Archive for the ‘Bin Laden’ Category

Many authors have tried to fill in the gaps in the historical account of how al-Qa’ida’s central leadership came to reside in Jalalabad for part of 1996, with mixed results. Yunus Khalis has become a fixture in these narratives largely because he was the best known person that Bin Laden interacted with in the summer [...]

Western authors commenting on various mujahidin leaders involved with Usama bin Laden often seem to go out of their way to make the individuals in question seem extra villainous. This has been especially clear in the case of Yunus Khalis. In English works on al-Qa’ida, we learn little about Khalis except that he a) helped [...]

With the recent arrest of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith (Abu Yusuf Sulayman Jasim Bu Ghayth), al-Qa’ida’s former spokesman and Bin Ladin’s son-in-law, there has been much speculation in the press about a group of senior al-Qa’ida figures who have spent much of the last decade in Iran. In this post I will revisit the writings of these [...]

As is the case for many others, the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has made me reflect on their impact over the past decade. To this end, Michelle Shephard‘s Decade of Fear has been indispensable. A very personal account of her journalistic efforts to chronicle the war on terrorism over the past decade, Michelle weaves the weft [...]

The End of an Era

Posted: 2nd May 2011 by Will McCants in AQ Central, Bin Laden

Like most others, I knew this day would come but I still can’t believe it’s here.  And to come at such a momentous time in Middle Eastern history, with the Arab Spring and the end of our combat presence in Iraq. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that the stock thinking about the implications of Bin Laden’s [...]

[Editor's note: I am very pleased to introduce a new guest contributor, Sayeed Rahman, a Yale PhD and a fellow with the Truman National Security Project.] A number of translations analyze and annotate Usama Bin Ladin’s 1998 statement declaring war against the United States and her allies (see here, here, here, here and here). The original Arabic source for [...]

Al-Qaida and the German Elections

Posted: 25th September 2009 by Thomas Hegghammer in Bin Laden, Germany, Strategy

Usama Bin Ladin has just released a new audio statement to the European peoples.  It is relatively short (under 5 minutes) and basically tells the Europeans to get out of Afghanistan.  The statement is subtitled in German and is clearly timed to coincide with the German elections this coming Sunday. Bin Ladin’s statement comes in [...]

Weekend Trivia

Posted: 19th June 2009 by Thomas Hegghammer in Afghanistan, art, Bin Laden

British soldiers found an Aston Villa tattoo on the body of a dead Taliban fighter in Afghanistan, British newspapers reported earlier this week. Of course, for Birmingham City supporters, this is reason enough to deploy nuclear weapons against the Taliban. It’s more unclear what this means for Taliban-al-Qaida relations, given that Bin Ladin is an [...]

Why is al-Sahab Called al-Sahab?

Posted: 15th June 2009 by Thomas Hegghammer in Bin Laden, Jihadi media, propaganda

This excellent question was raised in a comment to an earlier Jihadica piece. Since it probably interests a wider audience, I figured I should devote a separate post to it. Most readers probably know that the word sahab means “clouds” and that it emerged as the name of al-Qaida’s media production company around 2002. But [...]

Bin Ladin in Trouble?

Posted: 3rd June 2009 by Thomas Hegghammer in AQ Leadership, Bin Laden, Zawahiri

This morning al-Jazeera aired segments of a Bin Ladin audiotape which most international media are reading in the context of Obama’s Middle East tour, which started today. This is despite the fact that the statement seems to say nothing at all about the President’s tour, but talks instead about the Swat campaign in Pakistan. Bin [...]