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al-Qaeda: The Many Faces of an Islamist Extremist Threat

109th Congress
2d Session
Union Calendar No. 355
Report 109-615

al-Qaeda: The Many Faces of an Islamist Extremist Threat







Appendix 1


Since Usama bin Laden officially declared jihad on America in his August 23, 1996 message entitled: "Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Mosques; Expel Heretics from the Arabian Peninsula," there have been numerous comments made br al-Qaeda leaders outlining their reason for jihad and calling for continued attacks against America and our interests abroad.

Thanks to the help of dedicated analysts at the Open Source Center and the National Counterterrorism Center we have included several comments taken from statements released by al-Qaeda. For a better understanding and to put the comment in appropriate context, we recommend looking at the full statement.

"Its [Saudi Government] failure to protect the country, opening it to the nation's enemy, the American crusader forces who have become the main cause of all aspects of our plight (Usama bin Laden, Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Mosques, August 23, 1996)."

"Muslims burn with anger at America. For its own good, America should leave [Saudi Arabia.] ... There is no more important duty than pushing the American enemy out of the holy land. .. . The presence of the USA Crusader military forces on land, sea and air of the states of the Islamic Gulf is the greatest danger threatening the largest oil reserve in the world (Usama bin Laden, Declaration of War Against the Americans Who Occupy the Land of the Two Holy Mosques, August 23, 1996)."

"Destruction of the oil industries, because the presence of the crusader and American military forces in the Islamic Gulf states, on land, in the air, and at sea, represents the greatest danger and harm and the greatest threat to the largest oil reserves in the world. That presence is a provocation to the people and an affront to their religion, feelings, and dignity, and has driven them toward armed struggle against the occupying invaders (Usama bin Laden, Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Mosques, August 23, 1996)."

"Your brothers in the land of the two holy mosques and Palestine seek your help and ask you to participate with them in their jihad against their enemies and yours, the Israelis and the Americans, with everything that would drive them out of the Islamic holy places, defeated, with each of you doing what he can (Usama bin Laden, Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Mosques, August 23, 1996)."

"We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal whether directly or through its support of the Israeli occupation (CNN interview with Osama bin Laden, March 1997)."

"For this and other acts of aggression and injustice, we have declared jihad against the US, because in our religion it is our duty to make jihad so that God's word is the one exalted to the heights and so that we drive the Americans away from all Muslim countries (CNN interview with Osama bin Laden, March 1997)."

"For over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples (Usama bin Laden, February 22, 1998)."

"All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on God, his messenger, and Muslims. And ulema have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries (Usama bin Laden, Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, February 1998)."

"On that basis, and in compliance with God's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims: the ruling to kill the Americans and their allies-civilians and military-is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim (Usama bin Laden, Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, February 1998)."

"Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God. To call us, Enemy No. 1 or 2 does not hurt us. Osama bin Laden is confident that the Islamic nation will carry out its duty. I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America (Time interview, December 23, 1998)."

"As for the United States, I tell it and its people these few words: I swear by Almighty God who raised the heavens without pillars that neither the United States nor he who lives in the United States will enjoy security before we can see it as a reality in Palestine and before all the infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad, may God's peace and blessing be upon him (Usama bin Laden, Speech following September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Al-Jazirah TV)."

"Our message to our enemies is this: America and its allies should know that their crimes will not go unpunished, God willing. We advise them to hasten to leave Palestine, the Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan, and all Muslim countries, before they lose everything. We addressed some messages to America's allies to stop their involvement in its crusader campaign. The mujahid youths have addressed a message to Germany and another to France. If the measures have not been sufficient, we are ready, with the help of God, to increase them. As for America, it should expect to be reciprocated for its actions and for the Jews' use of American weapons to destroy Palestinian homes with the residents inside. It should expect to be reciprocated for the Jews' killing of Muhammad alDurrah and his peers with American weapons. Then, the American people will curse Bush and his Administration, while they are alive and after their death, for the grave scores that will be settled. God willing, we will continue to target the key sectors of the U.S. economy (Ayman al-Zawahiri, October 8, 2002)."

"America and its allies have become aware of this reality and the earth has trembled under them. And they now know that the winds of jihad will wobble their thrones and shake their structures. They, therefore, have gathered themselves and formed a union to face the coming enemy: it is Islam under the true jihad banner ... Now that jihad has raised its flag, and the arms of Islam's heroes in Iraq have gotten more powerful, the hearts of the Islamic nation are beating with joy, awaiting a hopefully better morning, which will take away the long and heavy darkness of the humiliation, by the Jews, the Crusaders and their agents from our renegade leaders (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, October 28, 2004)."

"This is in addition to our having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to f ight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the Mujahideen, bled Russia for ten years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat ... So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy (Usama bin Laden, November 1, 2004)."

"You tried to deny us the decent life, but you cannot deny us a decent death. Refraining from performing jihad, which is sanctioned by our religion, is an appalling sin. The best way of death for us is under the shadows of swords. Do not be deluded by your power and modern weapons. Although they win some battles, they lose the war. Patience and steadfastness are better than them. What is important is the outcome. We had patiently fought the Soviet Union for 10 years with our few weapons and we managed to drain their economy. Thus, they became a history, with God's help. You should learn lessons from that. We will remain patient in fighting you, God willing, until the one whose time has come dies first. We will not escape the fight as long as we hold our weapons in our hands (Usama bin Laden, January 2006)."

"Look at what the mujahidin did for the Russians in Afghanistan and then in Chechnya. Look at what the mujahidin are doing for the Jews in Palestine. Look at what the mujahidin did to the Americans in Somalia and what the mujahidin are doing to them in Iraq and Afghanistan today. Look at what your 19 brothers did to America-which claimed that it can hear the crawling of ants, see what is inside the earth, and monitor its enemies day and night-in both the New York and Washington "raids" Nineteen honest men exposed America's incompetence and weakness (Ayman al-Zawahiri, December 2005)"

"I would like to tell you that the war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever as the wind blows in this direction with God's help. If you win it, you should read the history. We are a nation that does not tolerate injustice and seek revenge forever. Days and nights will not go by until we take revenge as we did on 11 September, God willing, and until your minds are exhausted and your lives become miserable (Usama bin Laden, January 19, 2006)."

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