al-Qa'ida

al-Qa'ida −

Conosciuta anche come:
Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places
World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders
Islamic Salvation Foundation
Usama bin Laden Network

Al-Qa'ida is multi-national, with members from numerous countries and with a worldwide presence. Senior leaders in the organization are also senior leaders in other terrorist organizations, including those designated by the Department of State as foreign terrorist organizations, such as the Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya and the Egyptian al-Jihad. Al-Qa'ida seeks a global radicalization of existing Islamic groups and the creation of radical Islamic groups where none exist.

Al-Qa'ida supports Muslim fighters in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Kosovo. It also trains members of terrorist organizations from such diverse countries as the Philippines, Algeria, and Eritrea.

Al-Qa'ida's goal is to "unite all Muslims and to establish a government which follows the rule of the Caliphs." Bin Laden has stated that the only way to establish the Caliphate is by force. Al-Qa'ida's goal, therefore, is to overthrow nearly all Muslim governments, which are viewed as corrupt, to drive Western influence from those countries, and eventually to abolish state boundaries.

Usama bin Laden, a multi-millionaire ex-Saudi financier who is a principal source of funding and direction for Al-Qa'ida, has been described by the US Government as "one of the most significant financial sponsors of Islamic extremist activities in the world today." Usama Bin Laden was born around 1955 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is the youngest son of Muhammad Bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi of Yemeni origin and founder of the Bin Laden Group, a construction firm heavily involved with Saudi Government contracts.

Usama Bin Laden left Saudi Arabia to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1979. He sponsored and led a number of Arabs fighting in Afghanistan against the Soviets in the 1980s. In the mid-1980s he co-founded the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) or Services Office, to help funnel fighters and money to the Afghan resistance in Peshawar with the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdallah Azzam. The MAK ultimately established recruitment centers around the world -- including in the U.S., Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan -- that enlisted, sheltered, and transported thousands of individuals from over 50 countries to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. It also organized and funded paramilitary training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Bin Laden imported heavy equipment to cut roads and tunnels and to build hospitals and storage depots in Afghanistan. As many as 10,000 Arabs received training and combat experience in Afghanistan. Of these, nearly half were Saudis, with others including more than 3000 Algerians, 2000 Egyptians, and hundreds of others from Yemen, Sudan, Pakistan, Syria and other Muslim states.

Bin Laden split from Azzam in the late 1980s to extend his campaign to all corners of the globe while Azzam remained focused only on support to Muslims waging military campaigns. Bin Laden formed a new organization in 1988 called al-Qa'ida -- the military "base." After Azzam was killed by a car bomb in late 1989, the MAK split, with the extremist faction joining Bin Laden's organization. Bin Laden returned to work in his family's Jeddah-based construction business after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, but he continued his organization to support opposition movements in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

After Afghanistan, Bin-Laden ran the Jihad Committee which includes the Egyptian Islamic Group and the Jihad Organization in Yemen, the Pakistani al-Hadith group, the Lebanese Partisans League, the Libyan Islamic Group, Bayt al-Imam Group in Jordan, and the Islamic Group in Algeria. This committee runs the Islamic Information Observatory center in London, which organizes media activity for these organizations, and the Advisory and Reformation Body which also has a bureau in London.

In 1991 he relocated to the Sudan, and in 1994 he was stripped of his Saudi citizenship after Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Yemen accused him of supporting subversive groups. Although the Afghan war had ended, al-Qa'ida has remained a formidable organization consisting of mujahedin of many nationalities who had previously fought with Bin Laden. Many of these have remained loyal to and continue working with him.


Sudan harbors a number of terrorist groups, although in May 1996 it expelled Bin Laden and members of some terrorist groups under Saudi pressure, and in response to U.S. insistence and to the threat of UN sanctions following Sudan's alleged complicity in the attempted assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia in 1995.
Bin Laden quickly returned to Afghanistan after leaving Sudan, where his support for and participation in Islamic extremist activities continued. Since departing Sudan he is said to have changed considerably, suspecting that there are plots to murder him, so he reportedly now only trusts only a narrow circle of people. He is reported to act on the premise that attack is the best line of defense, rather than efforts to unify extremist groups.

Prior to the emergence of the Taleban he was functioning and moving around freely while Rabbani and Massood ruled in Kabul. Bin Laden was subsequently reported to be living in Taleban-held Jalalabad in Afghanistan with about 50 of his family members and bodyguards. A few months after his arrival in Afghanistan the Taleban gained control over Jalalabad and Kabul, and launched a campaign against the "Arab Afghans." In February 1997 the Taleban rejected an American agreement to turn Bin Laden over to them in return for international recognition and obtaining Afghanistan's seat in international organizations. But in early 1997 at least two large bombs were detonated in Jalalabad as part of attempts to assassinate Bin Laden, including a 19 March 1997 explosion that destroyed the police station, killing more than 50 and wounding 150. Bin Laden subsequently moved to Kandahar from his Jalalabad stronghold as a result of concerns for his personal safety. Kandahar is the stronghold of the Students of the Shari'ah, and the central residence of the Commander of the Faithful al-Mulla Muhammad 'Umar. The Taleban Islamic State of Afghanistan claimed that they moved him to Kandahar to keep him under strict limitations [according to some reports he was under house arrest], and that he was no longer allowed to use Afghan soil to cause harm to any country, including Saudi Arabia.


Bin-Laden provides money to humanitarian organizations and to Islamic publications and groups. He advocates the destruction of the United States, which he sees as the chief obstacle to reform in Muslim societies. Since 1996, his anti-U.S. rhetoric has escalated to the point of calling for worldwide attacks on Americans and allies, including civilians.
Bin-Laden was involved in operations against the American forces in Somalia in 1993.
In 1995 it was reported that Bin Laden had agreed to finance a "Gulf Battalion" organized by the Iranian Guardians of the Revolution. It was suggested that he had convinced Yemeni fundamentalist leader Shaykh 'Abd-al-Majid al-Zandani, to position elements of the Gulf Battalion in al-Zandani's camps in Yemen for deployment in Gulf countries when circumstances permited.
Bin Laden is suspected by the US of being responsible for 1996 bomb attacks on American service personnel in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
In mid-1996 a meeting of various leaders convened by Bin Laden reached a consensus "to use force to confront all foreign forces stationed on Islamic land," and to form a planning committee; a financing, supply, and mobilization committee; and a higher military committee to oversee implementation of the plan.
Bin Laden publicly issued his "Declaration of War" against the United States in August 1996. When anti-U.S. attacks did not materialize immediately, he explained the delay: "If we wanted to carry out small operations, it would have been easy to do so immediately after the statements. Even the nature of the battle requires good preparation."
In November 1996 he pronounced as "praiseworthy terrorism" the bombings in Riyadh and at Khobar in Saudi Arabia, promising that other attacks would follow. He admitted carrying out attacks on U.S. military personnel in Somalia and Yemen, declaring that "we used to hunt them down in Mogadishu."
He stated in an interview broadcast in February 1997 that "if someone can kill an American soldier, it is better than wasting time on other matters."
In February 1998, Bin Laden announced the creation of a new alliance of terrorist organizations, the "World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders." The Front included the Egyptian al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the Harakat ul-Ansar, and two other groups. The Front declared its intention to attack Americans and our allies, including civilians, anywhere in the world. By at least February 1998, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad had effectively merged with al Qaeda and joined with al Qa'ida in targeting American civilians.
In May 1998, he stated at a press conference in Afghanistan that we would see the results of his threats "in a few weeks."
On 20 August 1998, President Clinton amended Executive Order 12947 to add Usama Bin Laden and his key associates to the list of terrorists, thus blocking their US assets--including property and bank accounts--and prohibiting all US financial transactions with them. Bin Laden remained in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban, an ultra-conservative Islamic militia that controls most of that country. The United States conducted a bombing run -- Operation Infinite Reach -- against bin Laden's facilities there on 20 August 1998.

Bin-Laden's investments include companies involved in property management, maritime transport, aircraft rental, public works, contracting and other commercial activities in a number of countries. His investments in Sudan include construction and agricultural projects, with other commercial activities in Somalia, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. His European interests are managed by lawyers in Switzerland, which makes his financial dealings and support to terrorism difficult, but not impossible, to follow.

Acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council on 15 October 1999 demanded that the Afghan faction, known as the Taliban, turn over Usama bin Laden to appropriate authorities in a country where he would be brought to justice. In that context, it decided that on 14 November 1999 all States shall freeze funds and prohibit the take-off and landing of Taliban-owned aircraft unless or until the Taliban complies with that demand. Since the Taliban did not comply with this obligation, the measures of the resolution have entered into effect.

Taliban representatives had stated that they were totally opposed to terrorism, but that bin Laden was a guest, that he had become a resident of Afghanistan prior to the Taliban taking control, and that he no longer had communication with his followers. At the same time, the official spokesman of Al-Qaida has stated that they have been supplying fighters to Chechnya. It seems that they are active not only in Chechnya, but have worried the other Central Asian republics, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and even Iran. They are certainly turning up in Kashmir, which is one of the important flash points in the world.

In testimony 02 February 2000 before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency George Tenet said Usama Bin Laden "is still foremost" among terrorists planning attacks against the United States and that more than half of 24 terrorists brought to justice since July 1998 "were associates" of Bin Laden's Al-Qa'ida organization. He said that despite some disruptions, U.S. intelligence officials believe Bin Laden could strike without warning, and that the terrorist -- along with others -- is "placing increased emphasis on developing surrogates to carry out attacks in an effort to avoid detection."

The September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are attributed to bin Laden and the al-Qa'ida network.
 
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