Table of Contents
- The Early Life
- Formation of Al-Qaeda
- Bin Laden in Sudan
- Further Attacks
- 9/11 and Chasing
- Al-Qaeda After Bin Laden's Death
The Early Life
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad Bin Laden, also known as Osama bin Laden was born on March 10, 1957. " He was the 17th of 52 children born to Mohammed bin Laden, a Yemeni immigrant." (History.com) His father Mohammed bin Laden was a multi-billionaire businessman who worked in the construction industry. Mohammed Bin Laden died 10 years after Osama was born. He really never knew his father. Soon after Osama was born, his parents divorced and he lived with his mom and step father. He hated his step family.
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Osama was a big man. His height was 6'5. Osama wanted to be just like his father whom he never knew. He wanted to carry out his legacy and take control over the family business. He got married at the age of 17. He was very educated. He went to King Abdulaziz University. He got his degree in civil engineering. He always wanted to do something in his family business. He soon took control of the family business. But little did he know that the Soviets were going to invade Afghanistan.
Formation of Al-Qaeda
"Osama joined the Afghan resistance, believing it was his duty as a Muslim to fight the occupation" (Biography.com) Osama moved to Pakistan to train a group of islamic jihadist. He got aid from America with the CIA program. He then found an organization called Al-Qaeda. Al -Qaeda in arabic means "the base". His troops were so powerful that they made the Soviets withdraw from the country. He became a national hero. Osama and his troops were referred as "freedom fighters" by the Americans. He soon went back to working in his family business. He used the Al-Qaeda network to fund many veterans of the Afghan war. He was known as one of the richest Arabs.
Osama's frustration with America began during Persian Gulf War. The Saudis allowed American troops to be deployed in Saudi Arabia to help keep the Kuwaitis away. That eventually led to the Persian Gulf War. Osama viewed the saudi government as corrupt. He believed that the the government was a disgrace. He clearly didn't like the fact that the Americans were on holy soil. He tried to convince the saudi government so much times to keep the Americans away. He used the Soviets as an example to tell them what would happen. He said that when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, it led to war.
He wanted the Americans to stop helping Israel. With American help, the Israelites attacked Palestine. And Osama felt bad for his Muslim brothers and sisters suffering in Palestine. He had a feeling that the americans were trying to invade Saudi Arabia instead of help them. He predicted that once the Americans came to Saudi Arabia, they would never leave. It turns out his prediction was right, the americans settled there even after the war was over. And even after the Americans stopped helping Israel, they still are hurting the Palestines.
Bin Laden in Sudan
The Saudi government tried so much times to "shut Osama's mouth", but it never worked. So instead of warning him over and over again, they exiled him from the country. Not only was he exiled for talking bad about the country, he was also involved with some anti-government activities. He was even linked to the attempted assassination on Saudi president Hosni Mubarak. He then took his family and all his money and relocated to Sudan. His exile led to his hate of Saudi Arabia and the Americans. A few years later, under the pressure of the Saudis and Americans, Sudan exiles Osama. Osama made a name for himself in Sudan. He made his own construction company, which he became quite rich for. Osama was also very close to the Sudan government. They helped him with money to finance Al-Qaeda, which at that time was just an organization that helped the Afghan soldiers who were still suffering from the Soviets invasion. But in order for them to do this, he had to promise to never talk bad about them, because they already knew what he did with the Saudi's. And he also had to promise to not hurt them in any way possible. He did all that, and he gained the trust of the Sudanese. His main goal wasn't to gain their trust or friendship, but it was the complete opposite. He kind of used them in some sort of way. He only moved to Sudan in order to expand his organization. Sudan at that time was like the main attraction for terrorists. People were wrong about Al-Qaeda. In his organization,Osama was training Muslim soldiers to perform Jihad. Jihad means "a struggle or fight against the enemies of Islam." The Sudanese found out what he was planning, and it wasn't good for them. So under the pressure of the Saudis and Americans, the Sudanese exiled him as well. He then packed his bags and then moved to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan was a great place for him to carry out his plans. By this time his family had disowned him and left him, because they knew he planning something dangerous The world at that time only knew about him being exiled twice and knew about his organization "that helps soldiers". His family was right about him. In 1996 Osama declares Jihad against American forces. But in 1998 he changes his mind from American forces to everyone. "Bin Laden declares that Muslims should kill Americans, civilians included, wherever they can find them". (Cnn.com)
Later that year an American embassy in Kenya is bombed. 224 people were killed in the attack. No one really blamed Osama at first, because he was known for financing these attacks, not taking part in them. Americans didn't take it as a joke, they got involved as soon as they could. The Americans under the order of president Bill Clinton launched many missile attacks on terrorist camps. But this didn't stop the attackers, they blew up so many American embassies that year and in the years following the first attack. But at the end of that year all the clues led to Osama being the mastermind behind these terrorist activities. The Afghan government even offered Bin Laden to America to be put on trial, but the Americans refused so many times.
In the year 2000, an Algerian Muslim (Ahmed Ressam) living in Los Angeles was convicted of a failed plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport. He then pleaded guilty to his crime. He revealed that he had been receiving terrorist training in Afghanistan. No one really thought that Osama was ever going to target Americans in The United States. But they were wrong.
9/11 and Chasing
On September 11, 2001, America changed forever. 4 planes were hijacked that day by Muslim terrorists. 2 of the planes flew into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center. Another plane flew into the Pentagon. The last plane was flown into a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 innocent people lost their lives including the 19 hijackers. Americans across the country mourned the deaths of everyone that died. Not only was America affected by this tragic day, the whole world was in shock. The president at that time was George Bush. Those terrorist belonged to Al-Qaeda. There wasn't any other proof needed to find out who was behind this.
George Bush labeled Osama as the'prime suspect'. George Bush ordered the Americans to launch as many attacks as on Afghanistan as they could. Bush's main goal was to find Bin Laden "DEAD OR ALIVE". At one point they got close to him but nothing happened. "Bin Laden's base in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan is captured by U.S. backed forces, but bin Laden is not found." (Washingtonpost.com) Bin Laden was on the run for the whole year of 2001 after 9/11. His base was raided in the beginning of December that year, and a few weeks later he migrated and hid in Pakistan.
At one point the Americans stopped chasing him. There was a big rumor going on saying that Bin Laden had died. The Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf said "I think now, frankly, he is dead, for the reason he is a patient, a kidney patient." (Theguardian.com) Osama was diagnosed with kidney failure right before 9/11, but he didn't really seem to care as much. It turns out that the news was wrong. People started to go against the Pakistani government because they thought that they were helping Osama hide. But the Pakistanis received fake news about his death by the Afghans. Osama wasn't seen anywhere for like a whole year. One day an audio released, and people to this day believe it was Bin Laden honoring the attackers on 9/11. There still isn't any proof today to say that it was Bin Laden who said that.
But 2 years later, when it came time for Bush's reelection, Osama actually made a video honoring the attackers. He still gave threats to America. He said this wouldn't of happened if the Americans didn't "invade" holy soil. So basically he's saying its revenge Bin Laden kept on just threatening the Americans. He didn't really do anything. But Americans were obviously scared. Something could happen any second, any where. At one point Bin Laden said the Americans got lucky because a planned hijacking didn't go as planned. A plane was hijacked at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and it was making its way to Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The hijacker was a 24 year old Nigerian by the name of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He was carrying a bomb in his underwear. Before he could detonate the bomb, a passenger on the plane tackled him down. He had him tackled down until the authorities came and took the Nigerian away. He is currently serving life in prison.
Osama was a great "hide and seek player". Whenever the government had any lead on him, it was always wrong. The government searched for him since the 9/11 attacks, but the "initial" search for Bin Laden started in 2007. The biggest lead came from Bin Laden's most trusted courier. The detainees in Guantanamo Bay had told authorities that Bin Laden's courier's name was Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. They also told authorities that Abu Ahmed was the protege of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, another big name who was involved in masterminding the 9/11 attacks. Abu's name turned out to be fake. The authorities found his real name a year later and they also found out where he lived. His real name was Ibrahim Saeed Ahmed. And he lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The CIA used satellite images to get a visual of the compound where Ibrahim lived.They also concluded that the compound was built just for hiding someone that everyone was after. They did all they could to find out who lived there, but they had no luck. So the Americans came up with one of the smartest ideas.
In 2010, the CIA worked with Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi to organize a fake vaccination program. Dr.Shakil also had 2 nurses working with him. "It is believed that at least one of the women visited the Bin Laden compound to collect blood samples. But it is not known whether these tests were central to the Americans' success in locating Bin Laden." (Bbc.com) The government finally got word that Bin Laden was living in Pakistan by a senior NATO official. He told them that Osama was well, and living in North Pakistan. He also said that 'Nobody in al Qaeda is living in a cave' (Cnn.com). After finding that out, the Americans didn't know what to do.
The first step for finding Bin Laden began with William H.McRaven. He was the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). In January of 2011, he wanted to conduct a commando raid on the compound, but he was scared about how the Pakistani's will respond. But even with him being concerned, he still went for it. He talked to president Barack Obama about this raid. He even asked Obama if he could ask the Pakistani's for their security during the raid. Obama didn't like the idea thinking Pakistan can't be trusted. Obama wanted to act quickly and quietly. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a few other military officials still doubted that Bin Laden actually lived in the compound, and they didn't like the idea of the raid. The CIA thought that there might be an underground bunker below the compound. So they had to take about 910 kg worth of bombs to destroy they bunker. They were only scared because the houses near the compound will also blow up. Obama told them to put the bombing plan on hold, and go with the helicopter raid instead. McRaven picked the team himself. They couldn't just go and attack the compound. They all needed training. So in April they built a compound in Nevada to make it look just like Bin Laden's. They had dummies in the compound, and they had to perform the raid there. They still had their doubts, so JSOC Chairman Mike Mullen promised the team that if they were caught during the raid,he would talk to the Pakistani Army Chief to negotiate their release.They also went to Afghanistan to perform a raid on a replica of the compound that was built there. They built it there so they could experience the weather, because Pakistan and Afghanistan were just a border away. Obama and McRaven agreed on having the SEALS perform the raid instead of McRaven's team.They both believed that the SEALS would get the job done without causing any trouble. If Osama surrender,he would be taken and held in Bagram Air Base.
The big day came. May 1, 2011 was the day that shook the world. 79 commandos and one dog performed the raid. The dog was there to inform the commandos if he saw any Pakistani forces and to tell them whenever someone left the compound. The Americans were successful with the raid. The raid lasted 40 minutes and the SEALS got out safe without causing any trouble. The Pakistani forces didn't even know that this was happening. No one in the world knew about this raid until they got word from Obama. And newspapers across the world were just printing one thing, "World's Most Wanted Person Dead". Not only did the SEALS get they job done by performing the raid, they also killed Osama Bin Laden. The world's most wanted person was dead. His courier Ibrahim also died during the raid. A few of his security guards were killed and one of his sons died as well. "Osama bin Laden: it took years to find him but just minutes to kill him". (Theguardian.com)
Al-Qaeda After Bin Laden's Death
American's across the country were celebrating. Everyone thought that the world is finally at peace. They thought that Al-Qaeda would crumble after Bin Laden's death. But Osama had promised his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri that he would be the leader of Al-Qaeda after he died. His son is another option. He only has one son (Hamza bin Laden) who believes in what his dad believed in. Hamza hates the Americans for killing his father and brother. But right now he isn't like the biggest threat to America. By killing Bin Laden, America had taken one major step in to Radical Islam. Bin Laden was like a father figure for every Muslim extremist. His death caused "war" between major Terrorist organizations. The major war right now is between ISIS (Islamic State Of Iraq and the Levant). This is what Osama had pictured. He wanted all muslims across the world to come together and fight against others. His dream is just a dream it would never happen.
Al-Qaeda hasn't been the same after Bin Laden's death. Ayman al-Zawahiri is still the leader of it but their not the same. The last time they were active was in 2015. Their last attack was the Charlie Hebdo Shooting. No one still knows who did it, but Al-Qaeda had took full responsibility for it.ISIS is probably the most active organization now.People across the world still believe that all this was preventable. Osama didn't have to be a monster if the United States hadn't "invaded " holy soil. Some say he also did all this for personal reasons. He also hates Americans because his father died in a plane crash. But at the end Osama deserved what happened to him. He took the lives of many innocent people across the world. And he did all this because Americans were trying to help his native country of Saudi Arabia. America can be justified for stepping in to Radical Islam. All the Americans ever did was help. They got attacked for helping. And Osama shouldn't of never targeted America. Americans helped him defeat the Soviets by giving aid and they helped his country as well. Americans suffered the most pain. All they have to do now is to keep fighting Radical Islam and get rid of it.