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Modern History of al-Qaeda and Terrorism against the USA


What is al-Qaeda?
Al Qaeda is a stateless (meaning without a country) terrorist organization. It is led and financed by Osama bin Laden, a radical Shia Muslim.

When did al-Qaeda form?

The beginnings of al-Qaeda go back to 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

1979 was during the Cold War, a time when the USA was a rival to the Soviet Union. The USA wanted to help Afghans fight the Soviets. The CIA sent stinger missiles to Afghans to shoot down Soviet helicopters.

Bin Laden in Afghanistan

Son of a wealthy Saudi Arabian family, Osama bin Laden made lots of like-minded friends. He learned that scantilyarmed Muslims could defeat a powerful Christian army The Soviet army left in 1988.

Bin Laden moves to Sudan

Bin Laden and his friends, feeling powerful, wanted to set up a base for future jihads. A jihad is a Muslim word for holy war, usually against Christians. He stays in Sudan about 5 years. Note: Most Muslims dont feel that jihads are about car bombs and plane hijackings.

In 1983, during the presidency of Ronald Regan, a terrorist group bombed a Marine barracks in Lebanon. Reagan did not retaliate. 283 killed.

Desert Storm (Gulf War I)

In 1990, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded the tiny, oil-rich country of Kuwait. Kuwait owed Iraq money, so Hussein wanted to secure Kuwaiti oil fields.

Operation Desert Storm

The United States imports oil from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. If Saddam Hussein wanted to, he could take his army into Saudi Arabia and seize their oil fields too.

Iraqi tanks

US and Saudi coalition

The United States asked the Saudis for permission to establish military bases in their country. The Saudis have a tough choice to make. Do they allow a Christian army into the holiest country of Islam? Can the Saudis themselves stop Saddam Hussein?

Saudis choice
Osama bin Laden was back home from Afghanistan. He offered the Saudis the use of his soldiers to fight the Iraqi army because once America establishes a base, they wont leave. Christian armies have no place in the land of Islam.

Saudis chose the USA and snubbed bin Laden.

President George H.W. Bush liberates Kuwait and pushes the Iraqi army back into Iraq.

Bin Laden
Osama bin Laden overtly criticizes the Saudi government. Saudi Arabia banishes him; his family disowns him (officially). Bin Laden leaves Saudi Arabia for Sudan to further build al Qaeda.

USA in Somalia
Dec. 4, 1992, George H.W. Bush sends 28,000 American troops to Somalia. Bush wanted to help the Somali people since all attempts to send food to them were intercepted by war lords.

Black Hawk Down!

In 1993, 18 Americans died when their Black Hawk helicopter was shot down over Mogadishu, Somalia.

al Qaeda?
We think al Qaeda operatives taught the Somalians how to shoot down helicopters just like they did in Afghanistan against the Soviets.

Iraqi terrorism
In 1993, agents working with the full support of Saddam Hussein tried to kill former President George H.W. Bush. President Clinton responded by destroying their intelligence center.

World Trade Center bombing

9-11 was not the first terrorist attack on the WTC. In 1993, a man rented a Ryder truck and detonated a large bomb in one of the towers hoping to knock it over onto the other tower.

Ramzi Yousef
He was a planner of the WTC bombing. He was a member/leader of al Qaeda. Yousef stated, "Yes, I am a terrorist, and proud of it as long as it is against the U.S. government." Speaks 7 languages and has college degrees in engineering and chemistry. Currently serving a life sentence.

1993 WTC bombing

It killed 6 people and injured over 1000.

1995 Oklahoma City bombing

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols detonated a large truck bomb at the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City
168 people died and many more were injured, including children in the day care at the bottom.

Conspiracy theorists will love this!

Terry Nichols, Ramzi Yousef, and 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammad were in the Philippine city of Cebu on the same days. Is there a connection? According to Richard Clarke, the main counterterrorism czar for Clinton and GW Bush, Nicholss bombs worked only after he returned from the Philippines Khalid Sheik Muhhamad
Terry Nichols

1996 car bombing of Khobar Towers

The Khobar Towers provided housing for American military stationed in Saudi Arabia. 19 Americans were killed and hundreds injured. Look familiar?

In August of 1998, Osama bin Laden and 4 of his close associates sign and distribute a statement declaring it is the individual duty for every Muslim who can do it to kill Americans.

Kenyan embassy bombings

Two American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed simultaneously in 1998. 220 people were killed.

Clinton responds.
President Clinton, risking Wag the Dog criticism during the Lewinsky scandal, decided to attack al Qaeda in response.

US attacks al Qaeda training camps in Sudan and Afghanistan with Tomahawk missiles. Camps were destroyed. Osama lives.

US responds. with Tomahawk missiles

Tomahawk missile.

Millennium Attacks Foiled!

Jordanian police halted 4 bombings that were to happen January 1, 2000. 16 al Qaeda members were arrested. Four al Qaeda terrorists were arrested after one tried to cross the Canadian border with nitroglycerin in his spare tire. They set out to bomb LA International Airport. In Yemen, a boat with explosives tried to bomb a navy ship but sank due to being overloaded!

USS Cole attack Oct. 2000

In Yemen, Al Qaeda operatives sent a suicide bomber aboard a small ship near the USS Cole and detonated its bomb, blowing a large hole in the US Navy ship. 17 sailors killed.

Where is Sudan and Yemen?

September 11, 2001

Four airplanes were hijacked by al Qaeda terrorists. Two crashed into the 2 World Trade Center towers. One crashed into the Pentagon, the military building of the US armed forces. One crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, likely because passengers forced the plane down.

2819 people were killed 343 firefighters and paramedics were killed

Khalid Sheik Muhhamad was the central Planner of the 9/11. Most terrorists (at right) were from Saudi Arabia.

Firemen going up before towers collapsed.

Shoes people left behind to run faster.

Looking for loved ones.

Temporary memorial to WTC

A plane crashed into the Pentagon killing hundreds. It showed Americans that terrorism doesnt just happen in New York and our most important buildings are vulnerable.

Pentagon after attack

Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania

Its target was possibly the White House or Capitol building. We think the passengers forced the plane down.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban government of Afghanistan were virtually one and the same. President George W. Bush sent a small force into Afghanistan to eliminate the government and destroy al Qaeda. This war is still going on. Many criticize President Bush for taking troops out of Afghanistan to fight in Iraq.

Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan

Where is Afghanistan?

Tora Bora
Famous battle in Afghanistan where al Qaeda allegedly saved Osama bin Ladens life and snuck him out of the area.

Tora Bora

Today in Afghanistan
In 08, more US troops die in Afghanistan than in Iraq. US troops are still fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda troops near the Pakistani border. In 04 Afghanistan had its first election. The people voted for Hamid Karzai Despite terrorist attacks, daily life is better in Afghanistan.

Where is Osama bin Laden now?

Well, where do you think he is?

As soon as we know. . .

Bin Laden is very smart. He is probably hiding inside the lawless region of Pakistan, near the Afghan border. Pakistan is a powerful Muslim country who has cooperated with the USA for years. They have nuclear weapons. While the Pakistani government likes the USA, its citizens dont.

Pakistan cont. . .
If the Pakistani government goes after Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda too strongly, the Muslim people could overthrow the government and be the first al Qaeda-dominated nuclear power. This is what bin Laden wants!

Review Quiz
Are you ready?

Review Quiz
1. Name 3 Al Qaeda leaders. 2. The Soviet Union invaded what country in 1979 where al Qaeda formed? 3. In the first Gulf War, what was bin Ladens objection regarding American troops in Saudi Arabia? 4.Was Osama bin Laden friends with Saddam Hussein of Iraq? 5. After the first Gulf War, what did Iraq try to do to upset the USA? 6. How was the WTC attacked in 1993? 7. What American embassies were bombed in 1998? 8. What Navy ship was bombed in 2000? 9. How many planes were hijacked on 9/11/2001? 10. Where could Osama bin Laden possibly be hiding?

Terrorism after 9/11

In 2005, terrorists bombed a London subway. They were trying to get England out of Iraq.

Richard Reid
December 22, 2001 Now known as the shoe bomber, tried to destroy an airplane by igniting explosives hidden inside his shoes. English mother, Jamaican father. Converted to Islam in prison. Now in Colorado.

Bali nightclub bombing Oct. 2002

Where is Bali?

Khalid Sheikh Mohammad

September 2002, Pakistani officials arrested the 9/11 mastermind. In reality, he was more dangerous than bin Laden.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

In Iraq there lived a terrorist named al-Zarqawi. He was responsible for several car bombings, suicide bombings, hostage killings after the US invasion of Iraq. He did have al Qaeda connections and began to refer to his organization as al-Qaeda after the US invasion. He had no direct, known ties to Saddam Hussein. Was killed in 2006 by a US air strike.

The End.
But wait! What about Iraq? Well, boys and girls, thats another story. Sort of.