaeda safe house
American intelligence analysts justify the extrajudicial detention of Guantanamo suspects because they stayed in what they characterized as an Al Qaida safe house....

 in Peshawar, near the Afghan border, and gathered supplies for the construction of paramilitary training camps to prepare foreign recruits for the Afghan war front. Bin Laden became a "major financier" of the mujahideen, spending his own money and using his connections with "the Saudi royal family and the petro-billionaires of the Gulf" in order to improve public opinion of the war and raise more funds.
From 1986, it began to set up a network of recruiting offices in the U.S., the hub of which was the Al Kifah Refugee Center
Al Kifah Refugee Center
The Al Kifah Refugee Center is a charity that was active in the United Statesand was based in the Faruq Mosque in Brooklyn.-Overview:Al Kifah Refugee Center had clandestine links to forces fighting in Afghanistan dating to the late 1980s, when the fighters enjoyed American support in their struggle...

 at the Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

's Atlantic Avenue. Among notable figures at the Brooklyn center were "double agent" Ali Mohamed
Ali Mohamed
Ali Abdul Saoud Mohamed, is a double agent who worked for both the CIA and Egyptian Islamic Jihad simultaneously, reporting on the workings of each for the benefit of the other....

, whom FBI special agent Jack Cloonan called "bin Laden's first trainer," and "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman
Omar Abdel-Rahman
Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman , commonly known in the United States as "The Blind Sheikh", is a blind Egyptian Muslim leader who is currently serving a life sentence at the Butner Medical Center which is part of the Butner Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina, United...

, a leading recruiter of mujahideen for Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda evolved from the MAK.

Beginning in 1987, Azzam and bin Laden started creating camps inside Afghanistan.

U.S. government financial support for the Afghan Islamic militants was substantial. Aid to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is an Afghan Mujahideen leader who is the founder and leader of the Hezb-e Islami political party and paramilitary group. Hekmatyar was a rebel military commander during the 1980s Soviet war in Afghanistan and was one of the key figures in the civil war that followed the...

, an Afghan mujahideen leader. and founder and leader of the Hezb-e Islami radical Islamic militant faction, alone amounted "by the most conservative estimates" to $600 million. Later, Hekmatyar "worked closely" with bin Laden in the early 1990s, when US support had ceased. In addition to hundreds of millions of dollars of American aid, Hekmatyar also received the lion's share of aid from the Saudis. There is evidence that the CIA supported
CIA Drug Trafficking
A few sources indicate the United States Central Intelligence Agency might have been involved in several drug trafficking operations...

 Hekmatyar's drug trade activities by giving him immunity for his opium trafficking that financed operation of his militant faction.

The MAK and foreign mujahideen volunteers, or "Afghan Arabs," did not play a major role in the war. While over 250,000 Afghan mujahideen fought the Soviets and the communist Afghan government, it is estimated that were never more than 2,000 foreign mujahideen in the field at any one time. Nonetheless, foreign mujahideen volunteers came from 43 countries, and the total number that participated in the Afghan movement between 1982 and 1992 is reported to have been 35,000. Bin Laden was one of the key players in organizing training camps for the foreign Muslim volunteers.

The Soviet Union finally withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. To the surprise of many, Mohammad Najibullah
Mohammad Najibullah
Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai , originally merely Najibullah, was the fourth and last President of the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. He is also considered the second President of the Republic of Afghanistan.-Early years:Najibullah was born in August 1947 to the Ahmadzai...

's communist Afghan government hung on for three more years, before being overrun by elements of the mujahideen. With mujahideen 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
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 mission in Afghanistan, some mujahideen wanted to expand their operations to include Islamist struggles in other parts of the world, such as Israel and Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

. 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 bin Laden with an initial meeting held on August 11, 1988.

Notes of a meeting of bin Laden and others on August 20, 1988, indicate al-Qaeda was a formal group by that time: "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 the following: listening ability, good manners, obedience, and making a pledge (bayat) to follow one's superiors.

According to Wright, the group's real name wasn't used in public pronouncements because "its existence was still a closely held secret." His research suggests that al-Qaeda was formed at an August 11, 1988, meeting between "several senior leaders" of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Abdullah Azzam
Abdullah Yusuf Azzam
Abdullah Yusuf Azzam was a highly influential Palestinian Sunni Islamic scholar and theologian, who preached in favor of defensive jihad by Muslims to help the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviet invaders...

, and bin Laden, where it was agreed to join bin Laden's money with the expertise of the Islamic Jihad organization and take up the jihadist cause elsewhere after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan.

Bin Laden wished to establish non-military 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
Ali Mohamed
Ali Abdul Saoud Mohamed, is a double agent who worked for both the CIA and Egyptian Islamic Jihad simultaneously, reporting on the workings of each for the benefit of the other....

, a former special forces Sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg (North Carolina)
Fort Bragg is a major United States Army installation, in Cumberland and Hoke counties, North Carolina, U.S., mostly in Fayetteville but also partly in the town of Spring Lake. It was also a census-designated place in the 2010 census and had a population of 39,457. The fort is named for Confederate...

, North Carolina, left military service and moved to California. He traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan and became "deeply involved with bin Laden's plans."

A year later, on November 8, 1990, the FBI raided the New Jersey home of Ali Mohammed's associate El Sayyid Nosair
El Sayyid Nosair
El Sayyid Nosair is an Egyptian-born American citizen, convicted of involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing...

, discovering a great deal of evidence of terrorist plots, including plans to blow up New York City skyscrapers. Nosair was eventually convicted in connection to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and for the murder of Rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 Meir Kahane
Meir Kahane
Martin David Kahane , also known as Meir Kahane , was an American-Israeli rabbi and ultra-nationalist writer and political figure. He was an ordained Orthodox rabbi and later served as a member of the Israeli Knesset...

 on November 5, 1990. In 1991, Ali Mohammed is said to have helped orchestrate bin Laden's relocation to Sudan.

Gulf War and the start of U.S. enmity


Following the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan in February 1989, bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 had put the Kingdom and its ruling House of Saud
House of Saud
The House of Saud , also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members...

 at risk. The world's most valuable oil fields 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 mujahideen to King Fahd
Fahd of Saudi Arabia
Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, was King of Saudi Arabia from 1982 to 2005...

 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 troops into Saudi territory.

The deployment angered Bin Laden, as he believed the presence of foreign troops in the "land of the two mosques" (Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 and Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

) profaned sacred soil. After speaking publicly against the Saudi government for harboring American troops, he was banished and forced to live in exile in Sudan.

Sudan


From around 1992 to 1996, al-Qaeda and bin Laden based themselves in Sudan at the invitation of Islamist theoretician Hassan al Turabi. The move followed an Islamist coup d'état in Sudan, led by Colonel Omar al-Bashir
Omar al-Bashir
Lieutenant General Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir is the current President of Sudan and the head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier in the Sudanese army, led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister...

, who professed a commitment to reordering Muslim political values. During this time, bin Laden assisted the Sudanese government, bought or set up various business enterprises, and established camps where insurgents trained.

A key turning point for bin Laden, further pitting him against the Sauds, occurred in 1993 when Saudi Arabia gave support for the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

, which set a path for peace between Israel and Palestinians.

Zawahiri and the EIJ, who served as the core of al-Qaeda but also engaged in separate operations against the Egyptian government, had bad luck in Sudan. In 1993, a young schoolgirl was killed in an unsuccessful EIJ attempt on the life of the Egyptian prime minister, Atef Sedki
Atef Sedki
Atef Muhammad Naguib Sedki was the Prime Minister of Egypt from 1986 until 1996. He replaced Ali Mahmoud Lutfi on November 10, 1986.-Biography:...

. Egyptian public opinion turned against Islamist bombings, and the police arrested 280 of al-Jihad's members and executed 6.

Due to bin Laden's continuous verbal assault on King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, on March 5, 1994 Fahd sent an emissary to Sudan demanding bin Laden's passport; bin Laden's Saudi citizenship was also revoked. His family was persuaded to cut off his monthly stipend, $7 million ($ today) a year, and his Saudi assets were frozen. 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.

In June 1995 an even more ill-fated attempt to assassinate Egyptian president Mubarak led to the expulsion of EIJ, and in May 1996, of bin Laden, by the Sudanese government.

According to Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz
Mansoor Ijaz
Mansoor Ijaz is an American businessman of Pakistani Ancestry. He is an investment banker and media commentator, mostly in relation to Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan....

, the Sudanese government offered the Clinton Administration numerous opportunities to arrest bin Laden. Those opportunities were met positively by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Korbelová Albright is the first woman to become a United States Secretary of State. She was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton on December 5, 1996, and was unanimously confirmed by a U.S. Senate vote of 99–0...

, but spurned when Susan Rice and counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke
Richard A. Clarke
Richard Alan Clarke was a U.S. government employee for 30 years, 1973–2003. He worked for the State Department during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to chair the Counter-terrorism Security Group and to a seat on the United States National...

 persuaded National Security Advisor Sandy Berger
Sandy Berger
Samuel Richard "Sandy" Berger was United States National Security Advisor, under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. In his position, he helped to formulate the foreign policy of the Clinton Administration...

 to overrule Albright. Ijaz’s claims appeared in numerous Op-Ed
Op-ed
An op-ed, abbreviated from opposite the editorial page , is a newspaper article that expresses the opinions of a named writer who is usually unaffiliated with the newspaper's editorial board...

 pieces, including one in the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

 and one in The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

 co-written with former Ambassador to Sudan Timothy M. Carney
Timothy M. Carney
Timothy Michael Carney is a retired American diplomat and consultant.-Biography:Carney was born in Missouri and went on to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966. He studied advanced Southeast Asian affairs at Cornell University in 1975-76. Carney joined the Foreign...

. Similar allegations have been made by Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair (magazine)
Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...

 contributing editor David Rose, and Richard Miniter
Richard Miniter
Richard Miniter is an investigative journalist and author of two New York Times best-selling books, Losing bin Laden and Shadow War....

, author of Losing bin Laden, in a November 2003 interview with World
World (magazine)
WORLD Magazine is a biweekly Christian news magazine, published in the United States of America by God's World Publications, a non-profit 501 organization based in Asheville, North Carolina. WORLD differs from most other news magazines in that its declared perspective is one of conservative...

.

Several sources dispute Ijaz's claim, including the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the U.S. (the 9–11 Commission), which concluded in part:
Sudan's minister of defense, Fatih Erwa, has claimed that Sudan offered to hand Bin Ladin over to the U.S. The Commission has found no credible evidence that this was so. Ambassador Carney had instructions only to push the Sudanese to expel Bin Ladin. Ambassador Carney had no legal basis to ask for more from the Sudanese since, at the time, there was no indictment out-standing.

Refuge in Afghanistan


After the Soviet withdrawal, Afghanistan was effectively ungoverned for seven years and plagued by constant infighting between former allies and various mujahideen 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
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 or in the refugee camps on the Afghan-Pakistani border.

According to Ahmed Rashid
Ahmed Rashid
Ahmed Rashid is a former Pakistani revolutionary, a journalist and best-selling author of several books about Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia.-Biography:...

, five leaders of the Taliban were graduates of Darul Uloom Haqqania
Darul Uloom Haqqania
Darul Uloom Haqqania is an Islamic religious seminary located in Akora Khattak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. The seminary propagates the Deobandi trend of Sunni Islam and was founded along the lines of Darul Uloom Deoband....

, a madrassa in the small town of Akora Khattak. The town is situated near Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

 in Pakistan, but largely attended by Afghan refugees. This institution reflected Salafi
Salafi
A Salafi come from Sunni Islam is a follower of an Islamic movement, Salafiyyah, that is supposed to take the Salaf who lived during the patristic period of early Islam as model examples...

 beliefs in its teachings, and much of its funding came from private donations from wealthy Arabs. Bin Laden's contacts were still laundering most of these donations, using "unscrupulous" Islamic banks to transfer the money to an "array" of charities which serve as front groups for al-Qaeda, or transporting cash-filled suitcases straight into Pakistan. Another four of the Taliban's leaders attended a similarly funded and influenced madrassa in Kandahar.

Many of the mujahideen who later joined the Taliban fought alongside Afghan warlord Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi
Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi
Maulana Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi was an Afghan politician who served as Vice President of Afghanistan under the Mujahideen from 1992 to about 1996.-Biography:...

'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 it came to establish an enclave which it called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was founded in 1996 when the Taliban began their rule of Afghanistan and ended with their fall from power in 2001...

. In 1994, it captured the regional center of Kandahar, and after making rapid territorial gains thereafter, conquered the capital city Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 in September 1996.

After the Sudanese made it clear, in May 1996, that bin Laden would never be welcome to return, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan—with previously established connections between the groups, administered with a shared militancy, and largely isolated from American political influence and military power—provided a perfect location for al-Qaeda to relocate 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.

While in Afghanistan, the Taliban government tasked al-Qaeda with the training of Brigade 055
055 Brigade
The 055 Brigade was an elite guerrilla organization sponsored and trained by Al Qaeda that was integrated into the Taliban army between 1995 and 2001...

, an elite part of the Taliban's army from 1997–2001. The Brigade was made up of mostly foreign fighters, many veterans from the Soviet Invasion, and all under the same basic ideology of the mujahideen. In November 2001, as Operation Enduring Freedom had toppled the Taliban government, many Brigade 055 fighters were captured or killed, and those that survived were thought to head into Pakistan along with bin Laden.

By the end of 2008, some sources reported that the Taliban had severed any remaining ties with al-Qaeda, while others cast doubt on this. According to senior U.S. military intelligence officials, there were fewer than 100 members of al-Qaeda remaining in Afghanistan in 2009.

Call for global jihad



Around 1994, the Salafi groups waging jihad in Bosnia entered into a seemingly irreversible decline. As they grew less and less aggressive, groups such as EIJ began to drift away from the Salafi cause in Europe. Al-Qaeda decided to step in and assumed control of around 80% of the terrorist cells in Bosnia in late 1995.

At the same time, al-Qaeda ideologues instructed the network's recruiters to look for Jihadi international, Muslims who believed that jihad must be fought on a global level. The concept of a "global Salafi jihad" had been around since at least the early 1980s. Several groups had formed for the explicit purpose of driving non-Muslims out of every Muslim land, at the same time, and with maximum carnage. This was, however, a fundamentally defensive strategy.

Al-Qaeda sought to open the "offensive phase" of the global Salafi jihad. Bosnian Islamists in 2006 called for "solidarity with Islamic causes around the world", supporting the insurgents in Kashmir and Iraq as well as the groups fighting for a Palestinian state.

Fatwas



In 1996, al-Qaeda announced its jihad to expel foreign troops and interests from what they considered Islamic lands. Bin Laden issued a fatwa (binding religious edict), which amounted to a public declaration of war against the U.S. and its allies, and began to refocus al-Qaeda's resources on large-scale, propagandist strikes. In June 1996, the Khobar Towers bombing
Khobar Towers bombing
The Khobar Towers bombing was a terrorist attack on part of a housing complex in the city of Khobar, Saudi Arabia, located near the national oil company headquarters of Dhahran. In 1996, Khobar Towers was being used to house foreign military personnel.Al-Qaeda has incorrectly been described by...

 took place in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, attributed by some to al-Qaeda, killing 19 Americans and one Saudi local, and wounding 372.

On February 23, 1998, bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, along with three other Islamist leaders, co-signed and issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to kill Americans and their allies where they can, when they can. Under the banner of the World Islamic Front for Combat Against the Jews and Crusaders
World Islamic Front
The World Islamic Front is the organization that issued the World Islamic Front Statement of 23 February 1998, "Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders" , listing the actions of Americans that they claim conflict with "Allah's order", and stating that the Front's "ruling to kill the Americans and their...

, they declared:

[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 Mecca] 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'.


Neither bin Laden nor al-Zawahiri possessed the traditional Islamic scholarly qualifications to issue a fatwa. However, they rejected the authority of the contemporary ulema
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

 (which they saw as the paid servants of jahiliyya rulers), and took it upon themselves. Former Russian FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko
Alexander Litvinenko
Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko was an officer who served in the Soviet KGB and its Russian successor, the Federal Security Service ....

, who was later killed, said that the FSB trained al-Zawahiri in a camp in Dagestan
Dagestan
The Republic of Dagestan is a federal subject of Russia, located in the North Caucasus region. Its capital and the largest city is Makhachkala, located at the center of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea...

 eight months before the 1998 fatwa.

In Iraq



Al-Qaeda is Sunni, and often attacked the Iraqi Shia majority in an attempt to incite sectarian violence
Sectarian violence
Sectarian violence and/or sectarian strife is violence inspired by sectarianism, that is, between different sects of one particular mode of ideology or religion within a nation/community...

 and greater chaos in the country. Al-Zarqawi purportedly declared an all-out war on Shiites while claiming responsibility for Shiite mosque bombings. The same month, a statement claiming to be by AQI rejected as "fake" a letter allegedly written by al-Zawahiri, in which he appears to question the insurgents' tactic of indiscriminately attacking Shiites in Iraq. In a December 2007 video, al-Zawahiri defended the Islamic State in Iraq, but distanced himself from the attacks against civilians committed by "hypocrites and traitors existing among the ranks".

U.S. and Iraqi officials accused AQI of trying to slide Iraq into a full-scale civil war between Iraq's majority Shiites and minority Sunni Arabs, with an orchestrated campaign of civilian massacres and a number of provocative attacks against high-profile religious targets. With attacks such as the 2003 Imam Ali Mosque
Imam Ali Mosque
The Imām ‘Alī Holy Shrine , also known as Masjid Ali or the Mosque of ‘Alī, located in Najaf, Iraq, is the third holiest site for some of the estimated 200 million followers of the Shia branch of Islam. ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib, the cousin of Muhammad, the fourth caliph , the first Imam is buried here...

 bombing, the 2004 Day of Ashura and Karbala and Najaf bombings, the 2006 first al-Askari Mosque bombing in Samarra
Samarra
Sāmarrā is a city in Iraq. It stands on the east bank of the Tigris in the Salah ad-Din Governorate, north of Baghdad and, in 2003, had an estimated population of 348,700....

, the deadly single-day series of bombings in which at least 215 people were killed in Baghdad's Shiite district of Sadr City
Sadr City
Sadr City is a suburb district of the city of Baghdad, Iraq. It was built in 1959 by Prime Minister Abdul Karim Qassim and later unofficially renamed Sadr City after deceased Shia leader Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr....

, and the second al-Askari bombing
2007 al-Askari Mosque bombing
The 2007 al-Askari Mosque bombing occurred on June 13, 2007 at around 9 a.m. local time at one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam, the al-Askari Mosque, and has been attributed to al-Qaeda in Iraq or the Iraqi Baath Party. While there were no injuries or deaths reported, the mosque's two ten...

 in 2007, they provoked Shiite militias to unleash a wave of retaliatory attacks, resulting in death squad
Death squad
A death squad is an armed military, police, insurgent, or terrorist squad that conducts extrajudicial killings, assassinations, and forced disappearances of persons as part of a war, insurgency or terror campaign...

-style killings and spiraling further sectarian violence which escalated in 2006 and brought Iraq to the brink of violent anarchy in 2007. In 2008, sectarian bombings blamed on al-Qaeda killed at least 42 people
2008 Karbala bombing
The 2008 Karbala bombing occurred on March 17, 2008 in Karbala, Iraq.- Background :Karbala is a city in central Iraq, south of Baghdad. It is home to the Imam Husayn Shrine, one of the holiest sites of Shiite Islam...

 at the Imam Husayn Shrine
Imam Husayn Shrine
The Shrine of Husayn ibn ‘Alī is one of the oldest mosques on Earth and a holy site of Shīah Islām in the city of Karbalā, Iraq. It stands on the site of the grave of Husayn ibn ‘Alī, the second grandson of Muhammad, near the place where he was killed during the Battle of Karbalā in 680 C.E....

 in Karbala in March, and at least 51 people at a bus stop in Baghdad in June.

Somalia and Yemen


The percentage of terrorist attacks in the West originating from the Afghanistan-Pakistan (AfPak
AfPak
AfPak is a neologism used within US foreign policy circles to designate Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single theater of operations.This policy approach introduced by the Obama administration along with the cooperation of its top commanders and allies regards the nations of Afghanistan and Pakistan...

) border declined considerably from almost 100% to 75% in 2007, and to 50% in 2010, as al-Qaeda shifted to Somalia and Yemen. While al-Qaeda leaders are hiding in the tribal areas along the AfPak border, the middle-tier of the movement display heightened activity in Somalia and Yemen.
“We know that South Asia is no longer their primary base,” a U.S. defense agency source said. “They are looking for a hide-out in other parts of the world, and continue to expand their organization.“

In Somalia, al-Qaeda agents closely collaborate with the Shahab group, actively recruit children for suicide-bomber training, and export young people to participate in military actions against Americans at the AfPak border. In January 2009, al-Qaeda’s division in Saudi Arabia merged with its Yemeni wing to form Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is a militant Islamist organization, primarily active in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It was named for al-Qaeda, and says it is subordinate to that group and its now-deceased leader Osama bin Laden, a Saudi citizen whose father was born in Yemen...

.
Centered in Yemen, the group takes advantage of the country's poor economy, demography and domestic security. In August 2009, they made the first assassination attempt against a member of the Saudi royal dynasty in decades.
President Obama asked his Yemen counterpart Ali Abdullah Saleh
Ali Abdullah Saleh
Field Marshal Ali Abdullah Saleh is the first President of the Republic of Yemen. Saleh previously served as President of the Yemen Arab Republic from 1978 until 1990, at which time he assumed the office of chairman of the Presidential Council of a post-unification Yemen. He is the...

 to ensure closer cooperation with the U.S. in the struggle against the growing activity of al-Qaeda in Yemen, and promised to send additional aid.
Because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. is unable to pay sufficient attention to Somalia and Yemen, which may cause the U.S. some serious problems in the near future.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the 2009 bombing attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253
Northwest Airlines Flight 253
Northwest Airlines Flight 253 was an international passenger flight from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands, to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Romulus, Michigan, United States...

 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab , popularly referred to as the "Underwear Bomber", is a suspected terrorist who attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on December 25,...

. The group released photos of Abdulmutallab smiling in a white shirt and white Islamic skullcap, with the Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula banner in the background.

American operations



In December 1998, the Director of Central Intelligence
Director of Central Intelligence
The Office of United States Director of Central Intelligence was the head of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the principal intelligence advisor to the President and the National Security Council, and the coordinator of intelligence activities among and between the various United...

 Counterterrorist Center reported to the president that al-Qaeda was preparing for attacks in the USA, including the training of personnel to hijack aircraft.

U.S. officials called Awlaki an "example of al-Qaeda reach into" the U.S. in 2008 after probes into his ties to the September 11 hijackers. A former FBI agent identifies Awlaki as a known "senior recruiter for al-Qaeda", and a spiritual motivator. Awlaki's sermons in the U.S. were attended by three of the 9/11 hijackers, as well as accused Fort Hood shooter
Fort Hood shooting
The Fort Hood shooting was a mass shooting that took place on November 5, 2009, at Fort Hood, the most populous U.S. military installation in the world, located just outside Killeen, Texas. In the course of the shooting, a single gunman killed 13 people and wounded 29 others...

 Nidal Malik Hasan
Nidal Malik Hasan
Nidal Malik Hasan, USA is a United States Army officer and sole suspect in the November 5, 2009, Fort Hood shooting, which occurred less than a month before he would have deployed to Afghanistan....

. U.S. intelligence intercepted emails from Hasan to Awlaki between December 2008 and early 2009. On his website, Awlaki has praised Hasan's actions in the Fort Hood shooting.

An unnamed official claimed there was good reason to believe Awlaki "has been involved in very serious terrorist activities since leaving the U.S. [after 9/11], including plotting attacks against America and our allies.” In addition, "Christmas Day bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab , popularly referred to as the "Underwear Bomber", is a suspected terrorist who attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on December 25,...

 said al-Awlaki was one of his al-Qaeda trainers, meeting with him and involved in planning or preparing the attack, and provided religious justification for it, according to unnamed U.S. intelligence officials. In March 2010, alAwlaki said in a videotape delivered to CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 that jihad against America was binding upon himself and every other able Muslim.

U.S. President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 approved the targeted killing
Targeted killing
Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

 of al-Awlaki by April 2010, making al-Awlaki the first U.S. citizen ever placed on the CIA target list. That required the consent of the U.S. National Security Council, and officials said it was appropriate for an individual who posed an imminent danger to national security. In May 2010, Faisal Shahzad
Faisal Shahzad
Faisal Shahzad is a Pakistani American who attempted the May 1, 2010, Times Square car bombing. On , 2010, in Federal District Court in Manhattan he confessed to 10 counts arising from the bombing attempt...

, who pleaded guilty to the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt
2010 Times Square car bombing attempt
The attempted car bombing of Times Square on May 1, 2010, was a planned terrorist attack that was foiled when two street vendors discovered the car bomb and alerted a NYPD Patrolman to the car bomb threat after they spotted smoke coming from a vehicle...

, told interrogators he was "inspired by" al-Awlaki, and sources said Shahzad had made contact with al-Awlaki over the internet. Representative Jane Harman
Jane Harman
Jane Margaret Lakes Harman is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1993 to 1999, and from 2001 to 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party....

 called him "terrorist number one", and Investor's Business Daily
Investor's Business Daily
Investor's Business Daily is a national newspaper in the United States, published Monday through Friday, that covers international business, finance, and the global economy...

 called him "the world's most dangerous man". In July 2010, the U.S. Treasury Department added him to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorist
Specially Designated Global Terrorist
Specially Designated Global Terrorist is a designation authorized under U.S. Executive Order 13224 , among other executive orders, and Title 31, Parts 595, 596, and 597 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, among other U.S. laws and regulations. SDGT designations are administered and enforced...

s, and the UN added him to its list of individuals associated with al-Qaeda. In August 2010, al-Awlaki's father initiated a lawsuit against the U.S. government with the American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

, challenging its order to kill al-Awlaki. In October 2010, U.S. and U.K. officials linked al-Awlaki to the 2010 cargo plane bomb plot. In September 2011, he was killed in a targeted killing drone attack in Yemen.

Death of Osama bin Laden


On May 1, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (May 2, Pakistan Standard Time
Pakistan Standard Time
Pakistan Time is the time zone for Pakistan. It is 5 hours ahead of GMT/UTC .The only tz database zone is Asia/Karachi.-History:The current Pakistan time was set up at midnight between 29 September and 30 1951...

), U.S. President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden was killed by "a small team of Americans" acting under Obama's direct orders, in a covert operation in Abbottabad
Abbottabad
Abbottabad is a city located in the Hazara region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in Pakistan. The city is situated in the Orash Valley, northeast of the capital Islamabad and east of Peshawar at an altitude of and is the capital of the Abbottabad District...

, Pakistan, about 50 km (31.1 mi) north of Islamabad. According to U.S. officials a team of 20–25 US Navy SEALs under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command and working with the CIA stormed bin Laden's compound in two helicopters. Bin Laden and those with him were killed during a firefight in which U.S. forces experienced no injuries or casualties. According to one US official the attack was carried out without the knowledge or consent of the Pakistani authorities. In Pakistan some people were reported to be shocked at the unauthorized incursion by US armed forces. The site is a few miles from the Pakistan Military Academy
Pakistan Military Academy
The Pakistan Military Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service military academy. It is located at Kakul near Abbottabad in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan....

 in Kakul
Kakul
Kakul is a town situated in the Kakul Valley at an elevation of 1300 metres, 5 km northeast of Abbottabad city near the Thandiani Hills, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. The population is around 30,000.-History:...

. In his broadcast announcement President Obama said that U.S. forces "took care to avoid civilian casualties."
Details soon emerged that three men and a woman were killed along with Bin Laden, the woman being killed when she was “used as a shield by a male combatant”. DNA from bin Laden's body, compared with DNA samples on record from his dead sister, confirmed bin Laden's identity. The body was recovered by the US military and was in its custody until, according to one US official, his body was buried at sea
Burial at sea
Burial at sea describes the procedure of disposing of human remains in the ocean, normally from a ship or boat. It is regularly performed by navies, but also can be done by private citizens in many countries.-By religion:...

 according to Islamic traditions. One U.S. official stated that "finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult." U.S State Department issued a "Worldwide caution" for Americans following Bin Laden's death and U.S Diplomatic facilities everywhere were placed on high alert, a senior U.S official said. Crowds gathered outside the White House and in New York City's Time Square to celebrate Bin Laden's death.

Attacks



Al-Qaeda has carried out a total of six major terrorist attacks, four of them in its jihad against America. In each case the leadership planned the attack years in advance, arranging for the shipment of weapons and explosives and using its privatized businesses to provide operatives with safehouses and false identities.

Al-Qaeda usually does not disburse funds for attacks, and very rarely makes wire transfers.

1992


On December 29, 1992, al-Qaeda's first terrorist attack took place as two bombs were detonated in Aden
Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

, 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 U.S. 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. Two people were killed in the bombing, an Australian tourist and a Yemeni hotel worker. Seven others, mostly Yemenis, were severely injured.

Two fatwas are said to have been appointed by the most theologically knowledgeable of al-Qaeda's members, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim
Mamdouh Mahmud Salim
Mamdouh Mahmud Salim is an alleged co-founder of the Islamist terrorist network al-Qaeda. He was arrested on 16 September 1998 near the German town Munich...

, to justify the killings according to Islamic law. Salim referred to a famous fatwa appointed by Ibn Taymiyyah, a 13th-century scholar much admired by Wahhabis, which sanctioned resistance by any means during the Mongol invasions.

1993 World Trade Center bombing



In 1993, Ramzi Yousef
Ramzi Yousef
Ramzi Yousef was one of the main perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a co-conspirator in the Bojinka plot. In 1995, he was arrested at a guest house in Islamabad, by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence and United States Diplomatic Security Service, then extradited to the...

 used a truck bomb to attack the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 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).

After the attack, Yousef fled to Pakistan and later moved to Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

. There he began developing the Bojinka Plot plans to implode a dozen American airliners simultaneously, to assassinate Pope John Paul II and President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, and to crash a private plane into CIA headquarters. He was later captured in Pakistan.

None of the U.S. government's indictments against 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 U.S. for its support for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and made no mention of any religious motivations.

Late 1990s




In 1996, bin Laden personally engineered a plot to assassinate Clinton while the president was in Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

 for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. However, intelligence agents intercepted a message just minutes before the motorcade was to leave, and alerted the U.S. Secret Service. Agents later discovered a bomb planted under a bridge.

The 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, resulting in upward of 300 deaths, mostly locals. A barrage of cruise missile
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

s launched by the U.S. military in response devastated an al-Qaeda base in Khost
Khost
Khost or Khowst is a city in eastern Afghanistan. It is the capital of Khost province, which is a mountainous region near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan...

, Afghanistan, but the network's capacity was unharmed.

In October 2000, al-Qaeda militants in Yemen bombed the missile destroyer
Destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

 U.S.S. Cole
USS Cole bombing
The USS Cole Bombing, or the USS Cole Incident, was a suicide attack against the United States Navy destroyer on October 12, 2000 while it was harbored and refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen American sailors were killed, and 39 were injured...

 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 U.S. itself.

September 11 attacks


The September 11, 2001 attacks were the most devastating terrorist acts in American history, killing approximately 3,000 people. Two commercial airliners were deliberately flown into the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 towers, a third into The Pentagon
The Pentagon
The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

, and a fourth, originally intended to target the United States Capitol
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

, crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Shanksville is a borough in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, United States, with a population of 245, as of the 2000 census. It is part of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area and is approximately 60 miles southeast from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania...

.

The attacks were conducted by al-Qaeda, acting in accord with the 1998 fatwa issued against the U.S. and its allies by military forces under the command of bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and others. Evidence points to suicide squads led by al-Qaeda military commander Mohamed Atta
Mohamed Atta
Mohamed Mohamed el-Amir Awad el-Sayed Atta was one of the masterminds and the ringleader of the September 11 attacks who served as the hijacker-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, crashing the plane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the coordinated attacks.Born in 1968...

 as the culprits of the attacks, with bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a Kuwait-born militant in U.S. custody in Guantánamo Bay for alleged acts of terrorism, including mass murder of civilians....

, and Hambali as the key planners and part of the political and military command.

Messages issued by bin Laden after September 11, 2001 praised the attacks, and explained their motivation while denying any involvement. Bin Laden legitimized the attacks by identifying grievances felt by both mainstream and Islamist Muslims, such as the general perception that the U.S. was actively oppressing Muslims.

Bin Laden asserted that America was massacring Muslims in 'Palestine
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

, Chechnya
Chechnya
The Chechen Republic , commonly referred to as Chechnya , also spelled Chechnia or Chechenia, sometimes referred to as Ichkeria , is a federal subject of Russia . It is located in the southeastern part of Europe in the Northern Caucasus mountains. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny...

, Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 and Iraq' and that Muslims should retain the 'right to attack in reprisal'. He also claimed the 9/11 attacks were not targeted at women and children, but 'America's icons of military and economic power'.

Evidence has since come to light that the original targets for the attack may have been nuclear power stations on the east coast of the U.S. The targets were later altered by al-Qaeda, as it was feared that such an attack "might get out of hand".

Designation as terrorist organization


Al-Qaeda has been designated a terrorist organization by the following countries and international organizations:
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • European Union
    European Union
    The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • NATO
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United Nations Security Council
    United Nations Security Council
    The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

  • United States


War on Terrorism




In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the U.S. government decided to respond militarily
Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists
The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists , one of two resolutions commonly known as "AUMF" , was a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizing the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on...

, and began to prepare its armed forces
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 to overthrow the Taliban regime it believed was harboring al-Qaeda. Before the U.S. attacked, it offered Taliban leader Mullah Omar
Mohammed Omar
Mullah Mohammed Omar , often simply called Mullah Omar, is the leader of the Taliban movement that operates in Afghanistan. He was Afghanistan's de facto head of state from 1996 to late 2001, under the official title "Head of the Supreme Council"...

 a chance to surrender bin Laden and his top associates. The first forces to be inserted into Afghanistan were Paramilitary Officers from the CIA's elite Special Activities Division
Special Activities Division
The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...

 (SAD).

The Taliban offered to turn over bin Laden to a neutral country
Neutral country
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 for trial if the U.S. would provide evidence of bin Laden's complicity in the attacks. U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 responded by saying: "We know he's guilty. Turn him over", and British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 warned the Taliban regime: "Surrender bin Laden, or surrender power".

Soon thereafter the U.S. and its allies invaded Afghanistan, and together with the Afghan Northern Alliance
Northern Alliance
The Afghan Northern Alliance is a military-political umbrella organization created by the Islamic State of Afghanistan in 1996.Northern Alliance may also refer to:*Northern Alliance , a Canadian white supremacist group...

 removed the Taliban government in the war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

.

As a result of the U.S. using its special forces
Special forces
Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

 and providing air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 for the Northern Alliance
Northern Alliance
The Afghan Northern Alliance is a military-political umbrella organization created by the Islamic State of Afghanistan in 1996.Northern Alliance may also refer to:*Northern Alliance , a Canadian white supremacist group...

 ground forces
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

, both Taliban and al-Qaeda training camps
Derunta training camp
The Derunta training camp was one of the most well-known of many military training camps that have been alleged to have been affiliated with al Qaeda.-Training with poisons:...

 were destroyed, and much of the operating structure of al-Qaeda is believed to have been disrupted. After being driven from their key positions in the Tora Bora
Tora Bora
Tora Bora , known locally as Spīn Ghar , is a cave complex situated in the White Mountains of eastern Afghanistan, in the Pachir Wa Agam District of Nangarhar province, approximately west of the Khyber Pass and north of the border of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan...

 area of Afghanistan, many al-Qaeda fighters tried to regroup in the rugged Gardez region of the nation.
Again, under the cover of intense aerial bombardment
Aerial bombing of cities
A species of strategic bombing, the aerial bombing of cities began in 1915 during World War I, grew to a vast scale in World War II, and continues to the present day. The development of aerial bombardment marked an increased capacity of armed forces to deliver explosive weapons in populated areas...

, U.S. infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and local Afghan forces attacked, shattering the al-Qaeda position and killing or capturing many of the militants. By early 2002, al-Qaeda had been dealt a serious blow to its operational capacity, and the Afghan invasion appeared an initial success. Nevertheless, a significant Taliban insurgency
Taliban insurgency
The Taliban insurgency took root shortly after the group's fall from power following the 2001 war in Afghanistan. The Taliban continue to attack Afghan, U.S., and other ISAF troops and many terrorist incidents attributable to them have been registered. The war has also spread over the southern and...

 remains in Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda's top two leaders, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, evaded capture.

Debate raged about the exact nature of al-Qaeda's role in the 9/11 attacks, and after the U.S. invasion began, the U.S. State Department also released a videotape showing bin Laden speaking with a small group of associates somewhere in Afghanistan shortly before the Taliban was removed from power. Although its authenticity has been questioned by some, the tape appears to implicate bin Laden and al-Qaeda in the September 11 attacks and was aired on many television channels all over the world, with an accompanying English translation provided by the U.S. Defense Department.

In September 2004, the US government 9/11 Commission
9/11 Commission
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was set up on November 27, 2002, "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 attacks", including preparedness for and the immediate response to...

 investigating the September 11 attacks officially concluded that the attacks were conceived and implemented by al-Qaeda operatives. In October 2004, bin Laden appeared to claim responsibility for the attacks in a videotape
2004 Osama bin Laden video
On October 29, 2004, at 21:00 UTC, the Arab television network, Al Jazeera, broadcast excerpts from a videotape of Osama bin Laden addressing the people of the United States, in which he accepts responsibility for the September 11, 2001 attacks, condemns the Bush government's response to those...

 released through Al Jazeera, saying he was inspired by Israeli attacks on high-rises in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon
1982 Lebanon War
The 1982 Lebanon War , , called Operation Peace for Galilee by Israel, and later known in Israel as the Lebanon War and First Lebanon War, began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon...

: "As I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children."

By the end of 2004, the U.S. government proclaimed that two-thirds of the most senior al-Qaeda figures from 2001 had been captured and interrogated by the CIA: Abu Zubaydah
Abu Zubaydah
Abu Zubaydah is a Saudi Arabian citizen, sentenced to death in Jordan and currently held in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.Not neutral: Arrested in Pakistan in March 2002, he has been in US custody for more than eight years, four-and-a-half of them spent incommunicado in solitary confinement...

, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is a Saudi Arabian citizen alleged to be the mastermind of the USS Cole bombing and other terrorist attacks, he allegedly headed al-Qaeda operations in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf states prior to his capture in November 2002 by the CIA's Special Activities Division.The...

 in 2002; Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2003; and Saif al Islam el Masry in 2004. Mohammed Atef
Mohammed Atef
Mohammed Atef was the alleged military chief of al-Qaida, although his role in the organization was not well known by intelligence agencies for years...

 and several others were killed.

Africa


Al-Qaeda involvement in Africa
Al-Qaeda involvement in Africa
Al-Qaeda has conducted operations and recruited members in Africa. It has included a number of bombing attacks in North Africa and supporting parties in civil wars in Eritrea and Somalia...

 has included a number of bombing attacks in North Africa, as well as supporting parties in civil wars in Eritrea and Somalia. From 1991 to 1996, bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders were based in Sudan.

Islamist rebels in the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

 calling themselves Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have stepped up their violence in recent years. French officials say the rebels have no real links to the al-Qaeda leadership, but this is a matter of some dispute in the international press and amongst security analysts. It seems likely that bin Laden approved the group's name in late 2006, and the rebels "took on the al Qaeda franchise label", almost a year before the violence began to escalate.

Europe



In 2003, Islamists carried out a series of bombings in Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 killing fifty-seven people and injuring seven hundred. Seventy-four people were charged by the Turkish authorities. Some had previously met Bin Laden, and though they specifically declined to pledge allegiance to al-Qaeda they asked for its blessing and help.

In 2009, three Londoners, Tanvir Hussain, Assad Sarwar and Ahmed Abdullah Ali, were convicted of conspiring to detonate bombs disguised as soft drinks on seven airplanes bound for Canada and the U.S. The massively complex police and MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 investigation of the plot involved more than a year of surveillance work conducted by over two hundred officers. British and U.S. officials said the plan—unlike many recent homegrown European terrorist plots—was directly linked to al-Qaeda and guided by senior Islamic militants in Pakistan.

Arab world



Following Yemeni unification in 1990, Wahhabi networks began moving missionaries into the country in an effort to subvert the capitalist north. Although it is unlikely bin Laden or Saudi al-Qaeda were directly involved, the personal connections they made would be established over the next decade and used in the USS Cole bombing
USS Cole bombing
The USS Cole Bombing, or the USS Cole Incident, was a suicide attack against the United States Navy destroyer on October 12, 2000 while it was harbored and refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen American sailors were killed, and 39 were injured...

. Concerns grow over Al Qaeda's group in Yemen
Yemeni al-Qaeda crackdown
The Yemeni al-Qaeda crackdown refers to military operations by the Yemeni government and the United States government against al Qaeda and related targets in Yemen as part of the Global War on Terror. The crackdown began in 2001 and escalated on January 14, 2010 when Yemen declared open war on al...

.

In Iraq, al-Qaeda forces loosely associated with the leadership were embedded in the Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad organization commanded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ; October 30, 1966 – June 7, 2006), born Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh was a Jordanian militant Islamist who ran a paramilitary training camp in Afghanistan...

. Specializing in suicide operations, they have been a "key driver" of the Sunni insurgency
Iraqi insurgency
The Iraqi Resistance is composed of a diverse mix of militias, foreign fighters, all-Iraqi units or mixtures opposing the United States-led multinational force in Iraq and the post-2003 Iraqi government...

. Although they played a small part in the overall insurgency, between 30% and 42% of all suicide bombings which took place in the early years were claimed by Zarqawi's organization. Reports have indicated that oversights such as the failure to control access to the Qa'qaa munitions factory in Yusufiyah
Yusufiyah
Yusufiyah is a regional township in the country of Iraq, located in Baghdad Province, approximately 25 km southwest of the capital, Baghdad...

 have allowed large quantities of munitions to fall into the hands of al-Qaida. In November 2010, the Islamic State of Iraq
Islamic State of Iraq
The Islamic State of Iraq , is an umbrella organization of a number Iraqi insurgency groups established on October 15 2006.The group is composed of and supported by a variety of insurgency groups, including its predecessor, the Mujahideen Shura Council, Al-Qaeda, Jeish al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba,...

 militant group, which is linked to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, threatened to "exterminate Iraqi Christians".

Significantly, it was not until the late 1990s that al-Qaeda began training Palestinians. This is not to suggest that resistance fighters are underrepresented in the network as a number of Palestinians, mostly coming from Jordan, wanted to join and have risen to serve high-profile roles in Afghanistan. Rather, large groups such as Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 and Palestinian Islamic Jihad—which cooperate with al-Qaeda in many respects—have had difficulties accepting a strategic alliance, fearing that al-Qaeda will co-opt their smaller cells. This may have changed recently, as Israeli security and intelligence services believe al-Qaeda has managed to infiltrate operatives from the Occupied Territories into Israel, and is waiting for the right time to mount an attack.

Kashmir


Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri consider India to be a part of the ‘Crusader-Zionist-Hindu’ conspiracy against the Islamic world. According to the 2005 report 'Al Qaeda: Profile and Threat Assessment' by Congressional Research Service
Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service , known as "Congress's think tank", is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a...

, bin Laden was involved in training militants for Jihad in Kashmir while living in Sudan in the early nineties. By 2001 Kashmiri militant group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-Islami is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. In 1997, the United States designated Harakat al-Ansar a foreign terrorist organization for links to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and in response the organization changed its name to...

 had become a part of the al-Qaeda coalition. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees , also known as The UN Refugee Agency is a United Nations agency mandated to protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assists in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to...

 al-Qaeda is thought to have established bases in Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Azad Kashmir borders the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north west, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of People's Republic of China to the north and the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, to the east.A...

 during the 1999 Kargil War
Kargil War
The Kargil War ,, also known as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control...

 and continues to operate there with tacit approval of Pakistan's Intelligence services.

Many of the militants active in Kashmir were trained in the same Madrasah
Madrasah
Madrasah is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, whether secular or religious...

s as Taliban and al-Qaeda. Fazlur Rehman Khalil of Kashmiri militant group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-Islami is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. In 1997, the United States designated Harakat al-Ansar a foreign terrorist organization for links to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and in response the organization changed its name to...

 was a signatory of al-Qaeda's 1998 declaration of Jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 against America and its allies. In a 'Letter to American People' written by bin Laden in 2002 he stated that one of the reasons he was fighting America is because of her support to India on the Kashmir issue. In November 2001 Kathmandu airport went on high alert after threats that Bin Laden planned to hijack a plane from there and crash it into a target in New Delhi. In 2002 U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...

, on a trip to Delhi, suggested that al-Qaeda was active in Kashmir though he did not have any hard evidence. He proposed hi tech ground sensors along the line of control to prevent militants from infiltrating into Indian administered Kashmir.
An investigation in 2002 unearthed evidence that al-Qaeda and its affiliates were prospering in Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Pakistan-administered Kashmir
Azad Kashmir borders the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north west, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of People's Republic of China to the north and the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, to the east.A...

 with tacit approval of Pakistan's National Intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 In 2002 a special team of Special Air Service
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

 and Delta Force
Delta Force
1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta is one of the United States' secretive Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units. Commonly known as Delta Force, Delta, or The Unit, it was formed under the designation 1st SFOD-D, and is officially referred to by the Department of Defense...

 was sent into Indian Administered Kashmir to hunt for Bin Laden after reports that he was being sheltered by Kashmiri militant group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-Islami is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. In 1997, the United States designated Harakat al-Ansar a foreign terrorist organization for links to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and in response the organization changed its name to...

 which had previously been responsible for 1995 Kidnapping of western tourists in Kashmir
1995 Kidnapping of western tourists in Kashmir
The 1995 Kidnapping of western tourists in Kashmir was an act of kidnapping of six foreign tourists by Al-Faran, a terrorist organisation, now known as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen from the Liddarwat area of Pahalgam in Anantnag district in south Jammu and Kashmir on 4 July 1995.-Background:Kashmir which...

. Britain's highest ranking al-Qaeda operative Rangzieb Ahmed
Rangzieb Ahmed
Rangzieb Ahmed is a British Citizen who was allegedly the highest ranking Al-Qaeda operative in the United Kingdom. Ahmed, who was a key link between British recruits and al-Qaeda leaders, was responsible for setting up a terrorist cell in Manchester, and had contacts with one of the terrorists...

 had previously fought in Kashmir with the group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-Islami is a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. In 1997, the United States designated Harakat al-Ansar a foreign terrorist organization for links to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and in response the organization changed its name to...

 and spent time in Indian prison after being captured in Kashmir.

U.S. officials believe that al-Qaeda was helping organize a campaign of terror in Kashmir in order to provoke conflict between India and Pakistan. Their strategy was to force Pakistan to move its troops to the border with India, thereby relieving pressure on al-Qaeda elements hiding in northwestern Pakistan. In 2006 al-Qaeda claimed they had established a wing in Kashmir; this has worried the Indian government. However the Indian Army Lt. Gen. H.S. Panag, GOC-in-C Northern Command, said to reporters that the army has ruled out the presence of al-Qaeda in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

; furthermore he said that there is nothing that can verify reports from the media of al-Qaeda presence in the state. He however stated that al-Qaeda had strong ties with Kashmiri militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba – also transliterated as Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Lashkar Taiba or LeT – is one of the largest and most active militant Islamist terrorist organizations in South Asia, operating mainly from Pakistan.It was founded by Hafiz Muhammad...

 and Jaish-e-Mohammed
Jaish-e-Mohammed
Jaish-e-Mohammed is a Pakistani-based, militant Islamic group established by Maulana Masood Azhar in March 2000...

 based in Pakistan. It has been noted that Waziristan
Waziristan
Waziristan is a mountainous region near the Northwest of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km² . The area is entirely populated by ethnic Pashtuns . The language spoken in the valley is Pashto/Pakhto...

 has now become the new battlefield for Kashmiri militants fighting NATO in support of al-Qaeda and Taliban. Dhiren Barot
Dhiren Barot
Dhiren Barot is a convicted terrorist from the United Kingdom.-Background:...

, who wrote the Army of Madinah In Kashmir and was an al-Qaeda operative convicted for involvement in the 2004 financial buildings plot
2004 Financial buildings plot
The 2004 financial buildings plot was a plan led by Dhiren Barot to attack a number of targets in the U.S. and the United Kingdom which is believed to have been approved by al-Qaeda....

, had received training in weapons and explosives at a militant training camp in Kashmir.

Maulana Masood Azhar
Maulana Masood Azhar
Maulana Masood Azhar is a Pakistani mujaheddin leader and the founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, based mainly in the Pakistan-administered portion of the state of Kashmir....

, the founder of another Kashmiri group Jaish-e-Mohammed
Jaish-e-Mohammed
Jaish-e-Mohammed is a Pakistani-based, militant Islamic group established by Maulana Masood Azhar in March 2000...

, is believed to have met bin Laden several times and received funding from him. In 2002 Jaish-e-Mohammed
Jaish-e-Mohammed
Jaish-e-Mohammed is a Pakistani-based, militant Islamic group established by Maulana Masood Azhar in March 2000...

 organized the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist who was kidnapped and killed by Al-Qaeda.At the time of his kidnapping, Pearl served as the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, and was based in Mumbai, India. He went to Pakistan as part of an investigation into the alleged links between...

 in an operation run in conjunction with al-Qaeda and funded by Bin Laden. According to American counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

 expert Bruce Riedel
Bruce Riedel
Bruce Riedel is a Senior Fellow in foreign policy at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy of the Brookings Institution, a Senior Advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group, a former CIA Analyst, a counter-terrorism expert, and an author. He retired in 2006 after 29 years with the Central...

, al-Qaeda and Taliban were closely involved in the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight 814
Indian Airlines Flight 814
Indian Airlines Flight 814 commonly known as IC 814 was an Indian Airlines Airbus A300 en route from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India on Friday, December 24, 1999, when it was hijacked...

 to Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

 which led to the release of Maulana Masood Azhar
Maulana Masood Azhar
Maulana Masood Azhar is a Pakistani mujaheddin leader and the founder of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, based mainly in the Pakistan-administered portion of the state of Kashmir....

 & Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh is a British-born militant of Pakistani descent with links to various Islamist militant organisations, including Jaish-e-Mohammed, al-Qaeda, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and the Taliban.He was arrested and served time in prison for...

 from an Indian prison in exchange for the passengers. This hijacking, Riedel stated, was rightly described by then Indian Foreign minister Jaswant Singh
Jaswant Singh
- Career :He is one of the few Indian politicians to have been the Minister for Defence, Finance and External Affairs.He started the new government of Vajpayee, which lasted its full term, as the External Affairs Minister and later on switched his ministry to Finance with Yashwant Sinha...

 as a 'dress rehearsal' for September 11 attacks. Bin laden personally welcomed Azhar and threw a lavish party in his honor after his release, according to Abu Jandal
Abu Jandal
Abu Jandal is a former member of al-Qaeda and former chief bodyguard of Osama bin Laden.He is a Saudi citizen of Yemeni descent. Abu Jandal was arrested by Yemeni authorities in connection with the USS Cole bombing in October 2000,...

, bodyguard of Bin Laden. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who had been in Indian prison for his role in 1994 kidnappings of Western tourists in India
1994 kidnappings of Western tourists in India
The 1994 Kidnappings of Western tourists in India was the abduction of four tourists in New Delhi, India on October 20, 1994 by Kashmiri separatists.-Background:...

, went on to murder Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist who was kidnapped and killed by Al-Qaeda.At the time of his kidnapping, Pearl served as the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, and was based in Mumbai, India. He went to Pakistan as part of an investigation into the alleged links between...

 and was sentenced to death by Pakistan. Al-Qaeda operative Rashid Rauf
Rashid Rauf
Rashid Rauf was an alleged Al-Qaeda operative. He was a dual citizen of Britain and Pakistan who was arrested in Bhawalpur, Pakistan in connection with the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot in August 2006, a day before some arrests were made in Britain...

, who was one of the accused in 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot
2006 transatlantic aircraft plot
The 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot was a terrorist plot to detonate liquid explosives carried on board at least 10 airliners travelling from the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada...

, was related to Maulana Masood Azhar by marriage.

Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba – also transliterated as Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Lashkar Taiba or LeT – is one of the largest and most active militant Islamist terrorist organizations in South Asia, operating mainly from Pakistan.It was founded by Hafiz Muhammad...

, a Kashmiri militant group which is thought to be behind 2008 Mumbai attacks
2008 Mumbai attacks
The 2008 Mumbai attacks were more than 10 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India's largest city, by Islamist attackers who came from Pakistan...

, is also known to have strong ties to senior al-Qaeda leaders living in Pakistan. In Late 2002 top al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah
Abu Zubaydah
Abu Zubaydah is a Saudi Arabian citizen, sentenced to death in Jordan and currently held in U.S. custody in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.Not neutral: Arrested in Pakistan in March 2002, he has been in US custody for more than eight years, four-and-a-half of them spent incommunicado in solitary confinement...

 was arrested while being sheltered by Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba
Lashkar-e-Taiba – also transliterated as Lashkar-i-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Lashkar-i-Taiba, Lashkar Taiba or LeT – is one of the largest and most active militant Islamist terrorist organizations in South Asia, operating mainly from Pakistan.It was founded by Hafiz Muhammad...

 in a safe house in Faisalabad
Faisalabad
Faisalabad , formerly known as Lyallpur, is the third largest metropolis in Pakistan, the second largest in the province of Punjab after Lahore, and a major industrial center in the heart of Pakistan. Before the foundation of the city in 1880, the area was very thinly populated. The population has...

. The FBI believes that al-Qaeda and Lashkar have been 'intertwined' for a long time while the CIA has said that al-Qaeda funds Lashkar-e-Taiba. French investigating magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguière
Jean-Louis Bruguière
Jean-Louis Bruguière was the leading French investigating magistrate in charge of counter-terrorism affairs. He was appointed in 2004 vice-president of the Paris Court of Serious Claims . He has garnered controversy for various acts, including the indictment of Rwandan president Paul Kagame for the...

, who was the top French counter-terrorism official, told Reuters in 2009 that 'Lashkar-e-Taiba is no longer a Pakistani movement with only a Kashmir political or military agenda. Lashkar-e-Taiba is a member of al-Qaeda.'

In a video released in 2008, senior al-Qaeda operative American-born Adam Yahiye Gadahn
Adam Yahiye Gadahn
Adam Yahiye Gadahn is an American who is a senior operative, cultural interpreter, spokesman and media advisor for the Sunni islamist group Al-Qaeda. Since 2004, he appeared in a number of videos produced by Al-Qaeda as "Azzam the American"...

 stated that "victory in Kashmir has been delayed for years; it is the liberation of the jihad there from this interference which, Allah willing, will be the first step towards victory over the Hindu occupiers of that Islam land."

In September 2009 a U.S. Drone strike
Drone attacks in Pakistan
The United States government, led by the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division, has made a series of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004 using drones . These attacks are part of the US' War on Terrorism campaign, seeking to defeat Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants...

 reportedly killed Ilyas Kashmiri
Ilyas Kashmiri (militant)
Ilyas Kashmiri, also referred to as Maulana Ilyas Kashmiri and Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri , was a senior al-Qaeda member and leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami He was also connected with the Soviet-Afghan war, the Kashmir conflict and attacks against India, Pakistan and the United States...

 who was the chief of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, a Kashmiri militant group associated with al-Qaeda. Kashmiri was described by Bruce Riedel
Bruce Riedel
Bruce Riedel is a Senior Fellow in foreign policy at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy of the Brookings Institution, a Senior Advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group, a former CIA Analyst, a counter-terrorism expert, and an author. He retired in 2006 after 29 years with the Central...

 as a 'prominent' al-Qaeda member while others have described him as head of military operations for al-Qaeda. Kashmiri was also charged by the U.S. in a plot against Jyllands-Posten
Jyllands-Posten
Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten , commonly shortened to Jyllands-Posten or JP, is a Danish daily broadsheet newspaper. It is based in Viby, a suburb of Århus, and with a weekday circulation of approximately 120,000 copies, it is among the largest-selling newspaper in Denmark...

, the Danish newspaper which was at the center of Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005...

. U.S. officials also believe that Kashmiri was involved in the Camp Chapman attack
Camp Chapman attack
The Camp Chapman attack was a suicide attack against Forward Operating Base Chapman, a key facility of the Central Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan, on December 30, 2009. The base is located near the eastern Afghan city of Khost, in a stronghold of the Taliban movement...

 against the CIA. In January 2010 Indian authorities notified Britain of an al-Qaeda plot to hijack an Indian airlines or Air India plane and crash it into a British city. This information was uncovered from interrogation of Amjad Khwaja, an operative of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, who had been arrested in India.

In January 2010 U.S. Defense secretary Robert Gates
Robert Gates
Dr. Robert Michael Gates is a retired civil servant and university president who served as the 22nd United States Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. Prior to this, Gates served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and under President George H. W....

, while on a visit to Pakistan, stated that al-Qaeda was seeking to destabilize the region and planning to provoke a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Internet


Timothy L. Thomas claims that in the wake of its evacuation from Afghanistan, al-Qaeda and its successors have migrated online to escape detection in an atmosphere of increased international vigilance. As a result, the organization's use of the Internet has grown more sophisticated, encompassing financing, recruitment, networking, mobilization, publicity, as well as information dissemination, gathering and sharing.
Abu Ayyub al-Masri
Abu Ayyub al-Masri
Abu Ayyub al-Masri , also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir and other aliases , was an active combattant of al-Qaeda and at least a senior aide to former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. When Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike on 7 June 2006, U.S...

’s al-Qaeda movement in Iraq regularly releases short videos glorifying the activity of jihadist suicide bombers. In addition, both before and after the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ; October 30, 1966 – June 7, 2006), born Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh was a Jordanian militant Islamist who ran a paramilitary training camp in Afghanistan...

 (the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a popular name for the Iraqi division of the international Salafi jihadi militant organization al-Qaeda. It is recognized as a part of the greater Iraqi insurgency....

), the umbrella organization to which al-Qaeda in Iraq belongs, the Mujahideen Shura Council, has a regular presence on the Web.
The range of multimedia content includes guerrilla training clips, stills of victims about to be murdered, testimonials of suicide bombers, and videos that show participation in jihad through stylized portraits of mosques and musical scores. A website associated with al-Qaeda posted a video of captured American entrepreneur Nick Berg
Nick Berg
Nicholas Evan "Nick" Berg was an American businessman who went to Iraq after the US invasion of Iraq. He was abducted and later beheaded according to a video released in May 2004 by Islamist militants...

 being decapitated in Iraq. Other decapitation videos and pictures, including those of Paul Johnson, Kim Sun-il
Kim Sun-il
Kim Sun-il was a South Korean translator and Christian missionary who was kidnapped and beheaded in Iraq.- Kidnapping :...

, and Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist who was kidnapped and killed by Al-Qaeda.At the time of his kidnapping, Pearl served as the South Asia Bureau Chief of the Wall Street Journal, and was based in Mumbai, India. He went to Pakistan as part of an investigation into the alleged links between...

, were first posted on jihadist websites.

In December 2004 an audio message claiming to be from Bin Laden was posted directly to a website, rather than sending a copy to al Jazeera as he had done in the past.

Al-Qaeda turned to the Internet for release of its videos in order to be certain it would be available unedited, rather than risk the possibility of al Jazeera editors editing the videos and cutting out anything critical of the Saudi royal family. Bin Laden's December 2004 message was much more vehement than usual in this speech, lasting over an hour.

In the past, Alneda.com
Alneda
Alneda is a former al-Qaeda-run website, which was located at: . It was shut down in 2002.It was being hosted in Malaysia by the internet service provider Malaysia Technology Development Corporation, and first appeared shortly after the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks.It had encrypted...

 and Jehad.net were perhaps the most significant al-Qaeda websites. Alneda was initially taken down by American Jon Messner, but the operators resisted by shifting the site to various servers and strategically shifting content.

The U.S. is currently attempting to extradite a British information technology specialist, Babar Ahmad, on charges of operating a network of English-language al-Qaeda websites, such as Azzam.com. Ahmad's extradition is opposed by various British Muslim organizations, such as the Muslim Association of Britain
Muslim Association of Britain
The Muslim Association of Britain is an Islamic organisation in the United Kingdom established in 1997.-Anti-war activities:Along with Stop the War Coalition and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, it has co-sponsored various demonstrations against the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq...

.

Aviation network


Al-Qaeda is believed to be operating a clandestine aviation
Aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

 network including “several Boeing 727
Boeing 727
The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine, T-tailed commercial jet airliner, manufactured by Boeing. The Boeing 727 first flew in 1963, and for over a decade more were built per year than any other jet airliner. When production ended in 1984 a total of 1,832 aircraft had been produced...

 aircraft”, turboprops and executive jets, according to a Reuters
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

 story. Based on a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report, the story said that al-Qaeda is possibly using aircraft to transport drugs and weapons from South America to various unstable countries in West Africa. A Boeing 727 can carry up to 10 tons of cargo. The drugs eventually are smuggled to Europe for distribution and sale, and the weapons are used in conflicts in Africa and possibly elsewhere. Gunmen with links to al-Qaeda have been increasingly kidnapping
Kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...

 some Europeans for ransom. The profits from the drug and weapon sales, and kidnappings can, in turn, fund more militant activities.

Alleged CIA involvement


Experts debate whether or not the al-Qaeda attacks were blowback
Blowback (intelligence)
Blowback is the espionage term for the violent, unintended consequences of a covert operation that are suffered by the civil population of the aggressor government...

 from the American CIA's "Operation Cyclone
Operation Cyclone
Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency program to arm, train, and finance the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, 1979 to 1989...

" program to help the Afghan mujahideen. Robin Cook
Robin Cook
Robert Finlayson Cook was a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament for Livingston from 1983 until his death, and notably served in the Cabinet as Foreign Secretary from 1997 to 2001....

, British Foreign Secretary from 1997 to 2001, has written that al-Qaeda and Bin Laden were "a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies", and that "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."

Munir Akram
Munir Akram
Munir Akram, HQA was Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations from 2002 to 2008. Following a regime change in 2008, Ambassador Akram stepped down to pursue a career in the private sector...

, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations from 2002 to 2008, wrote in a letter published in the New York Times on January 19, 2008:
The strategy to support the Afghans against Soviet military intervention was evolved by several intelligence agencies, including the C.I.A. and Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. After the Soviet withdrawal, the Western powers walked away from the region, leaving behind 40,000 militants imported from several countries to wage the anti-Soviet jihad. Pakistan was left to face the blowback of extremism, drugs and guns.


A variety of sources—CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 journalist Peter Bergen
Peter Bergen
Peter Bergen is a print and television journalist, author, and CNN's national security analyst. Bergen produced the first television interview with Osama Bin Laden in 1997. The interview, which aired on CNN, marked the first time that bin Laden declared war against the United States to a Western...

, Pakistani ISI
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 Brigadier Mohammad Yousaf, and CIA operatives involved in the Afghan program, such as Vincent Cannistraro
Vincent Cannistraro
Vincent Cannistraro was Director of Intelligence Programs for the United States National Security Council from 1984 to 1987; Special assistant for Intelligence in the Office of the Secretary of Defense until 1988; and Chief of Operations and Analysis at the Central Intelligence Agency's ...

—deny that the CIA or other American officials had contact with the foreign mujahideen or Bin Laden, let alone armed, trained, coached or indoctrinated them.

This runs counter to the account of Milton Bearden
Milton Bearden
Milton Bearden is a retired Central Intelligence Agency officer, author and film consultant. As of 2003, Bearden lives in Reston, Virginia with his French-born wife, Marie-Catherine....

, the CIA Field Officer for Afghanistan from 1985 to 1989, who distinctly recalls the unease he used to feel when meeting the Jihadi fighters: "The only times that I ran into any real trouble in Afghanistan was when I ran into 'these guys' – You know there'd be kind of a 'moment' or two that would look a little bit like the bar scene in Star Wars, ya know. Each group kinda jockeying around and finally somebody has to the situation."

But Bergen and others argue that there was no need to recruit foreigners unfamiliar with the local language, customs or lay of the land since there were a quarter of a million local Afghans willing to fight; that foreign mujahideen themselves had no need for American funds since they received several hundred million dollars a year from non-American, Muslim sources; that Americans could not have trained mujahideen because Pakistani officials would not allow more than a handful of them to operate in Pakistan and none in Afghanistan; and that the Afghan Arabs were almost invariably militant Islamists reflexively hostile to Westerners whether or not the Westerners were helping the Muslim Afghans.

According to Peter Bergen
Peter Bergen
Peter Bergen is a print and television journalist, author, and CNN's national security analyst. Bergen produced the first television interview with Osama Bin Laden in 1997. The interview, which aired on CNN, marked the first time that bin Laden declared war against the United States to a Western...

, known for conducting the first television interview with bin Laden in 1997, the idea that "the CIA funded bin Laden or trained bin Laden ...[is] a folk myth. There's no evidence of this. ... Bin Laden had his own money, he was anti-American and he was operating secretly and independently. ... The real story here is the CIA didn't really have a clue about who this guy was until 1996 when they set up a unit to really start tracking him." But as Bergen himself admitted, in one "strange incident" the CIA did appear to give visa help to mujahideen-recruiter Omar Abdel-Rahman
Omar Abdel-Rahman
Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman , commonly known in the United States as "The Blind Sheikh", is a blind Egyptian Muslim leader who is currently serving a life sentence at the Butner Medical Center which is part of the Butner Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina, United...

.

Criticism


According to a number of sources there has been a "wave of revulsion" against al-Qaeda and its affiliates by "religious scholars, former fighters and militants" alarmed by al-Qaeda's takfir
Takfir
In Islamic law, takfir or takfeer refers to the practice of one Muslim declaring another Muslim an unbeliever or kafir...

 and killing of Muslims in Muslim countries, especially Iraq.

Noman Benotman
Noman Benotman
Noman Benotman was the former head of the Libyan militant organization known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. After the September 11th attacks he resigned his position and now lives in London. Benotman has been active in reforming his former terrorist comrades in prison, attempting to...

, a former Afghan Arab and militant of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
Libyan Islamic Movement formerly known as The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group also known as Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya is a group active in Libya which played a key role in deposing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime, allying itself with the National Transitional Council.However...

, went public with an open letter of criticism to Ayman al-Zawahiri in November 2007 after persuading imprisoned senior leadership of his former group to enter into peace negotiations with the Libyan regime. While Ayman al-Zawahiri announced the affiliation of the group with al-Qaeda in November 2007, the Libyan government released 90 members of the group from prison several months later after "they were said to have renounced violence."

In 2007, around the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks and a couple of months before Rationalizing Jihad first appeared in the newspapers, the Saudi sheikh Salman al-Ouda
Salman al-Ouda
Salman bin Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Ouda or Salman al-Ouda , Salman al-Oadah, Salman Al-Audah, or Salman Al-Awdah -alias Abu Mu'ad - is a Saudi cleric or Sheikh and Muslim scholar. Al-Ouda is a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and on its Board of Trustees...

 delivered a personal rebuke to bin Laden. Al-Ouda, a religious scholar and one of the fathers of the Sahwa, the fundamentalist awakening movement that swept through Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, is a widely respected critic of jihadism. Al-Ouda addressed al-Qaeda's leader on television asking him
My brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocent people, children, elderly, and women have been killed ... in the name of al-Qaeda? Will you be happy to meet God Almighty carrying the burden of these hundreds of thousands or millions [of victims] on your back?


According to Pew polls, support for al-Qaeda has been slightly dropped for parts of the Muslim world in the years before 2008. The numbers supporting suicide bombings in Indonesia, Lebanon, and Bangladesh, for instance, have dropped by half or more in the last five years. In Saudi Arabia, only 10 percent now have a favorable view of al-Qaeda, according to a December poll by Terror Free Tomorrow, a Washington-based think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

.

In 2007, the imprisoned Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif
Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif
Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif, , aka "Dr. Fadl" and Abd Al-Qader Bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz, has been described as a "major" figure "in the global jihad movement." He is said to be "one of Ayman Al-Zawahiri's oldest associates, and his book al-'Umda fi I'dad al-'Udda , was used as a jihad manual in Al-Qaeda...

, an influential Afghan Arab, "ideological godfather of al-Qaeda", and former supporter of takfir, sensationally withdrew his support from al-Qaeda with a book Wathiqat Tarshid Al-'Aml Al-Jihadi fi Misr w'Al-'Alam (Rationalizing Jihad in Egypt and the World).

Although once associated with al-Qaeda, in September 2009 LIFG
Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
Libyan Islamic Movement formerly known as The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group also known as Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi-Libya is a group active in Libya which played a key role in deposing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime, allying itself with the National Transitional Council.However...

 completed a new "code" for jihad, a 417-page religious document entitled "Corrective Studies". Given its credibility and the fact that several other prominent Jihadists in the Middle East have turned against al-Qaeda, the LIFG's about face may be an important step toward staunching al-Qaeda's recruitment.

See also


  • Al Qaeda Network Exord
    Al Qaeda Network Exord
    Al Qaeda Network Exord is a classified order that allows the U.S. military to direct operations against al-Qaeda in 15 to 20 countries around the world, including those not at war with the United States.It was approved by U.S. President George W...

  • Bin Laden Issue Station
    Bin Laden Issue Station
    The Bin Laden Issue Station was a unit of the Central Intelligence Agency dedicated to tracking Osama bin Laden.Soon after its creation the Station developed a new, deadlier vision of bin Laden's activities. In 1999 the CIA inaugurated a grand "Plan" against al-Qaeda, but struggled to find the...

     (former CIA unit for tracking Bin Laden)
  • Bosnian mujahideen
    Bosnian mujahideen
    Bosnian mujahideen were foreign Muslim volunteers who fought on the side of Bosnian Muslims during the 1992–1995 Bosnian war. They arrived in Bosnia with the aim of fighting for Islam and on behalf of Muslims who were at the time brutally attacked by Serbs and Croats in different parts of the...

  • Fatawā of Osama bin Laden
    Fatawā of Osama bin Laden
    Osama bin Laden wrote what is referred to as a fatwā in August 1996, and was one of several signatories of another and shorter fatwa in February 1998. Both documents appeared initially in the Arabic-language London newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi...

  • List of designated terrorist organizations
  • Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal
    Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal
    Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal is a coalition of Islamist parties that was formed in 2002 to electorally challenge the Pakistan Parliament's incumbent parties...

  • Operation Cannonball
    Operation Cannonball
    Operation Cannonball is an American Central Intelligence Agency operation that was disclosed in 2008. Beginning in 2006, it was intended as part of an effort to capture Osama Bin Laden and eliminate Al Qaeda forces in Pakistan...

  • Pakistan and state terrorism
    Pakistan and state terrorism
    Pakistan has been accused by neighbours India, Afghanistan, Iran and western nations like the United States, and the United Kingdom of its involvement in terrorist activities in India as well as Afghanistan . Pakistan's tribal region is Branded as a "Haven for Terrorism", it is considered among...

  • Psychological warfare
    Psychological warfare
    Psychological warfare , or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations , have been known by many other names or terms, including Psy Ops, Political Warfare, “Hearts and Minds,” and Propaganda...

  • Religious terrorism
    Religious terrorism
    Religious terrorism is terrorism by those whose motivations and aims have a predominant religious character or influence.In the modern age, after the decline of ideas such as the divine right of kings and with the rise of nationalism, terrorism more often involved anarchism, nihilism and...

  • Steven Emerson
    Steven Emerson
    Steven Emerson, is an American journalist and author, who writes about national security, terrorism, and Islamic extremism.Emerson is the author of six books, and co-author of two more. His television documentary Jihad in America won the 1994 George Polk Award for best Television Documentary, and...

  • Takfir wal-Hijra
    Takfir wal-Hijra
    Jama'at al-Muslimin , popularly known as Takfir wal-Hijra , was a radical Islamist group led by Shukri Mustafa, which emerged in Egypt in the 1960s as an offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood, inspired by Sayyid Qutb.The group was...

  • Terrorist organizations as destructive cults
  • Videos of Osama bin Laden
    Videos of Osama bin Laden
    There were several video and audio recordings released by, or claiming to be produced by, Osama bin Laden between 2001 and 2011. Most of the tapes were released directly to Arabic language satellite television networks, primarily Al Jazeera....


Publications:
  • Al Qaeda Handbook
    Al Qaeda Handbook
    The Al Qaeda Handbook is an extensive manual for how to wage war, allegedly written by Osama bin Laden's extremist group, Al Qaeda.This handbook provides religious justifications and quotations from the Qur'an throughout. It was first seized by British authorities in a raid on an Al Qaeda cell in...

  • Management of Savagery
    Management of Savagery
    Management of Savagery: The Most Critical Stage Through Which the Ummah Will Pass was uploaded to the Internet in 2004 by the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Its author Abu Bakr Naji is unidentified, and is known only for this piece plus some contributions to the al-Qaeda online magazine Sawt...


Further reading


Bibliography
Reviews
Government reports

External links




Media
  • Peter Taylor
    Peter Taylor (Journalist)
    Peter Taylor born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire is a British journalist and documentary-maker who had covered for many years the political and armed conflict in Northern Ireland, widely known as the Troubles...

    . (2007). "War on the West". Age of Terror, No. 4, series 1. BBC.
  • Investigating Al-Qaeda, BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

  • The Power of Nightmares a BBC documentary that describes the origins of Al Qaeda in Qutbism
  • Al Qaeda's New Front from PBS Frontline, January 2005
  • Inside al Qaeda – video report by National Geographic