A week at war

Meredith Davisson

al-Qaeda: The name given to an international alliance of militant terroristorganizations •Translates to “the base” in Arabic •Allied with radical, Qutbist (and sometimes Takfir) Sunni Islam •Headed by Osama bin Laden (the emir), Ayman al-Zawahiri andapproximately 20 to 30 officials•There is no clear structure of group members; therefore, the realnumber of members worldwide is unknown. It could be zero or millions

Objectives:•Elimination of foreign influence in Islamic countries•Eradication of infidels (non-Muslims)•Elimination of Israel•Creation of a new Islamic caliphate, or government

Facts:•The origin of the group can be traced to the period of the Sovietinvasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s•Bin Laden helped to found the Maktab al-Khadmat (MAK), amujahadeen, anti-Russian resistance organization that sought to help the Afghan efforts and establish an Islamic state which wasformed only to generate funds for the cause in the 1980s•Officially established as al-Qaeda in 1988 by bin Laden •Linked very closely to another radical Islamic group, the Taliban,which means “the students” in Arabic •Directly responsible for both the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and September 11th attacks •Bombed the U.S.S. Cole in 2001 •Issued a fatwa, or religious edict, in 1998 called the “World Is-lamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders,” a man-date to “kill the Americans and their allies … An individual dutyfor every Muslim…in any country … to liberate the Al-AsqaMosque (Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (Makka/Mecca) fromtheir grip.”

Osama bin Laden:•Real name is Osama bin Muhammad bin ‘Awad bin Laden, alsoknown as Usama Binladen•Contrary to popular myth, the CIA did not directly fund or train him in his military efforts in Soviet-controlled Afghanistan in thelate 1980s•The CIA only began tracking him around 1995•Allegedly has four wives and between 12 and 24 children

Ayman al-Zawahiri:•In 1998 he formally merged the Egyptian Islamic Jihad groupwith al-Qaeda

Abu Ayyub al-Masri/ Abu Hamza al-Muhajir:•Two names for the chief of al-Qaeda operations in Iraq