Al-Qaeda involvement in the Middle East
Al Qaedainvolvement in the Middle East has included a number of attacks inside Saudi Arabia, occurring as early as 1995. Al Qaeda or Ayman al-Zawahiri's former organization, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, have carried out various attacks inside Egypt.
Iraq, elements at first loosely associated with al-Qaeda, in the Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihadorganization commanded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, have played a key role in the War in Iraq.
On September 17, 2008, six assailants, possibly associated with
Al Qaeda, approached the United Statesembassy in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen. The assailants, carrying rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons, attacked the embassy with gunfire going for ten minutes. During the attack, a car bombdetonated at an embassy checkpoint. The attack resulted in the death of six Yemeni guards, along with four civilians, and the six attackers. The civilians were in a line outside the embassy, waiting to get visas. [cite news |url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gPT0H4QNxbnAnToQZo5c3pTkPk7AD938I6PG0 |title=16 dead in car bomb, ambush at US Embassy in Yemen |author=al-Haj, Ahmed |date=2007-09-17 |publisher=Associated Press]
Canal Hotel bombing]
Osama bin Laden first took interest in
Iraqwhen the country invaded Kuwaitin 1990, raising concerns the secular Baathist government of Iraq might next set its sights on Saudi Arabia, homeland of bin Laden and Islam itself. In a letter sent to King Fahd, he offered to send an army of mujahedeen to defend Saudi Arabia, but the offer was rebuffed. [cite web|date= 2006-05-28| title=Who is Osama Bin Laden? | work=BBC News | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/1551100.stm | accessmonthday=29 May | accessyear=2006] During the Gulf War, the organization's interests became split between outrage at the intervention of the United Nations in the region and hatred of Saddam Hussein's secular government.
Links between Saddam's regime and al-Qaeda, as claimed by the Bush Administration (which formed a crucial part of the
WMDjustification for the Iraq invasion), were non-existent or exaggerated, according to the report of both the United States Government's 9/11 Commission [cite web|date= 2004-07-22| title=The 9/11 Commission Report, p.334 | work=United States Government Printing Office | url=http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/pdf/sec10.pdf | accessmonthday=2 May | accessyear=2007|format=PDF] and the Pentagon; [ [http://wpherald.com/articles/4137/1/Pentagon-report-There-was-no-Saddam-al-Qaida-connection/CIA-in-2002-found-no-cooperation.html World Peace Herald: "Pentagon report: There was no Saddam-al Qaida connection"] ] despite these conclusions, Vice President Dick Cheney has continued to publicly assert an Iraqi–al-Qaeda link. [cite web|date= 2006-09-10| title=Cheney reasserts Iraq/al-Qaeda links | work=Financial Times | url=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/1f27d8e4-4106-11db-827f-0000779e2340.html| accessmonthday=10 May | accessyear=2007] Recently, the US has acknowledged that the role of al-Qaeda in post-invasion violence in Iraq was overstated. [cite web|date= 2006-04-18| title=Who is behind "Al Qaeda in Iraq"? Pentagon acknowledges fabricating a "Zarqawi Legend" | work=Centre for Research on Globalization | url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20060418&articleId=2275| accessmonthday=14 May | accessyear=2007] The US also claimed that al-Qaeda was in contact with the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islamfrom its inception in 1999; however, Ansar al-Islam's founder, Mullah Krekar, has staunchly denied any such link. [cite news | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2713749.stm | title=Mullah denies Iraq al-Qaeda link | publisher=BBC News | author=Pam O'Toole | date=2003-01-31]
2003 invasion of Iraq, elements at first loosely associated with al-Qaeda, commanded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, have supported local resistance to the occupying coalition forces and the emerging government, particularly targeting Iraq's Shia majority.cite news|url = http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/407AAE91-AF72-45D7-83E9-486063C0E5EA.htm|work = Al Jazeera|title = Al-Zarqawi declares war on Iraqi Shia|date = September 14 2005] They have been implicated in the bombing of the United Nationsheadquarters in Iraq, [cite press release|publisher= U.S. Department of State|date= October 15 2004|title=Foreign Terrorist Organization: Designation of Jama?at al-Tawhid wa?al-Jihad and Aliases|url=http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2004/37130.htm|accessdate=2006-04-21] as well as hundreds of other small and large scale attacks on the military and civilian targets. [cite news | first=Jim | last=Miklaszewski | title=With Tuesday’s attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq. | date= March 2 2004|publisher=NBC News|url=http://drinkingliberally.org/blogs/louisville/archives/2006/03/ ] Eventually, al-Zarqawi claimed allegiance to bin Laden in October 2004.
Al-Zarqawi was killed by U.S.
air strikeson a safe house near Baqubahon June 7, 2006. Before his death, he was allegedly trying to use Iraq as a launching pad for international terrorism, most notably dispatching suicide bombers to attack hotels and government targets in Jordan. [cite news|title= Furious Jordanians take to streets|date= November 11 2005|publisher= CNN| url=http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/11/10/jordan.blasts/index.html ] Since the killing of al-Zarqawi, it was believed that Abu Ayyub al-Masritook over as head of "al-Qaeda in Iraq". On September 3, 2006the second-in-command of "al-Qaeda in Iraq", Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi (also known as Abu Humam or Abu Rana), was arrested north of Baghdad, along with a group of his aides and followers. [ USA Today: [http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2006-09-03-al-Qaeda-arrest_x.htm Suspected No. 2 al-Qaeda leader arrested] , 4 September 2006]
In a 39 page document retrieved in November and a 16 page document retrieved in October gives insight on how Al-Qaeda in Iraq is in panic and fear. The documents reveal how local fighters are being mistreated by the foreign fighters and labeled as "scoundrels, sectarians, and non-believers." Abu-Tariq, states that the number of fighters has dwindled from 600 to 20 fighters. [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3346386.ece Al-Qaeda leaders admit: 'We are in crisis. There is panic and fear'] ]
Israel and Palestine
Bin Laden's and Ayman al-Zawahiri's repeatedly refer to the Palestinian cause in their manifestos and interviews. The
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and organization formed in the Gaza Stripduring the 1970s by Fathi Shaqaqiand Abd Al Aziz Awdaas a branch of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, an organization currently led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, is active in its attacks against Israel.Fact|date=July 2008
Al-Qaeda is suspected to have planned and carried out two nearly simultaneous attacks against
Israeli civilian targets in Mombasa, Kenya, on November 28, 2002. Al-Qaeda also increased its external operations in 2005 by claiming credit for attacks including" [http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2005/65275.htm Foreign Terrorist Organizations] ", " Country Reports on Terrorism", U.S. State Department, 28 April 2006.] a rocket attack that narrowly missed U.S. Navy ship in Eilat, Israel, and the firing of several " Katyusha" rockets into Israel from Lebanon.
An extremist Gaza Strip group calling itself Army of Islam or "the organization of al-Qaeda in Palestine", [Kershner, Isabel. " [http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/21/news/22mideast.php Bombing at U.S.-backed school in Gaza] ", "
International Herald Tribune", 04-21-2007. Retrieved 04-30-2007.] which gained notoriety with kidnapping of Alan Johnston, draws inspiration from al-Qaeda. [ Reuters. "BBC's Johnston shown in tape wearing explosives", Reuters, 06-24-2007.]
Shakir al-Abssi, a former associate of al-Qaeda in Iraq, recruited Palestinian refugees in Lebanon into Fatah al-Islamand rose against the government. [ Mekhennet, Souad/Moss, Michael. " [http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/15/news/lebanon.php A new face of Al Qaeda emerges in Lebanon] ", " International Herald Tribune", 03-15-2007. Retrieved 03-23-2007.] The exact nature of the group's al-Qaeda links remains a matter of controversy.
On the 9th of May 2008, after the clashes between the
Hezbollahand government loyalists, Al-Qaeda declared war on Hezbollah. [" [http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=54916§ionid=351020203 Presstv.] "]
Ghriba synagogue bombing
Riyadh compound bombings
29 May 2004 Al-Khobar massacres
2005 Amman bombings
2005 Sharm el-Sheikh attacks
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