Osama Bin Laden, an extremist who utilized terrorism to achieve his goals, founded an organization named Al-Qaeda, “The Base”. This radical association had one overarching goal to initiate a jihad and bring forth an Islamic-based world. Their conquest to attain pure Islamic political power coincides with the beliefs of Robespierre of the Reign of Terror and the Christians during the Crusades. Bin Laden, born on March 10, 1957, became a member of the Afghan resistance during the Afghan War after Afghanistan had been invaded by the Soviet Union.
Osama Bin Laden soon became a hero to Saudi Arabia, after “he relocated to Peshawar, Afghanistan, and used aid from the United States under the CIA program Operation Cyclone, and he began training a mujahideen, a group of Islamic jihadists.”(TheBiography.com Website).
Following his return to Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden became discontent by the Saudi Arabian government. He was infuriated by the United States occupying lands of Saudi Arabia and their involvement in the Persian Gulf War, which he believed had defiled Saudi Arabia’s sacred land. Bin Laden frequently spoke out against this, leading to his exilement to Sudan in 1992. There, in Sudan, is where Al-Qaeda been formed in 1993 and began to carry out worldwide terrorism. Their claim their goals were “to be avenging wrongs committed by Christians and Jews against Muslims over the ages…. reshaping the Muslim world and replacing secular states with a single Islamic political leadership… and to drive Americans and other non-Muslims from Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s holiest sites.
“(BBC News) using violence. Al-Qaeda declared a worldwide jihad but focused on the US. Due to the United States’ residence in sacred Islamic sites and their government which did not align with Islamic views. They believed a war on the US would bring Muslims together to achieve their goal of a united Islamic power. On June 25, 1996, Bin Laden is seemed to be behind “a truck bomb detonation at the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American servicemen and wounding 400.”(NBC News), which would forward his plan.
Al-Qaeda continued to execute attacks on America and American forces for many years after. On September 11, 2001, “three hijacked planes are flown into major U.S. landmarks, destroying New York’s World Trade Center towers and plowing into the Pentagon.
A fourth hijacked plane crashes in rural Pennsylvania, its target believed to have been the U.S. Capitol. At least 3,044 people are killed. The death toll is nearly 10 times greater than any other terrorist attack in history and makes Bin Laden, for the first time, a household name in the United States and the west.”(NBC News). Following this vicious and devastating attack, “the government under President George W. Bush formed a coalition that successfully overthrew the Taliban where Bin Laden was sheltered”(TheBiography.
com Website). Bin Laden then went into hiding and was hunted for over 10 years, while Al-Qaeda still seemed to carry out terrorist attacks. Finally, “on May 2, 2011, bin Laden was killed by U.
S. military forces after U.S. intelligence located him residing in a secure compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan”(Britannica). Al-Qaeda named a new leader, but this terrorist group no longer possessed the great power and threat it once did. One historical parallel to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda’s attacks, would be the use of terrorism during Reign of Terror. In this time period, Robespierre became the dictator of France and used terror to strike fear into his opponents and his own citizens’ hearts. He believed if he were feared by both none would dare oppose him.
For, anyone who did would be executed. He was famous for his quote “Some people had to die so France could live”. This aligns with Bin Laden’s beliefs. Al-Qaeda’s goal was to force the US troops out of Saudi Arabia and he used terrorism to pressure the American forces to back down. For instance, “in the first al-Qaeda attack against U.
S. forces, operatives bomb a hotel where U.S.
troops — on their way to a humanitarian mission in Somalia — had been staying. Two Austrian tourists are killed. Almost simultaneously, another group of al-Qaeda operatives are caught at Aden airport, Yemen, as they prepare to launch rockets at U.S. military planes.
U.S. troops quickly leave Aden.”(NBC News). American troops bullied into leaving out of fear of another attack.During the Middle Ages, a series of religious wars broke out over who should own Jerusalem–Christians, Jews, or Muslims. The historical parallel to Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda would be opposing views.
Bin Laden called the US and “infidel because it was not governed in a manner consistent with the group’s extremist interpretation of Islam”(PBS.org). He believed the Islamic way of living and governing was the only way and anyone who didn’t follow it was wrong. The Christians during the Crusades thought the same way. After capturing Jerusalem, they forced Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity. If they refused, they would be killed.
Neither Bin Laden nor the Christians realized having opposing perspectives were acceptable, to them it was required that everyone lived like them. According to this event and these parallels, it is proven that history does repeat itself. Like the Crusades, religious wars, jihads, broke out over sacred lands and opposing views while Al-Qaeda was at large and still continue today. Like Robespierre, dictators and groups use terror to keep their people and enemies in line, including Bin Laden. Therefore, history does and will continue to repeat for the rest of time.