Osama: The Making of a Terrorist
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How is it possible for one middle-aged Saudi millionaire to threaten the world's only superpower? This is the question at the center of Jonathan Randal's riveting, timely account of Osama bin Laden's life and role in the rise of terrorism in the Middle East. Randal traces the current sources of Osama's money and tells us why the Iraq war has played into the hands of the terrorists, while also providing essential insight and background on the history of American involvement in the Middle East. With his long-maintained sources in the Middle East and his intimate understanding of the region, Randal gives us a clearer explanation than any we have had of the whys and wherefores of the world's most prominent and feared terrorist.
four attacks, a view that the Turkish interior minister eventually endorsed. Even with a convenient foreign hand to blame, the Turkish establishment was seriously embarrassed, and not just the moderate Islamist government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but also the army, the gendarmerie and the principal intelligence agency. Among the terrorists who died in the attacks—or were associated in its planning—were former members of the banned Hezbollah, initially an underground militant group
campaign in Egypt and culminating for jihadis, if not all Muslims, in Ataturk’s abolition of the caliphate. Years earlier, an Israeli government spokesman who disapproved of my reporting in the Middle East told me Israel had “nothing to worry about as long as Americans read the Bible rather than the Koran.” Osama’s lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, stood that logic on its head. In a book entitled Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet, serialized in a Saudi-owned newspaper just after the collapse
him. Several weeks later he left a voice message on an Internet site advising his followers, “I’m safe, but just don’t ask too much about me.” Such are the murky highways and byways of terrorism that some European counterterrorism officials suspected their British colleagues of striking a deal with this man—sometimes said to be Osama’s top European representative—perhaps because even if Abu Qatada did not turn informer he would naturally risk being so regarded by his Muslim flock if indeed he
gross human-rights violations against the southern Christians and animists. That characterization of the NIF was far from inaccurate, but arguably it was up to the much stronger power to make the first step. Carney and others in the pro-engagement camp felt that diplomacy was invented to deal with unpleasant situations, especially when backed with Washington’s clout. Other unlikable regimes had been coaxed back into polite society with a mix of diplomatic sticks and carrots. But the African
September 11, Louis Freeh, then the director of the FBI, began honoring Algiers with his presence and agreed on quiet cooperation, especially concerning Afghan veterans. But it was not until a visit to Algiers on December 13, 2002, that an American official, Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, remarked, “We have much to learn from Algeria on the way to fight terrorism.” Such a public accolade was a far cry from the days when the official Algerian mantra lamented that as long as the