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Saturday, August 3, 2013



Dedicated to the background of contemporary events around the world. 

Al Qaeda

IN BRIEF:  The curse of Al Qaeda and those whom it influences will continue to take us by surprise as long as we remain blind to its causes, origins, setting and historical development.


-al Qaeda grew from a long line of Islamic movements for reform and purification starting in the Arab world in the middle ages and extending to the founding of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 and Al Qaeda itself in 1988. Now it has spread around the world.

-the appeal of such movements lay in the frustration of Muslim societies with poverty, underdevelopment, colonization and exploitation by Western countries and the westernization of Muslims whose Islamic culture was already in danger.

-the world's 1.6 Muslims make up around a quarter of its population.

-the West seems to have been slow to anticipate that similar conditions of loss and alienation in Muslim or partly Muslim nations far outside the Middle East have made places like Somalia, North Africa, Central Asia, Southern Russia and the Philippines ripe for Al Qaeda influence.

-many of those countries already had traditions of purification and holy war going back to the middle ages. It is likely that in many of those places, Al Qaeda was understood immediately if it wasn't already preceded by Islamist ideologies and organizations.

-before the Cold War, Middle Eastern countries were still in the grips one form or another of western colonialism. In many respects, the Cold War, which divided the world into Western and Soviet Communist "camps," froze history. After the Cold War ended with the defeat of Communism, the backward condition of Muslim countries remained unchanged.  But at least Islam, as Muslim radicals saw it, had only one enemy to contend with: the West.

-faced directly with American global supremacy, Muslims began to resurrect the old tradition of "Jihad," (mistranslated as "holy war," but nevertheless meaning "supreme effort.") against the West.

-the last straw was the building of U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia, the home and source of Islam, during the 1991 US-led Western war against Iraq, "the Gulf War."

-the profound historical ignorance of the West caused the rise of al Qaeda and its 9/11 terror attacks to come as a complete surprise. 

-the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 only served to increase recruitment for Al Qaeda.

-the US Bush Administration's War on Terror, and President Obama's campaign of drone missile attacks in Pakistan, have vastly reduced the original Al Qaeda. The assassination of Al Qaeda founder and leader Osama Bin laden has probably had no effect. Al Qaeda was already "in the air."

-the problem is that Al Qaeda's influence, by propaganda or military action, has been able to spread to the Syrian Civil War, the civil war in Somalia, the Muslim Maghreb nations of North Africa, the equatorial region of the African Sahel to the south and Nigeria. It has also spread to the Philippines and occasionally small groups in the U.S. Canada and Great Britain, have  been recruited abroad or planned or carried out attacks in those counties.


The Hanbali Reform Movement of early Arabia.

780-855- Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, sounder of the Hanbali code of Sharia law. He holds that a decision in Sharia must be referred directly to the Quran and the sunna- not to the legal framework that had grown up around them. In other words, he held that the law itself had already been written in the words of the Quran.

1042-1147-North Africa and Spain- Almoravids impose Islamic rule over an area comprising modern Morocco, Mauretainia, northern Mali, western Algeria and Spain.

The Wahhabi Movement of the 18th Century.

1703- Abdul al-Wahhab is born at Najd, a main centre of Hanbali Islam in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula.

1725 (circa) -Al-Wahhab (1703-1787) founds Muwahidun (unitarian) movement- an attempt to purify Islam of medieval superstition, to stop the translation of Sharia into jurisprudence and to get rid of the cult of saints. The Muwahidun follow the Hanbali school as taught by Tarq al Din ibn Taimiya (qv). Wahhab's oponnents call his followers 'Wahhabis', the name that stuck.


19th century -in Mali-  French colonial advance provokes the Fula and Toucouleur (Tukolor ) jihads which spread across region. Various theocratic states formed.

1894- Mali- Tuareg rebels declare a jihad against the French following their occupation of the city of Tombouctou in January

 Founding of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan
1988- Afghanistan Al Qaeda or 'The Base' is the new name for the Service Bureau upon murder of Azzam and victory in Afghanistan.
1980s- Somalia fights Islamic fundamentalists in its north and the Patriotic Front in the south.
1992-1993- Al Qaeda appears in Somalia in midst of clan war-  as part of Osama Bin Laden’s Sudan-based al Qaeda support for Somali Muslims, 9/11 terrorist Mohammed Atef trains Somali trains tribal guerillas opposed to UN intervention

Below, you will find:

-relevant dates to to World Wide Advisory concerning Al Qaeda. 
-Al Qaeda 2001-2011
-Al Qaeda's modern history, 1951-2001
-the early background to Al Qaeda- 780 ad- 1951.

RELEVANT DATES to the World Wide Advisory concerning Al Qaeda. 

The Maghreb

Zawahiri announces creation of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM)  from merger.

2006- Sept 14- Ayman Al Zawahiri announces the merger of the Algerian militant group, the GSPC with Al Qaeda, creating Al Qaeda in the Maghredb (AQIM)

2009 January - Ethiopia completes the withdrawal of its troops. Fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked radical Islamist al-Shabab militia take control of the town of Baidoa, formerly a key stronghold of the transitional government.

March 19- Osama Bin Laden releases tape in which he urges Islamists to overthrow President Ahmed.

 Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

2009 May - Algeria begins sending military equipment to Mali in preparation for a joint operation against Islamic militants linked to al-Qaeda.

2010   Jul 24, French-backed Mauritanian military operations against al Qaeda fighters in the Sahara desert wound up after four days of hunting Islamists deep inside Mali.

2010-  Sep 17, The Mauritanian army launched an offensive against the North African branch of al-Qaida in neighboring Mali. At least 12 militants died and five Mauritanians were killed in the operation, which was launched  inside northern Mali with permission

2011 Al Qaeda-linked Suicide Attacks in Iraq begin a sharp Increase

January 2011 Iraq suicide attacks were a series of three consecutive suicide bombings in Iraq which left at least 133 dead.

US Special Forces Kill Osama Bin Laden.May 1, 2011: Osama Bin Laden, head of Al Qaeda is killed when CIA paramilitaries and a Navy SEAL team attack his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Syrian Civil War and  Al Qaeda offshoot, "Al Nusra."

2011- Syrian Jihadist veterans of the Iraq war begin to return from Iraq for the Syrian uprising.

2011- Dec.- veteran jihadists of deceased Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, leave Iraq, crossing the border to Syria to join in the Arab Spring rebellion against the Assad regime. Jabhat Al Nusra (JN) claims to fight on behalf of the Syria's increasingly oppressed Sunni majority and against Syria's ruling Shia Alawite sect and its allies which include Shia Iran and the Shia Hezbollah organization and militia in Lebanon.  

2012- Jan 23- In its inaugural video Al Nusra claims an attack on a government  security installation in Idlib. "We are Syrian mujahideen, back from various jihad fronts to restore God's rule on the Earth and avenge the Syrians' violated honour and spilled blood," a masked man declared in the video. (BBC)

Al Qaeda Offensive in Mali

June 30: Armed Islamists destroy ancient tombs of Muslim saints that offend their puritan views in the desert city of Timbuktu and threaten to wipe out every religious shrine there. They impose sharia, the strict and often brutal Islamic law.

-summer of 2012, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar Dine, another radical Islamist group, took advantage of the instability and an increasingly weak military in Mali and captured Timbuktu, Kidal, and Gao, cities in the north. They implemented and brutally enforced Shariah, or Islamic law.

Al Qaeda  offshoot Kills US Ambassador in Bengazi, Libya. 

September 2012-  militants armed with antiaircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades fired upon the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other embassy officials. U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton said the U.S. believed that al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a group closely linked to al-Qaeda, orchestrated the attack.

French Offensive Against Al Qaeda in Mali
2013 January - Islamist fighters capture the central town of Konna and say they will push further south. President Traore asks France for help and Paris responds by sending troops and carrying out air strikes on rebel bases.

January 2013- militants pushed into the southern part of Mali, crossing into the area controlled by the government. France sent about 2,150 troops to Mali to push them back. By the end of January, French troops pushed the militants out of Gao and Timbuktu, forcing them back to northern Mali.

Al Qaeda Operation on Gas Plant in Almenas, Algeria.
January 16, 2013, Islamic militants entered neighboring Algeria from Mali and took dozens of foreign hostages at the BP-controlled In Amenas gas field. Algerian officials said the militants were members of an offshoot of al-Qaeda called Al Mulathameen and were acting in retaliation for France's intervention in Mali. On Jan. 17, Algerian troops stormed the complex and attacked the kidnappers. By the end of the standoff on Jan. 20, 29 militants and 37 hostages were killed. Three Americans were among the dead.

Syrian National Coalition Rejects Any Link with Al Qaeda.

2013- April 20- The Syrian National Coalition rejects any association with Al Qaeda:
“We reject the thoughts of al-Qaeda. Syria is a country where moderate Islam prevails,” said Moaz al-Khatib, head of the main opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition. “The bottom line is that al-Qaeda’s ideology doesn’t suit us, and rebels in Syria have to take a clear stance about this.” His call has been heeded. “We don’t support the ideology of al-Nusra,” said Louay Meqdad, spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army. “When we in Syria launched our jihad (holy war) against the sectarian regime... we did not do so for the sake of any allegiance to a man here or another there,” said the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, an umbrella group of some 20 rebel brigades, including some of the most prominent. “Pledging allegiance to someone who does not understand our reality does not serve our people or nation.” (Al Arabiya, April 22, 2013)

The Boston Bombing.

April 15, 2013- Two bombs exploded at and near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killing three and maiming dozens. Two suspects, the brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who were inspired by Al Qaeda, were hunted down, the former killed, the last seriously wounded. 

April 22, 2013- Two men of Muslim background arrested in Toronto and Montreal before executing a plan to bomb a Via Rail Train between Toronto and Nw York City.

Somalia- Al Shebab on the back foot.

2013- June 28: UN reports that the Al-Shabaab spiritual leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys has turned himself in to pro-government officials in the central town of Adado. Local elders assert that he and his militia are stationed in the central Galmudug region, having fled from their own comrades in Al-Shabaab-controlled territory after a bout of infighting. According to the Shabelle Media Network, legislators and elders flew in to the town in an attempt to persuade Aweys to negotiate with the government. However, the elders indicate that their efforts were unsuccessful


In early 2001, the 9/11 hijackers begin arriving in the US. Meanwhile, their leader, Mohammed Atta, meets Al Qaeda 9/11 coordinator Binalshibh in Spain to work out the final detils of the attack.

On September 11, 2001, the Al Qaeda operatives fly two passenger jets into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in Manhattan, another jet liner into the Pentagon, while a fourth crashes in a field in Pennsylvania. The World Trade Centre is destroyed. Over 3,000 are killed altogether. Washington names Bon laden and Zawahiri co-conspirators in the plot. In vain the US demands that the Taliban's Mullah Omar hand over Bin Laden.

In the wake of 9/11, Al Qaeda terrorists return to Saudi Arabia in hopes of overthrowing the royal damily and seizing the oil fields.

On October 7, 2001, Bin Laden and Zawahiri release a statement from Afghanistan, claiming responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. And then in November, Mohammed Atef, Al Qaeda's military commander, is killed by an American Drone missile in Afghanistan. On December 12, Zacharias Mussawi, a Moroccan born French Citizen, resident in the United States, is the first suspect to be arrested in the 9/11 attacks.

On February 1, 2002, Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal Reporter investigating Pakistani links to 9/11 is executed and beheaded after days in captivity by an Al-Qaeda-linked group led by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. On March 2, Bin laden's number 3 man after Zawahiri, recruitment and field commander, Abu Zubaydah, is arrested in Pakistan.

18 are killed outside a Tunisian Synagogue when Al Qaeda blows up nearby oil tanker on April 11. In early  summer, 2002, June 11, Jose Padilla, landing in the US on a flight from Pakistan, is arrested in a 'dirty bomb' plot. On September 11, Ramsi Bimalshibh, the Al Qaeda commander who co-odrinated 9/11 from  Spain, is arrested in Pakistan.

On Oct. 12, the Bali Nightclub bombing kills 202, mostly Australians, in Indonesia; the Indonesian, Al Qaeda-linked terror group, Jamaah Islamiya is later discovered tohave carried out the act. 

 November 2002 sees the US and allied invasion of Afghanistan. The Taliban are driven out of Kabul and US troops find video tapes of a converation between Bin laden and the radical Jeddah, Saudi Arabia cleric Khalid Harbi, in whch Bin Laden names nine of the 9/11 hijackers.  Driven from Kabul in early December, Al Qaeda is engaged by tribal militias and US and British Special Forces. Bin Laden and his associates escape into the Pakistan tribal area of Waziristan. The Americans bomb Al Qaeda's east Afghanistan mountain cave complex in Torah Bora and capture it in mid-December.  On November 28, meanwhile, Al Qaeda claims an attack on an Isralei Hotel in Mombassa which kills 16.

Chief 9/11 planner Khaled Sheikh Mohammed is arrested  on March 1, 2003 in Islamabad in a joint CIA-Pakistan operation. That same spring, Mounir Moutassadek convicted of assisting the 9/11 hijackers in Hamburg, is sentenced to 12 years by a German court.

Spring, 2003 sees a wave of attacks by Al  Qaeda, with 34 killed on May 12 in an attack on a foreigners' luxury compound in Riyadh. In Morocco, a few days later, on May 16, 45 are killed in attacks in Casablanca by a  Moroccan, Al Qaeda group, Salafiya Jihadia. Ali Abdul Rahman al Gamdi is arrested in the Riyadh suicide attacks on June 27. Another Al Qaeda attack kills 11 in Saudi Arabia. 23 are killed in Al Qaeda-linked suicide attacks on two Istanbul synagogues on Decmber 15. Istanbul is hit again with a double suicide bombing killing 27 in strikes against the British Consulate and a British bank.

The scene moves to Iraq in early 2004 as the US uncovers plans by a Jordanian, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, to set up a branch of Al Qaeda in Iraq with the ultimate purpose of fomenting a civil war between Shia and Sunni Muslims. In the same month terrorists, probably from Al Qaeda bombed Shia Ashura processions killing around 300.

A passender train is bombed in  Madrid in March with 194 lives lost. A Moroccan branch of Al Qaeda claims responisbility. On April 15, in a broadcast video, Bin Laden offers a truce a truce to all countries that withdraw from America's alleged war on Muslims. And indeed, Spain will withdraw its contingent from Iraq.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile increases its adherence to puritianical Wahhabism but it is  not enough to stem arracks by Wahhabi militants on the government and on foreigners.Western observers agree that to get rid of Al Qaeda would not be enough, for at the source of al Qaeda and other militant groups likes Saudi Arabian Wahhabism.

On May 17, the head of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council is killed in an attack by Al Qaeda while several other killings are traced to Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi including the behading of a US hostage.

On the 30th of May 22 are killed in Saudia Arabia, America's ally, when Al Qaeda operatives seize a foreigners' compound at Al Khobar before it is stormed by Saudi commandos. Two American defense contract workers are murdered. On June 18, British hostage Paul Johnson is  beheaded by Al Qaeda leader Salleh Mohammed al-Aoofi in Saudi Arabia while Abu Aziz al Muqin, head of Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia is killed by Saudi security forces.

American officials In Iraq become aware of Saudi Wahhabi Arab Jihadis in Mosul and in Fallujah and suspect Al Qaeda infiltration.  

America's War on Terror scores belated victories in summer and fall with the capture of Khalfin Galani on July 30 an Al Qaeda operative linked to the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya. And on Septemnber 26, Ahmad Farooqi, wanted in connection with the murder of Daniel Pearl, is killed in a shootout with police in Pakistan. And then on Septmeber  29, a Yemeni court sentences two Yemini Al Qaeda members, Al Bashiri and Al Badawi to death for the the bombing of the USS Cole on 2000 while four others get prison sentences.

In October, Zaqawi, head of the Iraqi Al Qaeda franchise, Monotheism and Jihad, formally swears fealty to Osama Bin laden. On the 29th of Otcober, days before the US 2004 elections, Bin Laden delivers a message warning of of more attacks.

December 2004 witnesses Al Qaeda attacks on the US consulate in Jeddah, and the Ministry of the Interior in  Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden releases a video praising the attack on the consulate. The attacks were meant to raise oil prices, drive Americans out of the country and weaken the government.

In April, 2005, in London, an Al Qaeda terrorist is sentenced for threatening to spread ricin in Britain. On the 17th, Al Qaeda suspects go on trial in Spain for the madrid train bombing. May 5 sees Faraj al Libbi, Al Qaeda's number 3 after Zawahiri, arrested in Pakistan.

Al Qaeda sheds blood on British soil as the July 7, 2005 underground bombings kill 57. An British, Al qaeda inspired group his spected. On July21, four more underground bombs fail to detonate. Within days,  four are arrested.

Al Qaeda terror moves to the Red Sea in late summer as 61 are killed with the bombing of the Egyptian seaside resort of Sarm Al Sheikh on July 23. On August 19, Al Qaeda rockets are fired at at the Jordianin Port of Aqaba and the Israeli port of Elat. In mid-August also, the Saudis raid Al Qaeda cells in Medina, killing six Al Qaeda members and Al Qaeda leader Salleh Mohammed al-Aoofi. Paul Johnson's head is foound in Aoofi's cell.

On September 26, a Madrid Court sentences 18 Al Qaeda members for their part in the 9/11 attacks. And  in November, Hamza Rabia, Al Qaeda operations commander is killed in a Drone attack in North Waziriztan.

In 2006, the New Year might be seeing Al Qaeda on the back foot at Bin laden releases a January video tape offering the US a truce or new attacks. The war never sleeps in Iraq, however: in February, Al Qaeda Commandos blow up Samarra's Al Aakiriya Mosque, sacred to the Shia, detonating a two-year Shia-Sunni sectarian blood bath.

Zacharias Mousaoui, the only suspect charged in 9/11 is convicted May 3 and sentenced to life inprisonment.

On June 7,  Abu Musab al Zarqawi, head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, is killed in a targeted air strike near Baghdad. And Al Qaeda in Iraq's number 2 man, Jama Al saedi, planner of the destruction of the Al Aaskiriya Mosque in Samnarra is captured by Iraqi forces.  

A new front opens with Al Qaeda in the Maghreb, announced by Zawahiri, the merger of the Algerian militant group, the GPSC with Al Qaeda.

2007 is a bad year for Al Qaeda. On March 15, 2007, Mohammed Sheikh Khaled, on trial at Guantanamo Bay, admits to planning 30 terror attacks, among them the 9/11 operation; and on the 27th, Australian convert to Al Qaeda, David Hicks, admits supporting terror operations. A month later, on April 27th, Al Hadi Al Iraqi is arrested on his way to Iraq to take over Al Qaeda operations there. On July 11, four men arrested in the July 7, 2005 London Underground bombings receive life sentences.

Al Qaeda in the Maghreb claim responsibility for consecutive bomings on September 7-8 in Algeria.

In Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto survives a bomb attack on October 18 in Karachi upon her return from exile. Al Qaeda is believed responsible.

Tough Justice continues in Madrid on October 31 as a Court sentences three men to life in the March, 2004 Madrid train bombings.

Al Qaeda in the Maghreb  continues with bomb attacks in Algeria on December 12, striking the Supereme Court and the UN office in Algiers, killing 40.

On December 27, 2007, Pakistani Presidential Candidate Benazir Bhutto is killed in a bomb attack in Islamabad. Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistani Al Qaeda in Waziristan is suspected of ordering the attack. Soon after, on January 28, 2008, Al Qaeda leader Abu Haith al Libbi dies in a US drone attack in North Waziristan.

More high level Al Qaeda Operatives are charged at Guantanamo in 2008: Ahmed Khalfan Gailani is charged in connection with the 1998 Kenya embassy bombing. On June 6, 9/11 architect Sheikh Mohammed says that he wants to die as a matter. On July 6, Salim Hamdan, Osama Bin Laden's Yemeni driver is convicted with war crimes.  On July 28, in Pakistan, weapons expert Abu Kebab al Masri is killed in a Drone strike.

In fall, 2008, Najibullah Zazi and others training in Afghanistan will soon strike in the New York Subway in Septemnber 2009

Yemeni and Saudi affiliates of Al Qaeda unite to form Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peneinusla in January-March 2009.

September 2009 sees the conviction of the would-be London airline bombers- who plotted to blow up airliners in mid-flight along with the conviction of Najibullah Zazi and cohorts for the attempted bombing of the New York Subway.

In the same month Ilyas Kashmiri, head of an Al Qaeda affiliated Kashmir group is killed in a drone strike. Meanwhile, across the border, the Taliban finally severs its ties with Alfghanistan, leaving only 100 fighters inside the country. In early December, 2009, Bin Laden is believed to be in Afghanistan's Ghazni province. On December 8th, Sahl al Somali coordinator of Al Qaeda between Pakistan and Afghanistan is killed in a Drone strike.

The Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula-trained Yemeni "Underwear Bomber"  Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab is arrested in the US after attempting to blow up a Northwest Airline Flight.

In January, 2010, UA Defense Secretary Robert Gates warns that Al Qaeda is attempting to destabilize Pakistan and start a nuclear war between Pakistan and India.

Iraq-  April 18- Abu Omar al Baghdadi leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq is killed near Tikrit.  

May 2010 witnesses the failed Times Square Bombing by Failzal Shazad, using a van packed with explosives.

Osama Bin Laden's former cook and driver, Ibrahim al Qosi, is sentenced to 14 years in prison on August 12 for providing material support to terrorism. A plea bargain is pending.


In 1951, Mohammed Qutb returns from the US and his anti-Americanism gets him expelled from the education ministry. In response, he joins the Muslim Brotherhood and writes that the United States should be given a death sentence. When Egypt rejects the Anglo-Egyptian treaty in 1952, however, the Brotherhood supports the government and joins the riots that break out in protest. But the same year, the government is overthrown by Abdul Nasser and the Arab Socialist Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) and in 1954 the Council bans the Brotherhood and many of tis members are held in a concentration camp.

Te Brotherhood attempts the assassination of Nasser, on 23 October, 1954 and many are hanged, imprisoned, or driven into exile in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

In 1957, Osama Bin Laden is born to bricklayer in South Yemen. The Bin laden patriarch moves the family north to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where he becomes a wealthy construction magnate.

King Faisal of Saudi Arabia risks Wahhabi wrath by permitting the use of television for the reinforecement of Islamic values.

Qutb is released from prison in 1964 and his book,on western decadence, 'Signposts on the Road' is smuggled out of Egypt. He is made leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and, despite his stance of non-violence, he ies expected to the avenge the Brotherhhod's government's perseuction by the government. 
President Nasser attempts to enrol the Brotherhood in the Arab Socialist Union to fight Communism only to endure more attempts by the Brotherhood to assassinate him. After another plot against Nasser in 1966, Qutb is re-arrested, tried for treason and hanged along with other leaders of the Brotherhood.

Egypt's loss of the 1967 war with Israel, and the notion that the catastrophe is divine retibution for Arab Socialism strengthens the Muslim Brotherhood with a groundswell of popular support. Nasser, feeling he has no choice, grants the Brotherhood a general amnesty in 1968. Nasser's successor, Anwar Sadat, attempts to bring the Brotherhood back into Egyptian politics.

In 1975, in the Kingdom of Kuwait, the Salafis begin to agitate for a republican regime, believing democracy might empower them.

In Egypt, in 1976, meanwhile Sadat, fearing the growing popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood, bans it from elections causing fifteen of its members to run successfully in other parties and the secession of a radical wing of the organization. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood itself turns against Sadat's entente with the West and Israel. In 1978, future Al Qaeda leader, Ayman al Zawahiri gradiates as a surgeon from Cairo medical school.

In the same year, 1978, Osama Bin Laden graduates with a medical degree from King Abdul Aziz medical school in Saudi Arabia. In 1979, he observes an uprising of radical Muslims at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, assisted by Kuwait Safalis. These, Bin laden believes, are the true Muslims. Back in Egypt, future Al Qaeda deputy Ayman al Zawahiri joins Islamic Jihad, led by Ismail Tantawi and succeeds to the leadership when Tantawi departs for West Germany.

After the 1979 Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, Abdullah Azzam founds Maktab al Kidmat, in Peshawar, Pakistan in 1980. MAK is the predecessor to Al Qaeda, a supply depot and base for receiving foreign fighters in the drive to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan. CIA bases along the Pakistan-Afghan border join the MAK in recruiting and training Mujehadeen fighters, using the CIA's own field manual, translated into Urdu, Arabic, and Persian- with the emphasis on nationalism and Islam.

Ayman al Zawahiri is jailed in the October 6, 1981 assassination of Egyptian president Sadat, after being arrested in the plot which was pulled off by an extreme wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1984, Sadat's successor, President Hosni Mubarak, outlaws the Muslim Brotherhood, which still manages to gert members elected to parliament by the Neo-Wafd Party. The Brotherhood is now using highly educated members to dominate proffessional associations of doctors, lawyers, jounralists and engineers. In  1984, Zawahiri is released from prison.

In the early 80s, Bin Laden vistis Azzam's MAK in Peshawar and lobbies his family and friends at home to join the struggle. In 1984, Saudi Arabia, he raises finds from his family and rerturns to Pehawar with members of the family business, the Saudi Bin Laden Group. In Peshawar, Bin Laden becomes leader of the non-Afghan Mujehadeen, fighting alongside Hekmatyar's Mujehadeen and in alliance with the ISI and the CIA.

It is now that Bin Laden begins to work closely with Abdulla Azzam and Azzam's MAK (Bureau of Service) vetting non-Afghan recruits, building roads and storage chambers in caves in the mountains of Tora Bora and occasionally joining combat missions. In 1986, meanwhile, Azzam's Bureau of Service sets up its American office in the Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn. Zawahiri, meanwhile, travels to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he sets up a branch of Islamic Jihad and joins the medical corps of  the Afghan Mujehadeen.

In Egypt, in 1987, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood gains power by joining the Socialist parties, demanding the imposition of Sharia Law and an end to the Israeli-Egyptian alliance and the severing of all  relations with the United States.

Bin Laden and Azzam together are running the service Bureau but in 1988, Azzam prefers to concentrate on military operations while Bin laden wants to launch a world-wide campaign of non-military missions. The following, year, 1989, the Mujehadeen declare victory as Soviet troops wiithdraw from Afghanistan. For Bin Laden it's an Islamic victory. The assassination of Azzam that year brings a change of strategy. Bin laden, with cohorts Muhammad Atef and Abu Ubaidah al Banshiri, changes Maktab al Kidmat "the Service Bureau" to "Al Qaeda," or "the base" with a new military mission directed against American targets in the United States and around the wrold. An Arab-Ammerican commando named Al Mohammed leaves his post in Fort Bragg and joins Bin Laden in Afghainstan. Discouraged by sectarian fighting among the former Afghan Mujehadeen, Bin laden returns to Saudi Arabia.

When Iraq invades Kuwait in 1990, Bin Laden offers to set upm a citizen militia to defend the Saudi kingdom but his initiative is declined. When the the US prepares to invade Iraq, sparking the Gulf War, it sets up bases to protect the Saudi oil fields at Hama. Bin laden is outraged, seeing the move as a violation of Saudi Arabia and of Islam by an infidel. Saudi Arabia's Wahabbis are furious and the the new cause against the United States will help to spread Wahhabism internationally. The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, supports Iraq and Saddam Hussein in the looming war.

In 1991, Bin Laden moves Al Qaeda to Sudan- where he's invited to work against African Christian separatists. As a way of importing weapons and explosives he sets up the organization like a corporation with media, business,  military and public affairs departments run  by a Shura or council of twelve. From there he begins to launch international operations in Bosnia, Chechnya, Kenya, Pakistan and elsewhere.

Bin Laden issues a 1992 Fatwa calling for war against all western nations with a presence in Muslim countries. 

From 1992 to 1993, Al Queda intevenes on the side of Islamist warlords in Somalia while his lieutenant, Mohammed Atef, trains Somalis to launch a resistance against UN intervention. Duly, he is accused by Washington of contributing to the notorious US defeat in Mogadishu.

By 1993, al Qaeda has about 1,000 fighters, mostly veterans of the Afghan war and lends support to around 5,000 Arab fighters defending Bosnian Muslims in the Balkans from the Serbs in the Bosnian war.

Meanwhile, the Deobandi  movment, born among Indian Sunni Muslims in opposition to British and Western colonialism, has spread from Bangladesh westward into Pakistan and southern Afghanistan where it is absorbed by the now emerging Taliban movement.

In 1993 Al Qaeda claims responsibility for the first attempted (failed) bombing of the World Trade Centre in new York. By now the organization has agents in Albania, Britain, Pakistan, Holland, Malasia, Lebanon, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Enirates, forming  loose associations with similar outfits in Ageria, Chechnya, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Horn of Africa, Lebanon, Libya, the Phulippines, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Yemen, Syria and Tunisia.

In 1994, Zawahiri joins Bin Laden in Sudan as his mentor. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia revokes Bin laen's citizenship and freezes his assets which amount to about $23 million. After an attempt on Bion Laden's life in Sudan, he founds the Committee for Advice and Reform (CAR) to promote peaceful change in Saudi Arabia. 

The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, is allowed to campaign openly in 1995 elections under its own name. All fifteen candidates fail to get elected.  Egypt holds Zawahiri for a truck bomb that killed 18 in Islamabad.

In 1995 the CIA opens its Washington "Bin Laden Station" responsible for tracking Bin Laden while Bin Laden provides asylum in Sudan to three Egyptians involved in an attempted assassination of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. 

Under Pressure from Egypt, the US and  Saudi Arabia, Sudan expels Bin Laden in 1996- after the UN condemns Sudan for harboring the Egyptian assassins and refusing to extradite them; and also for the al Qaeda leader's outspoken attacks on the King of Saudi Arabia. In all events, Sudan wants to be removed from ther US list of state sponsors of terror. In the same year, Zawahiri's own unit, 'Egyptian Islamic Jihad,'  the Al Qaeda franchise in Egypt, is expelled from Sudan after botched operations on Egyptian soil

From Sudan, Bin Laden moves Al Qaeda to Jalalabad, Afghanistan in 1996, although the city is not yet under Taliban control. In September, the Taliban takes Jalalabad and Kabul. The Taliban's Mullah Omar offers protection to Bin laden and Al Qaeda provided Bin Laden swears an oath of fealty to him. Bin Laden swears the oath, agreeing also to accept jihadists from other countries marooned by the civil war as well as veterans of the jihads in Bosnia, Kashmir and Cechnya. But he continues to mget funding from associates in Saudi Arabia.  The 55th Brigade, an Al Qaeda unit of 3,000, fights alongside the Taliban at the end of the civil war.

In Afghanistan, in 1996 Shekh Khaled meets Bin Laden and  proposes an operation that involves flying passenger planes into the Wolrd Trade Centre in new York. In that year it is estimated that Al Qaeda has 45,000 adherents in 60 countries. Part of al Qaeda's mission is to expel foreigners from Islamic lands. The following year, Ayman al Zawahiri joins Bin laden in Afghanistan. The Taliban begins it rule with a doctrine similar to, if not influenced by, Wahhabism. In 1998, with support from groups in Bangladesh and Pakistan, Bin Laden froms the World Islamic Front tarketing American civilians anywhere in the world.

Al Qaeda makes clear its demand that American bases be removed from Saudi Arabia,  that UN sanction on Iraq be lifted, that Jews be expelled from Palestine that the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and the Grand Masque in Mecca be liberated. Bin Laden demands the overthrow of all Islamic regimes supporting western interests. Bin Laden delivers a fatwa, calling for attacks on Americans anywhere in the world. Zawahiri joins his Islamic Johad with Al Qaeda.

The US embassies in Kenya and Ethiopia are bombed by Al Qaeda  on August 7, 1998, killing 227. Washington puts Bin Laden on its ten most wanted list with a $5 million reward on his head. The US demands that the Taliban hand him over but Mullah Omar refuses.On November 24, 1998, a US grand jury delivers a 228 count indictment for murder along with other charges against Bin laden and Al Zawahiri. In addition, Wash

Late in 1998, Bin Laden gives Sheikh Khaled the go-ahead to prepare the attacks on the World Trade Centre. In 1999, the Al Qaeda military committee finalizes the plans for the 9/11 attacks. A group of well-educated Egyptian and Saudi Arabian Muslims well aquainted with life in the west and lving and studying in Hamburg, Germany, travel to Afghanistan to meet Bin Laden preparation for the attacks. Washington, meanwhile retaliates for the African embassy attacks with Cruise missile strikes on an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and (mistakenly) on a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant.

In  1999, 20 members of the Muslim Brotherhood are arrested for plotting to overthrow the Egyptian government and inflitrating professional associations.

The following year, 2000, a Yemen branch of Al Qaeda bombs the USS Cole, a warship docked in Yemen, Aden.  The muslim  Brotherhood, meanwhile, wins 17 seats in the Egyptian parliament.

The UN Security Council,  at US prompting, demands that the Taliban government in Afghanistan had over Bin Laden on pain of an arms embargo. Taliban leader Mullah Omar refuses. In  February 2001, the public trial of four conspirators in the Ethiopia and Kenya embassy bombings serves to recruit Muslims to al Qaeda world wide.


The tradition to which Al Qaeda appeals begins around 780 AD at the height of the Abassid Caliphate when Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, of Merv ( in Bactria) founds the Hanbali interpretation of Sharia law- which determines that all laws must refer directly to the Koran which is seen, in efffect, as the original law code, and not to the legal traditions that have grown up around it. Though the Hanbali system takes root for a while, it declines everywhere save for a last outpost in Najd, in Arabia. Around 1300, Hanbali law is revived by Iban Taimiya of Harran in northern Mesopotamia, in reaction against what he sees as the idolatry and apostasy of  Shia Islam. He declares that all itijihad (interpretation) of the law, especially by the Shia, are in error and that laws can only refer directly to the Koran. He also declares that the Sunni Caliphate has proven itself  an effective form of secular leadership, outshining the Shia imamate. The Hanbali law code is then adopted by the Mameluke Caliphs of Cairo (1250-1217)

Centuries later, Wahhabism emerges in Najd, Arabia, a centre of Hanbali fundamentalism.  Najd is the birthplace of Abdul Wahhab, born in 1703. In 1725, Wahhab founds the Muwahidun, a fundamentalist group dedicated to restoring practice exactly as stated in the Koran; committed to the teachings of Ibn Taimiya (qv), opposed to the translation of Sharia Law into jurisprudence and repudiates the idolatry of saints together with medieval superstition, forbidding even the building of minarets. His critics call the Muwahidun 'Wahabbis', a name that will adhere. Making little progress in finding converts, he allies his movement with Mohammed Ibn Saud.

Moahmmed Ibn Saud, (1726-1765) ruler of the Diraiya Emirate in Najd, Arabia adopts Whabbism and founds the House of Saud in 1745, giving his subjects and local tribes a choice of conversion or death.  Wahabbis, allied with the House of Saud, embark on a war against adultery, corruption, idolatry and ban music, dancing, jewellery and all luxurious ornament. The House of Saud, turn uses the Wahhabi Ikhwan or armed force as its shock troops. Mohammed Ibn Saud's successor in 1766, Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, carries on the Wahabbist movement, gaining control of the area around Riyadh in 1773 and sending a campaign against the Shia holy ciity of Karbala in Iraq, in 1802 for which he is finally slain by Shia resistance  Between 1803 and 1814, his son, Saud Ibn Saud brings his campaign to the frontiers of Syria as well as Iraq and he finally takes the eastern Hejaz in Arabia and Medina in 1805, achieving control of most of the Arabian Peninsula by 1810. He crosses the line in a 1814 when his son and heir Abdullah Ibn Saud leads his Wahabbis to desecrate the tomb of Mohammed as a place of idolatry. In response, in 1818, the Ottoman sultan sends the near-autonomous Viceroy of Egypt, Mohammed Ali Pasha, to invade Arabia. Ali Pasha wipes out Wahabbism and executes the Emir, Abdullah Ibn Saud. 

In the mid-to-late-19th century the Salafist movement is formed by a Persian, Jamal al Din Afghani (1838-1897). Modeled on the tradition of the (Salafi) ancestors of early Islam, the Salafis promote a purified Islam beyond ethnic, political and national divisions and rivalries.The movement is particularly aimed at resisting western influence in the Islamic world. His follower, Mohammed Abdu (1838-1905), holds that Sharia law should reflect the beliefs of the Salaf or ancestors. Mohammed Rashid Rida applies Salafism to contemporary conditions and holds that Salafism should be taught in preference to the Sunni legal schools.

The House of Saud, meanwhile is expelled in 1881 from Riyad but is revived by Mohammed Rahman Ibn al Saud who proceeds to spread Wahhabism. In 1891, Rahman is in turn expelled from the Diraiya Emirate by Rashid Ibn al Saud who has the backing of the Ottomans. Abdul Aziz ibn Abdul Rahman al Saud retakes Najd from the Ottomans in 1902, launching a political and military revival of Whabbism with the Ikhwan Wahhabi movement and retakes Najd  from Rashid in 1905, killing him in 1906. Wahhabis crack drowm on lax relgious practice and decadence, holding Sharia as the supreme criterion. In 1911, Abdul Aziz ibn Abdul Rahman al Saud raises the 'Ikhwan' or a Wahhabi army and in 1913 invades the Shia region of Al Hasa and attempts to impose Sharia.

Thenceforward Saudi Arabia will be ruled by an effective alliance of the Wahhabi Ikhwan and the House of Saud, with Wahabbi officials contriollign state ministries and approving corronations.

In northern India, the Deobandi and Hadith movements rise to purify Islam of western and British colonial influence and to counteract Shiism.

Mohammed Qutb (1906-1966), furture leader of the Muslim Brotherhood is born in Asyut Egypt and trained as a teacher.

By 1920, at the close of World War I, Arabia is a British mandate

In the 1920s, Salafis begin preaching that since Mohammed was chosen by the community, no hereditary caliphate can be legitimate. Persecution of the Shia intensifies as Abdul Aziz ibn Abdul Rahman leads Wahabbists in the destruction of  the cemetery of Jammat al Baghi at Medina in 1925- a Shia holy place where the daughter of the Prophet and the third to sixth Imams are buried. By 1926 the Ikhwan Wahhabi movement has resorted to the systematic killing of Shia.

The British recognize Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman al Saud as ruler of Arabia, by the Treaty of Jeddah in 1927, in return for refraining from attacking British interests in the Persian Gulf. However, that same year, the Ikhwan, the Wahhabi army, rebels against Abdul Aziz Rahman for his use of telephones, automobiles etc. and foments a revolt against the Treaty of Jeddah. Abdul Aziz raises an army and, with the help of the British, cruches the LIkhwan/

In 1928, in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is founded by Hassan Banna to promote moral and social reform.Though unconnected, directly, with Wahabbism or Salafism, it will help to prepare the ground for Al Al Qaeda.

In the 1930s, the House of Saud, meanwhile, becomes wealthy on oil. They moderate their Wahabbism to accommodate their new lifestyle; outright persecution of the Shia is reduced to discrimination and marginalization. In 1932, the vast desert region surrounding Najd becomes the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In Mecca, the religious capital, the head of the Supreme Relgious Council is also the official chief of Wahhabism.

In 1939, three years after the Arab Uprising against the British in Palestine, the Muslim Brootherhood declares itself a political movement and protests the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936.The Brotherhead declares that the Koran and the Hadith supply a sufficient and universal basis for law in any country. By 1940, the Brotherhood has 500 centres, each with a mosque and social services.

Mohammed Qutb, perhaps the forefather and most influential figure of Islamist radicalism is a school inspector with the Ministry of Education when is sent, in 1948, to the USA to study at the University of Colorado. His critique of what he sees as American godlessness, materilaism, decadence and depravity will have ramifications.

In the 1948 Palestine War against Israel, the Muslim Brotherhood recruits for the Egyptian army and takes part in the conflict. The movement turns against the Egyptian government for losing the war that has given birth to the state of Israel, In response, Egypt bans the Brotherhood and declares martial law and Brotherhood arranges the assassination of the premier,  Fahmi Nokrashi Pasha. When marshal law is lifted in 1950, however, the Brotherhood is allowed to enter politics.
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