Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden BiographyOsama Bin Laden: A Timeline

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After a frustrating decade of near-misses and cold leads, Osama bin Laden has been killed by U.S. forces -- and now, news media are reflecting on the life of one of the most notorious men in history. The BBC starts at the beginning.

“One of the most recognizable faces of our age. Osama bin Laden inspired a generation of Islamic radicals. You wouldn't guess it from this early family snapshot. Relaxed, smiling, a typical teenager. No sign of what he would become. A Saudi national, Osama bin Laden became increasingly disenchanted with what he viewed as the greed of the ruling Saudi royal family.”

Born to the wealthy bin Laden clan in 1957, euronews reports Osama was working for the family’s construction company when the Saudi secret services approached him in the 1980s.

They asked bin Laden to help recruit Mujahideen fighters to help push Soviet troops out of Afghanistan.

“Radical Islam was gaining power in the region, its supporters backed by those keen to fight Communism. It was with Saudi and American money that bin Laden slowly built up his organisation and trained his fighters. The withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989 put an end to this, but bin Laden wanted to go further. The allies parted.”

Upon his return to Saudi Arabia, bin Laden criticized the ruling family’s ties to the U.S.. He became increasingly radicalized, and his actions cost bin Laden his Saudi citizenship. His family disowned him.

In the following years, al-Qaeda carried out a series of terror attacks. These included the first attack at the World Trade Center in 1993, bombings at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and a suicide attack on U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole. (Video: BBC)

Along with the string of violent attacks and attempts, The New York Times says bin Laden learned to use the media to his advantage, even as U.S. intelligence closed in on his actions.

“Bin Laden was … summoning Western reporters to his hide-outs in Afghanistan to relay his message: He would wage war against the [U.S.] and its allies if Washington did not remove its troops from the gulf region. … By the summer of 2001, the C.I.A. was convinced that Al Qaeda was on the verge of a spectacular attack. But no one knew where or when it would come.”

That attack came on September 11th, 2001. It destroyed the World Trade Center and four passenger airplanes, killing 3,000 people in the worst terrorist attack on American soil. As the primary suspect, bin Laden went into hiding, sparking what would be the largest manhunt in history.

And ten years of searching came to a conclusion Sunday, with celebrations breaking out across the globe. But in its obituary for bin Laden, Al Jazeera warns — though he’s dead, his influence could live on...

“ death could make him an even more powerful motivator for his supporters.”

U.S. officials have moved quickly to inter bin Laden’s body, following Islamic traditions which require burials to occur 24 hours after death. Reports say his body was buried quote- ‘at sea.’

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