American Military History
Terrorism- A Cause and Effect?
On September 11th, 2001, Two 747 Jet airliners hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Simultaneously, another airliner crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The loss of life was tragic, and launched the United States into years of war on terrorism and on Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, his Islamic militant group. But where did Bin Laden’s motivations come from? What drove Al-Qaeda to commit such atrocities? To find this answer, all one needs to do is look back into history.
Al-Qaeda’s roots first began in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden, the man in charge, went to Afghanistan and began to organize mujahideen to fight against the Soviets. During this time, Bin Laden learned many things that would carry over to his war with the United States. Over the duration of the war, the United States provided financial aid, training, and weapons to the mujahideen via Pakistan. Bin Laden and his men were trained during this time on propaganda and various guerilla tactics, which come in handy in later conflicts. During this time, under Ayman al-Zawahiri (the present-day leader of Al-Qaeda after Bin Laden), a radical Islamist, Bin Laden was gradually radicalized. In 1988, Al-Qaeda was officially formed, as a Jihadist group to “lift the word of God, to make his religion victorious”. The Afghanis eventually repel the consistent attacks from Soviet forces, and with their successes, gain some psychological and ideological traction. Afghanis begin to believe that they can not only hold off, but push back and potentially create major damage in large, powerful countries. In fact, the Islamists who fought in the conflict believed that they were directly responsible for the fall of the United Soviet Socialist Republic; Osama bin Laden was quoted saying, “the dissolution of...