Al-Qaeda vs Osama Bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden is today history. The most wanted man in the history of CIA, a symbol of international terrorism, and a synonym for Al-Qaeda was killed last night in a place called Abotabad, 200 KM from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, in a drone attack carried out by Special Forces of CIA. He was hiding in a compound for about a year and was tracked down last year by CIA. President Obama, in a specially organized address to the world, announced his death and also an end of a colorful personality which brought grief to thousands of American families with his dastardly attack on the twin towers on 9/11. People all over the world have heaved a sigh of relief over the killing of Osama. However, there are many who cannot differentiate between Osama and Al-Qaeda, a top terrorist organization of the world. This article will explain the differences and also how this man single handedly controlled and supervised the actions of the organization, which has spread its tentacles in all parts of the world.
Osama Bin Laden
Osama was a Saudi millionaire who was born to a Yemeni family. His family was involved in construction business. When he was young, Osama was disturbed by Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and left Saudi Arabia to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He led an Afghan Jihad against the Soviet invasion that had American backing. His covert activities were actively blessed by both Saudi Arabia and the government of US. Osama is reported to have got gorilla warfare training from CIA itself. Osama, in 1980’s founded Al-Qaeda, a fighting force that recruited volunteers from all parts of the world to fight Soviet oppression in Afghanistan. These warriors were called Mujahideen, who were fighting for the rights of their Muslim brethren in Afghanistan. These Afghan and Arab Mujahideen were crucial in defeating the Soviet forces as Soviets were forced to withdraw from Afghanistan.
After the evacuation of Soviet forces, Osama returned to Saudi Arabia and sent the Mujahideens to other parts of the world where he felt Muslims were being suppressed such as in Bosnia and Kashmir. He felt outraged when Saudi Arabia gave permission to the US to make army base in Saudi Arabia. He expressed his displeasure and because of his anti government activities, was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991. Osama went to Sudan where he established headquarters of Al-Qaeda. By now, he was disillusioned with the US and the first activities that his men carried on his behest were killings of US servicemen in Somalia. He masterminded several terrorist crimes against US interests. It was in August 1996 that Osama declared a war against the US.
In the meantime, Osama made alliances with other radical and terrorist organizations. Under pressure from US, Sudan expelled Osama in 1994 and he was forced to move the headquarters of Al-Qaeda to Afghanistan. He was supported by the Taliban who were in power and treated him as a guest. Osama got all the help and assistance from the Taliban until they were removed from power in 2001 when US invaded Afghanistan.
Though there is a perception that Al-Qaeda and Osama are synonyms, in reality it is not so. Dr. Ayman Al Zawahiri, who is the theological leader and probably a successor to Osama, holds the number two spot in the organization. He is a physician and surgeon who was involved in the assassination of Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat. He was jailed and tortured there. Upon his release he came to Afghanistan where he became a personal physician to Osama and also his political advisor. He is the brain said to be behind Osama’s political evolution.
Al-Qaeda is different from other terrorist outfits in the sense that it does not depend upon political patronage or sponsorship of a country. Unlike other outfits, it is not directly involved in a particular conflict and sends its Mujahideens to all parts of the world where it perceives Muslims and Islam to be in danger. In this sense it can be termed as a franchise that provides financial and logistical support and its brand name to local struggles, be they in Chechnya, Tajikistan, Philippines, China, Algeria, Eretria, Somalia, Kashmir, or Yemen.
The principal stated aim of Al-Qaeda is to protect Islam and Muslims in all parts of the world. It wants to drive Americans and American influence from all Muslim nations. Osama was said to hold the vision of uniting all Muslims of the world and to set up an Islamic nation that worked under the rule of Caliphs. Osama believed that it was the holy duty of all Muslims of the world to unite and wage a Jihad against Americans and American dominance in the world.
It is Al-Qaeda that is believed to be behind bombings and killing of people in Sudan, Yemen, London, Spain, and many other countries. But it was the attack on the twin towers and Pentagon on September 11, 2001 that shook the entire world. The then US President George Bush declared a war on terror and demanded support from all countries of the world to eliminate terrorism from the face of the planet. He went a step ahead and said that those who were on the US side were friends and those who stayed away were enemies. The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to dismantle Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Though Taliban were overthrown and an elected government under Hamid Karzai put in place, Osama and Zawahiri escaped unhurt. In 2003, US invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein.
• Osama Bin Laden was the spearhead of the most dreaded terrorist organization of the world, the Al-Qaeda.
• Al-Qaeda had spread its tentacles in all parts of the world and protected Muslims and Islam whenever it felt that they were in danger.
• In the last few years, US operations had weakened Al-Qaeda drastically.
• It was the attack on twin towers and Pentagon on 9/11 that made George Bush declare a war on terror.
• With the killing of Osama on 1st of May, 2011, Al-Qaeda has been dealt a body blow and his killing signifies justice to all innocents killed in various bombings all over the world.