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Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror

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INSIDE AL QAEDA: Global Network of Terror

By: Rohan Gunaratna

Osama Bin Laden who is better known as Al Qaeda's Emir-General was born on July 30, 1957 in Saudi Arabia to Muhammad bin Judah bin Laden and Humid. He was the seventeenth child out of fifty-two. Osama went to Kin Abdulaziz University where he began studies in economics and management but left college in his third year. While at the university he learned Islamic studies and became very intrigued with this religion. Osama's father always urged his children to refrain from politics and religion debate, but Osama seemed interested in government and international politics.

In 1973 Osama focused his time and energy on resources and advancement of Islam and Islamism. He also gained higher knowledge in mujahid fighting with wealth and sake for Allah. Osama is well established among the Afghan people. He is one of the scholars of the Jihad as well as being the main commander of the mujahideen worldwide. Dr. Abjullah Azzam leading Islamist influenced Osama for the next 10 years. Together in 1984 the two set up the Afghan service Bureau. Osama's first cam, al-Ansar, in Jaji in Afghanistan's Pakita province was built. In 1982 Essam al-Ride, a flight instructor, joined al Qaeda where he served as procurement officer and Osama's personal pilot. During this time Osama's father died and he inherited a huge sum of money, which he invested. He began to build several training camps and quest houses for the Arab mujidian's.

In the mid 1980's Osama began to import machinery, building roads, cave complexes, and supervising the blasting of massive tunnels. Osama then began to win over the Afghan people by becoming humble and starting to live a simplistic life. He seemed to have the ability to befriend and communicate with fighters and live with the Afghan peasants.

During his stay on the Afghan-Pakistan border his religious convictions began to deepen. In 1987 what was known as the Lion's Den Operation occurred, exposing Osama to Soviet poison gas. He suffered minor injuries from this attack. This in turn upset him and his dislike of the soviets grew.

Osama's wealth and influence made him a natural leader of the Arab Mujahidin people. Osama spent much of his time after this on the front line while Azzam was the one who conceptualized Al Qaeda. The broad outlines were formed in 1987-1988. It was envisioned that this organization would channel energies of the muhahdin into fighting on behalf of oppressed Muslims worldwide.

During the end of the anti-Soviet campaign Osama and Azzam's relationship began to deteriorate. Osama desired and wanted to reconfigure MAK and rebuild Al Qaeda in his own image, creating it to be a terrorist force aiming to destroy America and Israel. At this time he split from Azzam moving back to Afghanistan establishing new guesthouses and training camps for his followers. In November of 1989 Azzam and two of his son's were killed, the attack had been arranged by Osama. He felt that Azzam had some type of connection to the CIA.

After the attack it seemed that Osama did not have anything bad or derogatory to say about Azzam and seemed to praise him. The death of Azzam allowed Osama to refashion principles and rules of the Al Qaeda in his image and channel it in the direction he preferred things to go.

After the influence of Azzam it is said he was influenced by al-Zawahiri who was from a very influential and respected Egyptian family. At this time Osama was transformed from a guerilla to a terrorist. Al-Zawahiri then began to increase his organizational capabilities and assisted Osama with the practical know how he was lacking.

Osama continued to feel very strongly about Islamic law and his goal was to establish a true Islamic society governed by Allah's law. In February 1989 he returned to Saudi Arabia where he helped Saudi create the first jihad group in South Yemen. Then on August 2, 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait. At this time the royal family feared for their country and invited the US troops to be a stand force to make their presence known. Osama became upset and approached the family with and alternate plan, his plan was rejected and this humiliated him. This is the time Operation Desert Shield was launched. Osama was assured the Americans would only be there until the threat had receded and Kuwait was liberated, this Osama detested. The US force did not withdraw and this upset Osama and he began the start of his campaign.

It became known to all that he was dissatisfied and there were rumors of his arrest so Osama fled to Pakistan in 1991 where he launched a campaign against his homeland. During this time

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