Middle East

Conflicts and Nations

Who is Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden is a Saudi Arabian militant and the leader of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda (the Base in Arabic). Al Qaeda is a Sunni Muslim organization that was created from veterans of the struggle against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Bin Laden is the son of a wealthy Saudi Arabian family, who made their fortune in the Saudi civil construction business. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia, moved to Sudan, and now is alleged to live in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is thought to be the mastermind behind the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia.

Bin Laden used his personal wealth to fund mujadeen insurgents in Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, and he organized bombings against various American interests, including the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. He demands the end of foreign influence in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Muslim caliphate. He has been waging a jihad (“holy war,” although many Muslims say this is a misuse of the term) to achieve his aims through violence and the killing of both civilians and military personnel. Bin Laden is on the FBI’s most wanted list. A reward of $25 million for information leading to his arrest has been offered.


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