|Third, it was noticed in press and analytical commentaries that the two incidents were linked to the US presence in the region in general and in the Kingdom in particular. The two incidents were also linked to US policy toward Israel and Iraq and US support for governments in the region and their cooperation in the arrest of wanted Islamists and encouragement of the arrest of others. On the other hand, this issue seemed important through embarrassing the Arab regimes that collaborate with America in its policy against Islam. These regimes felt that those jihad members had moved from confronting them to confronting their American masters. Meaning that they have logistical capabilities that are greater than just confronting those regimes. This causes a high degree of embarrassment.
Although there are many indications that certain Islamic parties are responsible for the incident, well-known parties did not claim responsibility for the incident. The only thing to be officially announced was the statement of the so-called "Islamic Army for Liberating Holy Places," which was unheard of before. However, the content of the statement is directly linked to the groups, about which there were indications, since the statement attacked US policy, demanded the departure of US forces from the Arabian Peninsula, and demanded the release of Shaykh Umar Abd-al-Rahman. The statement went as far as identifying the party that issued it by demanding the release of shaykhs held in the Kingdom's prisons, such as then-Shaykhs Salman and Safar. At the time, the groups that carry out such actions probably believed that the message could be delivered without claiming responsibility for the action in public. This is because the Americans and Arab regimes knew who was behind the issue through an intelligence examination of the statement. As for the public, it would be enough for it to read the demands in the statement without knowing its source. And if these groups did not want any negative effects of the incident to be linked to them, they would have gotten rid of this through not claiming responsibility for the incident openly and publicly.
The final conclusion that should be pointed out is that Islamic parties, which are believed to be behind the two incidents, have demonstrated through the two incidents that they have logistical, technical, and human resources to carry out the operation. These parties have also demonstrated that they managed to exploit the maximum element of surprise, and that they also managed to coordinate the two incidents with a huge size of destruction.
The Americans Retaliate
Bin-Ladin did not speak publicly. He was only quoted as denying responsibility for the bombing. However, it seems that the Americans had another conclusion, which they had reached from the first week after the bombing; namely, that Bin-Ladin is 100 percent responsible for the two explosions whether he admitted it or not. Based on that alleged information, the Americans carried out their well-known operation of striking Sudan and Afghanistan. Dozens of Cruise missiles fell on Sudan and Afghanistan to strike two specific targets in Sudan and Afghanistan. But was the US retaliation smart?
Taking a close look at the issue shows that America is now unknowingly implementing parts of the programs of jihad groups. Perhaps, it was God's will that Clinton's scandals increased at the time and became a factor in the timing of the US strike. Then, the US strike became one of the reasons behind the mounting outrage and hostility against America in the Islamic world, which is exactly what the jihad groups want. America had dragged Saddam into occupying Kuwait and given political and military signals that encourage Saddam to enter Kuwait. America did this to justify landing and keeping its forces and maintaining its domination over the region. Likewise, the jihad groups succeeded in dragging America into launching this strike to achieve what these groups had sought in terms of mobilizing the Islamic public against America, proving that these groups are equals with that superpower, and then justifying a long-term conflict with America following this mobilization, irrespective of whether this policy is correct or not.
The US strike in all its details-- the timing, the quality of the target, the method, and the quantity--was evidence of the confusion and misjudgment on the part of the Americans. It is not possible to explain these details strategically, politically, or militarily. Had Clinton's scandal with Monica not been behind this action, then there would be no explanation other than the triumph of arrogance and self-conceit over planning, study, and wisdom. As for the timing, America did not make an open accusation against Bin-Ladin. It was unable to do that except after months of investigations. Even after the strike, Kenyan and American investigators continued to refuse to point a finger of accusation against anyone. Before the case of Kenya and Tanzania, America had refrained from launching a strike except after obtaining concrete evidence, and not only indications. But this conclusive evidence cannot be obtained in only two weeks after the Kenya and Tanzania incidents. Besides, the time factor is also important to prepare the world public to accept, at least partially, the idea of the strike, but all of this did not happen. Therefore, the strike was very embarrassing for America's allies in the Arab and Islamic world. Compare, for example, this hastiness in launching the strike with America's rejection of launching a strike against Iran up until now on the pretext of lack of evidence, although Saudi Arabia's allegations of the Iranian role in Al-Khubar are stronger than America's evidence of Bin-Ladin's role in Kenya and Tanzania.
The targets selected by America were laughable and even shameful. Immediately after the strike, it became clear that the selection of the targets was catastrophic for America. For example, America alleged that Bin-Ladin had used the pharmaceutical factory in Sudan to produce chemical weapons, or at least components of chemical weapons. America also alleged that the selection of the target was based on confirmed intelligence information. It is known that making a decision to launch such a strike means that the Americans trust those intelligence reports to the extent that they disregard all the serious risks of this operation. This means that if Sudan managed to prove that the factory was no more than a real pharmaceutical factory, which is what happened, then this would harm the credibility of the US intelligence. This would also destroy US justifications for any future strike, since successive analyses about this factory continued until it became clear that it had nothing to do with Bin-Ladin.
But regardless of the claim of the intelligence, the US strike was a compounded error. On the one hand, the strike was an infringement on a sovereign country. This contravenes so-called international law, international norms, and the methods of civilized nations, to use the words of America itself. America alleges that it is very careful to respect these values. On the other hand, the US strike surprised Sudan, since there were no previous signals from America of the existence of such an activity at the factory. On the contrary, America had greatly softened its tone against Sudan during the period that preceded the strike, thus giving the impression that America despaired of linking Sudan to the terrorism it alleges. Anyway, all those who follow jihad movements in general and Bin-Ladin in particular know that their ties with Sudan were severed completely. They also know that these groups are dissatisfied with the Sudanese Government, which they consider as having abandoned a religious duty in order to clear itself of the accusation of terrorism. Some jihad trends even go as far as categorizing Sudan with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The target that was struck in Afghanistan is also evidence of glaring stupidity, since the United States could not tell the difference between Islamic countries and jihad groups, and also between Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. It is common knowledge that Islamic groups do not operate like armies, which have centers for command and communications or centers for logistical support and ammunition. These centers are targets, which, if struck with precision, help paralyze the armies. As for jihad groups in Afghanistan, you find them in a trench, a tunnel, a cave, or a tent between trees. Those familiar with the situation in Afghanistan burst into laughter when the Americans called the struck target "Bin-Ladin's infrastructure." Anyway, most of Bin-Ladin's followers in Afghanistan were present in northern Afghanistan at the time and rejoicing with the Taleban over their victories over Dostum. In addition, a large number of Bin-Ladin's followers and supporters are outside Afghanistan. Some of these followers and supporters declare that they are present in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, while some others do not declare where they are. Therefore, the so-called infrastructure was only an attempt at heating up the atmosphere and persuading the ignorant US public.
Furthermore, America's strike against Afghanistan is more dangerous than the strike against Sudan because it amounts to agitating and infuriating the Taleban and pushing it into the battle against America. Apparently, the Americans compared Afghanistan with Iraq and Libya after they saw the effect of the missiles on these two countries. But the opposite happened, since Afghans in general and the Taleban in particular are inclined to defiance and confrontation, and not to submission and fear. This is what made Taleban leader Mola Omar vow at the time to defend Bin-Ladin even if all countries of the world waged war on Taleban. Apparently, the Americans sustained further, unexpected damage by attacking Afghanistan when it became clear that most of the victims were Pakistani mojahedin in Kashmir. This is what prompted their leader, at a news conference, to declare war on America, as well as India.
Jihad groups were in desperate need for the method the Americans presented the strike in the media and officially. This method portrays those groups in general and Bin-Ladin in particular as America's real opponent and equal and as a force that succeeded in forcing America to act in a confused manner. Bin-Ladin is no longer that person who is shown on US and Western channels, which argue to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with. On the contrary, Bin-Ladin has now become America's monster number one, according to the statements of the US President and officials themselves. Millions of people in the world have watched how the US President, the secretary of defense, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were careful to mention Usamah Bin-Ladin in their speeches and answers to the press in order to justify the strike. This portrayal and this method gave strong momentum to the supporters of the jihad trend, especially Bin-Ladin's followers, boosted their morale, and made them feel like a superpower in the face of the United States. Those hasty, erroneous strikes even seemed as evidence to them that they made America lose its mind and, consequently, it became confused and did not know where to strike.
Regarding the Arab and Islamic public, the story is not different, since the public is experiencing a crisis of heroism and a crisis of sacrifices. The public is waiting for one that satisfies the feeling of taking revenge and curtailing America and its terrorism, as it terrorized and harassed Muslims in Palestine, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, Africa, Turkey, and elsewhere. Therefore, watching US officials admit that they were confused and afraid of Bin-Ladin through those strikes satisfied this feeling and boosted Bin-Ladin's popularity. This is especially since Bin-Ladin, unlike America's alleged opponents of the rulers of Arab countries, cannot be accused of collusion. The record of this new leader is completely different from the record of those leaders, such as Al-Qadhafi and Saddam. If Bin-Ladin declared his confrontation of America, then no one would cast doubt on this declaration. These effects were observed on the ground after the strike, since voicing admiration and support of Bin-Ladin does not cause security embarrassment anymore. In Pakistan and the Islamic east, the public not only admires Bin-Ladin, but also considers him a leader and savior of the Islamic nation from the domination of the Americans. Demonstrations were staged there, in which demonstrators carried pictures of Bin-Ladin.
Moreover, those who lived with Bin-Ladin and the Arab mujahidin, and even non-Muslims who were able to meet Bin-Ladin stress an important fact; namely, that this man and members of jihad groups consider death in their war with America as one of their greatest wishes. Therefore, these strikes cannot be considered effective in frightening or terrorizing those groups. The members of these groups had lived under Russian and Communist bombardment for many years and waged many fierce battles with the Russians and others to the extent that they have become addicted to the sounds of explosions. They find it difficult to sleep without them, as one of their companions said.
Other losers in this turmoil are the Arab governments, which live under the protection of America. These governments have appeared despicable and small between two superpowers--the United States and Bin-Ladin. The US strikes caused great embarrassment to those governments, which could not support the strikes lest they should prove their absolute collusion. Nor could these governments denounce the strikes lest they should recognize Bin-Ladin indirectly. These feelings were clear in the Saudi media, which completely ignored news of the strikes. The Kingdom's television, radio, and local press only carried a brief report about the strikes, without making any reference to Bin-Ladin. The Saudi press abroad, which cannot ignore Bin-Ladin, was allowed to mention Bin-Ladin's name, provided he is not referred to as a Saudi.
For its part, Taleban felt deeply embarrassed after the first explosion and before the US strike. The Americans, however, saved them from embarrassment through the stupid strike, especially since the two strikes coincided with the participation of Arab Afghans, most of whom are followers of Bin-Ladin, in Taleban's battle against Dostum in northern Afghanistan. The Arab Afghans played a key role in eliminating Dostum, especially since the first offensive, which was launched by Taleban alone, was unsuccessful. During that period, the Americans again tried to negotiate with Taleban on Bin-Ladin, but Mola Omar refused to negotiate with them. Then, the Americans only sent a letter to Mola Omar, in which they explained their request; namely, that the United States is concerned about its security and the security of its citizens, which is the reason for its dialogue with the Taleban. Mola Omar only replied to them by saying that if the Americans were serious about requesting security for themselves, then they should leave the Islamic world, especially the Arabian Peninsula.
Did the Americans Have Another Choice?
Yes, they had a much wiser choice. However, Almighty God not only made them drop this choice, but also wanted them to blow Bin-Ladin's issue out of proportion to cover up for Clinton's scandals. This other choice could have besieged Bin-Ladin and the jihad groups. The Americans were not guided to this choice; namely, staying patient and tolerant and magnifying the image of innocent people, especially Muslims, who were killed in the Kenya and Tanzania bombings and portraying Bin-Ladin and members of jihad groups as bloodthirsty people, who are the exception among the Muslims themselves, and who do not even care about killing their fellow companions of innocent Muslims.
The Americans perhaps had an opportunity to greatly benefit from religious institutions in Egypt and the Kingdom in distorting the image of these groups through linking them to the killing of dozens of innocent Muslims for the sake of killing a few Americans only, and in depicting those groups as the last ones to adhere to religion. Had the Americans shown patience, tolerated the impact of the strike, and moved in that direction, Bin-Ladin and the jihad groups would have been put in a critical position with the peoples and the Taleban. This is because that action, which the Americans can question its legitimacy on the Islamic level through the said institutions, would greatly harm the popularity of those groups and make America appear as the party that is unjustly wronged and treated. But what happened was that the Americans were deprived of this choice in a way that they could not recover, because they had gone too far in exaggerating the reaction and inflating Bin-Ladin and proving that he harmed them.
America Launches Campaign Against "Bin-Ladin's Aides"
In the weeks that followed the two bombings and the US retaliation, America embarked on an arrest campaign against some Arabs and Muslims under the pretext of their links to Bin-Ladin. The method of announcing [arrests] now used by the United States is similar to the method used by some Arab countries. As soon as these countries arrest or kill a "group leader," another "group leader" appears and they arrest or kill him and it becomes clear that the leaders in those groups outnumber the members! The United States has used this method to improve its image in its pursuit of Bin-Ladin's alleged network. The US Government has exploited the ignorance of the American people and exaggerated the issue to compensate for its failure in the war of "terrorism" and the pursuit of Bin-Ladin. As for Bin-Ladin himself, he remained under Taleban's protection during that period for fear of a surprise assassination or kidnapping. At the time, the spokesman for the movement denied the rumor that Bin-Ladin was under house arrest, and said that Bin-Ladin was free to move all over Afghanistan.
Saudi Arabia Did Not Lose Hope
The Saudi Government did not stop its attempts to put pressure on Taleban to hand over Bin-Ladin. For this purpose, the Saudi Government used the last arrow in its quiver; namely, dispatching Turki al-Faysal--the most experienced Saudi prince in Afghanistan's affairs--to Afghanistan. Turki al-Faysal left for Afghanistan accompanied by Abdallah al-Turki, Islamic affairs minister, and Salman al-Umari, Saudi charge d'affaires in Kabul. In Kandahar, the Saudi delegation met Mola Omar and requested handing over Bin-Ladin to the United States. A heated argument took place between the Saudi delegation and Taleban.
During the meeting, Mola Omar said that if they [the Saudis] were speaking for the United States, then they should not blame him if he said that he was speaking for Bin-Ladin. This statement by Mola Omar was intended to embarrass the delegation, which requested handing over Bin-Ladin to the United States, although Mola Omar did not approve of Bin-Ladin's recent policies. At the meeting, Turki al-Faysal claimed that he had come at the request of Mola Omar in order to receive Bin-Ladin. Mola Omar denied making such a promise and even criticized the legitimacy of making such a request in the first place. Thus, the argument between the two sides became so heated to the extent that Mola Omar said harsh words to the Saudi delegation, which the interpreter hesitated to interpret. Mola Omar chided the interpreter and insisted on interpreting the words verbatim. Before Turki al-Faysal left, Mola Omar asked him to take the Saudi charge d'affaires with him because he is so-and-so. After Turki al-Faysal returned to Riyadh, he requested an apology from Mola Omar, who refused to apologize. Mola Omar also refused to return the Saudi charge d'affaires. So the Saudis decided to expel the Afghan charge d'affaires in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia Expels Taleban's Representative
At the end of September in the same year, the Saudi Government decided to expel Taleban's representative without an official justification. But the reason for this was known afterward through the Taleban themselves. In brief, the reason for the expulsion--as mentioned above--was the movement's rejection of all Saudi requests to hand over Usamah Bin-Ladin or curb his activity or hand over other "Arab Afghans" who are present in Taleban's areas. Officially, nothing was issued except for a single shy statement by a responsible source who declined to be identified, according to AFP's story at the time.
Saudi Slip of the Tongue: Bin-Ladin is Behind Al-Khubar Bombing
The said statement by the Saudi official was tantamount to a slip of the tongue, which the Saudi official took back. Afterward, it was learned that that official was punished for the leak. The statement said that the reason for expelling Taleban's representative was their failure to cooperate with the Saudi Government on extraditing some wanted followers of Bin-Ladin who reside in Taleban's areas despite the existence of proofs of their involvement in the Al-Khubar bombing. This slip of the tongue was the first time a Saudi party says that those responsible for the Al-Khubar bombing were followers of Bin-Ladin, while Saudi Arabia had claimed--and continued to claim--that those responsible for the incident were Shiites.
The Expulsion of Taleban's Ambassador is Natural
The Saudi Government's decision to expel Taleban's representative was not strange inasmuch as their quick recognition of Taleban was interesting. Perhaps, the first recognition of Taleban was based on misjudgments to the effect that this new entity should join the new world order under US auspices. The Kingdom is the best one that can do this, in view of its spiritual standing in the Islamic world and its influence and experience in Afghan jihad in the past. The Saudi Government decided to deal with Taleban in the same method it had dealt with former party leaders based on the belief that the Taleban are Afghans, just as former parties, and the method that worked with the parties would work with the Taleban. That is why the rulers of the Kingdom ignored the issue of Bin-Ladin at the beginning and contributed the recognition--without anything in return--as a favor to the Afghans, who would be careful to return this "great" favor.
The Saudi Government took another step by inviting Taleban leaders to perform the hajj and umrah as official guests of the Saudi state. Tempting offers, which entice humans, were made to some Taleban leaders. The Saudi Government also tried to use its religious influence by sending some ulema or letters from shaykhs to influence Taleban's positions. All the Saudi Government had hoped was that the Taleban would agree to deal with the rest of the world on a "Pakistani-Saudi" basis, or, at least, that they would accept the Saudi Government's minimum demands of handing over Bin-Ladin or downsizing him. But none of this materialized in spite of the repeated Saudi attempts.
The Saudi Government did not lose hope and tried to influence Taleban through some personalities, which it regarded as flexible wings in Taleban, but the result was negative. Therefore, the Saudis became involved, since they neither contained Taleban nor were absolved of the accusation of collaboration or dealing with the Taleban after their confrontation of the United States. It was inevitable to get rid of this accusation after the relationship with the Taleban became pointless. Thus, the expulsion decision was made. It is highly likely that the timing had to do with Prince Abdallah's visit to Washington, since the decision was issued one day before Prince Abdallah's arrival in Washington. The decision was tantamount to an acquittal of the Saudi Government of the relationship with the Taleban, who shelter America's enemy number one: Bin-Ladin. It would not have been proper for Prince Abdallah to be a guest of the Americans while his country continues to be pleased with Taleban--the exporter of "terrorism."
Bin-Ladin Saves Kabul Once More
On the level of Bin-Ladin and "Arab Afghans," a funny development coincided with those events and strengthened their position in the eyes of the Taleban. This happened when Arab Afghans managed to protect one of Kabul's fronts against Ahmad Shah Masud while the Taleban were preoccupied with the Bamiyan front, where the Shiites are, and the northern front, where Dostum is. Ahmad Shah Masud, who is considered an experienced field commander, had carried out a successful military operation by exploiting the fact that the front was empty of Taleban troops. The Arab mujahidin were swift-moving and they had a buildup near northern Kabul, where the front opposite to Ahmad Shah Masud is situated. The Arabs showed incredible courage in that battle, in which around 50 Arabs only held out their ground in the face of Ahmad Shah Masud and prevented him from entering Kabul. Those who follow Afghan affairs probably noticed that since then, Masud began making statements against Bin-Ladin, while he had ignored him in the past. Another development took place on the level of the Arab mujahidin when they were joined by other non-Arab nationals from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and other countries. Most, or almost all, of these mujahidin feel that they are followers of Bin-Ladin.
Saudi Press Adopts the Government's Position
No sooner was the Saudi decision to sever diplomatic ties with the Taleban issued than the Saudi press turned against Taleban and changed its rhetoric on the pattern of the Arab revolutionary media in the 1960s. All of a sudden, those who had been described by the same press during the period of good relations as students applying the Islamic shari'ah turned into mercenaries, highwaymen, drug traffickers, and centers of international terrorism and cultural backwardness. Other newspapers did not attach importance to this area as much as they attached importance to Bin-Ladin's case. These newspapers highlighted Taleban as an opportunist group that protects Bin-Ladin today for temporary interests and sells him out the next day. At the time, the Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper alleged that Mola Omar broke his oath and that handing over Bin Ladin was only a question of time.
Taleban Execute a Spy for Saudi Arabia
The Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper's expectations were wrong to the extent that the Taleban took the world by surprise when they executed a pro-Saudi person. This person came after a prince assigned him to kill Bin-Ladin, as Taleban's sources say. According to Taleban's story, the Taleban, in cooperation with Bin-Ladin's group, arrested several mercenaries, including some persons from Bin-Ladin's home country, who were planning to carry out sabotage operations in Afghanistan and also planning to assassinate Bin-Ladin. The arrested persons include Afghans and Arabs, as well as some persons from Bin-Ladin's home country. Their interrogation revealed that they were dispatched by the prince in charge of the file of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Bin-Ladin's Mother Embroiled in the Game
In spite of the failure of Turki al-Faysal's visit, the Saudis did not lose hope and decided to use another method that has nothing to do with the Taleban; namely, exercising pressure on Bin-Ladin directly. Bin-Ladin's mother was banned from travel and was prevented from visiting her son when he was in Sudan. The Saudi Government knew that Bin-Ladin was yearning to see his mother. Therefore, the Saudi Government arranged a visit for his mother by a private plane to take her to Kandahar in order to use her to put pressure on her son and blackmail him. Usamah's mother was indeed flown [to Kandahar] together with her husband, who comes from Al-Attas family--a well-known family from Hadhramaut. The mother arrived and Usamah indeed met his mother, whom he had not seen for years. It is not strange that the meeting was very emotional, but Bin-Ladin was perfectly clear in that his issues were not subject to discussion despite the blackmail. The brokenhearted mother returned after she was delighted to see her son, Usamah, but did not achieve any demand for the one who dispatched her with her husband.
Bin-Ladin suddenly reappeared on some US newspapers and two television channels in early 1999, thus again embarrassing the Taleban. Bin-Ladin's answers and comments did not indicate any change of position. Later, after the Americans and the Saudis despaired of the Taleban heeding diplomatic pressure, it was decided to use all possible means. This prompted the Taleban to decide to isolate Bin-Ladin from the world to achieve two objectives. First, protecting him. Second, preventing him from causing them another embarrassment they can do without, especially since they disagreed with Bin-Ladin over the recent fatwa. Bin-Ladin has remained isolated for protection purposes up until now. During this period, there were reports that he left Afghanistan, but these reports were not confirmed. At the beginning of the summer of 1999, the Al-Jazirah Channel showed a documentary on Bin-Ladin. The interview with Bin-Ladin, which was a part of the documentary, was videotaped during the same past period; namely, in early 1998.
Imposing Blockade on Taleban
As was announced and reported, the United States decided to use its influence on the Security Council to impose a blockade on Taleban until it hands over Bin-Ladin. The Security Council's endorsement of the resolution was evidence that the Council's entity was willing to implement US orders in a shameful manner. We do not want to comment a lot on this because the world's mere submission to the United States on such an issue reflects the situation of the world at present. What is important is that America and others did not understand that this method does not work with the Taleban, and that it is unthinkable that they would extradite Bin-Ladin.
The Current Situation
Usamah Bin-Ladin is still present in a private place for protecting him, along with a significant number of Arab brothers. There has been no significant development that would alter his situation. His relationship with the Taleban is still unchanged in terms of showing respect and appreciation and providing protection, while expressing reservations about his recent actions. Also, there has been no change in his ties with other parties.
Questions and Answers
The first pivot: Why has the United States officially, and through its head, Clinton, adopted Bin-Ladin's confrontation?
The second pivot: Why is Bin-Ladin so popular with the Muslims in general?
The third pivot: Why do Al Sa'ud comment on Bin-Ladin in this manner?
What you have described as an international consensus on labeling Bin-Ladin as terrorist--and perhaps you mean governments and political parties--is a part of the US stand and does not require a special analysis.
Regarding the first pivot, there is a very important observation, which is that despite the old US interest in Bin-Ladin--I mean the intelligence--the US political and media attention started only after the declaration of the World Islamic Front. Nothing new happened over the past two years with regard to Bin-Ladin's sacrifices and jihad. The man has been known for his sacrifices and endeavors since he knew Afghanistan.
Notice also that he did not start to antagonize America publicly until after the declaration of the World Islamic Front in 1998, when the US Administration and afterward the US media showed an unusual interest in him. In fact, when he issued the jihad statement in 1996 on expelling US and other non-Muslim forces from the Arabian Peninsula, there was very limited attention to him. In fact, some of those who are following Bin-Ladin's case assert that the Americans perhaps tried to avoid responding to that statement fearing that this would put him in the limelight, which would make him famous.
Notice also that although his name was linked to the Al-Khubar and Riyadh bombings, the US authorities did not make any serious effort to prove this, compared to their attempts to tie him to the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The same previous observation is valid here. The Americans were careful at that stage to belittle the importance of any role for Bin-Ladin in the bombings of Riyadh and Al-Khubar, while categorically confirming and asserting and playing up his role in the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
It seems to me that the reason for the change in the US attitude toward the total disregard of the 1996 statement to the interest in the bombings in 1998 is because the Americans realized the difference between calling for the eviction of infidel occupation forces from the Arabian Peninsula, which infidels are not allowed to enter, and the call for killing the Americans everywhere and anytime. The Americans know that the first call has a strong argument and is based on teachings of the shari'ah and is widely accepted by the Muslims, since it calls for expelling the infidel invaders from the holiest Muslim country. Besides, this call is perfectly acceptable to non-Muslims, including the US public opinion. This is because expelling occupation forces from an occupied country is a legitimate and justified demand and finds a receptive ear by liberation forces. Demanding that people be given their rights is a very embarrassing issue for the US Government, which claims to support the right of people to self-determination. This applies to the operations in Riyadh and Al-Khubar. In those two operations, which the Americans have information on Bin-Ladin's role in them, the target was the US forces inside the Arabian Peninsula. So the target was military forces, and the justification is their presence in the form of occupation forces on holy lands.
As for the second call or declaration of the World Islamic Front, it was different because it was a call for killing Americans, civilian and military, not in the Arabian Peninsula, but everywhere. The Americans know that this kind of rhetoric is unlikely to receive any sympathy from the US public opinion. Besides, this talk will not receive the same acceptance the first statement received from the Muslims. This is because it is not based on cogent proof from the Islamic shari'ah that parallels the argument advanced in the first statement.
Afterward, the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania came to prove the content of the statement of the Front. At least, this is how the Americans portrayed it. The target in the bombings was not US forces. It was a handful of Americans, irrespective of the innocent victims that may die with them, even if those victims were Muslims. As long as there are American victims, it is okay if hundreds are killed. The field here is not the holy lands, and not even the United States itself. This way, it would be possible to deprive Bin-Ladin of Islamic and international sympathy by depicting him as a bloodthirsty person without a religious justification or an acceptable political logic.
Hence, the US enthusiasm to face Bin-Ladin after the declaration of the Front and the two bombings. But God decreed that this US enthusiasm coincide with Clinton's scandal with Lewinsky. This led to a ludicrous confusion in US policy, followed by the Islamic reaction, which we will discuss in the second pivot.
The second pivot: Why has Bin-Ladin won this popularity among ordinary Muslims? This issue stems from the first. In my opinion, the most important factor here was not the statements of Bin-Ladin or the Kenya and Tanzania bombings or the Riyadh and Al-Khubar bombings. The key factor--and God knows if I am right--was the US reaction, represented in hitting Afghanistan and Sudan, and Clinton's statement that he had made the decision to strike the two countries in retaliation against Bin-Ladin. To envisage this outcome, we should understand the current Islamic mentality, which is hostile toward the United States because of its stands against the Muslims. Meanwhile, we see the submission of the rulers of the Arabs and Muslims to the United States, and their willingness to carry out its orders and plans. This is why the Muslims are thirsty for and greatly enthusiastic about anyone who stands against the United States and proves that he can hurt it. Is there better evidence that Bin-Ladin had hurt the United States and quenched the thirst of Muslims than Clinton himself standing and repeating Bin-Ladin's name three times while announcing the strike against Sudan and Afghanistan as a retaliation against Bin-Ladin? Afterward, the US media, followed by the international and Arab media, got busy describing the ongoing war between Bin-Ladin and the United States. I believe--and I hope that people will not misunderstand me here--that had the United States not responded in this manner, Bin-Ladin would probably not have turned into this legendary hero. In fact, had the United States waited a little bit longer and tried to exploit the religious gaps in the statement of the World Front--seeking the help of the ulema of the authority recommended by the Saudi and Egyptian Governments--and had it focused on the blood and remains in Kenya and Tanzania, where a large number of Muslims were killed, Bin-Ladin would not have achieved this popularity. Perhaps, God wanted to confuse the Americans when He decreed that their President get involved in that scandal and thus the equation was completely reversed.
The third pivot: Why do Al Sa'ud comment on Bin-Ladin in this manner? As we have said, this is also related to the first pivot. The Al Sa'ud family did not disown Bin-Ladin because he is a "terrorist." They disowned him because he became more famous and greater than them. There are many "Saudi" terrorists, and yet the Al Sa'ud disowned only Bin-Ladin. The reason has to do with the psychological state of Al Sa'ud more than it has to do with Bin-Ladin. The Al Sa'ud do not want anyone who belongs to the country that is named after them to be greater than them. Usually, the Al Sa'ud deal with such a problem by dwarfing the person whose stature gets greater. They did this to Al-Qusaybi, Ayid al-Qarni, Salman al-Awdah, and Safar al-Hawali. As for Bin-Ladin, they had no way of dwarfing him because he was far from their influence. The only solution was to strip him of his affiliation to the Kingdom. Thus, we saw how the statements of Prince Nayif and Prince Sultan on the case of Bin-Ladin reflected their discomfort and displeasure with Bin-Ladin's fame. Based on this attitude, we would not find it strange if an order was issued abrogating the citizenship of Al-Khattab, who is waging jihad in Chechnya, should his fame continue to grow. Just wait for statements by Nayif about Al-Khattab similar to his statements about Bin-Ladin.
--First-hand, personal information, which means close companionship.
--Stories by a large number of those who had a first-hand experience with Bin-Ladin, including ulema, escorts, followers, and even members of the Bin-Ladin family.
--The statements of the shaykh in his own name or in the name of the commissions or the parties with which he was associated.
--Articles on him in Arabic and English.
--Recordings of television interviews with CNN, ABC, and other stations.
Issues and Analyses About Usamah Bin-Ladin
Bin-Ladin had a good upbringing, in terms of performing the duties ordered by Islam and observing a code of ethics and rules of politeness in general. His father raised him in a way through which he got used to responsibility, self-confidence, generosity, and modesty. Rarely do we find one person who combines all these traits. Bin-Ladin is also known for his shyness and tendency not to speak a lot. He looks serious most of the time, yet he tries to be cheerful. In general, he avoids raising his voice or laughing too much. He was known for all these traits even before engaging in jihad.
After engaging in jihad, he acquired other traits, such as sacrifice, patience, and endurance. His self-confidence and ability to shoulder responsibility made him a good commander, whether in terms of the field concept or the concept of commanding a group. Bin-Ladin is greatly popular with his followers. They love him so much. However, those who know him very well say that, for one reason or another, his "charisma" is not predominant. This could be because he avoids singling himself out from his followers and deals with others in excessive familiarity. This makes him lose some of his prestige. Bin-Ladin is careful to share with the young people who accompany him all their activities and daily life. He avoids singling himself out in terms of his food, clothing, or place of living. Although he is married to several women, he spends more time with his followers than with his family.
Leadership and Mental Capacity
In terms of his mental capacity, Bin-Ladin is said to have a great measure of intelligence, self-confidence, power of observation, and common sense. However, those who know Bin-Ladin's personality say that judging these mental faculties, in conjunction with his capacity for leadership and planning, shows that he hesitates a little in making decisions and assessing matters, to a degree that causes harm in some cases. But some people justify his hesitation by saying that he prefers not to make hasty decisions and to consult ulema and clerics, and that this hesitation is not caused by a lack of self-confidence. Indeed, Bin-Ladin is careful to consult the ulema, even when there are difficult security conditions. Perhaps, this was one of the reasons for his delay in making decisions. While some people deem this a sign of maturity and careful consideration, others say that expanding the circle of consultation to include operational matters and waiting to hear the opinion of a number of ulema who are difficult to contact goes against decisiveness and resolve in leadership.
Courage and Caution
One of the outstanding traits of Bin-Ladin, on which his enemies and supporters agree, is courage. His associates say that a huge bomb could explode not far from where he is standing, and yet this would not make him turn a hair. During the incidents of Afghanistan, he came under heavy artillery fire more than 40 times--in three cases people were flying on his right and left--and yet there was no indication that he was affected at all, except feeling sad over the loss of loved ones.
One of the serious incidents, which he miraculously escaped with the help of God, was when a Scud missile exploded 17 meters from him. He was taken to a hospital or a local doctor more than once for treatment from wounds he had sustained. Once, he was about to die because the cloud of chemical weapons had reached him. His permanent wish is martyrdom. He thinks that he is living an extra age, so to speak, because he had escaped death so many times. This feeling gave him an additional dose of faith and an urge to please God more, since God gave him more courage and indifference toward the plans of the enemies. For him, life and death are the same.
In spite of his courage, he was very cautious. He learned from his personal experience and from what his friends--who were experienced in security matters--had told him about many aspects of security precautions. For example, it is said that he does not allow any electronic device in the place where he lives, even if it is an electric clock, since this could lead others to his place through special equipment. In addition, he has a team for security and watch, who are especially trained on this. It is also said that since he became an opponent of parties that have influence and a strong intelligence, he no longer trusted anyone, except for the group he knew very well. He does not accept outside recommendations. It is natural for someone like him to shroud his movements and travels in total secrecy and to use diversion methods and tricks when he moves.
Emotions and Strictness
Paradoxically, Bin-Ladin combines emotion and tenderness on the one hand and strictness and stubbornness on the other. He is greatly moved when a person dear to him gets hurt or when someone reminds him of an emotional story he had experienced. However, despite this feeling, he does not change his attitudes. For this reason, he suffers a great deal. He often thinks about the young people who were hurt because of him inside or outside the Kingdom. At the same time, it does not occur to him to change his attitudes because of what happened to those people. The same thing goes for his attitude toward his family, brothers, and mother. He is extremely dutiful toward his mother and greatly cares about her and worries about the harassment she is exposed to; however, he does not take this factor into consideration when making decisions and plans.
As for his brothers, we will see when we talk about his family that Bin-Ladin cares about family bonds and fears for his brothers, but he does not give this any role in his decisions and plans. One of the sentiments that affect Bin-Ladin is his passionate love for Hejaz. He used to say that a tent under the mountains of Hejaz is better than a palace on the Nile. He considers his love for this country dual, first because God honored it with the [Islamic] message, and second because he was born and raised there and he had beautiful memories in it. Despite this, Bin-Ladin finds no parallel to the land of jihad and his memories there. That is why he considers some places in Afghanistan to be the most beautiful spot and its memories the best. It was in these places that the most dangerous confrontations with the Russians took place, in which Bin-Ladin personally took part and in which he lost a number of his men.
Culture and Education
It is said that Bin-Ladin has had a good share of education, general knowledge, and academic and Islamic studies. He is an avid reader, and he has an unusual interest in information, documents, archiving, and following the press and special reports. Therefore, he is careful to take with him a team of researchers and information specialists wherever he goes. Bin-Ladin has been eager to improve his knowledge of Islamic sciences and the Arabic language. Thus, he always makes it a point to have a knowledgeable escort.
Bin-Ladin is known for his love and appreciation of poetry. It is said that he wrote poetry, but probably it was not good enough to be made public. It is said that he is obsessed with accuracy in using the Arabic language when he takes part in any media activity or writes a statement or letter. But it is also said that he does not like to attribute what is published to himself and prefers that it be jointly attributed to other scholars in his company.
Thought and Methodology
Throughout his life, Bin-Ladin has been influenced by Islamic movements in general, but he never joined any of them organizationally. He was only influenced by the ideas and concepts raised by these groups, such as the comprehensive character of Islam, the issue of rule, return to Islamic sciences, the biography of the Prophet and the caliphs, and the need for collective work for the Islamic plan. Bin-Ladin was also influenced by some jihad figures, thinkers, and figures engaged in the Islamic call, most prominently Muhammad Qutub and Shaykh Abdallah Azzam. Although Bin-Ladin is famous and has followers, he does not represent an independent school of thought. Bin-Ladin is not prolific, in terms of speech, writing, lecturing, and academic output. All the lectures he delivered do not exceed a handful. That is why very few recordings are available for him and within a very limited circle. Also, he did not author any books or write any letters, other than the statements attributed to him and the organizations he founded.
If we want to characterize Bin-Ladin's style, he is closer to the general character of Islam-abiding young people in the country of the two holy mosques. He believes in the salafi [traditional] approach in terms of depending on evidence from Islamic shari'ah, while respecting the views of other ulema and not offending them, even those who are allied with the rulers, with very few exceptions. He also respects Islamic groups that operate in the Islamic world, although he has certain observations on them in certain issues. As for judging the Muslims, he believes that the Muslims in general are powerless. They are either confused or deliberately deviant for worldly interests and gains. Although Bin-Ladin pays attention to the question of rule, as is the case of most Islamic movements and groups that call for change, and although he considers most, if not all, ruling regimes to be un-Islamic, he avoids accusing leading personalities of infidelity. As far as we know, he was never quoted as accusing any of the well-known personalities of infidelity.
Because Bin-Ladin lived a long time in a country that is replete with superstitions and fads, he learned the art of balancing the rejection of these fads and superstitions and dealing with the social and political reality without confrontation. In brief, Bin-Ladin represents an independent school, whether from the intellectual aspect or the operational and strategic aspect. We will see, God willing, that his operational program and strategic plan are not the outcome of his special individualistic view or his personal opinions. Most likely, they are the outcome of several factors, including the influence of the surrounding environment, especially the academics and specialists he consults.
Muhammad Awad Bin-Ladin died at the age of 54. After his death, the eldest son, Salim Bin-Ladin, took over the affairs of the family. Salim enjoyed a strong personality, which led to the unity of the family and kept it disciplined on the one hand and protected it from the intervention of the ruling family on the other. Usamah regarded his brother, Salim, as a father. He liked his strong personality and concern about protecting the family. Salim died in the early 1980s (Usamah's father died in the middle of 1386 hegira) in a private plane crash, like his father. His death was a loss to the family and its impact was felt quickly when members of the ruling family, including King Fahd, became partners in the big Bin-Ladin Company and the small Bin-Ladin companies.
The Bin-Ladin family suffered a great deal from the intervention of the ruling family. The partnership turned into unilateral influence. This was clear in many projects, most important of which was the project to expand the two holy mosques. The king got his full share on time, while Bakr Bin-Ladin received his share in small amounts. This is although the king was only a nominal partner, which means without capital or effort. This partnership took place by force, and not willingly.
Usamah was almost the 21st among the sons, but the rest of the members of the family looked at him as if he were the wise man of the family, especially when he rose to fame in Afghanistan and after the death of his brother, Salim. Usamah was the authority and arbiter in the family's internal disputes. During the jihad days in the 1980s, his brothers, sisters, and relatives were quick to host him at their homes upon his return to the Kingdom. Since his stay in the Kingdom was usually short, he used to make them agree to meet at the place of the oldest member of the family. Each time he returned to the Kingdom, his brothers used to introduce their children to him one by one and his sisters would bring their children and introduce them to him. Some of his sisters would ask him to name their children to be blessed by his choice of name.
The relationship continued like this, until he left for Sudan and then for Afghanistan. Of course, his family continued to take pride in him and remained careful to stay in touch with him as much as they could. As for reports that his brothers had disowned him, these are untrue. It was a false statement issued in their name. People close to the family know that the family was threatened and warned against making any hint that the statement was false. The important thing is that the family stayed in touch with Usamah, and this was not without the knowledge of the state, which wanted this to remain as an emergency channel of communication. The state used this channel more than once when he was in Sudan and Afghanistan. Naturally, it is now very difficult for his family to get in touch with him.
Usamah married for the first time at an early age when he was 17 years old. His first wife was the daughter of one of his maternal uncles. The rest of his wives were from families in Mecca. One of them was of noble descent. At least three of his wives managed to obtain high academic degrees while they were married to him. Bin-Ladin's wives are still with him in Afghanistan. They were also with him in Sudan, except for one, who is said to have stayed behind because of difficult circumstances against her will.
As for Usamah's children, they are probably over 20 in number. Usamah follows a strict policy in raising his children. His sons must master horse-riding and swimming and be exposed to harsh living conditions to get used to this style of life. The girls should study the Koran and Islamic sciences and other things that befit them. Therefore, Usamah got tired when he lived in the Kingdom because his sons lived close to their cousins in a luxurious atmosphere. He found it difficult to expose them to difficult living conditions without this meaning severing their bonds with their relatives. For example, some of Usamah's brothers used to show their love for his children by buying one of them a car on passing school tests. Usamah deemed this alien to his traditions, but he had to be courteous toward his brothers so he would accept the gift and then dispose of it (unless it is American-made of course!)
Because of his busy schedule, Usamah used to devote some time to his family, whether his small family or big one. When he was in the Kingdom, he used to devote a whole day every week to his family. He would assemble with them his mother and sisters. He often spent that time outside Jeddah, and most of the time at his farm.
Usamah managed to take all his children with him, except for three of them--the oldest and two others. The oldest went to the Kingdom to get married, and he was banned from travel. As for the two other children, they are still at an elementary age, but they are already banned from travel, perhaps to blackmail Usamah or to keep them hostages to protect the members of the ruling family from the "wrath" of Bin-Ladin. As for reports that Usamah married one of the daughters of Mola Omar, these are baseless and a fabrication by an intelligence source, which then spread without having any foundation.
Bin-Ladin and Al Sa'ud
Contrary to what is believed and to what many people allege, Bin-Ladin does not have--and has never had--any special relationship on the personal level with Al Sa'ud. All the contacts that took place in the past, including the contacts during the days of jihad and during the Gulf crisis, were made through his brothers. His brothers had a special relationship with Ahmad Bin-Abd-al-Aziz and Abd-al-Rahman Bin-Abd-al-Aziz. They also had a good relationship with King Fahd, Abdallah, Sultan, and the successive princes of Mecca.
Usamah may have met some princes accidentally at some gathering or at one of the homes of his brothers, but certainly there was no special relationship. As for the rumors, which were taken for granted, that he had a special relationship and used to coordinate with Turki al-Faysal, since the latter was interested in Afghanistan, these are baseless. In fact, Bin-Ladin was often suspicious of the role played by Turki al-Faysal in Afghanistan. They met only once, and at that meeting they had an argument, in which Usamah accused Turki of playing a suspicious role during the war between the parties. Usamah was of the opinion that the Saudi Government had assigned Turki the task of prolonging differences between the mujahidin. In fact, Usamah has had suspicions about the entire Saudi Government since the 1980s, but he preferred to remain silent in order not to influence the support for jihad. He did not want to provoke the state.
As for his brothers, their relationship with Al Sa'ud got very complicated because of the trade partnership with many princes. The king and a number of princes are still partners in a number of the Bin-Ladin companies. However, as we have said, Al Sa'ud were careful to maintain the relationship with the Bin-Ladin family as a channel of communication with Usamah in case they need this channel, as happened following the Kenya and Tanzania bombings.
The Relationship With the United States
Contrary to what is said in some writings, Bin-Ladin had no relations with the United States, neither direct nor indirect. All allegations to this effect are baseless fabrications. The truth is that Bin-Ladin's attitude toward the United States has been hostile since he knew Afghanistan. One of his confirmed statements at the beginning of the 1980s, when the United States pretended in front of the world that it supported the Afghan jihad, was that the next battle would be with the United States. For him, this was not a mere prophecy, but was a position that had a basis. The evidence is that since then, he has vowed not to buy any US commodity, except if this was absolutely essential. He also made his family and those on whom he had influence adopt the same attitude.
Since we are talking about Bin-Ladin and the United States, we must comment on the relationship between the United States and the Afghan issue.
First, there was a very powerful US role in Afghanistan, which cannot be denied. This role was in the form of political, financial, and military intervention and recruitment, infiltration, and spying. This activity targeted, among others, the so-called Arab Afghans.
Second, the US intervention took place directly through real presence of US individuals, whether from the intelligence or other political sides. This also happened indirectly through Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Third, there were Afghan teams, which cooperated with the United States in almost an exposed manner, such as the groups of Mojaddedi, Jilani, and Mohammad Nabi. These groups were willing, right from the beginning, to loosen up on the jihad plan. All the US and Saudi support went to them in the beginning.
Fourth, the groups that were considered clean at that time, such as the groups of Rabbani, Hekmatyar, and Sayyaf, received indirect US support via Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.
Fifth, there was a US-Pakistani-Saudi understanding on taming the mujahidin after the Russians' departure. If this failed, then the alternative would be to ignite differences between them, and this is what happened.
Sixth, contrary to what is believed, the Americans had no role in forming the Taleban. The Americans thought at the beginning that the Taleban were an appropriate force for a balance. So they remained silent on them and did not realize their danger until it was too late.
Seventh, the US role is still present and powerful in Afghanistan, despite the fact that the Taleban cut off the US lines. This role is played through Pakistan and by supporting Shah Masud and through the international pressure and the blockade.
Eighth, Bin-Ladin could have received a US weapon, either through buying it or from one of the other parties, but it never happened that Bin-Ladin received any weapons from the United States. In fact, he never dealt with any US officials.
To recap, we say that Bin-Ladin has never had any relationship with the Americans. The relationship was one of hostility, but it never occurred to the Americans that Bin-Ladin would be a problem for them one day.
The Relationship With Pakistan
Bin-Ladin enjoys great respect within the circles of ordinary Pakistanis, the Pakistani army, and a large number of Pakistani ulema. However, he did not set up any relationship with official Pakistani sides. He was perfectly aware that they had an understanding with the Americans and the Saudis and that the relationship with them would bring no good. However, the respect he enjoyed with the army and the ulema helped him a lot, whether during the jihad days or at present. This is because the Pakistani army is an establishment in which religion plays an important role and that has a number of commanders who sympathize with the cause of jihad. We can say that this respect ensured indirect support for Bin-Ladin in several stages, whether in terms of information or logistical support.
The Relationship With the Afghans
Usamah liked the Afghan people and admired many of their traits. He wished he could help reduce the ignorance and poverty from which the Afghan people suffer. Usamah does not deny the spread of superstitions and fads and the predominance of some tribal habits over religion. However, he believes that the Afghan community has traits that counterbalance these drawbacks. He also believes that addressing these problems is not done through directly denying them, but that they need a comprehensive plan that will take several generations to be realized. As for the Afghans as groups, Usamah was very careful not to be identified with any of them, so that he would not lose the other groups. He, along with Shaykh Abdallah Azzam, sought to reconcile and unite these groups. He also sought to mend fences between them after the collapse of Communism, but he failed. So he decided to leave Afghanistan. When he returned to Afghanistan and before he became under the protection of Taleban, he maintained his position and sent messages to all the parties that were there, telling them that he was not siding with one party against another. Those parties assured him that he would be protected wherever he went or traveled. This indeed was the stand of all the groups. The Afghan people think Bin-Ladin deserves their love because he is an Arab who came from the Hejaz country, the land of the two holy mosques, and because he abandoned wealth and luxury to wage jihad against their enemy.
The Relationship With Taleban
After the Taleban took over, the equation changed because most of Afghanistan became under their control. Despite this, Bin-Ladin took his time and did not make a decision to change his policy and side with Taleban until after he became convinced of their policy and trend and was certain that their plan was to implement Islamic law in Afghanistan, and that they were not afflicted, like other parties and leaders, by the desire for pure control and the readiness to burn the country to compete over power and neglect the application of Islam. At the beginning, the Taleban supported him all the way. They were happy to inherit him from the people who were in control of Jalalabad before them. Although Taleban's support for Bin-Ladin was based on principled foundations, other elements helped make the relationship closer. One of these elements was the role of the Bin-Ladin group in saving Kabul twice from the attack of Ahmad Shah Masud after one of the fronts was exposed. Another element was his role in persuading a number of specialized Arab young people to provide consultation to the Taleban concerning their plan to rebuild the country.
Bin-Ladin also played a role in alerting the Taleban against being fooled by the gas companies that wanted to lay pipelines from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean through Afghanistan and Pakistan. He also helped them get samples of international contracts of this kind. The Taleban supported his idea of expelling the infidel forces from the Arabian Peninsula. This continued to be their position, as we said in the historical review, until the declaration of the World Front, when they started to show reservations about his actions, especially his media activity, which often greatly embarrassed them. However, the fact that they had reservations did not mean, in any way, that they were willing to extradite him to any other party. The Taleban reject the extradition from two angles. The first is religious, which is that it is not allowed to extradite any Muslim, let alone a mujahid, to an infidel. The second is that Taleban attach great importance to chivalry and gallantry and to the protection of guests, even if the host were to be killed. This is what Shaykh Yunos Khales told the Saudi ambassador, when he said to him that even if an animal sought shelter in his house, he would not hand it over, so how about a mujahid who abandoned his country and wealth for the sake of jihad.
The Relationship With Islamic Groups
Usamah did not belong to any Islamic group. He may have had some strong relations with some personalities that are thought to be supportive of some groups, but he did not belong to any group. Usamah tried to maintain a good relationship with these groups, based on respect. He also did not talk about them or criticize them, except privately and within an academic context, and not as slander or vilification. Although the Islamic groups respected Usamah personally, they were cautious in dealing with him. The reason was not any reservations about him personally, but because they feared the Arab intelligence activity around him. Of course, the position of the Islamic groups changed with new developments, especially after Usamah's name was tied to the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
The Relationship With Iran and Iraq
There is no relationship with Iran and Iraq. Some allegations were made in the writings of American Jews to give an impression that Bin-Ladin, Iraq, Iran, Hizballah, Hamas, Al-Turabi, and all others are one universal terrorist group, who have public differences, but are in agreement secretly!!!
The Rich Bin-Ladin
Many people speak about Bin-Ladin, as if his stature is based on wealth alone. No doubt, money made him special. Also, there is no doubt that his sacrifices and financial contributions played a role in his fame, but this should be placed within its right context. This is because many people contributed money toward good deeds. In fact, some people made contributions more than Bin-Ladin. The reason why Bin-Ladin became special is that he made jihad the origin of all things in his life, while financial activity was only a branch and dedicated to the service of jihad. All the influence, relations, and power that resulted from financial activity were in the service of jihad. Others who make contributions to serve Islam and to serve jihad purposes could not do the same thing.
How He Invests?
Before Bin-Ladin's final departure from the Kingdom, his financial activity was a replica of the activity of his brothers, whether in the contracting business or trade and industry. Besides his partnership in the main company, Usamah had separate activities, even when he was in the Kingdom. But he was different from his brothers in that he had independent activities, by keeping a specific policy in his financial activity. His purpose by this commitment was to ensure an Islamic character of this activity and prevent ill-gotten gains.
His Financial Policies