Who is Ossama Bin Laden? Personal Biography

Iraqi Activists September 18, 2001

Ossama Bin Laden was born in 1957 from a Syrian mother and Yemen-Hadramaut father. He was the forty-third child of a wealthy general contractor Muhammad Awthe Bin Laden. His father Arrived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from Hadramaut in 1930 looking for work. He started as a bag carrier in Jeddah port and in a few years the father became one of the most influential contractors in the young kingdom. In the next few years he built a good relationship with the entire ruling family and on top of them Prince Faisal.

When a family feud developed between king Saud and Faisal he was in a position to convince the king to step aside and let prince Faisal take over the reign of the kingdom. He bankrolled the kingdom for six months at the time when the treasury of the new state could not meet its payroll obligations. The new king Faisal showed his gratitude by granting all contracts to Muhammad Bin Laden the father. In 1969, he oversaw the rebuilding of Masjed Al Aqssa, the most holy shrine in Islam after a devastating fire. The father Muhammad was a religious man and he even saved his carrying bag from his earlier days to remind people and his children of the long journey he had from rags to wealth. The father passed away in 1970 in an airplane crash. When the father died, Ossama was a young boy then. The eldest son Salem followed his father footsteps by taking over the family business, but like the father he died in an airplane crash shortly after.

Ossam finished his high school and college in Jeddah. His college degree was in Business Administration. He had never been to any of the western countries; his travel abroad is limited to trips to Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and the Gulf region countries. His views were influenced at an early age when his father used to invite many of the Islamic figures to his house, but more importantly he was influenced by two of his college professors Muhamad Qatab and Sheik Abedula Azzam.

Immediately after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Ossama Bin Laden organized a trip with some of his Pakistani Islamic groups to Peshawer. He met with many of the Islamic fighters like Sayaff and Rabbani who hed known from his earlier days in Saudi Arabia. He then came back after staying there for a period of one month. He started a donation drive in Saudi Arabia to help the Afghani cause against the Soviet infidels. He made a second trip back to Pakistan to visit the refugee camps on the borders between the two countries and distributed the money he collected from his country. In 1982 he decided to enter Afghanistan, he brought with him earth and road pavement equipment and helped the Islamic fighters to establish military bases in remote areas. In 1984 he organized his first Islamic movement to support the Afghani fighters in Peshawar and called it "Bait Al Anssar". His organization was to collect money from the Gulf region and channel it out to the Afghanis through the local leaders such as Abdullah Azzam.

In 1986 he decided to expand his operations inside Afghanistan from building camps to active participations in the fighting against the Soviet occupation forces. During that period he built six military training camps inside Afghanistan, and enlisted volunteers from Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and other countries numbering in the thousands, they all joined their Afghan Muslim brothers in the struggle against an ideology that spurned religion. In one raid late that year his followers managed to kill several well trained Soviet commandos near the city of Jaji. Between 1986 and 1989 he was engaged in five major battles against the occupied Soviet army. He kept detailed records of volunteers from different Islamic countries, the base of this organization later became known as "Al Qeyada" meaning the Central Command.

He returned to Saudi Arabia 1989 after the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. Shortly after his return, he learnt that the government forbids him from leaving the country. In a series of letters to the state handed over by Prince Ahmmad Bin Aziz, he predicted the expansion desire of the Iraqi regime in the Gulf region, however the Saudi government considered that an interfering with its national affairs and he was almost put on house arrest.

After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, he sent a letter to the government suggesting the use of Arab volunteers to combat the Iraqis. But the decision of allowing the Americans and other troops from western countries to protect Saudi Arabia had profound implications on his religious and political views thereafter. In his opinion, it was the first time in history since the beginning of Islam that infidel troops set foot on the Arabic peninsula. He then asked for "Fetwa" for new Islamic volunteers to fight with him in Afghanistan. A local Sheik by the name of Bin Athmain responded to his call and issued a Fetwa to help him in his new cause.

After a raid by the Saudi government on his compound outside Jeddah he decided to leave the country. He managed to convince the internal ministry through Prince Ahmmad Bin Aziz to let him leave the country and attend urgent business in Pakistan. He immediately entered Afghanistan to find the country embroiled in a tribal war. His first reaction was not to take sides in the internal struggle for power. But soon learned that its best for him to leave. This time he decided to leave to Sudan, he quickly transferred most of his financial possessions out of the Saudi Arabia and left at the end of 1991. In 1992 the Saudi government froze whats left of his financial assets, then followed it up with the withdrawal of his citizenship in 1994.

The Sudani government was under external pressure to extradite Bin Laden to the United States after his implications of bombing the WTC. He then contacted Sheiks Younis Khalass and Jalal Al Deen Al Hakhani in Afghanistan, which both were controlling Jalal Abad area and left secretly to Afghanistan. He endorsed the terrorist attack on Kubar in June 1996 but stop short of admitting masterminding the attack. The Saudi government claimed it was organized by Iranian backed groups shielding him from any involvement in the attack, however soon after this terrorist attack he issued a personal call asking to remove the infidels from Saudi Arabia.

After the sweeping control of Talaban forces to Jalal Abad, the head of the Talaban government Mulah Omar Zaim considered him a guest of the Afghani people. Shortly after that he escaped an assassination attempt on his life by a combination of Pakistani intelligence agents and local tribesmen. For that reason he decided to move his headquarters to Kundehar. His bond with the Talaban government improved when he took their side against opposition groups headed by Dowstam Uzbekistan tribes, and Masoud Tajikistan tribes who was assassinated late last week.

In mid 1997 there was a second assassination attempt on his life organized by the Pakistani intelligence agency and backed by the CIA. In 1998 he asked for a new Fetwa to justify killing all Americans, several religious figures in Pakistan and Afghanistan endorsed his call and he entered in an alliance with the Egyptian Jahad Islamic movement Dr. Ayman Al Thawahiri and Riffi Taha. The Talaban government however did not like this escalation and considered it a violation of his guest status in the country. At the same time Ossama increased the rhetoric by granting the ABC News an interview where he claimed that there would be new attacks on Americans in the very near future. For the first time he linked the possible retaliation to the sanctions against Iraq.

A few weeks after on August 7, 1998 he launched the attacks on the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. A release to the press by the Islamic Army to liberate the Holy Shrines asked the release of Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman in US and others in the Saudi jails like Sheik Salman and Saffar.

In 1999 the Saudi government sent Turkey Faisal and Sakman Al Omari to Kabul asking the Talaban government to hand over Bin Laden, but Mulah Omar refused bitterly their offer and asked them to leave the country and close the Saudi consulate in Kabul. In return Bin Laden sent his followers to defend Kabul against attacks by the opposition leader Shah Masoud.

Ossama Bin Laden was married at early age of seventeen, he has many wives and twenty children most of them live with him in Afghanistan except three of them who are still living in Saudi Arabia.

Saad Farage

The Iraqi Activists

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