Gordon L. Bowen, Ph.D.
Political Science and International Relations departments
Mary Baldwin College
Staunton, VA USA 24401
Separate sections below address:
Linked here also are related resources about Al
Qaeda at Prof. Bowen's War
Links website. Linked there are many documents, including: statements
made by Al Qaeda leaders, analyses of Al Qaeda by experts,
and statements made by U.S.
officials that relate to the war against Al Qaeda, its allies (e.g., other
terror groups) and the states that have assisted international terrorism.
1. What is Al-Qaeda?
a. Goals. Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization composed of nationals and expatriates of many states. It aims to use violence to create a crisis leading to change in both the Muslim and Western worlds. Its stated goal is to drive the West from these regions, especially from Saudi Arabia; and to remove secular and pro-Western rulers throughout the Arabian Peninsula and adjacent regions as step to the creation of a pan-national Caliphate of Muslim believers. While it has not achieved a second spectacular attack to rival its stunning Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., since suffering setbacks in 2002 it has showed itself to be a live force worldwide. Two 2003 attacks in Riyadh (May, November) signaled the end of an informal policy of non-aggression against the House of Saud, and in 2004-5 it sponsored or encouraged attacks in key European capitals (Madrid, London). It opposes peace with Israel, viewing the expulsion of the Zionist presence there as a key objective since at least 1998, and has called for the killing of Jews throughout the world. However strong its advocacy of violence by others in this regard, few direct attacks on Israel proper have been traced directly to al Qaeda; a summer 2003 attack at a Red Sea the border crossing between Jordan and Israel was the first. It also opposes continued a Christian presence among Muslims, especially in Saudi Arabia, but also elsewhere in the region as part of the overall transformation of Muslim societies into theocratic states. The attack of November 2003 on a primarily Christian Lebanese compound in Riyadh was among the first direct actions in pursuit of this part of its program; it is unclear whether Al Qaeda had a hand in repeated attacks on Christian churches in Pakistan in recent years. Al Qaeda works both as a direct agent of terror and as a source of encouragement to other Islamist radicals. Several major attacks since 9.11, e.g. the October 2002 bombing of nightclubs on the Indonesian island of Bali which killed over 200, were conducted by allied groups.
Thus, any definition of Al Qaeda must begin with its own conception of its place and role in the world of terrorist movements. Literally, the phrase Al Qaeda means "the base." In the 1980s, the foundation for Al Qaeda originated in a database of supporters of the resistance to the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and other leaders supplied concepts and a world view to these men of action. Al Qaeda thus is an ideological force. It suggests itself to be a facilitator, a coordinator of like-minded thinkers sharing a vision of a changed world, developing a strategic agenda based on expulsion of Western interests from key regions in the Third World. Organizationally, it has leaders but they are only loosely connected to followers organized in a network of cells independent of one another. While Al Qaeda once trained many terrorists at camps in Afghanistan, this training was disrupted by the American-led change of regime in that state in late 2001. Subsequently, Al Qaeda has guided new followers to learn arts of terrorism more indirectly, via the internet and training manuals more than in camps. In terms of the personnel Al Qaeda has used in tactical operations, many in 2004-5 appeared to be volunteers who created "self starting" cells in sympathy with Al Qaeda's goals, but without close command and control exercised by the organization. It is thus aptly described as a "network" of cells of sympathists more than it is a hierarchical organization. Both its theory and its actions reflect a distinctly original characteristic: Al Qaeda has displayed an unusual ability to mutate, to adapt to changed conditions. Al Qaeda's published interviews and manifestos refer to a variety of narrow immediate goals: expulsion of infidels from Arabia; overthrow of the royal family there and secular regimes elsewhere in the Middle East; elimination of Israel; reduction of the U.S. presence in the region, especially in Iraq (after 2003); and certain other goals. Some of these immediate goals have been attained. The goal, 1998-2003, of demanding an end of sanctions against Iraq largely was achieved by their lifting after the U.S. overthrow of the Saddam regime there, Spring 2003; U.S. Armed Forces substantially withdrew from Saudi Arabia in September 2003. But the ultimate aims expressed in Al Qaeda leaders' statements often have been more expansive than these specifics. The ultimate aim of Al Qaeda is to ignite inter-civilizational war. To this end, they repeatedly have sought to justify the murder of civilians and military personnel, especially Americans, Israelis, U.S. coalition partners in the war in Iraq, and Jewish citizens of other states wherever they can be found.
Who, where. Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organization that was based in Afghanistan at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. A major source of funding to the then ruling Taliban government, it suffered loss of this sanctuary with the overthrow of that regime by a coalition of anti-Taliban Afghans and the U.S. late in 2001. It has dispersed to many other places, and no longer apparently exists in large concentrations. Many reliable reports point to significant numbers of these former "Arab Afghans" in the tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan, and in the lawless Pakistani region of Baluchistan, and especially in those parts of Baluchistan adjacent to Iranian border areas, and inside Iran. Other reports point to other sanctuaries in remote parts of Asia, in the lawless border regions on the Arabian Peninsula (especially near the Yemen-Saudi border), and other places. Even if we knew the exact location of most of the Al Qaeda individuals who were in Afghanistan at the time of the attack, however, we would not know the limits of the organization. It is composed of nationals of many countries, some thousands of whom had trained in the now disrupted camps in Afghanistan and who had left prior to that date; and others who have created cells since 2001 to advance the goals of the group worldwide.
Who was al Qaeda? (See also: BBC 2003; and for vintage 2001 perspectives, see Time on this)
- Osama Bin Laden, aSaudi national and a multi-millionaire, headed the organization until killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011 by U.S. Navy SEALS. The best biography available is Jacquard's. Other top leaders have included:
- Ayman Al-Zawahiri (an Egyptian M.D.), comes from a very prominent family of doctors (on his father's side) and diplomats (on his mother's side). The mother's family has longstanding ties to the House of Saud, the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Ayman's grandfather was both Ambassador to the court of the House of Faud, he additionally headed up the King Saud University after presiding over its founding. Ayman's path broke in a different direction. Associated from a young age with Islamist radicalism, he joined Islamic Jihad, an Egyptian terrorist organization that aimed to overthrow the secular Egyptian Government and replace it with a religious one. After being convicted of involvement in the 1981 assassination of Egyptian Pres. Anwar Sadat, Ayman served three years in prison. Upon release he traveled to Pakistan where he worked in a clinic in Peshawar, where he met Osama bin Laden. In 1992, Al-Zawahiri signed a cooperation agreement linking his associates to the Iranian Shi'ites and their overseas surrogate, the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon (Jacquard: 109). He and his immediate family lived later in Afghanistan, until the fall of the Taliban late in 2001.
- Mohammed Atef (an Egyptian under indictment for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998), killed by a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan during Fall 2001.
- Abu Zubaydah (a Palestinian raised in Saudi Arabia who coordinated international operations), captured in Pakistan in March 2002 and held for the next 10 years plus by U.S. authorities ultimately at Guantanamo Bay..
- Hassan Hattab (an Algerian leader of the Salafist religious sect whose writings were found among the possessions of Mohamed Atta, the Sept. 11 ringleader): surrendered to Algerian authorities in October 2007.
- Tohir Yuldashev (Uzbek leader of the Islamic Movement in this new U.S. war allied land, Uzbekistan): died of injuries suffered in a U.S. Predator drone attack in Pakistan, August 27, 2009, though reportedly not immediately.
- Djamel Beghal (French Algerian): detained in Dubai, and in France, 2001-2011).
- Amir Khattab (Saudi Arabian leader of internationalist troops fighting Russia in Chechnya): killed March 19, 2002 by Russian agents using some sort of poison.
- Said Bahaji. The Moroccan born Hamburg, Germany resident was involved with the 9/11 group, but escaped and remained at large at least as late as 2012. His passport was found in South Waziristan, Pakistan in October 2009.
- Khadaffy Janjalani (leader of the fanatically anti-Western Abu Sayyaf organization in the southern Philippines): determined to have been killed in December 2006-January 2007.
- Zacarias Moussaoui, the French Moroccan convicted in May 2006 for his admitted role in the plots that led to Sept. 11.
- Many news reports have emphasized that a new leadership emerged over the decade plus since 9/11 , as the organization scattered in the face of a targeted U.S. military campaign against it. But despite the death of Osama, Zawahiri has continued to be the nominal spokesman for the international jihadist movement despite the opaque nature of their location which remains most likely the border region of Pakistan-Afghanistan.
Al-Qaeda uses a cell structure to insulate itself from law enforcement officials. Even in 2001, cells were known to exist in more than 60 countries "from Algeria to the Philippines" (Time Nov. 12, 2001, p 59).
Who were the Sept. 11 hijackers? What did they do prior to Sept. 11? PBS Frontline outlines these themes.
What is a definition of terrorism? Actually, there are many issues involved in defining the term. For our purposes at least three distinct types of terrorism (discussed below) pertain:Legal and Governmental definitions of Terrorism:
- In 1990, the U.S. Department of Defense (in Laqueur: 5) defined terrorism as "the unlawful use of, or threatened use, of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce and intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological goals." But this definition does not help us much, for it fails to distinguish unlawful acts by states from unlawful acts by non-state actors, such as the group known as Al Qaeda. A sound definition needs to distinguish among actors.
- The U.S. Department of State, citing Title 22 of the U.S. Code, section 2656f(d), defines it as: "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience" (Hoffman: 19). But as terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman (20) noted, "terrorism is as much about the threat of violence as the violent act itself," thus the State Department approach ignores the psychological dimension of the politics of terrorism.
- Beyond this problem, many have claimed that no definition of terrorism is possible because some actors use violence to advance legitimate ends, while others employ it differently. This focus on goals, as expressed in the sentiment "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter," quickly reduces the problem to one of whose ox is being gored. This tendentious perspective knows many adherents, and was expressed by one of the senior terrorists no longer with us, Yasser Arafat: "...whoever stands by a just cause and fights for the freedom and liberation of his land from the invaders, the settlers and the colonists, cannot possibly be called terrorist" (quoted in Howard: 11-12). Nevertheless, most of us are made uncomfortable with the notion that war crimes (e.g., attacking civilians) are purified by the motives of those doing the attacking.
- Bearing these problems in mind, Bruce Hoffman (4) has made a good attempt to find a definition elastic enough to be analytically useful: "Terrorism is... violence --or, equally important, the threat of violence-- used and directed in pursuit of, or in service of, a political aim." Hoffman (23-24) also expanded on this definition, saying: "terrorism [is] the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change."
- Within this broad framework, it is useful to observe that there at least three distinct forms of terrorism have existed and need to be differentiated. (Go here for historic discussion related to the definitional issues that follow).1. State terrorism: This is what originally was meant by the term "terrorism." Oxford English Dictionary, for example, defines terrorism as "A system of terror. 1. Government by intimidation as directed and carried out by the party in power in France during the revolution..." George Lopez (1984), a leading modern expert on rule by terror, also differentiated this as but one type of terrorism. For our purposes, we can use this definition: State Terrorism is: "A method of political rule in which a government routinely detains its own citizens and, without stated charges or promise of trial, tortures, rapes, mutilates, and murders those it has defined as 'undesirable' " (Lopez: 59). These methods have been used chiefly by totalitarian political systems. While their extrajudicial violence ultimately is designed to neutralize all opposition, victims often are selected more randomly so better to intimidate the entire population. Examples: Syria under the regime of Hafez al Assad; Stalin's USSR; Pol Pot's Cambodia; Nazi Germany. Hoffman (1998) would have us refer to these behaviors of rulers as "terror" and would reserve use of the term "terrorism" to the activities of non-state entities. This seems a prudent limit in our lexicon.What is Takfir? What is its relationship to Al Qaeda? Takfir is the short name for an extreme Islamist ideology called Takfir wal Hijra (Anathema and Exile). Its adherents believe in withdrawal from society so to become pure like the Prophet Muhammad did during his years of withdrawal from Mecca to Medina. Takfiris believe that to accept the authority of anyone other than God is blasphemy. Hence they target modern Arab states as well as Western nations.
2. State-sponsored terrorism is the unacknowledged use by a state of violence against civilian or military targets of another state as a foreign policy tool in international relations. Or, put slightly differently, "state sponsored terrorism... is the active and often clandestine support, encouragement and assistance provided by a foreign government to a terrorist group" (Hoffman: 10). It is employed by states to influence the behavior of rival states and/or peoples, as when Libyan agents blew up Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 in December 1988. Paul Pillar (27) emphasizes that for an act to be terrorism, it must be the "willful result of a decision taken by governmental or group leaders," not merely the result of accidental or unplanned action by a subordinate. Thus, as the 9/11 Commission has established (251), Mullah Omar may have known of Osama bin Laden's general goals and supported them, but since he did not directly authorize aid to be given to the specific attack of September 11, then (according to Hoffman's thinking) the attack of 9.11.01 was not "state terrorism" by Afghanistan (i.e., a clandestine but nonetheless international act of war between states). It was "terrorism," an international crime, committed by non-state actors; the Commission has stated that in July 2001, Omar attempted to dissuade bin Laden from attacking the U.S. Whatever the bona fides about Afghanistan's formal role in September 2001, Hoffman's distinctions are at least useful to contemplate. Examples of state terrorism from earlier decades do abound: Gaddafi's Libya in the Berlin LaBelle nightclub bombing (1986); East Germany's assistance to Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorists at Munich Olympics (1972), etc. Clearly, the temptation to camouflage inter-state violence behind the mask of non-state groups persists in other contexts. After September 2000, this modus operendi appears to have been the operative strategy of groups connected to the PLO, also known as the Palestinian Authority, in its relations with Israel. Its affiliated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades carried out numerous attacks on Israel even as the P.A. attempted to present itself as a peace negotiation partner consistent with the earlier Oslo Peace agreements with Israel. Other groups fully outside the control of the P.A., e.g. Hamas, use similar tactics to those employed by Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, but in 2000-2005 these were clearly not acts by the P.A. but rather were acts of a non-state group. After Hamas' election to govern the P.A. in January 2006, however, this distinction evaporated.
3. Al Qaeda practices a third variant of terrorism, revolutionary terrorism. Revolutionary terrorism is a strategy employed by non-governmental groups in asymmetric conflicts to achieve political goals. These tactics have been used in both internal (or civil) wars and international wars. Terrorists have used tactics of assassination, random killing of citizens of a targeted state (and/or its allies), hijackings / kidnappings, and other techniques. Terrorism in this form is a political strategy designed to weaken the will to fight among publics and the state on the stronger side in A-symmetric war. Critical in A-symmetric wars is the neutralization of bystanders, i.e., third party nations not part of the direct conflict. In this context, those who practice terrorism attempt to deny that their acts are even terrorism. E.g., famously, Yasser Arafat said to the U.N. General Assembly in 1974: "the difference between the revolutionary and the terrorist lies in the reason for which each fights. For whoever stands by a just cause and fights for the freedom and liberation of his land from the invaders, the settlers and the colonialists, cannot possibly be called terrorist?" (Hoffman in Howard: 11-12). A good example of the successful use of a strategy of revolutionary terrorism would be the terror by Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah in Lebanon in the 1980s, in their kidnappings of U.S. officials and citizens, and in their attacks on U.S. and French Government sites. These groups aimed to weaken the will of the stronger side to persist toward its goals in Lebanon. After succeeding in inducing the withdrawal of Western forces in 1984, its energies were focused on Israel, leading to its final departure from Southern Lebanon early in the new Millennium.
While only small numbers participate directly in the terrorist actions, the strategy has succeeded most when a supportive public has existed around the terrorists. Such was the case in Lebanon in the 1980s, and such seems to be the case in much of the Arab Middle East in the present decade. In 2002, the Pew Poll found three fourths of Lebanese Muslims (i.e., 73 percent; see p. 5 of linked Pew Poll) agreed that suicide bombing was a legitimate tactic in defense of Islam. In 2004, Pew found (see page one of the linked study) similarly widespread support of suicide bombing was found in Morocco (74 percent favorable, if used against Israel) and Jordan (86 percent favorable, if used against Israel). Pertinently, these same publics approved the use of the suicide bombing tactic against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq: 66 percent in Morocco; 70 percent in Jordan. In 2005, only slight declines were found in these levels of support.
As discussed above, some contemporary Palestinian groups also rely on such a supportive environment, and of course, they also have employed these techniques. But their use of terrorism did not begin in September 2000 with the current uprising or intifada in the "occupied territories;" nor did it begin in September 2001. PLO attacks on the cruise ship Achille Lauro (1985), like the ones more than a decade earlier on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics (1972) and in the hijacking of Western airliners in September 1970, were designed to break the will of publics and governments to resist Palestinian demands. The target audience was not simply the Israelis. In this light Abu Nidal's attacks at the Rome and Vienna airports (1985), must be understood: though not the leading Palestinian group, these attacks employed the same strategy, and advanced the same agenda as those committed by the PLO. Thus, the murder of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan (February 2002) was part of a broadening of this pattern in modern terrorism. The manner of the violence is not new. But, unlike the 1970s and 1980s, when terrorists used kidnapped / hijacked people to magnify negotiable demands --and killed few of their abductees-- modern terrorists seek not to negotiate but to inflame and broaden the conflict. Targeted and mass killings each serve this end. Joining together actions of loosely connected groups into a brotherhood of international terrorism also is not entirely new: radical leftist groups in Europe often collaborated with Middle Eastern hijackers in the 1970s and 1980s. What is new is the extent to which this cooperation exists at both an ideological and an operational level. In Jordan, in the Philippines, in Morocco, in Turkey, in Russia, and in Spain, with differing degrees of direct linkage to Al Qaeda, terrorists have struck in the present decade. All have shared the broad objective to drive non Muslim influences from the Islamic world by committing atrocities. Usually, any available symbol of a non-Muslim presence has been sufficient: Christian churches in Pakistan, Jewish synagogues in Istanbul and Malta, Russian schools in southern Russia, Christian missionaries in Philippines, western hotels in Morocco and on the multi-cultural Indonesian island of Bali, consulates and embassies in East Africa (U.S.) and in Turkey (U.K.), and so on. This phenomenon of the international linkages among terrorists now warrants attention.
The "Order of the Assassins," an 8th century group originating among the Shi'ite of Qom, Persia (now Iran), introduced this technique into relations of Islamists with their neighbors, as they practiced "dissimulation," or deception in order to carry out their deeds. Sunnis and Christians alike fell at the Assassins' hands. "Their main contribution was perhaps originating the strategy of the terrorist disguised --taqfir, or deception-- as a devout emissary but in fact on a suicide mission...." (Laqueur: 11). For example, the killers of the Crusades' era ruler of Jerusalem, Marquis Conrad of Montferrat, disguised themselves as monks in order to get close enough to commit the political murder.
Modern takfir first took on political significance in Egypt in the 1960s. This way of thinking was guided by the philosophy of the Islamist Sayyid Qutb. Though Qutb was executed by the Nasser regime, groups employing his worldview thrived, often as offshoots from the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1928. One disciple was Shukri Mustafa, an agricultural engineer, who led the organization known as the Society of Muslims to take a sharp turn under the influence of Mustafa. Mustafa preached Qutb's ideas that both infidels and other Muslims who did not share the takfiri views were, in fact, unbelievers. He urged his followers to withdraw from society, and withdraw support from the secular government of Col. Gamal Abdul Nasser, then ruling Egypt. More, he guided his followers to prepare to use violence against these several enemies of pure Islam. The founder, Mustafa, was executed for treason in 1978, but the movement lived on. The contemporary Al Jihad movement in Egypt is led by Takfiris; and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, second in command of Al-Qaeda, is believed to be a follower of Takfir strategy.
Takfiri ideology calls for followers to learn takfiri beliefs, to train in use of arms, to blend in to their surroundings, and to await instructions from the movement. Takfiris, therefore, are the perfect "sleeping agents." French expert on terrorism Roland Jacquard told Time (Nov. 12, 2001, 75) flatly that Sept. 11 ringleader Muhammad "Atta was Takfiri." Time stated "The ideology is particularly dangerous because it provides a religious justification for slaughtering not just unbelievers but also those who think of themselves as Muslim. Intensely undemocratic... Takfir wal Hijra is a sort of Islamic fascism."
Jacquard continued: "Takfir is like a sect: once you're in, you never get out. The Takfir rely on brainwashing and an extreme regime of discipline to weed out the weak links and ensure loyalty and obedience from those taken as members... The Takfir are the hard core of the hard core: they are the ones who will be called upon to organize and execute the really big attacks." Time cited French officials who said: "The goal of Takfir is to blend into corrupt societies in order to plot attacks against them better. Members live together, will drink alcohol, eat during Ramadan, become smart dressers and ladies' men to show just how integrated they are." Time continued: "For law-enforcement officials, the Takfiri connection is terrible news. By assimilating into host societies --some won't even worship with other Muslims-- it's easy for Takfiris to escape detection. Those stories of the Sept. 1 hijackers drinking in bars and carousing in Las Vegas may now have an explanation."
1.b. What has contributed to the rise of Al Qaeda?
We are tempted to view Al Qaeda as a sui generis, a unique phenomenon simply because its terror in the U.S. has been uniquely massive. As mentioned above, Al Qaeda itself, however, conceives the organization to be a linking mechanism among many distinct individuals and groups. This is the quintessence of a modern "network" for terrorism (for more on this "net war" concept, see the work of John Arquilla et.al.). Al Qaeda in this sense is a manifestation of the more general and recent (i.e., since about 1979) growth of militant Islamism. Though root organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood (founded as a nationalist religious group resisting British rule in Egypt the 1920s) predate the events described below, these more recent factors have fortified it and other organized expressions of militant Islamism in our times (adapted from Ranstorp, 130). Several key events propelled this new age of terrorism:
- Iran, 1979: The Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran reinvigorated anti-Western attitudes and traditional Islamic values as viable bases for political appeal. Iran provided a territorial safe base from which operations could be launched on behalf of that state by state agents and by religious/terrorist organizations supported or encouraged by it. Symbolically, the victory achieved over the West that is represented by the Iranian Revolution was of great significance to the revival of Islam as a political force.
- Jihad against the Soviet Union, 1979-89: The war against the USSR in Afghanistan focused energies and taught skills to militant Islamists. It socialized a new culture composed of both Arab and non-Arab Islamists, narrowing national and doctrinal (e.g., Sunni versus Shi'ite) differences among fighters. The jihad gave Islamist adherents practical experience in the use of violence and arms. Organized networks of veterans of the war, known as Arab Afghans, became a central element in the new religious based terrorism of the new millennium. They also assisted in the establishment of a base for operations in the middle 1990s: Taliban-run Afghanistan. With its fall (2001-02), these Arab Afghans have dispersed.
- Algeria, 1990-91. The electoral victory of militant Islamic political forces, and the seizure of power by the Algerian military to prevent their ascendance to power during these years reinforced militant Islamism worldwide. The events in Algeria reinforced the perception that militant Islamism had mass appeal, and that the secular forces which opposed it ultimately lacked legitimacy. A long guerrilla war has followed from this split in Algerian society.
- The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Agreements (September 1993). Recapture of Jerusalem is a central tenet of militant Islamism, not merely a secular goal of Palestinian nationalists. The peace agreements of 1993 demonstrated to militant Islamists that secular leaders and organizations (i.e., Yasser Arafat and the P.L.O.) were unable to similarly value or achieve this goal. Thus, within months of the agreement, a religion-based Islamic terrorist organization, Hamas, began the continuing campaign of suicide bombings on behalf of Islam, ultimately eclipsing the PLO as the vanguard of a new generation's aspirations, especially in the Gaza strip area of the territories that were occupied by Israel, 1967-2005. In January 2006, elections in the Palestinian Authority confirmed Hamas to be the leading political group among Palestinians.
Additional factors also have contributed to the growth of anti-Western thought and action in the Middle Eastern region, themes which militant Islamic terrorist organizations also accentuate.
- The two edges of the Arab "Oil Weapon": For many years nearly all Arab states unified their foreign policy to the extent of participating in a boycott of trade with and travel to and from Israel. This policy of boycott and isolation was broadened to target certain friends of Israel in the 1970s. The unity of Arab states in boycotting oil shipments the U.S. and certain allies (e.g., the Netherlands) during the 1973-74 period greatly encouraged growth of the idea of collective action in the region. Fortified by increased prices for oil, growth and economic change rapidly reshaped some Arab societies and economies. Unlike the presumption of many mainstream and leftist thinkers (i.e., "poverty creates terrorism"), times of economic growth in fact have proven to be the catalysts for growth of radical Islamism in the Middle East. Thus, declining oil prices since 1985 interrupted development plans in the Arab states that possessed oil, correspondingly reducing grants to the poorer states of the region. Government public works projects, a principal source of employment in many Arab states, also had to be cut back. While all these changes had but marginal impact on the poor, the middle classes were negatively effected by these changes since 1985. Interestingly, one study of a Turkish Islamist party found, incredibly, one fourth of its members to be engineers (Pipes: 57).
- Frustration, but not poverty: It is, therefore, an erroneous oversimplification to leap to conclusions that poverty, or unemployment, spawned the Al Qaeda organization or terrorism in general. Attentive Americans already have an inkling of this large truth: none of the September 11 bombers were poor men, and a Saudi multi-millionaire (Osama bin Laden) financed the operation. Yet, the belief persists that terrorist organizations "feed on disillusionment, poverty and despair" (Bill Clinton, quoted in Pipes: 54). Let us now debunk this illusion. A study of jailed Egyptian militants cited by Pipes (55) showed most to be middle class. In a second study, 21 of 34 members of At-Takfir wa'l-Hijra, a terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda, were found to have fathers who were civil service workers (a relatively advantaged group). University graduates and attendees were over-represented in another Canadian study Pipes cited, this one of the group Al Jihad. Pipes (56) concluded: "Like fascism and Marxism-Leninism in their heydays, militant Islam attracts highly competent, motivated, and ambitious individuals. Far from being the laggards of society, they are its leaders." Put another way, militant Islamism appeals to counter-elites. Some evidence points to the possibility that what hholds true in the Arab states of the Third World also may hold true among Muslims in America: "In the U.S., the difference between Islamists and common Muslims is largely one between haves and have nots. Muslims have the numbers; Islamists have the dollars" (Duran: 43).
- U.S. bases: The continuing presence of the USA in Saudi Arabia after 1991 brought visible focus to anti- Western sentiments. A key source of legitimacy of the House of Faud (royal family of Saudi Arabia) is their role as guardians of the holy sites of Islam. To rely on American troops to defend the kingdom 1990-2003, therefore, suggested to militant Islamists that the House of Faud was, by definition, not fulfilling its duties to the faith. Despite efforts by the U.S. military to blend in while conducting the defense of Saudi Arabia --e.g., by requiring U.S. servicewomen not to drive, and to wear native Arabian black coverings when off base-- anti-American sentiment grew in both Arabia and throughout the Muslim world. Indeed, this complaint was the first grievance Osama bin Laden listed in his 1998 declaration of war against the West, and ties to the U.S. remains the single greatest source of Al Qaeda's appeal, despite the withdrawal of nearly all U.S. military forces from the kingdom in Fall 2003. (Follow this link for Prof. Bowen's thinking on that event). Islamists appear to have recognized the importance of this symbolic gesture: after the defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq by the U.S./U.K. in Spring 2003, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Saudi Arabia. This did not, however, end the threat Al Qaeda posed to the House of Saud: in mid May 2003, simultaneous suicide bombings of American residential complexes in Riyadh killed dozens (including at least 8 Americans) and injured hundreds. Remarkably, the U.S. then pulled out all remaining major military assets from the Kingdom, moving them elsewhere in the Gulf region.
- Dreams of Pan-Arabism: Arab solidarity, long popular among elites, fell into disuse in 1980s and 1990s. In this context, the plight of the Iraqi people under U.N. sanctions, without strong established champions, was available as an issue for Al-Qaeda to exploit. In the world of the new Millennium, where national and civilizational norms and values are assaulted by Western media, movies, fashions, etc., unifying themes of resistance have spread quickly throughout the Middle Eastern region. Thus, Pan-Arab consciousness has risen, and its message has been broadened into a pan-Islamic perspective, abetted largely by new technologies that bring homogenizing accents and dialects to be freely available through news outlets such as Al Jazeera. This emerging unity of anti-Western views temporarily was jarred by the jubilant greeting Iraqis gave to U.S. liberators at the fall of Baghdad (April 9, 2003). But the subsequent emergence of an effective anti-American insurgency there, 2003-06, re-invigorated this transformation of a Pan-Arab attitude into a Pan-Islamic critique. Incidents each year reinforced these beliefs in a broad, anti-Western base: the scandalous photos of prisoner abuse by U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad in 2004; the reported desecration of the Koran by interrogators at the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2005; and the republication across Europe in early 2006 of cartoons mocking the central figure of Islam, the prophet Mohammad, originally penned by a Danish publication in 2005. While it is important to emphasize that not all who were offended in each instance supported Islamist extremists and their often violent reactions, it is also true that each incident broadened the potential appeal of the group that joined these moments of indignation to an action strategy for defeat of the West, al Qaeda.
- Modern communication technologies thus are a final factor that has facilitated the growth of militant Islam. Streaming videos of sermons from Mecca, internet chat rooms, instant messaging, email, satellite telephones, websites of advocacy groups and their supporters, and many other modern means have linked the disparate community of militant Islamists together in ways that facilitate coordination of action by isolated cells, and at times even isolated individual supporters of the movement. In this manner the hierarchical model of states and their armies provides a particularly poor metaphor for understanding the contemporary terrorist threat. Not only is militant Islam built around a religion-based appeal and thus of greater relevance to larger numbers than ever were reached by nationalist or radical secularist ideologies such as Nasser's 1950s / 1960s Arab socialism (Huntington). Not only is its terrorism no longer confined to a single territorial place, as was always the case in "anti-colonial" movements in the Muslim world. The manifestations of violence militant Islam has embraced also do not appear primarily to be at the close direction of leaders within what we traditionally would regard as a command structure. Each of these features is to some important degree a byproduct of the changed world of technology associated with the phenomena of globalization.
1.c.. What is Al-Qaeda? What can political science teach us on the point here?
Comparative Politics: Revolutionaries need not enjoy the support of majorities to have profound historic roles to play. Studies of revolutionary ideologies, and of movement leaders show similarities in the process of revolution despite apparent differences in settings, ideological foci, and situational factors. Knowledge of the life cycle of revolutions, and the comparative study of revolutionary ideology, leaders, and followers can put within reach to the student a theory of revolution in general that is applicable to the Al-Qaeda phenomenon.
Leading classical authors who might prove of interest to a student are Crane Brinton, Anatomy of Revolution (NJ: Prentice Hall, 1938); and Thomas Greene, Comparative Revolutionary Movements (NJ: Prentice Hall, 1974).
The two fields of comparative politics and international relations often merge when the question of how changes within states (i.e., comparative politics) affect the behavior of states toward neighbors and toward the international system (i.e., international relations). Authors probing this junction have illuminated the strong connection between revolutions and war. States often engage in wars to prevent revolutions in neighboring states; revolutionary states tend to destabilize international systems by challenging norms and settled practical questions; and revolutionary states often prove to be aggressors within the international community. See: Stephan Walt, Revolution and War (Ithaca NY: Cornell UP, 1996). If terrorism succeeds in seizing control of one or more states, the post-revolutionary regime might fairly be anticipated to disturb its neighborhood. This brings us to another point: the neighborhood (i.e., the global community) is often disturbed. It's the thought that it could be otherwise that is in dispute.
International Relations: The two major traditions in this field of political science point in different directions in terms of how the problem of terrorism even is new, and see its transformative possibilities differently.
Realism presumes that humans live in an essentially lawless, anarchic world, one in which states must look to themselves for protection much like a single family living in a primordial jungle must have relied on its own devices to survive. Realists are deeply skeptical that anything "new" ever comes along. Accordingly, realists focus on the global distribution of power as the key to understanding the behavior of what have been up to this point the most important actors within the international system: states. All states are presumed to have an interest in the acquisition of power because all states face a similar "security dilemma:" no one but the state on its own has the security of that state as its primary goal. In this sense, realists are always in favor of states holding open a unilateral option to act, as is legally justified after an attack under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter. But realists are not aficionados of international law. International law, and the promise of international organizations (like the U.N.) both are viewed skeptically. Realists assess fluctuations in power, and focus on changes within states. The emergence of new non-state actors (e.g., Al Qaeda), is important to the extent that these groups have impact on the international distribution of power. If terrorists change the behavior of states, and thus reshape the ways states pursue their national security, they may indirectly change the global system. A U.S. more focused on striking terrorists may yield more mundane system-management tasks, such as counter-piracy chores off East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, to allies (e.g., the E.U.) and others (e.g., India, China), reinforcing trends toward greater military capability of others in relation to the once pre-eminent U.S. Realists understand that the emergence of new forces may also de-stabilize some states, and that this potential instability can invite aggression by neighbors.
In observing the present, the post-9/11 world, realists have found that deterrence, a key tool that promoted the stability of the then existing international system and advanced U.S. national security, broke down on Sept. 11, 2001. Unable to simply hold its massive power in reserve in order to dissuade others from attacking it, the United States since that date has pursued an alternative strategy through which to advance its need for security in the violent jungle that is the modern world. American realists note that while the overwhelming preponderance of U.S. military power persists it does so as economic power and other non-military sources of power are trending toward a several centered global economy in the near future world, one in which U.S. preeminence will be far less pronounced. Realists disagree among themselves regarding which policies most readily will lead to restoration of U.S. security, or best manage the problem of terrorism. In this, realists believe America since 9/11 has acted no differently than other states would have acted: the anarchic nature of the international system requires each state to fashion its security largely on its own. Since U.S. security from future attack cannot be guaranteed, realists embrace various strategies to manage that insecurity and do so by weighing costs and benefits among alternatives, not on the basis of their consistency with any principle. Thus, "democratization of the Middle East" to stem support for militant Islamism --an article of faith to liberal internationalists-- to realists is preferred only if it succeeds in enhancing U.S. security.
Realists long have believed that peace can result from the careful management by states of the arrangement of power in the world, doing so in a manner that produces a balance of power among established states and states are emerging. Non-state actors, such as Al Qaeda, complicate realist analysis and make it tempting to view today's terrorists as instruments of some state's policy. Thus, in 2011-12, increasingly America's problems with an insurgency in Afghanistan were said to stem from those insurgents' connections to a state: Pakistan. This line of thinking mistakes the tail for the dog.
Liberal internationalism is the alternative major theory of international relations. If realists see conflict as inevitable and its management perpetual, liberals see conflict as preventable. Their optimism is the flip side of realists' pessimism. Rather than accept the inevitability of conflict, and its corollary of states' seeking to acquire more and more power in order to prevail in it, liberal internationalists hope to construct instruments larger than a single state with which to restrain inter-state violence. Some liberals (e.g., Weart, following from Kant) see this larger force to be the promotion of the eventual universal adoption of democratic governance, based on the supposition that democratic states will not fight one another. This is known as the Democratic Peace theory. A second liberal line of reasoning focuses on the gradual empowerment of supra-national institutions (e.g., the United Nations Security Council; or the International Criminal Court for War Crimes) to give order to the international community ultimately in much the same way that a single government provides order to a single community. Some other liberal scholars such as William Wohlforth also have argued that a single hegemonic power might so dominate the world as to be able to impose a new order, thus obviating the "security dilemma." Being accustomed to the emergence of these sorts of new, non-state actors, and others (e.g., non-governmental organizations such as the Red Cross or Amnesty International), most liberal internationalists see the emergence of international terrorism as yet a further example of the need for the states of the world to work collectively to advance the empowerment of global institutions capable of preventing further conflict. Accordingly, liberal internationalists focus upon consensus building among states regarding how to respond to particular terrorists. Liberals support the development of international coalitions when collective decisions aremade to employ state violence against the terrorists. Thus, the emphasis on the mission in Afghanistan in the latter 2000s and early 2010's as a "NATO" security operation. Lliberals see international institutions as useful per se, and prefer their use to unilateral actions. Unanimous endorsement of a policy by the council of NATO, much like passage of an authorizing resolution at the U.N. Security Council, confers a formal legitimacy. To liberals, these not only legitimize U.S. anti-terrorism policies. By being multilateral, the liberal response to the problem of terrorism represents a transformation of the system into which terrorists thrust themselves demanding a changed game. Realists, by contrast, prefer to emphasize a unilateral basis for each state to pursue its own strategy to achieve national security.
The fear that terrorists may attack with chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weapons is central to American anxieties, and to U.S. counter-terrorism policy since the September 11, 2001 attacks. This section reviews efforts known to have been undertaken by Al Qaeda in regard to WMD.
Al Qaeda intends to acquire WMD. Bin Laden has portrayed his attempts to come into possession of WMD as both a religious duty and as a means to deter Western attack on Muslims. He once said "[a]cquiring arms for the defense of Muslims is a duty. If it is true that I have acquired [chemical or biological] weapons, I thank God who has made it possible. And if I seek to procure such weapons, this is a duty. It would be a sin for Muslims not to try to possess the weapons that could prevent the infidels from harming Muslims" (Jacquard: 142). Interpreting this and other evidence available to it through 2003, the CIA in November 2004 stated "Usama Bin Ladin and other al-Qa'ida leaders have stated that al-Qa'ida has a religious duty to acquire nuclear weapons. Documents recovered in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom show that al-Qa'ida was engaged in rudimentary nuclear research..."
Al Qaeda intends to use WMD. Though the passage above alludes to a passive, deterrent role of preventing attacks by possessing WMD weapons, Al Qaeda has not always claimed to seek the weapons for such relatively benign purposes. We know from a first hand, eyewitness account that Osama bin Laden personally has endorsed using WMD against Americans. In a December 22, 1998 interview with Jamal Ismail, a Palestinian writer for the U.S. weekly Newsweek, Osama stated:
"the doctors of the faith have issued a fatwa against any American who pays taxes to his government. He has become our target because he is providing assistance to the American war machine against the Muslim nation... The fact that the Americans have weapons of mass destruction matters to no one. ... We do not think it a crime to try to obtain nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Our Holy Land is occupied by American and Israeli forces. We have the right to defend ourselves and to liberate our Holy Land." (quoted in Jacquard: 88-89)
Al Qaeda has taken steps to actually acquire WMD by pursuing multiple sources from which to acquire weapons. These have included the following:
- In 1993, according to Russian sources, the Bin Laden network attempted to buy a warhead from a Soviet missile, and when that failed, attempted to buy enriched uranium on the black market in the states of the Former Soviet Union (Jacquard: 144).
- In June 1998, it was reported that bin Laden had approached Pakistani nuclear scientists seeking to buy either a complete nuclear bomb or to obtain assistance in making one (Jacquard: 144).
- In September 1998, the U.S. Government filed a report which enumerated several attempts to procure nuclear weapons by Al Qaeda. The efforts centered on Mandouh Mahmoud Salem, a man arrested in 1998 in Hamburg and charged with attempting to attack the U.S. consulate there. According to court documents filed in the case, in 1993 Salem authored a memo describing efforts undertaken to acquire enriched uranium for the purpose of making nuclear weapons (Jacquard: 142-143).
- In the mid-1990s, Salem was assigned to attempt to acquire materials for detonators while working in Malaysia and Pakistan.
- During the April 1999 trial of Egyptian Islamic Jihad member Ahmed Salama Mabruk, evidence was given by the defendant in which he stated that Osama intended to attack using biological and chemical weapons. The materials from which the weapons were made were mailed through the regular mails from a laboratory in a former East bloc state.
- Bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri ordered many books on chemical and biological WMD after 1999. Confirmed reports document that former East German specialists were hired to train Al Qaeda personnel in the handling and use of chemical and biological WMD at camps in Afghanistan in 1999-2001 (Jacquard: 146). Three thousand protective suits were purchased during this period by Al Qaeda.
- Al Qaeda also continued to focus on nuclear WMD, with special effort made by 1999 to produce a radiological bomb, or "dirty bomb," at a facility near Herat, Afghanistan. British undercover agents had penetrated Al Qaeda's Afghanistan training camps to confirm this; and the facility itself has subsequently been verified to have been used for this purpose.
- In December 1999 and in April 2000, NATO officials held meetings concerning bin Laden storage facilities for chemical weapons, sites that were suspected to exist not just in Afghanistan but elsewhere in Europe, Asia, and the United States (Jacquard: 145).
- In April 2000, a truck carrying fissile materials (i.e., materials able to be used in radiological bombs and to be transformed into nuclear bombs) was intercepted by Uzbekistan authorities at the Kirghiz border. Additionally, a Ukrainian arms dealer has reported being contacted by bin Laden's people for the purpose of buying nuclear materials around this time (Jacquard: 145).
- According to Arab sources, in September 2000, "bin Laden and the Iraqis (i.e., Oudai Hussein, son of Saddam) are said to have exchanged information about chemical and biological weapons, despite opposition from some of the Baghdad leadership, including Tarik Aziz" (Jacquard: 113).
- Extensive Physical evidence and intelligence information has linked Al Qaeda and Iraq. The accuracy of Jacquard's and other journalists' reports were reinforced after the U.S. occupied the Iraqi capital in Spring 2003. Several documents found in the ruins of the Iraqi Intelligence headquarters in April 2003 provided stunning evidence that the secularists (Saddam's gang) and the Islamists (Bin Laden's thugs) worked together. According to the London Sunday Telegraph, April 27, 2003, the documents described senior Iraqi intelligence officials of the Mukhabarat agency saying that "the deputy director general bring the envoy to Iraq because we may find in this envoy a way to maintain contacts with bin Laden". Other documents further confirmed that a week of meetings in Baghdad subsequently took place in March 1998. Other evidence came in the form of a three page memorandum describing the meetings, which Iraq's Government hosted. Bin Laden's minions traveled to Baghdad from Khartoum, Sudan and were put up at the al-Mansour Melia, a first class hotel ,at Iraqi expense. These documents were discovered in the rubble of Iraq's Mukhabarat intelligence agency by Daily Telegraph reporters. Senior Iraqi officials and Al Qaeda representatives were described in the documents as making good progress toward mutual objectives regarding their common enemy: the U.S. Nor was this litter the only evidence of these relations.
- "Case Closed." The pattern of Iraq-Al Qaeda cooperation further was confirmed in November 2003, when a 50 point memorandum from Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith to the Senate Intelligence Committee was leaked to the Weekly Standard. Both collaboration in terrorism and joint efforts in the WMD area were apparently confirmed in the report, based primarily on raw CIA and other intelligence agencies' reports. (Professor Bowen's timeline integrates information about Iraq-Al Qaeda relations).
- The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., horrific as they were, would have been far worse had the initial plan to attack U.S. nuclear power plants with the hijacked airplanes been implemented.
- During the American campaign in Afghanistan, recipe books for making biological and chemical WMD have been recovered in Al Qaeda caves in eastern Afghanistan. The CIA in November 2004 stated that "al-Qa'ida had conducted research on biological agents. We believe al-Qa'ida's BW program is primarily focused on anthrax..."
- According to that same November 2004 CIA study, definite evidence confirming an Al Qaeda capability to produce VX, sarin and mustard poisons was found in Afghanistan in Summer 2002.
- Some reports of Al Qaeda's prowess in the WMD field need to be taken with a grain of salt. In 2002, Al Qaeda operative Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi fled Afghanistan and was believed to have helped to establish what was believed in 2002 to be a biological weapons laboratory at Khurmal in northeastern Iraq, as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell testified to the U.N. in early February 2003. After the overthrow of the Saddam regime there in April 2003, Al-Zarqawi briefly fled to sanctuary in Iran, then returned to head up an important element in the insurgency against the U.S. and its Iraqi allies until his death in Summer 2006 at the hands of U.S. Armed Forces. In 2003, the Khurmal camp with the alleged laboratory was over-run by U.S. Special Forces and Kurdish militias in a joint operation. While suspicious materials were reported to have been discovered there, available evidence about that raid has failed to confirm the existence of a large scale WMD operation.
Al Qaeda's allies have attempted to use WMD. In winter 2002-2003 arrests in London and Manchester UK, in Barcelona, Spain, and in Italy demonstrated that Algerian terrorists connected to Al Qaeda possessed the biological weapon ricin, had equipped their radical mosque with anti-chemical warfare suits, and may have been attempting to accumulate a stock of chemical and biological weapons for attacks on Western targets. (For discussion of the specifics, go to the January 2003 entries in Prof. Bowen's weblog, or to his editorial on this).
Al Qaeda and Iraq. In developing its WMD capabilities, Al Qaeda once turned to Saddam's Iraq for assistance, mingling its ostensibly Muslim agenda with that of the secular, socialist tyranny of Saddam Hussein. The section below enumerates facts regarding this relationship:
Osama, Al Qaeda and Iraq: The “courtship”:
In the early 1990s, Al Qaeda and Iraq reached an agreement about non-hostility, non-aggression: Osama then added ending sanctions on Iraq to his list of demands.
In 1997, three meetings brought Al Qaeda and Iraq together:
Ankara (Spring). Iraqi Ambassador to Turkey Dahman al-Tikriti met with a Turkish businessman sent by Osama. Iraq did not respond to Osama’s call for joint action. (Jacquard: 111)
Cairo (June). Osama sent Haj Ahmed Tijani, a Somali, to meet the Iraqi ambassador to Egypt, Samir Najim al-Takriti. Again, Iraq did not respond to requests for joint operations. (Jacquard: 112)
Baghdad (Fall). Osama sent a Yemeni national, Fadel Chaih al –Dalii, to again negotiate. Al Qaeda offered (Jacquard: 112):
Names of Shi’ite anti-Saddam activists
To oraganize pro-Iraq campaign around the world and to raise money for it
Join anti-U.S. and anti-U.K. operations
Osama, Al Qaeda and Iraq: The “consummation”:
Saddam was impressed by the 1998 Al Qaeda bombings of U.S. Embassies in East Africa.
In 1998, Iraq intelligence services and Al Qaeda established operational connection in Manila and in Kashmir (Jacquard: 112)
Physical evidence links Al Qaeda and Iraq. Jacquard's and other journalists' reports were reinforced after the U.S. occupied the Iraqi capital in Spring 2003. Documents found in the ruins of the Iraqi Intelligence headquarters, in April 2003 provided stunning evidence that the secularists (Saddam's gang) and the Islamists (Bin Laden's thugs) worked together. According to the London Sunday Telegraph, April 27, 2003, the documents confirmed a week of meetings in Baghdad in 1998; the evidence was in the form of a three page memorandum describing the meetings, which Iraq's Government hosted. Bin Laden's minions were put up in a first class hotel at Iraqi expense. These documents were discovered in the rubble of Iraq's intelligence agency by Daily Telegraph reporters. Senior Iraqi officials and Al Qaeda representatives were described in the documents as making good progress toward mutual objectives regarding their common enemy: the U.S.
In April 1999, Saddam told associates that West Nile Virus had been weaponized for use against a target known only to Saddam. (Jacquard: 150). Some suspect that the outbreak of West Nile in the USA originated in Iraq.
In Sept. 2000, associates of (the late) Oudai Hussein (i.e., son of Saddam killed by U.S. Armed Forces in 2003) met with Al Qaeda and formally agreed to cooperate if Iraq again was to be attacked by U.S. / U.K.
Biological weapons cooperation was begun at this time. (Jacquard: 113)
In February 2003, a taped broadcast by Osama urged Iraqis to attack Americans using suicide bombings (which he referred to using the euphemism "martrydom operations." Osama advised: "We also recommend luring the enemy forces into a protracted, close, and exhausting fight, using the camouflaged defensive positions in plains, farms, mountains, and cities. The enemy fears city and street wars most, a war in which the enemy expects grave human losses. We stress the importance of the martyrdom operations against the enemy - operations that inflicted harm on the United States and Israel that have been unprecedented in their history, thanks to Almighty God." Elsewhere in the tape, Osama referred to Iraq’s leaders as “infidels” but nevertheless he urged devout Muslims to strike out against the common enemies of both Al Qaeda and Iraq: the USA and the UK. (BBC, Feb. 14, 2003).
The fall of the Saddam regime in Iraq, April 2003. Some further evidence of the Iraq-Al Qaeda tie seemed once to have emerged as a reconstruction of the relationship was made possible built on documents captured from the looted government ministries of the fallen Saddam regime, and earlier sources.
"Case Closed." The pattern of Iraq-Al Qaeda cooperation most fully was confirmed in November 2003, when a 50 point memorandum from Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith to the Senate Intelligence Commitee was leaked to the Weekly Standard. Both collaboration in terrorism and joint efforts in the WMD area were confirmed by the many items in the report. Based primarily on raw CIA and other intelligence agencies' reports, an ever closer relationship, 1992-2003, appeared to be confirmed.
A separate webpage, created during Spring 2004 by Prof. Bowen, draws all these sources together on the Al Qaeda- Iraq link, and integrates them into a single timeline and analysis.
a. U.S. Policy toward Terrorism in general
The Hard Line: Longstanding policy was one of non-negotiation: treat terrorism as international crime.
Equivocation: This policy guideline was adhered to even as some steps in 1980s pointed toward negotiation as a tactic.b. U.S. Policy Toward Al-Qaeda Before 9.11.01-U.S. hostages in Lebanon were freed after U.S. arms were sold to Iran. But more hostages soon were abducted.
-U.S. signaling in 1980s also may have shown equivocation: Iraq was removed from "states sponsoring terrorism" list even when it was active in harboring terrorist groups.
-After 1987, U.S. opened negotiations with PLO, suggesting all groups using terrorism toward U.S. personnel and interests were not going to be treated solely as criminals.
Al-Qaeda undertook anti-U.S. actions before 1998, actions which the U.S. responded to as crimes. U.S. sought arrest of Bin Laden in Sudan, but were given expulsion, instead. Saudi Arabia refused to cooperate in U.S. attempt to arrest Bin Laden at that time, permitting his escape to Afghanistan. Time (Nov. 12, 2001: 68) provided this timeline, which has been expanded upon using other sources.c. U.S. Policy Toward Al-Qaeda Since 9.11.01
- On December 29, 1992, about 100 US servicemen narrowly escaped a bomb planted at their hotel in Aden, Yemen. The U.S. Department of State was aware at that time that some of the money involved in supporting this group of bombers came from bin Laden (9/11 Commission: 108-109).
- Just days after Pres. Bill Clinton took office, on Jan. 25, 1993, Mir Amal Kansi opened fire on workers driving in to CIA headquarters in Virginia; two died. Kansi escaped capture in the U.S., made his way to remote areas of Pakistan, and may have received assistance from Al Qaeda during his months of evading capture there. Ultimately, Kansi was captured in 1997, returned to the U.S., tried for murder, convicted, and executed in Virginia in November 2002.
- It is unclear how much attention was paid within the U.S. to connections among these events. But in 1993, the CIA at least was aware that Osama bin Laden had paid the expenses of a group of Egyptians training in the arts of terrorism in Sudan that year (9/11 Commission: 108).
Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman
- On February 26, 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed: 6 died, more than 1000 were injured. A blind New Jersey based Egyptian exile, the extremist Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, formed the core of a jihadist group tied to the attack. Ramzi Yousef, the convicted mastermind of the actual attack, later was shown to have had ties to other planned attacks which involved Al Qaeda. (Yousef is the nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the Baluchistan-born mastermind of the 9/11 attack on the same World Trade Center.) Evidence in the trial led the trial judge to conclude that among the goals of the bombers was the setting off of a cyanide gas cloud which was intended to kill as many New York residents as possible. (See also John Sopko, "The Changing Proliferation Threat," Foreign Policy (Winter 1996/97). Yousef himself later bragged that his goal had been to kill a quarter million Americans with this bombing (9/11 Commission: 72).
- October 3, 1993: Bin Laden has claimed that he supplied weapons to those who killed 18 U.S. soldiers in Somalia on this date.
- 1994: An attack on a Saudi National Guard station killed five American military personnel (Hendrickson: 199).
- 1994-95: Terrorists linked to Ramzi Yousef were foiled in an attempt to kill the Pope and Pres. Clinton on their visits to the Philippines. Evidence of Yousef's involvement in these plots, and in the plot to hijack and blow up airliners over the Pacific Ocean, emerged from investigation of a bomb blast in Manila.
- June 1995: An attempted assassination of (pro-U.S.) Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa was foiled.
- Nov. 13, 1995: Four Saudis who later were beheaded by the Saudi Government set off a car bomb at a training facility killing five Americans and two Indians.
- June 25, 1996: A truck bomb exploded at the Khobar Towers housing complex for U.S. soldiers in Dharan, Saudi Arabia; 19 died and hundreds were wounded. Arrests of Al Qaeda operatives eventually were made. Despite a longstanding security relationship with the Saudis, and despite repeated requests from diplomats and Vice President Al Gore, American FBI interviewers were blocked from talking to the suspects, who included Madani al Tayyib, a key Al Qaeda financier (9/11 Commission: 122). U.S. officials never were provided direct access to these suspects, who were executed by the Saudis.
- In May 1996, Osama was expelled from Sudan. The U.S. had applied diplomatic pressure on Sudan, and this coincided with interest in the Government of Sudan in improving its external relations. Thus, to expel Bin Laden served Sudanese interests: most of his assets were seized by the Sudanese Government (9/11 Commission: 65). No credible evidence has been found to sustain the sensational charge made by Sudan's then Minister of Defense Fatih Erwa to the effect that Sudan offered to turn bin Laden over to the Americans; the 9/11 Commission (110) specifically cast doubt on this claim. Indeed, the Sudanese refused to arrest Osama and turn him over to the Americans, electing to deport him instead. As Osama flew from Sudan, the U.S. requested that he be detained by Saudi Arabia when the plane landed there; Saudi officials also refused to turn Bin Laden over to the U.S. Bin Laden then returned to Afghanistan (Hendrickson: 199).
- August 23, 1996: Emboldened by having found a secure sanctuary in the mountains of Afghanistan, Bin Laden issued his first fatwa against the United States, calling for jihad against the U.S. due to its presence in Saudi Arabia. It argued that Muslims had a "legitimate right" to do this. (See also: 9/11 Commission: 65).
- In 1997, the Islamic Group, allied with Al Qaeda, killed 58 tourists at Luxor, Egypt.
- In the Fall of 1997, the CIA developed, and early in 1998 high government officials on the Principals Committee approved a plan to capture bin Laden and return him to the U.S. for trial, a plan that relied largely on Afghan tribal rivals of the Taliban (9/11 Commission: 110). No operation went forward, however.
In 1998, Al-Qaeda declared war on the U.S. On February 23, 1998, by means of a fax delivered to a London-based Arabic language newsletter, Bin Laden enumerated the grievances and goals of his movement: (1) the U.S. should leave the Muslim Holy Land (i.e., Arabia); (2) the U.S. must end the "great devastation inflicted" on the Iraqi people through economic sanctions; and (3) the U.S., by waging a religious and economic war against the Muslim world, is serving the interests of Israel. Thus, Bin Laden urged all Muslims to "kill the Americans and their allies--civilians and military" (Hendrickson: 200; see also Lewis). The initial response by the U.S. Government was quiet. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson (now Governor of New Mexico) was sent to South Asia and, after meeting with Pakistani officials, he traveled to Kabul to convey U.S. displeasure to the leaders of the Taliban directly. No response was made by the Taliban when Richardson demanded that bin Laden be expelled (9/11 Commission: 110): they claimed they did not know bin Laden's whereabouts.
Bin Laden's threats, however, were known; and they were known to be not idle threats. This appreciation in the U.S. soon led a U.S. grand jury in New York City secretly to indict bin Laden, on June 10, 1998 (9/11 Commission: 110, 115). The indictment -- which alleged Al Qaeda's ties to Sudan, Hezbollah, and Iran-- was made public on November 4, 1998 (128).
- August 7, 1998: Truck bombs at the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salam, Tanzania killed 224, including 12 Americans. Osama Bin Laden was indicted and remains wanted for murder in this case. Four others have been convicted in the cases.
- After these acts of war were committed at Nairobi and at Dar es Salam, the U.S. retaliated. On August 20, 1998, the U.S. launched 79 Tomahawk (and other) guided missiles directed at the al-Shifa chemical plan in Khartoum, Sudan (a facility U.S. intelligence linked to Al Qaeda and to the development of chemical weapons), and at Al Qaeda training centers and weapons storage facilities in Afghanistan.
- Polls taken shortly thereafter reported strong public support for the actions taken by the U.S.: 77% supported it in an L.A. Times poll; 66% supported it in a USA Today poll (Hendrickson: 206).
- Internationally, there was less support: Taliban-run Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and the 22 member Arab League all condemned the U.S. attacks. In Europe, all major allies supported the U.S.. China and Russia neither supported the attacks nor condemned them uniformly (Hendrickson: 207).
- On November 4, 1998, a federal grand jury indicted Bin Laden on 224 counts of conspiracy to commit murder and other charges related to the Embassies' bombings (Hendrickson: 198). A five million dollar reward was offered for information leading to Bin Laden's arrest.
- In July 1999, President Clinton officially designated Afghanistan as a state sponsor of terrorism (9/11 Commission: 125). Three months later, the Taliban's chief ally, President Sharif of Pakistan was overthrown by General Pervez Musharraf.
- December 14, 1999: US Customs agents at Port Angeles, WA intercepted Ahmed Ressam, an Al Qaeda operative carrying explosives and plans to blow up LAX airport in Los Angeles. Ressam confessed.
- December 1999: Jordanian intelligence officials arrested Al Qaeda plotters who intended to kill Americans and Israelis on the evening of the millennium celebration, and who planned to blow up a fully booked tourist hotel and Christian sites in Jordan. U.S. liaison work with alliesí law enforcement agencies also may have helped prevent the attacks in Jordan.
- October 12, 2000: 17 US sailors were killed when Al Qaeda operatives attacked the USS Cole while in port in Yemen. Bin Laden wrote an ode to his supporters who carried out this attack, and read it at his son's wedding. In part, it says: "The pieces of the bodies of the infidels were flying like dust particles" (Time, Nov. 12, 2001: 68). After the bombing of the USS Cole, the criminal justice approach again was used, but Yemen was uncooperative.
- December 2000: The U.S. persuades the U.N. Security Council to enact Resolution 1333 against Afghanistan. Included among the sanctions in this resolution was a mandatory arms embargo (9/11 Commission: 125).
- December 25-26, 2000: French police informed German authorities to arrest in Frankfort a group of four Al Qaeda operatives intending to blow up the tourist market and main cathedral in Strasbourg, France to disrupt Christmas.
Go here to read the Report of the 9/11 Commission(2004).
Go here for a thorough (100 pp plus) analysis of the attack of September 11, 2001, written by University of Richmond's Akiba J. Covtiz.
For a list of Al Qaeda attacks after 9.11.01 (through Nov. 20, 2003), go here.d. The Debate about Policy: Narrow or Wide War? The U.S. clearly has been for some time under siege by a broad, multinational threat. Despite the clear diversity in U.S.-linked targets Al Qaeda has selected, debate rages whether the U.S. war in response to Sept. 11 should be confined to Afghanistan alone (as French Pres. Chirac and Egyptian Pres. Mubarak opined November 12, 2001) or whether it should engage and defeat all "terrorists of global reach" and the states that "harbor" them, as Pres. Bush initially had phrased his goal. The debaters include:
U.S. President George W. Bush declared a national state of emergency shortly after the attack on Sept. 11, 2001. Military forces were put on high alert and law enforcement shifted into emergency modes of operation.
- Go here for news coverage of Bush statements of Sept. 11-12.
- Complete set of Pres. Bush's statements, Sept. 2001
On Sept. 13, 2001, evidence of Al Qaeda efforts to bomb the U.S. embassies in Paris and Brussels led to arrests and may have prevented further attacks at that time.
The U.S. Congress passed legislation tantamount to a declaration of war on global terrorism, not merely on Al Qaeda, on Sept. 14, 2001.
- Go here for contemporaneous news coverage on the war vote, quotes of Congresspeople on the motion, etc.
Throughout Sept. 2001 and early Oct. 2001, the U.S. demanded of Afghanistan the unconditional surrender to the U.S. of Osama Bin Laden and his chief Al Qaeda lieutenants, and the dismantling of all Al Qaeda training and base camps in Afghanistan. The Taliban refused to comply.
On October 7-8, 2001, armed forces of the United States began bombing Afghanistan in a sustained campaign against the Al Qaeda and the Taliban Government of Afghanistan. Within two months the "undefeatable" country of Afghanistan saw its rulers, the Taliban, brought down from power and a new, pro-U.S. government emerged.
On October 8, 2001, NATO officials disrupted an Al Qaeda cell then planning to attack U.S. troops on peacekeeping assignment at Eagle Base airfield (Bosnia) and on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia.
On November 12-13, the Afghan capital city of Kabul fell to forces of the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance, an anti-Taliban militia composed primarily of Uzbek and Tajik ethnic Afghanistanis. In the next three weeks, Pashtun militias joined in opposing the Taliban, who retreated to the southern city of Kandahar. U.S. Marines were introduced into that region, establishing a base 55 miles southwest of Kandahar on an airfield that became the center for operations.
Air war continued to menace Al Qaeda troops and Taliban soldiers throughout the country, who increasingly were isolated after the final surrender of the last Taliban held city in the north, Kunduz, in late November. However, several thousand Al Qaeda, Taliban and Pakistani fighters may have been airlifted out of Kunduz just prior to the fall of the city (Hersh). The airlift, ostensibly permitted so Pakistan could retrieve small numbers of key intelligence operatives, seems to have spun out of control as Pakistan's air force permitted friends of their people to exit, and the U.S. did not shoot down these planes.
On Dec. 9, 2001, Kandahar, the "spiritual" center of the Taliban fell to rebels assisted by the U.S., effectively ending the Taliban's pretense of being a government. Taliban Leader Mullah Omar, for example, was reported to have escaped alone, riding a mule into the mountains. His lavish estate in Kandahar soon was liberated.
December 2001- October 2002: Fruitlessly, the U.S. and its Afghan allies searched caves of Eastern Afghanistan, border areas adjacent to Pakistan, and throughout the region in the hope of finding Osama Bin Laden and the rest of the leadership of the Al-Qaeda. No further authenticated statements from Bin Laden were received, and ambiguity surrounded the question of whether he had died in the operations near Tora Bora and elsewhere. In October 2002, new statements from Bin Laden and other high Al Qaeda officials were broadcast on Al Jazeera; shortly thereafter, a series of new terrorist actions picked up: shooters killed a U.S. Marine in Kuwait; 190 tourists perished in a bombing of a nightclub on the Indonesian island of Bali; and the French oil tanker Limburg was bombed in a suicide boat attack off the coast of Yemen.
On November 3, 2002, in rural Yemen the U.S. used a Predator drone aircraft to launch a Hellfire missile attack onto an automobile carrying six Al Qaeda operatives in rural Yemen. The key target was Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, mastermind of the October 2000 Al Qaeda attack in Aden harbor on the U.S.S. Cole, an incident in which 17 U.S. sailors died. Among the terrorists who perished in this first acknowledged attack outside Afghanistan in the War on Terrorism was Kamal Derwish, an American volunteer fighting on the side of Al Qaeda. (The legalities of this are discussed elsewhere on this website).
Former CIA head James Woolsey was first among a chorus of advocates urging widening the war to engage Iraq, a chief sponsor of international terrorism long defiant of the U.N. regarding its commitment to fully disarm of all weapons of mass destruction after its 1991 defeat by the U.S. and others. Others in the Bush Administration (e.g., Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz) saw war on Iraq as the first step toward democratizing the entire Middle East, and thus to drying up the lake of support for terrorists such as Osama bin Laden.
These actors came to be considered Hawks. Their voices had been heard early after Sept. 11, 2001. (Indeed, some sources claim that Pres. Bush linked the war on terrorism and the need for war on Iraq within one week of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks). Within the White House, support for the view that linked Iraq to the global anti-terror war was voiced early in November 2001, when Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor to Pres. Bush, implied her agreement with the wider war position, chastizing those who "hug" Hezbollah. These views were shared by others, especially at the Pentagon. But the war in Afghanistan would first preoccupy all.
By late Summer 2002, the situation in Afghanistan had stabilized sufficiently to return focus to the post-Afghanistan war on terrorism. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and especially DoD official Paul Wolfowitz, became leading voices of the hawks. Each urged going beyond merely targeting Al Qaeda and other terror groups operating outside Afghanistan. Genuine change in the region was needed, for the risk of WMD terrorism by Al Qaeda appeared all the more feasible in light of discoveries made in Afghanistan regarding attempts by Al Qaeda to buy, develop, or steal biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear weapons. Their voices led those inclined to resume war with Iraq. In August 2002, a Rice interview with the BBC zeroed in again on the Iraqi threat; this was followed up by a speech to the same effect by Vice President Cheney in San Francisco early in August 2002. Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz by the end of summer 2002 each were on record favoring a wider war, one focused on Iraq.
Not Hawks. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and DoS Policy Planning head Richard Haass widely were reported throughout 2002 to favor a narrower, more measured approach to the decision about launching a war policy toward Iraq. At first this camp de-emphasized the need to focus military resources on Iraq at all; while the anti-Al Qaeda campaign continued, it should be the prime focus, they argued. Diplomats at the Department of State reflected the strong view of many U.S. allies (e.g., France) that to deal with the Iraq problem, a new regime of U.N. sanctions and inspections by U.N. weapons inspectors would be preferable. For a time, Pres. Bush temporized.
On August 26, 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney again publicly criticized the cautious stance advocated by Powell in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Cheney, ridiculed the idea that inspections can eliminate Iraq's WMD, and he argued for the first time that the risks of inaction outweighed the risks of action against Iraq. "A return of inspectors would provide no assurance whatsoever of his compliance with U.N. resolutions," he added. "On the contrary, there is a great danger that it would provide false comfort that Saddam is somehow back in his box. Meanwhile, he would continue to plot" (WT: 1).
On September 12, 2002, President Bush publicly appeared to side with the hawks, declaring to the U.N. General Assembly that either the organization would back up its demands to Iraq, or would be irrelevant and the U.S. would act alone. Less than a month later, on October 10, 2002, both houses of Congress reinforced Bush's hand when they authorized military action against Iraq.
Faced with the possibility of U.S. action absent U.N. authorization, the Security Council came to consensus and the U.S. agreed to a unanimous resolution even as it gradually mobilized armed forces into the region. Ultimately, the Powell approach and that of France was given "one more chance." On November 8, 2002, by a vote of 15 to 0, the U.N. Security Council passed resolution number 1441. Largely authored by the U.S. and Britain, it demanded within 30 days a complete Iraqi declaration of all banned weapons sites and programs, and full cooperation with a new round of unlimited U.N. inspections. Iraq was required to deliver a final complete declaration of all programs, but under 1441 only evasion in it and obstruction of inspectors once they got to Iraq, only both could trigger the ambiguous "serious consequences" mentioned in 1441.
At first, such minutiae seemed of remote significance. On November 12, the Iraqi Parliament rejected accepting the terms enunciated in U.N. Resolution 1441; but, within days the ruling Saddam Hussein reversed this position.
U.S. threats appeared to have brought Iraqi concessions. After all, Hussein for four years had felt secure enough to bar all inspections, only to consent in the face of U.S. threats in fall 2002. Firmness appeared to work.
Some U.S. allies, however, moved in the opposite direction throughout the crisis, weakening the Western message to Iraq of firm resolve. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder won re-election (September 22, 2002) chiefly after using his opposition to U.S. proposals for war on Iraq to appeal to voters. Germany then announced it would not support the U.S. in war on Iraq even if the U.N. Security Council were to so authorize, and stuck to that position throughout 2002-03. France consistently opposed U.S. efforts to put meaningful triggers for action into the U.N. Security Council which ultimately was passed, unanimously. In early November 2002, the Saudi Arabian Government also announced it would not permit U.S. bases in that country to be used to attack Iraq. All of these allied nations would have important roles to play in the optimal war on terrorism, and thus discord in U.S. relations with each threatened to obstruct cooperation needed toward that other important end. Though the U.S. ultimately was successful in its efforts to achieve a U.N. resolution (i.e., 1441) expressing a consensus there about the impermissibility of Iraq continuing to obstruct its disarmament as required under the terms of conclusion of the 1991 Gulf War, the difficulties the U.S. encountered in attaining passage of the resolution, combined with the equivocation of Germany, France and Saudi Arabia, suggested that the liberal internationalist vision of global solidarity was a mirage.
Saddam exploited these divisions. Inspectors were admitted in December 2002, but by early February not one Iraqi weapons scientist had been privately interviewed by them. A visibly annoyed chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix sharply criticized Iraq in his January 27, 2003 report to the Security Council; France again remained unmoved, insistent that inspections continue. On Feb. 5, 2003, the ever reluctant Powell delivered an out of character performance: a stinging indictment of Iraq's evasions to the Security Council.
The final authority to determine U.S. policy continued to rest on the shoulders Pres. George W. Bush. Under the War Powers Act (1973) and under the two existing Congressional authorizations of the use of force against terrorism (Sept. 14, 2001) and Iraq (Oct. 10, 2002), Bush needed only periodically to report to the Congress. No further Congressional consent was required in order to widen the war. Moreover, a substantial record of executive-initiated military actions since passage of that 1973 act underlined the wider authority Bush possessed to enlarge the theater of war at his discretion.
Given a spate of new Al Qaeda actions in the fall of 2002, no hypothetical seemed impossible in 2003. This accentuated the need to act against the nation then believed to be most likely to supply Al Qaeda weapons of mass destruction: Iraq. In 2002, Al Qaeda terrorists had upped their terrorism at each stage of the U.S.-British squeeze on Iraq. A series of bombs hit night clubs in Bali, Indonesia, with terrible effect, killing more than 180. Assassins killed a U.S. diplomat in Jordan late in October 2002; links to Al Qaeda emerged within months. A suicide bomber blew a hole in the side of a French oil supertanker on the high seas off Yemen, the Limburg, and a team of Islamic snipers killed nearly more than a dozen victims in the Washington DC area before being captured. The theaters of war widened, worldwide.
In January 2003, the toxic biological weapon ricin was found in a London apartment rented by Algerians soon linked both to a radical Islamist mosque in Finsbury Park and to other Al Qaeda-trained detainees. Planned attacks on British military, or other, sites temporarily were thwarted. Arrests in subsequent raids ranged from Barcelona to Italy.
The Bush Administration ultimately determined that the threat posed by a potential Al Qaeda - Iraq connection was too great. After a final round of diplomacy at the United Nations (in February 2003) proved unable to overcome French, German and Russian objections to war with Iraq, the U.S. withdrew earlier requests that the Security Council explicitly authorize war. Relying on language in November's resolution (i.e., U.N. Sec. Council 1441) that threatened Iraq with "serious consequences" if it did not immediately disarm, Bush set his own deadline. Iraq failed to comply and on March 19, 2003, the U.S. and the U.K. invaded Iraq.
In three swift weeks of rapid advance, the U.S. Armed Forces swept across Iraq from the south, taking the city of Baghdad on April 9. A tremendous public display of jubilation spontaneously followed, as Iraqis celebrated the end of the Saddam regime. Not all Iraq was so swiftly liberated; British forces laying siege to Basra encountered several further weeks of resistance before that second largest Iraqi city fell. Areas of northern Iraq beyond the quasi-independent (and pro-U.S.) Kurdish enclave also were briefly a problem. Denied a northern invasion route by a newly reluctant NATO ally, the Turkish Government, U.S. Special Forces and Kurdish militias could only tie up Saddam's forces in Northern Iraq until the 101st Airborne's forces could be brought by sea through the Red Sea, around Arabia to Kuwait, and then across Iraq by land. supplement there. Once Baghdad had fallen, however, Iraqi defenses of the key northern cities of Kirkuk and Mosul swiftly collapsed. Joint forces of Kurds and U.S. Special Forces briefly occupied these large urban areas until regular U.S. Army troops could take control. (In Mosul, Iraqi commanders surrendered; in Kirkuk, they fled).
On May 1, 2003, after flying aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in a two-man combat aircraft, Bush declared major combat operations over. An anti-occupation campaign soon was mounted against the U.S. and its allies. Die hard Ba'athists were joined by foreign jihadists drawn to the opportunity to attack the U.S. armed forces, many infiltrating through Syria and Saudi Arabia. In the next six months, more U.S. soldiers would die in the ensuing occupation than had died in the entire war that defeated Saddam and destroyed his Iraqi Army. In December 2003, Saddam himself was captured, hiding in a small underground bunker near Tikrit.
The War on Terrorism entered a new stage as anti-Americanism widened in the wake of its stunning victories in Afghanistan and Iraq. France and Germany, who had opposed the war in Iraq, continued to distance themselves from U.S. war plans, though efficient international criminal cooperation against Al Qaeda appeared to continue. Alliances once rock solid (France; Turkey) became question marks for American planners. Differences over what to do about other Middle East problems, e.g. the Israel - Palestine dispute, further divided the European Union, and even Britain, from the U.S. position of unequivocal support for Israel. When Bush visited London on a state visit in November 2003, mass protests in Europe reflected strong opposition to further campaigns by a united Western powers.
Thus the dynamics of the War on Terrorism continued to restructure U.S. priorities, bend alliances, and reshape the rules of the international system. These forces will likely intensify; dynamism in the international system will endure for some time.
March 02, 2007
9/11 Commission, The 9.11 Commission Report (Washington: US Government Printing Office, 2004).
John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt, and Michele Zanini, from "Networks, Netwar, and Information-Age Terrorism," in Ian O. Lesser, John Arquilla, Bruce Hoffman, David Ronfeldt, Michele Zanini and Brian Jenkins, Countering the New Terrorism (RAND Corporation, 1999).
BBC 2003: Who's Who in Al Qaeda? (BBC Feb. 17, 2003).
CIA 2004: "Attachment A: Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 July Through 31 December 2003" (Washington: CIA, November 2004).
Khalid Duran, "How CAIR Put My Life in Peril," Middle East Quarterly (Winter 2002).
Dale Eickelman, "Bin Laden, the Arab ‘Street’, and the Middle East’s Democracy Deficit," Current History (January 2002): 36-39.
Stephen Hayes, " Case Closed" Weekly Standard v9, n11 (Nov. 24, 2003).
Ryan C. Hendrickson, "The Clinton Administration's Strikes on Usama Bin Laden: Limits to Power," in Contemporary Cases in U.S. Foreign Policy: From Terrorism to Trade ed. Ralph G. Carter (Washington DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, copyright 2002; issued 2001): 196-216.
Seymour Hersh, "The Getaway: Questions Surround a Secret Pakistani Airlift," The New Yorker (January 28, 2002): 36-40.
Bruce Hoffman, from Inside Terrorism (Columbia University Press, 1998), in Russell Howard and Reid Sawyer, Terrorism and Counterterrorism (Guilford CT: Dushkin/McGrawHill, 2003): 3-24.
Russell Howard and Reid Sawyer, Terrorism and Counterterrorism first edition (Guilford CT: Dushkin / McGrawHill, 2003).
Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1996)
Roland Jacquard, In the Name of Osama Bin Laden (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2002).
Walter Laqueur, The New Terrorism: Fanaticism and the Arms of Mass Destruction (New York: Oxford U. P., 1999).
Walter Laqueur, The Israel - Arab Reader (NY: Penguin, 2001).
Bernard Lewis, "License to Kill," Foreign Affairs, (November / December 1998).
Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong (NY: Oxford UP, 2001).
George Lopez, "A Scheme for Analysis of Government as Terrorist," in The State as Terrorist eds. Michael Stohl and George Lopez (Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1984): 59-82.
Paul Pillar, "The Dimensions of Terrorism and Counterterrorism," in Russell Howard and Reid Sawyer, Terrorism and Counterterrorism (Guilford CT: Dushkin / McGrawHill, 2003): 24-46.
Daniel Pipes, Militant Islam Reaches America (NY: Norton, 2002).
Magnus Ranstorp, "Terrorism in the Name of Religion," Journal of International Affairs (Summer 1996), in Russell Howard and Reid Sawyer, eds., Terrorism and Counterterrorism first edition (Guilford CT: Dushkin / McGrawHill, 2003): 121-136.
James Robbins, "Bin Laden's War," in Russell Howard and Reid Sawyer, eds., Terrorism and Counterterrorism first edition (Guilford CT: Dushkin / McGrawHill, 2003): 354-366.
Barry Rubin, Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader (NY: Oxford U. P., 2002).
Susan Schmidt and Douglas Farah, "Al Qaeda's New Leaders," Washington Post (October 29, 2002): A1.
John Sopko, "The Changing Proliferation Threat," Foreign Policy (Winter 1996/97).
Washington Post, "Bin Laden's World" (online resource: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/binladen/front.html)
"What is Al Qaeda?" Time (November 12, 2001). go here
Spencer Weart, Never at War: Why Democracies will not Fight One Another (New Haven CT: Yale U. P., 1998).
William Wohlforth, "The Stability of a Unipolar World," International Security 24, 1 (Summer 1999): 5-41.
WT: Bill Sammon, "Cheney makes case for war against Iraq; Arms checks not enough," Washington Times (August 27, 2002): 1.
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