18.1.10

What Does Osama bin Laden Want? (Part I)

Who can say what Osama bin Laden wants, answers range anywhere from killing every American to being the next caliphate (supreme leader of Islam). Most media journalists and historians are simply wrong in describing what bin Laden wants, relying mostly on Western influenced interpretations. The answer is found in the Soviet-Afghan War of the 1990's.

Soviet-Afghan War
The Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and endured a nine year conflict that ended with the Soviets withdrawing. The withdrawal was a victory for the Mujahideen Resistance who were supported by bin Laden. Bin Laden considered the "infidel" Soviets as occupiers of holy land (Afghanistan), which belonged to the followers of Muhammed. According to bin Laden, a similar situation occurred in Saudi Arabia.

Iraq-Kuwait War
In 1990, Iraq, lead by Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait, which began the Iraq-Kuwait War. Since Kuwait is the last bastion before reaching Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government feared Hussein might also invade them, so it asked the US to defend Saudi Arabia and liberate Kuwait. A UN expedition, led by the US, completed the Saudi government's wishes.

Bin Laden viewed the US occupation of Saudi Arabia as "infidels" occupying Muslim holy lands, even though the US assistance was requested by the Saudi government. This act was reprehensible to bin Laden, and he wanted the US to leave Saudi Arabia. This region contains the holy city of Mecca, which is the center of the Islamic world and the birthplace of both the Prophet Muhammad and the religion he founded.

The US withdrew its troops in August of 2003, but the ongoing relationship between the two nations is still problematic for Bin Laden. He will do whatever is necessary to expel the US and its influences from this region.

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Known Terrorist Groups

Al-Qaida has cooperated with a number of known terrorist groups worldwide including:

  • Armed Islamic Group
  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group
  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt)
  • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
  • Jamaat Islamiyya
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
  • Bayt al-Imam (Jordan)
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir)
  • Asbat al Ansar
  • Hezbollah (Lebanon)
  • Al-Badar
  • Harakat ul Ansar/Mujahadeen
  • Al-Hadith
  • Harakat ul Jihad
  • Jaish Mohammed - JEM
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
  • Laskar e-Toiba - LET
  • Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Philippines)
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Malaysia, Philippines)
  • Al-Ittihad Al Islamiya - AIAI (Somalia)
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
  • Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen)
  • Armed Islamic Group
  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group
  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt)
  • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
  • Jamaat Islamiyya
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
  • Bayt al-Imam (Jordan)
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir)
  • Asbat al Ansar
  • Hezbollah (Lebanon)
  • Al-Badar
  • Harakat ul Ansar/Mujahadeen
  • Al-Hadith
  • Harakat ul Jihad
  • Jaish Mohammed - JEM
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
  • Laskar e-Toiba - LET
  • Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Philippines)
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Malaysia, Philippines)
  • Al-Ittihad Al Islamiya - AIAI (Somalia)
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
  • Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen)
  • Jihad and the Internet

    Let’s not fool ourselves. Whatever threat the real Afghanistan poses to U.S. national security, the “Virtual Afghanistan” now poses just as big a threat. The Virtual Afghanistan is the network of hundreds of jihadist Web sites that inspire, train, educate and recruit young Muslims to engage in jihad against America and the West. Whatever surge we do in the real Afghanistan has no chance of being a self-sustaining success, unless there is a parallel surge — by Arab and Muslim political and religious leaders — against those who promote violent jihadism on the ground in Muslim lands and online in the Virtual Afghanistan.

    Thomas L. Friedman
    New York Times
    15 Dec 2009

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