FW: [msal-politics] Osama bin Laden

From: Chen Yixiong, Eric (cyixiong@yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Sep 12 2001 - 20:00:49 MDT

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Champion
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2001 1:40 AM
To: lpf@yahoogroups.com; msal-politics@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [msal-politics] Osama bin Laden

I've been disappointed that so many media organizations have not provided any accurate information on bin Laden's motivations. I am more familiar with the politics of the Middle East than most Americans so my frustration is increased because I already know why various groups hate the U.S. so much. I've been waiting for the media to mention it, but they have not done a very good job.

Lots of people have been talking as if the attacks were motivated by hostility to the freedom or wealth of Americans. That is NOT a major motivation for ANY of the anti-U.S. groups in the Middle East. It should be no mystery to Americans what motivates anti-U.S. terrorists. Every group which is a major suspect in the attacks yesterday has publicly announced their reasons for opposing the U.S. (some have different reasons, but they all announce them)

I was considering writing a summary of this to post here, but finally someone in the media has written some basic background info which may be helpful. If Osama bin Laden or his associates are responsible, this should clarify their motives:

Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden. - AP files

 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Osama bin Laden's rage against America
 began festering in 1990, when the United States sent its troops to Saudi
 Arabia. They had come to defend the Persian Gulf oil powerhouse
 against an expansionist Iraq, but ended up with a new foe who vowed to
 destroy them.

 To fully understand how bin Laden became a world-famous suspected
 terrorism mastermind and an America hater, it is necessary to see how
 he became an Islamic holy warrior.

 Bin Laden first achieved prominence in Afghanistan during an insurgency
 against the invading Soviet Union in the 1980s. It was led by Afghan
 Islamic rebels, heavily bankrolled by the United States.

 He is said to have received considerable money during the 10-year
 battle from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which covertly helped
 finance the Islamic insurrection during the Cold War.

 In 1989, when the fighting ended with Moscow's retreat, bin Laden
 returned home to Saudi Arabia. There, he began a confrontation with the
 Saudi monarchy over its decision to invite American troops into Saudi
 Arabia, the site of two of Islam's holiest places, Mecca and Medina.

 Many devout Muslims believe that the land of Saudi Arabia, where the
 prophet Muhammed lived and died, is sacred and should be off-limits
 for nonbelievers. Only Muslims are permitted in the cities of Mecca and

 In 1990, the United States deployed its troops to Saudi Arabia in
 response to Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait. The result was the Persian
 Gulf War.

 Bin Laden rallied disgruntled Saudi veterans of the Afghan insurgency
 and openly accused Saudi Arabia's King Fahd of selling the holy sites of
 Islam to the United States.

 Hounded by Saudi intelligence officials who arrested him for his criticism
 of the monarchy, bin Laden left in 1992 for Sudan, where hardline
 Islamist Hasan Turabi was in power. There, bin Laden's Al-Qaida
 organization took shape, embracing a hardline Islamist philosophy from
 north African countries and the Gulf states.

 Since then, a whole string of terrorist attacks against U.S. targets have
 occurred at regular intervals, including the 1993 bombing of the World
 Trade Center, the 1996 bombing of U.S. military housing in Saudi
 Arabia and the 1999 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa.

 Bin Laden never claimed responsibility for any of these attacks, but has
 been accused of playing a role in most of them. Now he is the top
 suspect in Tuesday's horrific attacks in New York and Washington.

 According to a Palestinian journalist, bin Laden praised the attacks, but
 denied involvement.

 "Osama bin Laden thanked Almighty Allah and bowed before him when
 he heard this news," said Jamal Ismail, Abu Dhabi Television's bureau
 chief in Islamabad, quoting a bin Laden aide. "But he had no information
 or knowledge about the attack."

 Bin Laden has urged young Muslims worldwide to wage a jihad, or holy
 war, against the United States, and operates several training camps in
 Afghanistan, where he is protected by the country's hard-line Islamic
 Taliban government. The students include militants from Chechnya,
 Uzbekistan, Pakistan, China and most Arab countries.

 "There are training camps in every province of Afghanistan," said a
 senior Taliban official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The
 Arabs are coming and going all the time," the official said.

 Bin Laden has even written poems eulogizing past terrorist attacks.

 At the wedding of his son in southern Kandahar in February -- a rare
 public appearance -- bin Laden praised last year's suicide bombing of
 the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen, which killed 17 American

 Of the 17 sailors who died, bin Laden said: "The pieces of the bodies of
 infidels were flying like dust particles. If you would have seen it with your
 own eyes, you would have been very pleased, and your heart would
 have been filled with joy."

 His Arabic language poem was acquired by The Associated Press and

 As recently as May of this year, bin Laden instructed hard-line Islamic
 activists at a Muslim convention in neighboring Pakistan to prepare the
 next generation for the jihad.

 "Issue a call to the young generation to get ready for the holy war and to
 prepare for that in Afghanistan because jihad in this time of crisis for
 Muslims is an obligation of all Muslims," he said in a statement.

 In 1996, Sudan bowed to relentless pressure from the United States and
 asked bin Laden to leave. He moved to Afghanistan, with 180 followers
 and three wives, to join a guerrilla colleague from the days of the Soviet
 invasion. He is believed to operate at least two training centers in eastern
 Nangarhar province, at Darunta and Farmada.

 Earlier this summer, a federal jury in New York convicted four bin
 Laden allies for their roles in the 1998 embassy bombings. Those
 attacks, like Tuesday's, were well-coordinated.

 The FBI has placed a $5 million bounty on his head and the State
 Department has called him "one of the most significant sponsors of
 Islamic extremist activities in the world today."

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