How America Created Al-Qaeda
One of history’s greatest ironies
The ironies that far exceed our expectations always stem from the most unsuspecting point. In my honest opinion, these are the moments we should always strive to learn from.
Who would have thought that something as simple as starting a business in a distant country would culminate in one of the world’s most infamous terror groups. This is the story of Osama bin Laden. Yes. And it starts way before he was even born. It starts with the discovery of black gold in the Middle East.
The foundations of any nation lie in the power of the infrastructure established to support its populace or anyone who decides to start a business within the region.
Osama’s father, Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden became the richest non-royal Saudi because of his construction company. Due to his diligence and absolute dedication to his work, he caught the eye of the royals too. He normally made the lowest bids but did the work the best.
In the 1950s, the Americans liked this company a lot. Striking oil wealth in the 1940s meant that they would bring a small group of American expatriates who would consequently need to live according to their own living standards.
Mohammed (Osama’s father) was landing all these contracts as the American presence only expanded. More oil meant more wealth and more contracts. Mohammed was making it big, and things would only get better.
As he did not have an education when he was young, he made sure that his more than 50 children got an adequate and quality education. His son, Osama bin Laden studied all the way to college, and some reports say that he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1979.
The Cold War
The politics of the Cold War left the world polarized into three major sides. The capitalists, the communists, and the members of the non-aligned movement that wanted nothing to do with either side.
The Saudis being in bed with the Americans because of the oil, did not sit well with the Middle East. Western traditions were not in line with fundamental Islamist views.
What brought the relations to a boiling point in the Middle East was the establishment of Israel. Israel had the backing of the Americans and thus was heavily equipped to fight wars. They went toe to toe with the Arab nations on a few occasions where the Israelis decimated the Arabs.
The Arab-Israeli war of 1973 had its consequences on the entire world. Syria and Egypt had decided to gang up on Israel and regain their lost territories effectively. It seemed like they would actually win this time, but Israel got to the Egyptian capital in their defensive-cum-offensive war against their adversaries.
This sparked the oil crisis where all OPEC states said they would cut oil production by 5% every month until their demands were met. With America at a standstill, they now had to talks to mitigate the crisis that emerged.
All these actions angered Osama, and he vowed to fight off the meddling superpowers who all wanted to align the Middle East to their goals.
The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
When the Soviets decided to invade Afghanistan in 1979, Osama took it as an opportunity to fight the superpower. He went to join the local rebels against the Soviet Union. He arrived with lots of resources that proved helpful for the war effort.
Americans saw the situation and thus funded the rebels and gave them equipment to counter the Soviet invasion. This is the moment that the unforeseen happened. It was not apparent that Americans were on Osama’s menu then.
Osama eventually drove off the Soviet Union after a decade of war. They had adapted to war and become veterans with first-hand experience in war. Osama returned to Saudi Arabia and was confident about making the Al-Qaeda and raised funding for it.
Many events unfolded, including the Persian Gulf War, that led to a greater American military presence in the Middle East. All these bothered Osama bin Laden, and he coordinated multiple attacks against American assets worldwide.
American embassies were bombed, such as the simultaneous bombings of Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam of 1998. Thousands were wounded, but this was not enough.
The world woke up to the reality of terror when it culminated in the 9/11 attacks, whereby four exact attacks happened. The terrorists hijacked four planes; the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked.
It is at this moment that the world had seen what kind of monster America had aided to create. By funding and equipping these rebels against another superpower, they had built up an enemy who turned to bite them and plague the world with terror that lasts till today.
Harris, Johnny. “How The U.S. Stole the Middle East.” YouTube. Last modified September 16, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnOdULpV810.
 Wikipedia. “September 11 Attacks.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Last modified November 21, 2001. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_attacks.
 FBI .“East African Embassy Bombings.” Federal Bureau of Investigation. Last modified May 17, 2016. https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/east-african-embassy-bombings.
Al-Jazeera. “The October Arab-Israeli War of 1973: What Happened?” Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera. Last modified October 8, 2018. https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2018/10/8/the-october-arab-israeli-war-of-1973-what-happened.