BioGraphy of George W.Bush

George W. Bush

George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the forty-third and current President of the United States of America, originally inaugurated on January 20, 2001. Bush was first elected in the 2000 presidential election, and reelected for a second term in the 2004 presidential election. He previously served as the forty-sixth Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000, and is the eldest son of former United States President George Herbert Walker Bush.(Personally I hate Bush very much)

Following college, Bush worked in his family’s oil businesses before making an unsuccessful run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978. He later co-owned the Texas Rangersbaseball team before returning to politics in a campaign for Governor of Texas. He defeated Ann Richards and was elected Governor of Texas in 1994. Bush won the presidency in 2000 as the Republican candidate in a close and controversial contest, in which he lost the nationwide popular vote, but won the electoral vote.

As president, Bush pushed through a $1.3 trillion tax cut program and the No Child Left Behind Act. In October 2001, after the attacks on September 11, 2001, Bush announced a global War on Terrorism and ordered an invasion of Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, destroy Al-Qaeda, and to capture Osama bin Laden. In March 2003, Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, asserting that Iraq was in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and that the war was necessary for the protection of the United States.

Running as a self-described “war president” in the midst of the Iraq War, Bush was re-elected in 2004; his presidential campaign against Senator John Kerry was successful despite controversy over Bush’s prosecution of the Iraq War and his handling of the economy. After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism. His domestic approval has declined from 90 percent (the highest ever recorded by The Gallup Organization) immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks to a low of 26 percent (in a Newsweek poll taken in June 2007), the lowest level for any sitting president in 35 years. Only Harry Truman and Richard Nixon scored lower.

Economic policy

Main article: Economic policy of the George W. Bush administration

Facing opposition in Congress, Bush held town hall-style public meetings across the U.S. in 2001 to increase public support for his plan for a $1.35 trillion tax cut program—one of the largest tax cuts in U.S. history. Bush and his economic advisers argued that unspent government funds should be returned to taxpayers. With reports of the threat of recession from Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Bush argued that such a tax cut would stimulate the economy and create jobs. Others, including the Treasury Secretary at the time Paul O’Neill, were opposed to some of the tax cuts on the basis that they would contribute to budget deficits and undermine Social Security.

Under the Bush Administration, Real GDP has grown at an average annual rate of 2.5%.Unemployment rose from 4.2% in January 2001 to 6.3% in June 2003, dropping to its current rate of 4.5%. The on-budget deficit for 2006 was $434 billion, a change from an $86 billion surplus in 2000. Inflation-adjusted median household income has been flat while the nation’s poverty rate has increased. By August 23, 2007, the national debt had officially risen to $8.98 trillion dollars; the national debt has increased $3.25 trillion dollars since Bush took office. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has grown by about 30% since January 2001.

Some argue that the economy is only benefiting the wealthy, and not the majority of middle and lower-class citizens, while others have claimed the exact opposite. Yet, others state that the standard of living has increased on all rungs of the socio-economic strata with the bulk of income gains having gone to the top 1%, whose share of income has increased substantially

Forty-third president of the United States; former governor of Texas (1994-2000). Born July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut. Bush — often referred to as simply “W” — is the eldest son of former President George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Pierce Bush. He grew up in Midland, Texas, where his father worked in the oil business. His siblings include Jeb (now governor of Florida), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. Another younger sister, Robin, died tragically of leukemia in 1953 at the age of three. Like his father, Bush attended the prestigious Philips Andover Academy in Massachusetts before matriculating at Yale University. He graduated from Yale with a bachelor’s degree in 1968, then returned to Texas and joined the Texas Air National Guard, where he learned to fly fighter jets. He eventually became a lieutenant, but was never called on to fight in Vietnam.The early 1970s marked a distinctly unfocused period in Bush’s life, as he moved back to East Texas and worked intermittently as a management trainee at an agricultural firm and on U.S. Senate campaigns in Florida and Alabama. (In response to questions from reporters about possible drug use and heavy drinking during his bachelor days in Midland, Bush has called the early 1970s his “nomadic” period and has somewhat evasively stated that he would pass a background check going back as far as 1974.) In 1972, Bush entered Harvard Business School, earning his M.B.A. in 1975.Still following in the footsteps of his father, Bush decided to try his hand in the oil business. He returned to Midland and formed an independent oil and gas exploration company that he called Arbusto (the Spanish word for “bush”). He married Laura Welch, a former teacher and librarian, in 1977. In 1981, she gave birth to twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna.

In the midst of his business ventures, Bush joined the 1978 race for the U.S. House of Representatives. After a tough victory in the primaries, Bush ran in the general election against Democratic State Senator Kent Hance. He displayed prodigious fundraising capabilities, setting a new Texas record for a House candidate. In the end, however, he lost to Hance by six percentage points.

As the declining oil prices of the early 1980s took their toll on his company (by now renamed Bush Exploration), Bush accepted an offer to merge with an oil-investing fund called Spectrum 7, and became a chairman of the resulting corporation. In 1986, after a sudden collapse in the price of oil, Bush arranged for Spectrum to be sold to Harken Energy for a bargain price. He later sold his original stock shares and made a considerable profit.

Shortly after his 40th birthday in July 1986, the sometimes-wayward Bush reached a turning point in his personal and professional life. He quit drinking altogether and became more religious, turning to his wife’s Methodist faith (his family is Episcopalian). He also became noticeably more serious and driven professionally, a change many pegged to his father’s decision to run for president in 1988. Drawn by the challenge of national politics, Bush moved with his family to Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1987 to work on the elder George Bush’s successful campaign. Though George W. Bush had no official title on the campaign staff, he was his father’s most trusted confidant and a major point of contact for his colleagues. He also became known as a talented speaker and as the campaign’s chief liaison to Christian conservatives.Shortly after the election in November 1988, the younger Bush moved back to Texas, this time to Dallas, where he organized a group of wealthy investors (including himself) and arranged the purchase of the Texas Rangers professional baseball team. As the team’s managing partner, Bush became a fixture in the stands at the Rangers’ home games and earned a name for himself in Texas aside from his family’s impressive legacy. (He also earned a good deal of money — after an initial outlay of only $606,000, Bush walked away with nearly $15 million when the team was sold in 1998.)

Despite his success with the Rangers, Bush shocked everyone — including his family — when he was elected governor of Texas in 1994, defeating the popular incumbent, Democrat Ann W. Richards, by 350,000 votes. Showing enviable composure and focus during the campaign, Bush triumphed on a platform including increased local control of schools and welfare reform. During his first legislative session in 1995, Bush achieved most of his goals, including important steps towards tort reform—or limiting the ability of plaintiffs to bring lawsuits, which especially appealed to Texas’s big business interests. His affable nature and ability to appeal personally to nearly everyone across party lines made him the most popular big-state governor in the country by the end of his first year—even the Democrat-controlled legislature found him agreeable to work with.

In 1997, Bush backed a huge tax reform plan that would have lowered property taxes by a staggering $3 billion per year, among other cuts. It was a great political risk that would please neither conservatives nor liberals — his fellow Republicans in the state legislature defeated the bill. In the end, however, taxes were cut by $1 billion from reforms made from the remnants of his plan, and Bush emerged from the failure relatively intact. In November 1998, Bush became the first Texas Governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms, winning by an impressive margin of 65% to 35% and drawing a record number of black and Hispanic voters to the Republican ticket. His success in Texas, especially among minority voters, peaked the interest of the Republican Party’s national organization, which saw the younger Bush as a viable choice to challenge the incumbent Democrats and their anointed candidate, Vice President Al Gore, at the national level.

n June of 1999, George W. Bush officially announced his intention to run for president of the United States, billing himself as a “compassionate conservative.” Basing his campaign on promises to make the Republican Party more inclusive and to restore dignity to what Republicans saw as a tarnished White House, Bush placed a strong emphasis on his desire to improve education — his most passionately felt cause — and his commitment to limited government and welfare and tax reform. Critics pointed to his relative inexperience in politics and his focus on protecting only wealthy individuals and big business interests, while supporters saw him as a much-needed dose of good-natured Middle American reality for the often-nasty realm of Washington politics. Liberals who scoffed at the “compassionate” nature of Bush’s conservatism point to the Texas governor’s support of the current death penalty system (which they saw as deeply flawed), his anti-abortion stance, and his opposition to hate-crime legislation that would protect homosexuals.

Despite a few early blunders — including his failure to identify several world leaders when asked by a reporter and a primary campaign visit to Bob Jones University, an institution known for its anti-Catholic views — and an unexpectedly strong challenge from Senator John McCain, Bush emerged triumphant on “Super Tuesday” in early March 2000, winning both New York and California among other states. His success forced McCain to suspend his campaign indefinitely (he later formally endorsed Bush).

In July 2000, Bush announced his choice of running mate: Richard B. Cheney, a former congressman from Wyoming who served as defense secretary under Bush’s father. Bush and Cheney were formally nominated at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia on August 2. Their battle for the White House against Gore and his running mate, Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, was one of the closest and most disputed presidential elections in the country’s history.

On election night, November 7, it all came down to the state of Florida and its 25 electoral votes. With a razor-thin lead in the state (though he trailed Gore in the popular vote), Bush was first declared the winner by the news networks, and Gore called to concede the election. Hours later, the final count in Florida looked too close to call, and Gore rescinded his concession as the recounts began. After five weeks of complicated legal battles that stretched all the way to the highest court in the land, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to stop the recounts in Florida, effectively declaring Bush the winner of the state by a margin of 537 votes. On December 13, one day after this decision, Gore ended his campaign and congratulated Bush on his victory, as both men urged the nation to try to put partisan differences aside in the wake of the extraordinary election. In his first address as president-elect, Bush continued to stress bipartisanship, a central theme of his campaign, and promised to be the leader of “one nation,” not “one party.”

George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd president of the United States on January 20, 2001. Since taking office, his Administration has been marked by the political success of his campaign to cut taxes, the waning of the economic boom and corporate corruption. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Bush declared a war against terror marking the rise of a unilateral and muscular approach to U.S. foreign policy.In 2002, after a lapse of four years, the U.N. resumed weapons inspections in Iraq, warning “serious consequences” if Saddam Hussein failed to offer inspectors unrestricted access. But almost immediately after the U.N. resolution was passed, diplomats started disagreed on whether the use of force was justified if Iraq didn’t comply. In March 2003, after months of debate, the United States and Britain led the war on Iraq without the support of the U.N. Security Council. After four weeks, coalition ground and air forces surrounded and captured Baghdad, and the Pentagon declared that major combat in Iraq was over.

On December 13, 2003, acting on a tip, U.S. forces captured Hussein, who was hiding in a hole in the ground at a farmhouse outside of Tikrit. Upon capture, President Bush declared “a dark and painful era” over in Iraq.

In November 2004, Bush won a second term as President of the United States after a victory over Masschusettes Senator John Kerry. Though the campaign leading up to the election was often bitter and divisive, Bush claimed a more decisive win than in 2000.

Bush’s second term has received harsh criticism, particularly with regard to his handling of the War in Iraq and the domestic economy. According to Gallup polls, his domestic approval rating plummeted to 26 percent in June 2007, the lowest for any sitting president in 35 years. Bush’s second term has received harsh criticism, particularly with regard to his handling of the War in Iraq and the domestic economy. According to Gallup polls, his domestic approval rating plummeted to 26 percent in June 2007, the lowest for any sitting president in 35 years.

Biography of General Pervez Musharraf: His Past and Present

In an article (the “International Herald Tribune” of June 16) on Pakistan’s proxy invasion of Indian territory in the Kargil sector of Jammu & Kashmir, Mr.Selig Harrison, the well-known American analyst, says:” Recent information makes clear that the newly-installed Army Chief of Staff (COAS), Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has long-standing links with several Islamic fundamentalist groups.”Gen. Musharraf’s past background has not received, from Indian and Western analysts, the attention it deserves, if one has to have a clearer understanding of his role in the proxy invasion.

Gen. Musharraf, a Mohajir of Azamgarh/Karachi origin, had subsequently settled down in Gujranwala in Punjab and prefers to project himself more as a Punjabi than as a Mohajir. He was commissioned in the Pakistan Army Artillery in 1964.

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He had an undistinguished career till the 1980s, when he caught the eye of Gen.Zia-ul-Haq and Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, another Mohajir COAS.

Gen. Zia, who preferred devoutly Muslim officers in important positions, chose Gen. Musharraf for advancement as he was, like Gen. Zia himself, a devout Deobandi and was strongly recommended by the Jamaat-e-Islami.

The first assignment given by Zia to him was in the training of the mercenaries recruited by various Islamic extremist groups for fighting against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. It was during those days that Gen. Musharaff came into contact with Osama bin Laden, then a reputed civil engineer of Saudi Arabia, who had been recruited by the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and brought to Pakistan for constructing bunkers for the Afghan Mujahideen in difficult terrain.

<h2>Musharraf’s Biography</h2>bin Laden initially made his reputation in Afghanistan not as a mujahideen or terrorist, but as a civil engineer who could construct bunkers in any terrain. He also developed the technique of constructing long tunnels to isolated Soviet and Afghan military posts. The Mujahideen used to suddenly emerge from these tunnels and surprise the Soviet and Afghan troops. The links, which Gen. Musharraf developed with bin Laden in those days, have subsequently remained strong.

It was alleged that Gen. Musharraf also developed a nexus with the narcotics smugglers of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Even though the CIA valued his services in Afghanistan, the Narcotics Control officials of the US had reservations about him because of suspicions of his contacts with the narcotics smugglers.

That is one of the reasons why of all the senior Pakistani Army officers of today, Gen. Musharraf has had the least interactions with the US military establishment– in the form of nomination for higher training in the US, participation in seminars and exercises and visits to US military establishments. His bio-data issued by the Pakistan Army HQ. in October last at the time of his appointment as the COAS show that he has done two training courses in the UK. There was no mention of any course in the US.

Gen. Zia chose Gen. Musharraf (then a Brigadier) in 1987 to command a newly-raised Special Services Group (SSG) base at Khapalu in the Siachen area. To please Gen. Zia, Gen. Musharraf with his SSG commandos launched an attack on an Indian post at Bilfond La in September, 1987,and was beaten back. Despite this, he continued to enjoy the confidence of Zia.

Gen. Musharraf has since then spent seven years in two tenures with the SSG and prides himself on being an SSG commando and projects himself as the greatest expert of the Pakistan Army in mountain warfare. When he recently received Gen. Anthony Zinni, the Commanding Officer of the US Central Command, he was dressed as an SSG Commando.

In May,1988, the Shias, who are in a majority in Gilgit, rose in revolt against the Sunni-dominated administration. Zia put an SSG group commanded by Gen. Musharraf in charge of suppressing the revolt. Gen. Musharraf transported a large number of Wahabi Pakhtoon tribesmen from the NWFP and Afghanistan, commanded by bin Laden, to Gilgit to teach the Shias a lesson. These tribesmen under bin Laden massacred hundreds of Shias.

In its issue of May,1990, “Herald”, the monthly journal of the “Dawn” group of publications of Karachi, wrote as follows: ” In May,1988, low-intensity political rivalry and sectarian tension ignited into full-scale carnage as thousands of armed tribesmen from outside Gilgit district invaded Gilgit along the Karakoram Highway. Nobody stopped them. They destroyed crops and houses, lynched and burnt people to death in the villages around Gilgit town. The number of dead and injured was put in the hundreds. But numbers alone tell nothing of the savagery of the invading hordes and the chilling impact it has left on these peaceful valleys.”

Gen. Musharraf started a policy of bringing in Punjabis and Pakhtoons from outside and settling them down in Gilgit and Baltistan in order to reduce the Kashmiri Shias to a minority in their traditional land and this is continuing till today. The “Friday Times” of October 15-21, 1992, quoted Mr. Muhammad Yahya Shah, a local Shia leader, as saying: ” We were ruled by the Whites during the British days. We are now being ruled by the Browns from the plains. The rapid settling-in of Punjabis and Pakhtoons from outside, particularly the trading classes, has created a sense of acute insecurity among the local Shias.”

Zia became the first victim of the carnage unleashed by Gen. Musharraf on the Shias of Gilgit. Though the Pakistani authorities have not released the report of the committee, which enquired into the crash of Zia’s plane in August,1988, it is widely believed in Pakistan that a Shia airman from Gilgit, wanting to take revenge for the May,1988, carnage, was responsible for the crash.

During his days with the SSG in the Siachen area and in the Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan), Gen. Musharraf developed a close personal friendship with Lt.Gen. (now retd) Javed Nasir, Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), during Mr.Nawaz Sharif’s first tenure as the Prime Minister and now his Adviser on intelligence matters, Maj.Gen. Zaheer-ul-Islam Abbasi, then a Brigadier, Lt.Gen. Mohd.Aziz, former No. 2 in the ISI till February this year and now the Chief of the General Staff (CGS), and Mr.Mohd Rafique Tarar, then a Judge and now the President of Pakistan.

All the four of them were devout Deobandis with strong links with Islamic fundamentalist parties and particularly with the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM, also known for some years as the Harkat-ul-Ansar ), which was declared by the US as an international terrorist organisation in 1997. Along with the Lashkar-e-Toiba,the HUM is a member of bin Laden’s International Islamic Front for Jihad against the US and Israel.

Lt.Gen. Nasir was also an office-bearer of the Tablighi Jamaat, even while in service.

In the late 1980s, Brig. Abbasi was posted as the Military Attache in the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi. He was expelled by the Government of India in 1989 after he was caught by the New Delhi police while receiving classified papers from a Government employee.

On his return to Pakistan, Brig. Abbasi was posted to the Siachen. Like Gen. Musharraf, he had a reputation of taking rash and irresponsible actions without the clearance of his superiors. He launched an attack on an Indian army post, which was repulsed with heavy Pakistani casualties.

Musharraf’s Terror Links

The late Gen.Asif Nawaz Janjua, the then COAS, recalled him to Rawalpindi and wanted to dismiss him for launching the attack without his orders, but Lt.Gen. Nasir saved him from any punishment.On September 8,1995, the Pakistani Customs stopped a car carrying heavy arms and ammunition near Kohat in the NWFP and arrested its driver and Saifullah Akhtar, the then patron of the HUM. On interrogation, they reportedly told the Customs authorities that the weapons had been procured by Brig. Mustansar Billa of the Pakistan Army at Darra Adamkhel for supply to the Kashmiri extremist groups.

The Pakistani army then took over the investigation and arrested a group of 40 army officers and 10 civilians headed by Maj.Gen.Abbasi. Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, then Prime Minister, alleged that this group had conspired to kill her and senior military officers, stage a coup and proclaim an Islamic state. They were secretly tried by a military court and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.

Sections of the Pakistani press had alleged that the plotters had wanted to instal Gen. Musharraf as the head of the Islamic State, and that Gen. Aziz was also involved in the plot, but no action was taken against them for want of adequate evidence

Mr.M.H.Askari, a well-known columnist, wrote in the “Dawn” (October 18,1995) as follows: “It is said that the plotters had close links with the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Harkat-ul-Ansar, which are known for their involvement in international terrorism. It is also said that the arrested officers wanted Pakistan to become militarily involved in the Kashmir freedom struggle.”

“The Nation” (October 20,1995) reported that Maj.Gen.Abbasi had close contacts with the Harkat-ul-Ansar. The “Khabrain” alleged that two of the arrested officers belonged to the ISI and that one of them had worked as the staff officer to Lt.Gen. Nasir, when he was DG, ISI.

“The Nation” of November 15,1995, reported: “Almost all the arrested officers are followers of the Tablighi Jamaat based in Raiwind.” Raiwind, which is in the Punjab, is the hometown of the Prime Minister, Mr.Nawaz Sharif. It is also the headquarters of the HUM.

Pakistani analysts were surprised when Mr.Sharif appointed Gen.Musharraf as the COAS on October 8,1998, superseding Lt.Gen. Ali Kuli Khan, a Pakhtoon, who was the CGS, and Lt. Gen. Khalid Nawaz, a Punjabi, who was the Quarter-Master General. Mr.Sharif’s choice of Gen. Musharraf was attributed to the following:
* He was strongly recommended by President Tarar and Lt.Gen. Nasir.
* He had ingratiated himself with Mr.Sharif by keeping the latter informed of the criticism of the Government’s functioning by Lt.Gen.Ali Kuli Khan and Lt.Gen. Khalid Nawaz at theCorps Commanders’ conferences when Gen. Jehangir Karamat was the COAS.
* Though a Mohajir, Gen. Musharraf disliked Mr. Altaf Hussain and his Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Mr. Sharif, therefore, wanted to use him to crush the MQM in Karachi.

Mr.Sharif and Gen. Musharraf got along very well till March. As desired by Mr.Sharif, the new COAS set up special military courts in Karachi to try the MQM cadres on charges of terrorism. Several of them were sentenced to death and two executed before the Pakistan Supreme Court, acting on a petition, declared these courts unconstitutional. It was alleged that Mr.Sharif was also planning to have Mr.Asif Zirdari, the husband of Mrs. Bhutto, tried as a terrorist by the military courts and sentenced to death for allegedly killing Murtaza Bhutto, her brother, in September, 1996.

Mr. Sharif also made the Army in charge of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to put an end to corruption and labour trouble and to improve efficiency.

After the visit of Mr.Strobe Talbott, US Deputy Secretary of State, to Pakistan in the first week of February, Mr.Sharif also approved a plan submitted by Gen. Musharraf for shifting bin Laden’s terrorist brigade from the Jalalabad area of Afghanistan to the Kargil area of India by taking advantage of the absence of the Indian army from this area during winter. It is reported that while Lt.Gen. Nasir strongly backed the plan, Lt.Gen, Ziauddin, the Director-General of the ISI, expressed strong reservations over it and pointed out that it could create problems for Pakistan with the US.

Gen. Musharraf transferred Lt.Gen. Aziz from the ISI to the Army HQ. as his CGS and made him responsible for its implementation through the Directorate of Military Intelligence. Lt.Gen. Nasir was kept in the picture about the implementation, but not Lt.Gen.Ziauddin.

While outwardly supporting the Lahore Declaration, Gen. Musharraf, with the backing of Lt.Gen. Nasir, went ahead implementing the plan. Bin Laden’s terrorist brigade was transported to Skardu in the Northern Areas and from there infiltrated into the Kargil area along with a large number of Pakistani army regulars. Mr.Sharif was allegedly not kept in the picture about sending the army regulars into Indian territory along with the terrorist brigade.

In the February-March,1999, issue of the Pakistan “Defence Journal”, Lt.Gen Nasir had written an article titled “Calling the Indian Army Chief’s Bluff”. While ostensibly supporting the Lahore initiative, Lt.Gen. Nasir wrote in the most contemptuous manner of the capabilities of the Indian army and said: “The Indian army is incapable of undertaking any conventional operations at present, what to talk of enlarging conventional conflict.”

A perusal of the writings in the Pakistani media and professional journals since January,1999, shows that these irrational religious elements in the Pakistan army headed by Gen. Musharraf and senior retired officers who have been supporting Gen. Musharraf have embarked on this adventure in the Kargil area on the basis of the following assumptions:

* The morale in the Indian armed forces is low due to the “bad leadership” of Mr.George Fernandes, our Defence Minister. Lt.Gen.Assad Durrani, former DG of the ISI, has sarcastically referred to Mr.Fernandes as the “best Indian Defence Minister that Pakistan can hope to have.”
* The BJP is a party of paper tigers, known more for their “verbosity” than for their actions.
* Pakistan’s nuclear and missile capability has ensured that India would not retaliate against Pakistan for occupying the ridges in the Kargil area.
* The fear of the possible use of nuclear weapons would bring in Western intervention, thereby internationalising the Kashmir issue.
* Pakistan should agree to a ceasefire only if it was allowed to remain in occupation of the Indian territory. There should be no question of the restoration of the status quo ante.

The interviews and speeches of Gen. Musharraf since October, 1998, show his thinking to be as follows:
* The acquisition of Kashmir by Pakistan can wait. What is more important is to keep the Indian army bleeding in Kashmir just as the Afghan Mujahideen kept the Soviet troops bleeding in Afghanistan.
* Even if the Kashmir issue is resolved, there cannot be normal relations between India and Pakistan because Pakistan, by frustrating India’s ambition of emerging as a major Asian power on par with China and Japan, would continue to be a thorn on India’s flesh. And, so long as it does so, Pakistan would continue to enjoy the backing of China and Japan.

From March, Gen. Musharraf, to the discomfiture of Mr.Sharif, started coming out in his true colours. He issued an order that the army, as the supervisory authority, would conduct all future negotiations with the independent power producers, thereby denying any role in the matter to the politicians and civilian bureaucrats. When Mr.Sharif objected to this order, he declined to cancel it.

The COAS made out a list of all payment defaulters of the WAPDA and leaked to the press that Mrs.Abida Hussain, a Shia Minister of Mr.Sharif’s Cabinet, was one of the major defaulters, thereby forcing her to resign. He has also been hinting to the press that the business enterprises of Mr.Sharif’s family top the list of defaulters.

He then insisted that he should be given concurrent charge of the post of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, even though it was the turn of Admiral Fasih Bokhari, the Chief of the Naval staff, to hold this charge. His argument was that since the army was the most important component of the armed forces, the Chairman should always be from the army. While not accepting this argument, Mr.Sharif gave him concurrent charge for one year only, as against the normal three years. He also got himself nominated as the Strategic Commander of Pakistan’s nuclear force.

By May, Gen. Musharraf found to his surprise that the BJP-led Government was reacting vigorously to the invasion and had ordered the Indian Air Force to go into action against the invaders. It was only then that he reportedly told a shocked Mr.Sharif that he had sent in a large number of Pakistan army regulars with bin Laden’s terrorist brigade and that the regulars were likely to incur heavy casualties.

The demand of the US and other Western powers for the withdrawal of the invaders and for the restoration of the status quo ante came as another surprise to him.

Despite this, he seems to be insisting that Pakistan should not agree to any unconditional withdrawal.

Biography Adolf Hitler (German commander)

Adolf Hitler was born on 20th April 1889 in “Braunau am Inn”, Austria. After leaving school prematurely he tried to become an artist, but was rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna twice.

At the beginning of World War I he volunteered for service in the Bavarian army. There he proved to be a brave soldier, but was never promoted beyond the rank of a “Gefreiter”, because his superior officers didn’t believe he would have any qualities in leadership. Short before the end of the war in 1918, he was injured by an English gas attack. Thereby he lost his eyes sight temporally and spent several months in hospital.

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany

At the end of war he returned to Munich. He joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) in 1919 and from April of the following year he worked for them on a full time basis. In 1921 he was elected as party chairman, “Führer”.

He soon became a key figure in Bavarian politics and he spread his ideas about racial hate and objections to democracy. In November 1923 he led a coup de etat in Munich (Marsch zur Feldherrnhalle) against the postwar Weimar Republic, proclaiming himself chancellor of a new authoritarian regime. However this putsch failed. He was captured and sentenced to five years imprisonment in Landsberg. During this time he dictated his autobiography “Mein Kampf”. Due to a general political amnesty he already was released nine months later and he immediately began rebuilding the Nazi party. In 1930 the Nazi party was represented with 107 seats in the German parliament (Reichstag). Three years later on 30th January 1933 he became German chancellor.

Once in power he quickly established himself as a dictator. He began rearming Germany which met little protest from other European countries. In 1936 he sent troops into the demilitarized Rhineland, but France and the rest of the world did not react. During the Spanish Civil War in 1936 he supported the Nationalist leader Francisco Franco by supplying airplanes and weapons and sending German troops (Legion Condor).

In 1938 Hitler occupied Austria and the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Britain and France feared the outbreak of a war so they agreed in the Munich Pact to this annexations on the basis that Hitler would not take over any additional Czech territory. However in March 1939 Hitler occupied the reminder of Czechoslovakia.

In August 1939 Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and in the pact, the two countries secretly divided up Poland. This pact laid the foundations for World War II and in September 1939 Germany defeated Poland. One year later Germany overran most of Europe and in 1941 Hitler gave the order to attack the Soviet union.

Throughout World War II he continued the campaign to destroy the Jews. In 1942 Hitler met with high ranking Reich officials to create the final solution to the Jewish problem. The Germans began building large extermination camps to accompany the concentration camps where about six million Jews were killed. Endless trains took millions of Jews to the camps. This had a serious effect on the war and subsequent events.

After the German defeat at Stalingrad during the Winter of 1942/43, the war turned against Germany. When the final defeat became more and more likely, Hitler refused to surrender. On 20th July 1944, a group of German officers under the leadership of Colonel Graf von Stauffenberg attempted to assassinate Hitler, but their attempt failed.

Finally, when Soviet troops surrounded his bunker in Berlin on 30th April 1945, Hitler committed suicide together with his long-time companion, Eva Braun, whom he had married the day before.

 

Biography of Osama Bin Laden (Al-quaida Leader)

Note: This document is published here exactly as in the original translated document given to FRONTLINE. No changes have been made to grammar or punctuation.

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The beginnings

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Born 1957 for Syrian mother, Osama bin Laden was the seventh son among fifty brothers and sisters.

Bin Laden the Father

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His father Mohammed Awad bin Laden came to the kingdom from Hadramout (South Yemen) sometime around 1930. The father started his life as a very poor laborer (porter in Jeddah port), to end up as owner of the biggest construction company in the kingdom. During the reign of King Saud, bin Laden the father became very close to the royal family when he took the risk of building King Saud’s palaces much cheaper than the cheapest bid. He impressed King Saud with his performance but he also built good relations with other members of the royal family, especially Faisal. During the Saud-Faisal conflict in the early sixties, bin Laden the father had a big role in convincing King Saud to step down in favor of Faisal. After Saud’s departure the treasury was empty and bin Laden was so supportive to King Faisal that he literally paid the civil servants’ wages of the whole kingdom for six months. King Faisal then issued a decree that all construction projects should go to bin Laden. Indeed, he was appointed for a period as the minister of public works.

In 1969 the father took the task of rebuilding Al-Aqsa mosque after the fire incident. Interestingly the bin Laden family say that they have the credit of building all the three mosques, because later on their company took over the task of major extension in Mecca and Medina mosques.

The father was fairly devoted Moslem, very humble and generous. He was so proud of the bag he used when he was a porter that he kept it as a trophy in the main reception room in his palace. The father used to insist on his sons to go and manage some projects themselves.

The father had very dominating personality. He insisted to keep all his children in one premises. He had a tough discipline and observed all the children with strict religious and social code. He maintained a special daily program and obliged his children to follow. At the same time the father was entertaining with trips to the sea and desert. He dealt with his children as big men and demanded them to show confidence at young age. He was very keen not to show any difference in the treatment of his children.

Early Life, School and Marriage

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Osama was exposed very early on his age to this experience but he lost his father when he was 13. He married at the age of 17 to a Syrian girl who was a relative. He grew up as religiously committed boy and the early marriage was another factor of protecting him from corruption.

Osama had his primary, secondary and even university education in Jeddah. He had a degree in public administration 1981 from King Abdul-Aziz university in Jeddah. Countries of the Arabian Peninsula, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sudan are the only countries he has been to. All stories of trips to Switzerland, Philippines, and London are all unfounded.

Structuring His Mentality

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In addition to the general Islamic commitment he started forming an Islamic responsibility at early age. His father used to host hundreds of pilgrims during Hajj season from al over the world. Some of those were senior Islamic scholars or leaders of Muslim movements. This habit went on even after his father’s death through his elder brothers. He used to make good contacts and relations through those gatherings.

At secondary school and university he adopted the main trend of many educated Muslims at that time, Muslim Brotherhood. There was a collection of Muslim scholars in Jeddah and Mecca at that period. There was nothing extraordinary in his personality and that trend was rather very non-confrontational. Interestingly, the 1980 raid in the Grand Mosque in Mecca was not appealing to him, neither the theology or that group. He had two distinguished teachers in Islamic studies, which was a compulsory subject in the university. First was Abdullah Azzam who became later as one of the big names in Afghanistan and the second was Mohammed Quttub, a famous Islamic writer and philosopher.

Afghanistan, The First Encounter

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The first encounter with Afghanistan was as early as the first two weeks of Soviet invasion. He went to Pakistan and was taken by his hosts Jamaat Islami from Karachi to Peshawar to see the refugees and meet some leaders. Some of those leaders like Rabbani and Sayyaf were common faces to him because he met them during Hajj gatherings That trip which was [a] secret trip lasted for almost a month and was an exploratory rather than action trip. He went back to the kingdom and started lobbying with his brothers, relatives and friends at the school to support the mujahedeen. He succeeded in collecting huge amount of money and material as donations to jihad. He made another trip to take this material. He took with him few Pakistanis and Afghanis who were working in bin Laden company for more than ten years. Again, he did not stay more than a month The trip was to Pakistan and the border only and was not to Afghanistan. He went on collecting money and going in short trips once or twice a year until 1982.

Inside Afghanistan

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In 1982 he decided to go inside Afghanistan. He brought with him plenty of the construction machinery and put them at the disposal of the mujahedeen He started spending more and more time in Afghanistan occasionally joining actual battles but not in an organized manner. His presence was encouraging to more Saudis to come but the numbers were still small at that period.

The Guesthouse

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In 1984 he had one further step in strengthening his presence in Afghanistan by establishing the guesthouse in Peshawar (Baitul’ansar). That house was supposed to be the first station of Arab mujahedeen when they come to Afghanistan before going to the front or start training. At that period Osama did not have his own command or training camps. He used to send the newcomers to one of the Afghan factions.

The guesthouse establishment was coinciding with the formation of Jihad Service Bureau by Abdullah Azzam in Peshawar. The Bureau was very active in terms of media, publications and charity work. The Bureau publications were important in attracting more Saudis and Arabs to Afghanistan.

The Camps

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In 1986 Osama decided to have his own camps inside Afghanistan and within two years he built more than six camps. Some were mobilized more than once. He decided to have his own front and to run his own battles with his own command. Among the Arab fighters he had, there were senior Arab ex-military men from Syria and Egypt with good military experience. The story of the guesthouse and the camps was very attractive for more Arab mujahedeen to come and there was a significant surge in their numbers at that period.

In addition to many exchanges of fire and small operations, the first major battle he had face to face with the Soviet army with pure Arab personnel was the battle of Jaji in the province of Baktia 200 kilometers away from Khost. From then until 1989 he had more than five major battles with hundreds of small operations and exchanges of fire. During the period 1984-1989 he was staying more in Afghanistan than Saudi Arabia. He would spend a total of eight months a year or more in Afghanistan.

Al-Qa’edah

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In 1988 he noticed that he was backward in his documentation and was not able to give answers to some families asking about their loved ones gone missing in Afghanistan. He decided to make the matter much more organized and arranged for proper documentation. He made a tracking record of the visitors, be they mujahedeen or charity or simple visitors. Their movement between the guesthouse and the camps had to be recorded as well as their first arrival and final departure. The whole complex was then termed Al-Qa’edah which is an Arabic word meaning “The Base.” Al-Qa’edah was very much public knowledge. It was funny to see some people triumphing because they discovered it!

Back to the Kingdom

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Late 1989 after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, he went to the kingdom in an ordinary trip. There he was banned from travel and was trapped in the kingdom. The Soviet withdrawal might have been a factor but the main reason for the travel ban were his intentions to start a new “front” of jihad in South Yemen. In addition, he embarrassed the regime by lectures and speeches warning of impending invasion by Saddam. At that time the regime was at very good terms with Saddam. He was instructed officially to keep low profile and not to give public talks. Despite the travel ban he was not hostile to regime at this stage. Indeed he presented a written advice in the form of a detailed, personal, private and confidential letter to the king few weeks before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

After The Iraqi Invasion

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He reacted swiftly to Iraqi invasion and saw it fulfilling his prophecy. He immediately forwarded another letter to the king suggesting in detail how to protect the country from potentially advancing Iraqi forces. In addition to many military tactics suggested, he volunteered to bring all the Arab mujahedeen to defend the kingdom. That letter was presented in the first few days of the incident, and the regime response was of consideration!

While he was expecting some call to mobilize his men and equipment he heard the news which transferred his life completely. The Americans are coming. He always describes that moment as shocking moment. He felt depressed and thought that maneuvers had to change. Instead of writing to the king or approaching other members of the royal family, he started lobbying through religious scholars and Muslim activists. He succeeded in extracting a fatwah from one of the senior scholars that training and readiness is a religious duty. He immediately circulated that fatwah and convinced people to have their training in Afghanistan. It was estimated that 4000 went to Afghanistan in response to the fatwah. The regime was not happy with his activities so they limited his movement to Jeddah only. He was summoned for questioning twice for some of his speeches and activities and was given warnings. To intimidate him, the regime raided his farm in the suburb of Jeddah by the National Guard. He was not there during the raid and was very angry when told. He wrote a letter of protest to Prince Abdullah. Abdullah apologized and claimed he is not aware and promised to punish who ever were responsible.

Fleeing The Kingdom

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Osama was fed up with this almost house arrest situation and did not imagine himself able to stay in the country with the American forces around. One of his brothers was very close to King Fahad and also close to Prince Ahmed, deputy minister of interior. He convinced his brother that he needed to leave the country to sort out some business matters in Pakistan and come back. There was a difficult obstacle, the stubborn Prince Nayef, minister of interior. His brother waited until Nayef went in a trip outside the kingdom and extracted lifting the ban from prince Ahmed. When he arrived in Pakistan around April 1991 he sent a letter to his brother telling him that he is not coming back and apologized for letting him down with the royal family.

In Afghanistan Again

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After his arrival to Pakistan he went straight to Afghanistan because he knew the Pakistani intelligence would hand him back to the Saudis. There, he attended the collapse of the communist regime and the consequent dispute between the Afghan parties. He spent great effort to arbitrate between them but with no success He ordered his followers to avoid any involvement in the conflict and told them it was a sin to side with any faction. During his stay the Saudis tried more than once to kidnap or kill him in collaboration with the Pakistani intelligence. His friends in the Saudi and Pakistani establishments would always leak the plan and make him ready for it. After his failure in sorting the Afghani dispute, he decided to leave Afghanistan. The only alternative country he had was Sudan. He left Afghanistan disguised in private jet only few months after his arrival. That was late 1991.

In Sudan

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His choice of Sudan had nothing to do with jihad or “terrorism.” He was attracted to Sudan because of what was at that time an Islamic banner raised by the new regime in Sudan. He wanted to have good refuge as well as help the government in its construction projects. There was no intention from his side or from the Sudanese regime to have any military activity in Sudan. Indeed the Sudanese government refused even sending some of his followers to the front in the south. He was treated in Sudan as a special guest who wanted to help Sudan when everybody was turning away. In Sudan he mobilized a lot of construction equipment and enrolled himself in busy construction projects. He spent good effort in convincing Saudi businessmen to invest in Sudan and had reasonable success. Many of his brothers and Jeddah merchants had and still have investment in real estate, farming and agricultural industry. In Sudan he had again escaped an assassination attempt which turned out later to be the plan of Saudi intelligence.

Somalia and Yemen

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During his stay in Sudan anti-American incidents happened in Somalia and South Yemen. Neither of the two incidents was performed by his group in the proper sense of chain of command. Both were performed by people who had training in Afghanistan and had enough anti-American drive. He might have given some sanctioning to the operations but one thing was certain, the Sudanese were completely unaware of either.

Saudis go anti-bin Laden

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Between his arrival to Sudan and early 1994 he was not regarded publicly as Saudi opposition and Saudi citizens were visiting him without too much precautions. Only the well-informed people would know that he was classified as enemy to the Saudi regime. His assets were frozen sometime between 1992 and 1994 but that was not published. The Saudis decided to announce their hostility early 1994 when they publicized withdrawing his citizenship.

Bin Laden Goes anti-Saudi

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After long silence and tolerance, bin Laden replied by issuing a communiqué condemning the Saudi decision and saying that he does not need the “Saudi” reference to identify himself and it is not up to Al-Saud to admit or expel people from Arabian Peninsula. He then formed together with activists and scholars from the kingdom a group called “Advice and Reform Committee” (ARC). The ARC was, according to its communiqués and published agenda, a purely political group. The ARC published around 17 communiqués which might have contained harsh criticism of the Saudi regime and plenty of religious rhetoric but never contained reference for violence or incitment of violence.

Riyadh Bombing

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The car bomb in spring 1995 in Riyadh was the first major anti-American action in the kingdom. Bin Laden never claimed responsibility, but the Saudi government tried to link the incident to bin Laden by showing video confessions of four “Arab Afghans” involved in the bombing.

Out of Sudan

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Sudan was exposed to huge international pressure for hosting bin Laden and his followers, and bin Laden felt that he is becoming an embarrassment to the Sudanese. Early in 1996 he started making contacts with his old friends in Afghanistan to prepare for his reception. He fled Sudan in a very well planned trip with many of his followers to go straight to Jalalabad in Eastern Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan Third Time

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When he arrived there, the situation in Afghanistan was very unsettled between the many factions, but he had very good relations with all factions and all would protect him. The area he arrived to was under control of Yunis Khalis, a very influential warlord who later on joined Taliban.

The Khobar Bombing

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June 1996, after his arrival in Afghanistan was the Khobar bombing. Nobody claimed responsibility, but sources from inside the Saudi ministry of interior confirmed involvement of Arab Afghans, with possible link to bin Laden The Saudi government wanted to frame Shi’a, at the beginning but Americans were very suspicious of the Saudi story. Bin Laden himself never claimed responsibility but gave many hints that he might have been involved. The Saudi government has acknowledged recently that bin Laden’s men were behind the bombing.

Jihad Against America

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After few months of his arrival he issued his first anti-American message, a Declaration of War. That declaration was limited to expelling American forces outside the Arabian Peninsula. His sense of security and nobody to embarrass must have been the drive to release that 12 page declaration. Interest in him by the Saudis never stopped and they tried very hard to convince Yunis Khalis to hand him over, and he flatly refused despite the luxurious offers.

Under Taliban

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Taliban swept Jalalabad late 1996, almost without war, and bin Laden came under their control. He was optimistic that they will give him sanctuary but he was not sure. He was surprised when a delegation of Taliban came to meet him by order of Mullah Omer, the leader of Taliban, with instructions to reassure him that he will have even better protection under Taliban. The delegation expressed Taliban honor of protecting somebody like him who sacrificed a lot for the sake of jihad.

Another Kidnap Foiled

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The Saudis never gave up. Early 1997 they bought some mercenaries in the Pakistani Afghani border. The operation was arranged with the Pakistani intelligence. The information leaked to bin Laden and he decided to move immediately to Qandahar, the stronghold of Taliban. The operation was then cancelled.

Credit with Taliban

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When bin Laden left Jalalabad, he ordered many of his followers to join Taliban in their war against Dostum and to protect Kabul. The unexpected happened. Taliban troops were fooled by a trap in the north and Kabul front was exposed to Shah Masood. Taliban were so disorganized at that stage that it was only those few Arabs who were there to push Shah Masood off Kabul and they did efficiently.

Face to Face With MulIa Omer

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The leader of Taliban Mulla Omer was keen to meet Osama. He met him early 1997 after two TV interviews, Channel 4 and CNN. Mulla Omer expressed respect and admiration but requested him to have low profile. He stressed that that was a request and not an order. Osama replied with appreciation and thanks and reassured Mulla Omer that he was going very low profile.

Another Kidnap Foiled

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Sometime in late 1997 a big operation was planned by the Americans. The primary plan was for American special forces to attack bin Laden’s residence in Qandahar and kidnap him in a commando style operation. The plan was mocked in Pakistani desert and proved dangerous. While the Americans were reconsidering the decision, the news leaked to bin Laden, again through the Pakistani military, and he made it public. That was published in Al-Quds Al-Arabi in London. The Americans had no choice but to cancel. Americans acknowledged this incident only recently, but did not acknowledge the leak.

Lobbying with Ulema

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Bin Laden noticed that the driving force in Taliban were Ulema (religious scholars). He made very good links with them and lobbied specifically for the subject of American forces in the Arabian Peninsula. He was able to extract a fatwah signed by some 40 scholars in Afghanistan sanctioning the use of all means to expel the American forces from the Peninsula. The issue of that fatwah was an asset to him inside Taliban domain. He felt that Ulema were at his back and he can go high profile after long silence.

The International front

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His second presence in Afghanistan has attracted many mujahedeen to move there again. Among those were Ayman El-Zawahery of Egyptian Jihad and Rift’ee Taha of Jama’a Islamia. There was also new phenomenon during that period. Bin Laden decided to go pan-Islamic instead of Saudi or Arabic. He attracted Kashmiris, Pakistanis, Indians, and Muslims from the Soviet Republics. He thought at that stage that he could make an international alliance against America. In February 1998 he declared the formation of the International Front. The declaration contained two elements, formation of the front and a fatwah sanctioning killing Americans and Jews. Apart from two Arabic newspapers, the declaration had minimal coverage by the press.

Media Escalation

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After avoiding the media for almost a year he decided to open the door wide for them. In April 1998 he received the ABC TV team and two weeks later he held press conference in Khost and warned of impending attack in few weeks time. Mulla Omer was not happy with this new media escalation, but felt it difficult to control him while he is protected by the scholars. Indeed bin Laden said that he would abide with what ever the Ulema board decides

African Bombings

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The bombings in Kenya and Tanzania July 1998 were not a big surprise. Yes, it was a surprise but in terms of choice of location and targets. Despite his declaration of war against America anywhere, the attack was expected inside Saudi Arabia. Having said that, it is not [to be taken] for granted that he is behind the bombing.

The American Missile

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It is not known why the Americans chose a camp in Khost to retaliate. The camp was an almost deserted camp where only few Arabs have stayed, with a neighboring camp of Kashmiris. Bin Laden himself was hundreds of miles away, and the rest of Arab Afghans were in the northern front celebrating their recent victories.

Currently

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Since the American attack bin Laden was put in heavy protection and advised to stay hiding. His followers made another credit when they protected Kabul front again and pushed Masood forces back.

Bin Laden the Person

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Bin Laden was brought up with good manners. He matured as extremely humble and very generous person. He insists to join his comrades in every act. Very frequently he cooks for them and serves them. He lives a simple life in a small flat in Jeddah or in a shed in Afghanistan and insists on his family to eat simple and to dress simple.

He is known to be strictly truthful and would never lie, but he is politically conscious and believes there is a room for political maneuver even if you are devoted person. Despite being shy he has dominating personality. He speaks very little and looks serious most of the time. He would appear with a soft smile but he seldom laughs. His followers see a lot of aura on him and show great voluntary respect to him. For some reason that falls short of a proper charisma. He is not known for giving distinguished speeches, and there is almost no audio or video recordings of him.

He is widely educated and spends a good deal of time reading. He is fond of media monitoring and information gathering and research. There was always a data management team with him wherever he went.

Among the outstanding features is his courage. He will not show a flicker even if a bomb exploded near him. He was exposed to more than 40 incidents of heavy bombardment, three of them were full of death and flesh around him. A Scud missile exploded 17 meters distance from him. At one time he was almost the victim of chemical weapons. More than once he needed treatment in hospital for body injuries. Despite this courage he is very cautious person. He would not keep any electronic instrument close to his vicinity. Some times he even avoids any device even if it is a simple watch near him because he believes this might help in targeting him.

He is intelligent and has reasonable strategic thinking, but he downgrades himself in the presence of Islamic scholars. He always admires Shiekh Safar al-Hawali and would have not gone through his current controversial path if al-Hawali was free. Some people saw him as a man with vision, others doubt it. They think that he never had clear long term plan. They see the last fatwah as evidence of that.

Relation with Al-Saud

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Contrary to what is always reiterated bin Laden has never had official relations with the Saudi regime or the royal family. All his contacts would happen through his brothers. The brothers would approach two members of the royal family who were fairly sympathetic to Osama. They were Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, deputy minister of interior and Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz, deputy minister of defense. He might have met them in few occasions but those meetings would have been purely social or accidental in one of his brother’s houses. Specifically he had no relation with Turki al-Faisal head of Saudi intelligence. He used to be very suspicious of his role in Afghanistan and once had open confrontation with him in 1991 and accused him of being the reason of the fight between Afghan factions. He was wary of the Saudi government very early in the eighties, but he thought it was wiser to keep silent and benefit from their de facto support to jihad in that period.

Relation with America

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Bin Laden has never had any relation with America or American officials. Claims of relation with CIA or other American departments are all unfounded. Since the late seventies he had strong anti-American feeling. He committed himself and family and advised all friends to avoid buying American goods unless it was necessary. He was saying very early in the eighties that the next battle is going to be with America. … No aid or training or other support have ever been given to bin Laden from Americans. Bin Laden would bring money from individuals donating straight to him. The weapons he had were either captured from the Soviets or bought from other factions.

Relations with Pakistan

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Again there were no official relations with officials in Pakistani government. However, he had paramount respect by many Pakistanis including people in the army, intelligence and religious establishment. They were so penetrating that they would always leak any plan against him by the Pakistani-Saudi-American alliance.

Relation with Taliban

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His relation with Taliban would best be understood if Taliban themselves are understood properly. First of all Taliban are not simply another Afghan faction supported by Pakistan. Taliban are sincere to their beliefs, a religiously committed group unspoiled by political tactics. They would never bargain with what they see as matters of principle. Bin Laden for them is a saint. He is a symbol of sacrifice for the sake of jihad. They see him as very rich Arab from the Holy Land who gave up his wealth and luxury to fight for the sake of his brother Muslims in Afghanistan. They see themselves performing a double duty here, an Islamic duty of protecting this distinguished person and a tribal duty of protecting a descent refugee. The latter is a big value in Afghanistan. Once, a Taliban leader said to a Saudi envoy that if a goat would seek refuge to my tent I would never hand it over, how on earth do you want us to hand over a holy man like bin Laden?

There was no argument within Taliban about handing over bin Laden. There is however some difference in opinion about how high his media profile should be.

In addition to the factor of principle, bin Laden had twice had the credit of protecting Kabul recently.

Bin Laden became an intimate part of Taliban structure when he taught them how to deal with state affairs in a proper manner. For example, they were to be fooled by some oil and gas companies and sell the pipeline project for cheap. He advised them to learn from the Iraq-Turkey and Iraq-Syria agreements. They wanted to privatize some factories and were about to sell them to Pakistani businessmen for cheap prices. He taught them how to conduct proper bidding procedure and guarantee good prices.

Relation with Iran

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It is needless to say that bin Laden has not had any relation with Iran. Iran knows that bin Laden is a committed Sunni and he regards Iran as Shi’a state. The trust between the two is minimal but both have avoided criticizing each other publicly. Having said that, he sees America as common enemy and according to a Pakistani newspaper he regards an anti-American alliance with Iran and China as something to be considered.

Bin Laden Followers

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bin Laden has two circles of followers. First are the closed core followers who are related to him by a chain of command and take orders like a secret organization. Most of those are probably in Afghanistan. Many are inside Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia and probably Gulf countries. Like any secret group, those followers would not disclose their relation. Inside Saudi Arabia many of those would appear like any average citizen. The number of those is probably in hundreds.

The second circle is much wider and the number is probably in thousands. They are located in the same countries. They would look at bin Laden as Godfather but they do not have proper chain of command or secret links with him. They would regard themselves obliged to perform some of his general orders. Most of those followers are not organized and get trapped by the Saudi police fairly easily. But some are intelligent and make use of the loose nature of their structure to function without attracting attention.

Finance

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Before his final departure from Saudi Arabia, his financial activities were almost copies of his brothers. Indeed, he is still part of the big mother company. However he had committed himself at very early stage to a special code which he thought was necessary to guarantee the Islamic nature of this activity. For example he would never invest in non-Islamic country. He would never use banks unless it was absolutely necessary. He does not believe in stock market because he thought the investor cannot escape interest since the money has to be in a bank and produce some interest. He is also preoccupied with the idea that Jews control banks and stock market.

He had three setbacks which would have made him bankrupt otherwise. The first was the freezing of his direct assets by the Saudi government. All his traceable money was frozen including his share in the big mother company of bin Laden. No body knows the exact amount but it was probably in the range of 200-300 million Dollars.

The second setback was the loss he had in Sudan. The Sudanese government was too weak financially to pay him for the construction projects and he ended up hardly with 10% of the payment. He lost in Sudan not less than 150 million dollars.

The third setback happened last year when one of his close aids defected to the Saudi government. The defector Sidi Tayyib Al-Madani had some financial information about him until early 1995. Bin Laden knew about the plans of this man to defect and so had few months to liquidate the few businesses known to this defector. There was very little trace of those businesses but dismantling them was not without loss.

There is, however the other side of the story. Bin Laden is a member of a big family. His father’s financial inheritance has not been sorted. The brothers agreed to keep many assets of the father and distribute the profits only. Most of the brothers and sisters are observing Muslims and very keen not to “spoil” their income with money which is not theirs. They believe it is their duty to let the owner of any riyal to have it. The only way they guarantee that is by letting bin Laden’s share reach him. Some of the brothers and sisters believed it was their religious duty to support this distinguished brother from their own money. While many are very careful not to irritate the royal family, many more do not care and insist on letting the money reach Osama.

The way bin Laden family money is structured is very complicated because there is the big company and there are many small companies of few brothers together, and there are many individuals with their personal investment. To make the matter even more complex it is very well known that bin Laden family money is intimately mixed with the royal family money in a very complex way. Most of the companies are joint ventures with members of the royal family including King Fahad himself.

There is another big source of income to bin Laden, donations. During the early jihad era when it was blessed by the Saudi regime, he made excellent relations with many wealthy Saudis and Arabs. It is true that most of those would not support him now because of the Saudi government position but some do take the risk.

Lastly, bin Laden activities are not very dependent on money. His followers are not mercenaries. Training does not cost a lot of money. Explosives and weapons are very cheap in some parts of the world. In Somalia TNT for example is cheaper than sugar. In Yemen you can buy an RPG for less than TV set. The role of money here is over exaggerated by many writers.

Public Image

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In the eighties bin Laden was seen as a star of the Afghan Jihad. He was very much admired and respected for his sacrifice but he was not seen as a potential leader. Almost nobody saw leadership ambitions in him at that period. His public image was so good that the regime used this image to have a boost during early days of the Gulf War. The regime published a fabricated interview with him in “Al-Muslimoon” newspaper claiming he supported the regime measures to counteract the Iraqi invasion.

In the period between Iraqi invasion and his reappearance in Afghanistan 1996 he was almost forgotten by the public. The elite and especially the jihadis were still admiring him and following up his news. Some even made their way to Sudan to meet him and offer support. The public were reminded about him by the video confessions of the group attributed to Riyadh bombing.

After his declaration of jihad in 1996 his public image had a surge but this time as a leader rather than a star. There was a lot of controversy about him. In Saudi Arabia nobody would accuse him of being part of conspiracy but people would differ about his new program. There was almost a consensus in the Saudi domain on refusal of American presence in Arabia and many would like the idea of expelling the Americans by force. Many others had reservations and thought violence will bring a lot of trouble to the country. Interestingly those who disagreed with him did not accuse him having personal agenda or looking for personal benefits.

This image went on with occasional boosts by the media until the African bombings. Interestingly the story of the International Front and fatwah did not attract much attention. The Kenya Tanzania bombings reminded people of bin Laden. The media coverage was so overwhelming that the Saudi authorities felt jealous of bin Laden. People’s reaction, however, was mixed. While many felt triumph for scaring the Americans, many others felt upset by the picture of hundreds of civilians killed and injured in the attack. They felt that this can never be justified.

The American missiles then played very strong role in sorting the controversy. After the American attack on Sudan and Afghanistan it became almost shameful to criticize bin Laden. People inside Saudi Arabia and in other Arab countries were full of anger towards America, and whoever can antagonize America would provide a fulfillment to their desire of discharging their anger. The American strike with the associated remarks by Clinton and American officials proved that bin Laden is a big challenge to America. In the mind of average Arab and Muslim bin Laden appeared as the man who was able to drive America so crazy that it started shooting haphazardly at unjustified targets. There was another factor which made people forget the scene of civilian victims, the special nature of the Sudanese factory. Those who had reservations of the African bombings thought that this arrogance of the Americans is much worse than the embassy bombings. Their view was that while bin Laden or others can make “executive” mistake because of their difficult circumstances, logistics and communication, America is not supposed to do this mistake unless it is done in purpose.

Interestingly the jealousy of the Saudi regime was seen clearly in the Saudi media when they instructed the Saudi TV and radio not to mention bin Laden name at all. Even when they reported the American missile attack the news item was ” attack on terrorist base in Afghanistan, period”.