Political Science - 1
The Looming Towers
From the moment that terrorists from al-Qaeda crashed the first plane into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center a new story began. This new story of international war would consume America for almost ten years. The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright is a collection of stories and vital information that explains the events leading to that clear, blue, fateful Manhattan morning in September 2001. This book is a clear and gripping account of the life and times of Osama bin Laden and the reasoning behind his ideologies. This book tells us the story of Bin Laden from his early days of fighting against the Soviets in Afghanistan, to his re-exile to Taliban Afghanistan where he plotted the fall of the looming towers, to his escape to Tora Bora. In order to understand Bin Laden’s ideologies, religious beliefs and agenda against America, the author of The Looming Tower tells us the story of Sayyid Qutb. He seems to have a lot in common with Bin Laden and came to be a good influence in his path to al-Qaeda. Qutb opposed Communist and Capitalist systems. He also thought that Christianity was powerless in comparison to Islam. He believed Islam was a complete system with laws, social codes, economic rules and its own method of government. Going through the pages of the first chapter, I could not avoid finding a resemblance between Qutb’s and Bin Laden. However, Bin Laden took Qutb’s beliefs to a dangerous extreme.
Wright does an amazing job explaining Bin Laden’s background. Bin Laden’s father built a company out of hard work and even became a favorite of the monarchy of Saudi Arabia. According to Wright through his clever alliance with powerful foreign corporations, “Bin Laden’s father began diversifying his company named “BinLaden Kaiser” which became one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the world” (Wright p.77). The Bin
Political Science - 2
Laden’s became a well known family and Osama was supposed to follow those footsteps and help in the family business. Osama’s calling was different. He focused on his rage against the Soviet Union and the world of Christianity.
The Soviet Invasion is the war that gives shape to the first organization of Arabs that wanted to change the world and protect their land and religious beliefs. Bin Laden and Sheikh Abdullah Azzam set up what they called the Service Bureau (Makhtab al- Khadamat). According to Jonathan R. White, Azzam believed that the realm of Islam had been dominated by foreign power for too long and it was time for all Muslims to rise and fight Satan. “He saw the war with the Soviet Union as the beginning of a holy war against all things foreign to Islam” (White p.379). It was during these times that Martyrdom starts to be a strong part of this story. Martyrdom is a reward and a glorious death. Azzam talked to his group and other audiences around the world many times about martyrdom. The pageant of martyrdom that he limned before his audiences created the death cult which would one day form al-Qaeda. In 1986, Bin Laden financed the first permanent all Arab camp for this project which did not involve his partner in The Business Bureau Azzam. In front of the eyes of followers and old friends and family, Bin Laden reiterated his vision of creating an Arabic force that would defend Muslim causes everywhere. Bin Laden’s camp was known as Lion’s Den and it was a place formed by man-made caverns, well disguised and perched above the main supply line from Pakistan. Some of the caverns would be more than a hundred yards long and twenty feet high, serving as shelters, dormitories, hospitals and arm dumps. During the time that Lion’s Den was the center of Bin Laden’s operations, he saw a huge victory against the Russians. For the Afghans, this victory became the foundation of the myth that they defeated the superpower. When the Soviet Union finally fell into pieces, Bin Laden created a vanguard that was to carry...
Cited: Wright, Lawrence. The Looming Towers. New York: Vintage Books, 2007. Print.
White, Jonathan. Terrorism & Homeland Security. California: Wardsworth, 2012. Print.
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