Top Al-Qai'da Leaders Living or Research Paper

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Richard Reid

Richard Reid, better known as the "shoe bomber" has nearly eight charges held against him. He was arrested as a result of his efforts to demolish a commercial flight using bombs concealed in his shoes. Richard was born in London in 1973. He had a Jamaican father who was in prison for a majority of his childhood. The early separation of his parents reflects family dysfunctionality. Even though he had been educated in one of UK's better schools, the lack of proper family support subjected him to getting involved in several crimes. An interracial background might have resulted in adjustment problems in an environment dominated by whites. He was imprisoned several times, and accepted Islam while at Feltham young offender's institution. On his release Reid became a part in the London based, Brixton Mosque. He made an effort to get involved in mosque proceedings but ended up getting influenced by extremist groups. They took advantage of his vulnerable character and brainwashed him with their line of militant teachings. He is said to have come in association with Zacarias Moussaoui (one of the conspirators of the terrorist attacks on September 11) and Abu Hamza Al-Masri (one of the leaders of the Islamic extremism), both of whom might have planted the seeds of anti-American viewpoints and led him to become a part of Al Qaeda ("Chapter 5: Al-Qaida: Terrorist Selection").

His actions against the west were fuelled by training camps in Afghanistan and anti-American religious groups in Pakistan. He traveled and resided temporarily in several countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Netherlands and France. This is said to be indicative of a way to get accustomed to breaking the security arrangements in those countries. He boarded a flight from Paris to Miami which got delayed by a day, due to the implementation of additional checks. After managing to board the flight eventually, Reid tried but failed to accomplish his purpose of crashing the flight. He got caught in his act of trying to ignite a fuse connected to the explosives. The dampness imposed on the explosives on account of the damp weather, feet perspiration and delay had caused the fuse to become moist, which made it hard for Reid to set it off immediately. He was tied up by other passengers and taken into custody after an emergency landing at the closest airport. Even though he admitted to his charges, Reid's anti-American defiance was pretty obvious from his lack of remorse and argumentative attitude. He claimed to be a soldier of god working under the orders of Osama Bin Laden. His feelings against the west were triggered by his teachings as a part of Al-Qaeda. His attempt has caused airlines to make their passengers to take their shoes off as a part of the security check ("Chapter 5: Al-Qaida: Terrorist Selection").

Muhammed Atef

Muhammed Atef served Osama Bin Laden as one of the primary lieutenant in charge of Al Qaeda military operations. He is suspected to have played a major role in organizing the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The U.S. authorities had a $5 million bounty placed against his capture. Atef was educated in agricultural engineering and temporarily served the Egyptian police. He was connected to the Islamic Jihad group based in Egypt before coming in touch with Laden. This led to the Egyptian court assigning him a 7-year prison term with regards to murder of Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian president in 1981. He met Ayman al-Zawahiri at an Afghan training camp who got him connected to Al Queda by introducing him to Laden. He was a part of meetings held in 1988 discussing the foundation of Al Qaeda and future proceedings. This was where he understood their extremist ideologies and started working full time as one of their central propagandist against the United States. He took over the reigns as Al Qaeda's military chief after Abu al-Banshiri's death. Even though some of his methods were questioned by militants, he received Laden's full support in his actions. This encouraged him further to dedicate his life towards Jihadist activities against the west (Doran, "Somebody Else's Civil War").

His ties with Laden's family strengthened as his daughter tied the marital knot with one of Laden's sons. He has several charges registered against him. He travelled periodically to Somalia for meetings and had to stay undetected while training fighters. He was one of the instigators of 1993 attacks on the American base located in Somalia, causing the death of 18. In 1998 he issued a fatwa to Laden, approved by Afghan scholars on how assaults on American residents could validated. He had been associated with bombing operations in Tanzania and Kenya where attacks on American embassies caused the death of over 200 people. Atef was among the few Al Qaeda representatives who stayed away from the videos revealed on Al Jazeera's network. Known as a man of silent mannerisms, he is said to have conducted the proceedings of some Afghan training camps himself. He considered the westerners as oppressors and was the author of a manual which listed the Jihadist military duties which the trainees were supposed to fulfill. There had been a few controversies regarding his death. According to Taliban representatives, he succumbed to the wounds from U.S. bombings near his Kabul residence. The FBI had been pondering over the possibility of Atef escaping the bombings and faking his death due to the lack of explicit proof (Doran, "Somebody Else's Civil War").

Works Cited

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Gillespie, Thomas W. "Finding Osama bin Laden:an Application of Biogeographic Theories and Satellite Imagery." MIT International Review. 17 Feb. 2009

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"Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri: Idol of the National Unity." The NEFA FOundation. Dec 14, 2009

"Zawahiri tries to clear name, explain strategy." Transnational Security Issues Report. 21 Apr. 2008

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