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Age of Terrorism
• Terrorism took on a global aspect at the end of the 20th
• The belief that the West still exhibits a “neocolonialism”
through political and military support of certain Middle East
– Islamic puritans view Western culture as immoral and corrupting
– Israel is view as Western creation, weakening Islam
– Quran is believed to justify use of violence as form of jihad
• First international terrorist activities were carried out by
Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Black
September 1n 1960s & 1970s
– airliner hijackings
• In 1980’s Libyan intelligence officers were involved in a
number of terrorist attacks and bombings
– led to UN sanctions and US air strikes against Libya in 1986
• Unique that the organization is not connected to any
state entity
• Osama bin Laden son of prominent Saudi Arabian
contractor who was Yemeni Arab
– Formed al-Qaeda as clearing house for Muslim volunteer
fighters against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan 1979-1989
– extremist world view of Islam under attack by non-believers
– al-Qaeda = “the base”
• In 1989, bin Laden & Abd al-Aziz Azzam, agreed to
continue the organization to fight non-Muslims
worldwide whenever they threatened Islamic culture
• After Azzam’s assassination,
Osama bin Laden assumed
major leadership
• joined in 1989 by Ayman alZawahiri Egyptian surgeon
who lead al-Jihad
– this group assassinated Anwar
Sadat 1981
Enter the Taliban
• al-Qaeda began in 1991 in Sudan to recruit followers but was
expelled when international pressure forced Sudanese to
• found haven in Afghanistan where extremist Taliban regime
had taken power in 1997. Mullah Omar
• Taliban (“the students”) were Isalmic extremists from
– Taliban are Islamic students supported and trained by ulema-eIslami in Pakistan
– While in power, the Taliban enforced one of the strictest
interpretations of Shari’a ever seen in the Muslim world,
– however most of the criticism on their interpretations came from
leading Muslim scholars.
– became notorious internationally for their treatment of women
Taliban Afghanistan
• Women were required to wear the all-covering burqa, they were
banned from public life and denied access to health care and
education, windows needed to be covered so that women could not
be seen from the outside, and they were not allowed to laugh in a
manner they could be heard by others.
• The Taliban, without any real court or hearing, cut people's hands or
arms off when they were accused of stealing.
• Taliban hit-squads watched the streets, conducting brutal public
• Many, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai,
believe that Mullah Omar and his Taliban
movement is a puppet of the Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI) in Pakistan.
• Many U.S. senior military officials such as Robert
Gates, Stanley McChrystal, David Petraeus
believe that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Corps are also involved in helping the Taliban
al-Qaeda in Afghanistan
• al-Qaeda established training camps in Afghanistan for
Islamic fighters in terrorism and guerilla warfare
– its members gained considerable experience as mujahedeen
resistance fighters against the Soviets
• Bin Laden and Zawahiri issued a fetwa against the US,
declaring that US had waged war against Allah and
Muhammad by supporting Israel and attacking
regimes such as Saddam Hussein
– Muslims everywhere were duty bound to carry out attacks
on Americans worldwide
• First attacks against US targets including US WTC in
NYC in 1993, bombings of US embassies 1998, attack
on USS Cole in 2000.
September 11, 2001
• The joint attacks on the twin towers, the Pentagon and
undetermined target (possibly the US Capitol or
Whitehouse) was carefully orchestrated and carried
out by four al-Qaeda teams
– Combined death toll was 3,126
• Taliban declined US ultimatum to hand over al-Qaeda
members and shut down their camps
• On October 7, 2001 US launched attacks on
Afghanistan in “Operation Enduring Freedom”
– by December 7, 2001, the Taliban surrendered its last
remaining stronghold
– while Mullah Omar, bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders
escaped into Pakistan to carry on insurgency.
On to Iraq