The Origins of 9/11 – the Early Years
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‘In the beginning there was the word, and the word was jihad.’ Not the best way to begin, but then again, war’s hell. (Since none of us are working on his thesis for a Ph.D., this is going to be short and simple. The good news: there will be no tests or quizzes.)
1979 was a watershed year for Islam around the world. It all began on 11 February when the Shah fled Iran. Then on 1 April, the Ayatollah Khomeni assumed power there. (The date seems especially appropriate.) Approximately 6 months later, on 4 November, the American embassy was overrun and 66 Americans were taken captive.
Roughly two weeks later, on 20 November, the Grand Mosque in Mecca, holiest site in all Islam, was seized by Muslim militants. The reclamation cost 255 dead and 560 wounded. All the terrorists, except one, were publicly beheaded. The one exception was bin Laden’s half-brother.
That evening, Ayatollah Khomeni announced to the world that the attack was caused and carried out by America and its Zionist ally, Israel. The following day, the American embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan was burned down. On 2 December, 11 days later, the American embassy in Tripoli, Libya suffered a similar fate. The year was definitely ending up on a bad note. The worse was yet to come.
On Christmas Day, The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The Muslim world was initially paralyzed, then galvanized. Arabs around the world flocked to join in the war with their fellow Muslim brothers against the atheistic Russkies. Guest houses, many of them established and run by Osama bin Laden and company, packed in and processed fighters for the front.
Thrilled that the USSR now had their own Vietnam War, Uncle Sam set about to assist the Mujuhadeen however possible. Washington welcomed the Arabs. To quote a former US – Afghan Operations Specialist:
“We needed Arab involvement. Where else do you get half a billion
Many of the early players in anti-American terrorism like Janjalani, Murad, Shah, Youssef and others came together to fight in the International Islamic Brigade. Even bin Laden made it as far as Pakistan, though only to assist in the logistics and supply of foreign fighters. In between his labours in logistics, bin Laden began recruiting for his grand scheme. With his brother-in-law, Khalifa, he visited the MILF (Mindanao Islamic Liberation Front) but still found time to establish Al-Qaeda on 11 August 1988.
The Soviets completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan by 15 February 1989. The coast being clear, bin Laden joined the Battle of Jalalabad.
Fearing a bloodbath, the Americans closed their embassy in Kabul and hightailed it home. Unfortunately, in their haste, they left behind an arsenal of weapons, including over 380 Stinger missiles, which they later tried to buy back. The CIA Station Chief summed it up best:
“The Soviet Union, armed to the teeth, was falling apart.
So, what do you do when a war ends and you’ve been trained to kill? Simple, you find a new enemy.
Logic told them: “If we can whop the U.S.S.R., why not the U.S. also?” If both the big guys are down for the count, we can create a correct Caliphate from Morocco to Mindanao.
Like rats deserting a sinking ship, everybody scurried off. Janjalani returned to Basilan, Philippines, where he re-founded and renamed the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). The forerunner of ASG had been established by Iranian missionaries. [Never knew they had any before.]
Youssef, Murad and Shah and others joined their old combat comrade, Janjalani, and then began teaching his troops the fine arts of terrorism and successful bomb making. In return, they received room and board. Fortunately, for them, Khalifa, bin Laden’s brother-in-law, kept them well financed, although it has also been reported, though not confirmed, that the CIA contributed to the pot.
For some reason the Philippine government got tired of hosting horny, out-of-war, GIs at Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay Naval Base. Their Congress took the appropriate action and cancelled their lease.
The ‘company’ theorized that if enough turmoil could be correctly created, it might get the Philippines to revoke their eviction. It didn’t work, but it definitely did stir up the hornet’s nest. For the next decade plus, the ASG took harassing Americans to an art form. It only took Uncle Sam 8 years to figure that one out.
This pretty much gives you a short synopsis of the original events that culminated in 9/11. The next article will address the First World Trade Center bombing (1993) and Operation ‘Bojinka.’
P.S. For those of you who want more than a snappy synopsis of the whys and wherefores of 9/11, I refer you to www.intelwire.com. It is managed by a good friend, John Berger. He is a certified terrorist consultant, who documents his colons and commas. If it's there, you can take it to the bank.
Copyright 2010 Cook Communication