And in his "Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders," dated February 23, 1998, he went further:
All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on God, his Messenger, and Muslims.... [T]he jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries... As for the fighting to repulse [an enemy], it is aimed at defending sanctity and religion, and it is a duty... On that basis, and in compliance with God's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims:
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies-civilian and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it" (Knapp 2003).
In August, 1998, the African embassies were bombed. On August 23, he issued "The Declaration of Jihad on the Americans Occupying the Country of the Two Sacred Places (Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia)," and little more than a month later, "the Taliban drove the remnants of the Afghan government out of Kabul and declared themselves the legitimate government of that country" (Piszkiewicz 2003).
The relationship between Al Qaeda and the Taliban was based mainly on its fundamentalist religious philosophy. Taliban is the plural of Talib, which means "religious student," and these young Afghans were led by an Islamic cleric named Mullah Mohammed Omar, with whom Bin Laden developed a close personal friendship (Piszkiewicz 2003). Bin Laden declared Mullah Omar caliph, the leader of the faithful, and swore an Islamic oath of fealty to him, and Al Qaeda gave financial support to its Taliban hosts. In return, Al Qaeda and Bin Laden received the country's hospitality and influence over the Afghan government (Piszkiewicz 2003). Bin Laden believed that he at last had found a home and a secure base from which to launch his war against the infidels.
The foundation had been laid in the war against the Soviets, and paid for, in part, by the CIA, who had laundered the money it spent to support the mujahideen by funneling it through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (Piszkiewicz 2003). The ISI spent the money, some $3 million, on its own priorities, while a large part of it went to building training camps and other infrastructure controlled by Islamic zealots. After the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan, many of these camps eventually fell under control of Bin Laden, and by 1997, he was establishing additional training camps that catered to Arab recruits (Piszkiewicz 2003).
According to documents collected by U.S. forces after the assaults on the Taliban and Al Qaeda in late 2001 and early 2002, the camps had organized and sophisticated curricula, and were divided into two tiers of instruction. The general program, designed to produce irregular ground troops, taught the basics of firearms, land mines, and stinger missiles (Piszkiewicz 2003). The training manuals, which the students copied by hand, were based on Soviet and American military training manuals.
Students who demonstrated superior abilities were moved into advanced courses where they learned terrorist techniques, such as how to make explosives from common, innocuous materials, and enough electrical engineering to allow them to construct timing and detonation devices (Piszkiewicz 2003).
No one knows the exact number of guerrillas these camps graduated during their five years of operation, however French intelligence officials estimate that as many as ten thousand were trained and then dispersed to cells in more than fifty countries. Although the United States estimate that the camps trained some twenty thousand men, the exact number is somewhat irrelevant considering that the September 11th attacks were caused by only nineteen terrorists (Piszkiewicz 2003).
According to Lesch, "there is widespread condemnation o the U.S. military presence, its sanctions against Iraq, its support for a hegemonic Israel and its apparent endorsement of repressive regimes" (Lesch 2002). These militants "Islamized the traditional discourse of Western anti-imperialism" in their call for a religious-based confrontation, and Bin Laden explicitly essentialized the struggle when he declared that "this war is fundamentally religious....this enmity is based on creed" (Lesch 2002). For many people in the Middle East, this approach is very disturbing, since essentializing the conflict makes it impossible to negotiate political resolutions based on calculations of interest. Shaikh Muhammad Hussain Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of Lebanon's Hizballah movement, condemned the September 11th attacks, as "not compatible with Shariah law" or with the true meaning of jihad, which could not involve killing innocent people in a distant land and could not mean "aggressive combat" (Lesch 2002).
Al-Jazeera correspondent, Jamal Abdul-Latif Ismail, conducted an interview with Bin-Laden in 1999. When asked what he wanted, Bin Laden replied: "We demand that out land be freed from out enemies, and that our land be freed from Americans...We demand the rights for every living creature, specifically human rights and in particular the rights of Muslims" (Aboul-Enein 2004). The interview revealed insights into Bin Laden. His claim that the United States dropped the atomic bomb after Japan surrendered demonstrated his poor understanding of the events of World War II, in fact he apparently has no comprehension of World War II, Operation Olympic, or President Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb to shorten the war (Aboul-Enein 2004). Moreover, his reference to World War II and his manipulation of Islamic history and the law reveals "how he takes pieces of history and alters them to justify his arguments" (Aboul-Enein 2004). For example, he views the Japanese self-sacrifice and kamikaze ethic from a jihadist perspective (Aboul-Enein 2004). Regarding Islamic history, he described how Muhammed was forced to retreat from Mecca to Medina, where he established the first Muslim society, however, Muhammed was ordered to leave to spare Muslims from genocide (Aboul-Enein 2004). Bin Laden also excludes the fact that Muhammed peacefully interacted with non-Muslims in Medina, and attempted to establish a single community comprised of Muslims, Jews, and other non-Muslims (Aboul-Enein 2004). Furthermore, he considers American civilians and soldiers to be one and the same, therefore he feels justified in killing American civilians (Aboul-Enein 2004). With skill, he is able to take World War II history out of context and package Quranic verses, prophetic sayings, and Islamic militant writings from the 13th through the 20th century, and pass them off as theology (Aboul-Enein 2004). In this post-September 11th world, the United States must find the logic behind his diatribe in order to begin the process of discrediting it Islamically and intellectually (Aboul-Enein 2004).
Since Bin Laden's disappearance shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan, following the September 11th attacks, he has surfaced only in several video and audio tapes to deliver his message. The latest appeared July 1, 2006, in which he warned Iraqi Shiites against collaborating with the United States, and warned nations not to send troops to Somalia, where Islamic militants have taken control of the capital and most of the southern part of the country (Nasrawi 2006). Although no date was given, it was probably made after June 12, when al-Qaeda announced that Abu Hamza al-Muhajer was the new head of its operations in Iraq, the replacement for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. air-strike June 7 (Nasrawi 2006).
Aboul-Enein, Youssef H. (2004 September 01). Osama bin-Laden interview, June 1999:
entering the mind of an adversary.(Review Essay)(Interview)(Excerpt). Military Review. Retrieved July 04, 2006 from HighBeam Research Library.
Knapp, Michael G. (2003). The Concept and Practice f Jihad…