The al-Qaeda, translated “the base,” is a militant group comprising of Sunni Islamists that was founded in 1988 by Osama Bin Laden, Zawahiri, Dr Fadl and other Arab fighters from the U.S. backed Mujahedeen which had succeeded in pushing out the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. The ideology of al-Qaeda is a complete break away of Muslim nation from foreign influence or interference. It operates as a network that is a stateless army, multinational and a radical Sunni Muslim movement that calls for a global Jihad against the enemies of Islam with the United States top on their list.
This movement has been tagged the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization that has a wide network and vast resources which are used to carry out their attacks on civilian and military targets. It was in 1990 that problems between al-Qaeda and the U.S. began when the U.S. forces arrived in Saudi Arabia to prepare for the Gulf War and to protect the kingdom from Saddam Hussein. This angered Osama as he had offered his mujahedeen to defend Saudi Arabia from Iraq and as a result Osama in 1991 leaves for Sudan where he set the base and training camps in preparation of the organization’s operations.
The first attacks launched by this organization were in 29 December 1992 at the Gold Mihor Hotel in Aden that left two people dead and scores injured. The following year on 26 February 1993, Osama and his organization are linked with the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York where 6 people died and a thousand more were injured following the detonation of a 500kg bomb. That same year on October 4th, 18 U.S. servicemen are killed in Somalia in the Black Hawk Down incident where U.S. military helicopters were shot down. In 1994, Dr Fadl handed his manuscript titled The Compendium of the Pursuit of Divine Knowledge to Zawahiri who made several amendments. This book went on to become al-Qaeda’s source of intellect for their murderous campaign.
Bin Laden then returned to Afghanistan in 1996 and formed ties with the Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Zawahiri heard of militants imprisoned in Egypt renouncing violence which led to calm for a peace deal to be reached all the while. Zawahiri had other intentions in his mind as he went on to plan an attack on Egypt that took place in 1997 on November 17th where a massacre orchestrated by gunmen at Luxor led to the death of 62 people. Two years later in February 2 1998, Osama issues a fatwa declaring all U.S citizens potential targets and all Muslims should carry out their duty by killing them. What followed was a terrible incident where the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed leaving 223 people dead and hundreds more injured. The U.S retaliated by striking camps in both Sudan and Afghanistan in August 20, 1998.
Two years later in October 12, 2000, there was a suicide attack on USS Cole in Yemen where a small vessel carrying explosives rammed into the ship creating a 40sq foot hole in the ships hull that left 17 sailors dead and 39 seriously injured. In June 2001 the two groups comprising of Osama’s al-Qaeda and Zawahiri’s al- Jihad merge and a couple of months later, on September 11, the terrorists carried an attack on the World Trade Center in New York. The Pentagon was also attacked. There was also a hijacked plane that crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. All these 3 attacks happened in one day leading to the death of more than 3,000 people. The attacks on September 11 2001 are said to be the worst in the world’s history. The U.S invaded Afghanistan in October in a bid to bring down Taliban.
Since then al-Qaeda has carried out numerous attacks in countries such as Tunisia, Casablanca, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Spain, Pakistan, UK and Iraq. Since the launch of War on Terror by the U.S. the al-Qaeda’s structure was mangled but this did not have any significant effect on organization and execution of their attacks. Now the al-Qaeda branches mainly in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia were autonomous and more volatile with each trying to outdo the other. The biggest blow to this terrorist organization was yet to come when in May 1 2011; U.S. President Barack Obama announced the death of Osama Bin Laden following a U.S operation in Pakistan.