in search of al qaeda
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readings and links


A Suspect Cleric Rages On
According to this article in the Boston Globe, "Abu Hamza al-Masri, a fiery Muslim cleric, is believed by British counterterrorism officials to be at the ideological center of a web of Al Qaeda cells in Europe." [Nov. 11, 2002]
AK-47 Training Held at London Mosque
The London Observer reports that extremist Islamists trained with assault rifles at the Finsbury Park Mosque headed by Abu Hamza al-Masri. [Feb. 17, 2002]
Secrets of the Mosque
Assif Shameen, the author of this article from Time Magazine's European edition, is a Muslim who visits several British mosques in order to find out what is being preached, "particularly [in] the ones that promote jihad above everything else." [May 6, 2002]
Ground Zero: Pakistan
In this web-exclusive interview with FRONTLINE, Mary Ann Weaver, a foreign correspondent for The New Yorker and author of the new book Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan, offers her insights on the success of the militant Islamist parties in Pakistan's October elections, and on Al Qaeda's long and intimate connection with the country she vividly depicts as ground zero of the global militant Islamic movement.
Pakistan on the Edge
Journalist Ahmed Rashid explores the domestic political crisis in Pakistan in the New York Review of Books. (Oct. 2, 2002)
The Education of a Holy Warrior
A profile of the Haqqania Madrassa, dubbed by the reporter "Jihad U," from the New York Times Magazine. (June 25, 2002)
The Lawless Frontier
In this Atlantic Monthly article from June 2000, Robert Kaplan compares the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan to the former Yugoslavia: "In both cases it was the very accumulation of disorder and irrationality that was so striking and that must be described in detail -- not merely stated -- to be understood."
Who is Attacking Whom?
In this essay written for FRONTLINE, Yemeni journalist Rahma Hugira pleads, "Refrain from sending your sons to kill us in our homelands and loot our resources, so that our sons do not come to you in search of revenge."
The USS Cole Investigation
FBI and U.S. government officials,interviewed for FRONTLINE's recent report "The Man Who Knew," describe the significant obstacles the FBI confronted in Yemen while investigating the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole off the Yemeni coast. These roadblocks included uncooperative Yemeni officials and a hostile, dangerous environment.
Yemen Pursuing Terror Its Own Way
This article from The Washingon Post tracks both successes and failures in Yemen's attempt to crack down on Al Qaeda within its borders. It notes, "In contrast to Indonesia, which hesitated to crack down on Islamic extremists despite repeated U.S. appeals, Yemen shows signs it has made the fight its own." [Oct. 17, 2002]
Yemen Turns to Tribes to Aid Hunt for Qaeda
This New York Times story explains how the Yemeni government is turning to tribal leaders to assist in its search for Al Qaeda -- methods which include holding 40 sons of tribal leaders hostage to ensure the tribesmen's cooperation. [Oct. 27, 2002; Note: free registration required.]
BBC Country Profile: Yemen
This BBC page is a good primer on Yemen and includes a timeline of key events in Yemeni history, a profile of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, demographic and economic stats on the country, and links to English-language Yemeni media sites.
Terrorism Q&A: Yemen
This fact sheet from the Council on Foreign Relations describes Yemen as "a poor Muslim country with a weak central government, armed tribal groups in outlying areas, and porous borders, which makes it fertile ground for terrorists." It also says that although the exact number of Al Qaeda in Yemen is unknown, the country "was second only to Saudi Arabia in being the source of soldiers for the international Islamist brigade that fought against Soviet forces in Afghanistan and that gave birth to Al Qaeda."
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Time Bomb
In this November 2001 report, FRONTLINE and The New York Times explore tensions in the U.S.-Saudi relationship; the internal forces that threaten the stability of Saudi Arabia, one of America's most important allies in the Arab world; and the growing Islamic fundamentalism within Saudi Arabia and its possible ties to terrorism. This report also looks at the far-flung influence of Wahhabism, an extreme form of Islam that originated in Saudi Arabia, and the troubling connections between Saudi charities and some Islamic religious schools, or "madrassas," which spread Wahhabism throughout the Muslim world.
Looking for Answers: Saudi Arabia
This FRONTLINE report, produced in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, looks at how and why radical Islam sprang from Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- two of the most important U.S. allies in the Middle East. On this Web page are interviews with two key Saudis -- the ambassador to the U.S. and a leading dissident -- as well as significant background readings on the forces confronting the kingdom.
Terrorism Q&A: Saudi Arabia
This fact sheet from the Council on Foreign Relations describes Saudi Arabia's participation in the U.S.-led war on terrorism and the depth of support for bin Laden within Saudi society.
King's Ransom
In this report for The New Yorker, investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh looks at the vulnerability of the Saudi royal family. "Since 1994 or earlier," he writes, "the National Security Agency has been collecting electronic intercepts of conversations between members of the Saudi Arabian royal family, which is headed by King Fahd. The intercepts depict a regime increasingly corrupt, alienated from the country's religious rank and file, and so weakened and frightened that it has brokered its future by channelling hundreds of millions of dollars in what amounts to protection money to fundamentalist groups that wish to overthrow it." [Oct. 22, 2001]
The House of Bin Laden
In another New Yorker article, Jane Mayer examines the divided loyalties of Osama bin Laden's family, and of Saudi Arabia itself. "As President Bush demands that the countries of the world choose sides, and declare whether they are with the United States or with Osama bin Laden, for some members of the bin Laden family -- and for many other conflicted Saudis, too -- the situation is so complex that they would have to respond 'Both.'" [Nov. 12, 2001]
Bin Laden Adheres to Austere Form of Islam
An article from The New York Times (Oct. 7, 2001) outlining how the faith that drives Osama bin Laden and his followers is a particularly austere and conservative brand of Islam known as Wahhabism, which was instrumental in creating the Saudi monarchy, and, if sufficiently alienated, could tear it down. [Note: Free registration required.]
More Al Qaeda, Sept. 11 and Its Aftermath
Al Qaeda: Alive and Ticking
This special report from Time Magazine looks at the aftermath of the Al Qaeda strike in a Bali nightclub that killed more than 180 people. It includes a timeline of 2002 attacks linked to Al Qaeda and its allies, and an exploration of Al Qaeda hotspots such as Pakistan, Georgia, and Indonesia.
Al Qaeda's New Leaders
According to this Washington Post article, U.S. intelligence has identified six emerging Al Qaeda leaders who have moved to the forefront of operations since the Sept. 11 attacks displaced Al Qaeda's leadership from Afghanistan. The men are described as "a handful of combat-hardened veterans, most of them little-known Middle Eastern men who built their terrorist resumes together mounting lethal attacks against the USS Cole and U.S. embassies in eastern Africa." [Oct. 29, 2002]
The Roots of Terror
Here is a collection of FRONTLINE reports on what led to the Sept. 11 attacks and the issues facing the U.S. in their aftermath.
America -- Still Unprepared, Still in Danger
In March 2001, an independent commission on national security chaired by former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman warned that the U.S. was unprepared to face a likely terrorist attack on its own soil. In this report, for the Council on Foreign Relations, another task force, again chaired by Hart and Rudman, warns that "A year after Sept. 11, America remains dangerously unprepared to prevent and respond to a catastrophic terrorist attack on U.S. soil."
Terrorist Financing
Also sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, this report from a bipartisan commision, finds that "after an initially robust attempt to curtail financing for international terrorism, the Bush administration's current efforts are 'strategically inadequate' to assure the sustained results we need to protect U.S. security."

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