Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden (whose name is also transliterated as Usāmah bin Muḥammad bin ‘Awaḍ bin Lādin, or Usāmah bin Lādin for short, lived 1957-2011) was the leader of Al-Qaeda, a fundamentalist Islamic organization which opposes the intrusion of decadent "Western" values (such as liberalism, Judaism, etc.), the corruption of Middle Eastern governments, and certain policies of the United States, notably the stationing of troops inside Saudi Arabia. Osama responded to the Soviet atrocities in Afghanistan by killing as many people as he needed to let off steam.
Osama had always been the black sheep of his family. The bin Laden family are billionaire construction moguls and Saudi royalty, but Osama had been jealous of his brothers, Salem, Tarek (a friend and supporter of Ronald Reagan), Yeslam, and especially Bakr, the current leader of the Saudi bin Laden group, and Shafig, the Carlyle Group representative. This is due in part to Osama having been the son of one of his father's concubines (who he later married to avoid the scandal). His father, Muhammad, never saw him as a "real" son and he was mostly raised by his mother.
To satiate his jealousy, Osama, seen by his father as the most dull-witted and lazy of his brothers, formed the al-Qaeda movement, through which he hoped to one-up them all. The movement started out small, but Osama's intelligence, or perhaps his will to outwit his brothers (not to mention the U.S. funding) led to al-Qaeda becoming a very efficient force which mostly trained other Muslim insurgents. This has made it very difficult to eliminate al-Qaeda, and has spread their influence within the Muslim world and beyond. Perhaps in response to the playboy lifestyle of his brothers, Osama had been a devout Wahhābīya Muslim for most of his life. In terms of organization, Osama was most influenced by the Qutbiyyah movement, the most extreme extent of the Wahhābīya branch of Islam. Wahhābīya, a fundamentalist variant of Islam, is itself the most rigid of the "mainstream" (i.e., state-supported) branches of Islam. Essentially, Qutbiyyah sees Islam as under assault from all sides, and contends that rigid adherence to Sharia law is the only way it can be saved. Qutbiyyah rejects technology (although Osama himself had an odd interest in heavy machinery) even going so far as to avoid music and ice water.
Osama, like many religious radicals, was anti-socialist, anti-capitalist, anti-corporate, and anti-democracy; this rhetoric was mostly an attempt to cultivate personal loyalty in his followers, instead of loyalty to his cause.
However, much of Osama's personality was a carefully crafted facade. He took great pains to be generous with his money and live the simple and "moral" lifestyle he advances. He had never been one for ostentation and chose to dress in well worn clothes to make him appear as one of the people instead of a fabulously wealthy business scion. He even ate with his right hand, although he was left handed, because this is what the prophet Muhammad did. However, there are reports that he was quite different in private.
While people like to speculate that Osama was directly trained by the CIA, this is a myth propagated by conspiracy theorists. While the CIA worked through the Pakistani state intelligence services to arm and train anti-Soviet resistance, Osama was part of a parallel operation that funneled fighters and funds to Afghanistan from across the Arab world. In short, while the CIA may have co-operated with with Osama's group, they did not collaborate with them.
He claimed responsibility for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In response to this, the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan, booted the ruling Taliban regime from power, and forced Osama into hiding in the mountains. A while later, the Bush administration invaded Iraq, a country Osama was definitely not in and also a country that didn't even have ties with Al Qaeda. This was primarily because George W. Bush did not understand complicated scientific equipment like maps and globes, and just picked the only country whose name he could remember at the time.
 Desperately seeking urea
According to unfounded rumors circulated by the Paris La Figaro and the Times of London Osama had been a kidney patient, and not only was the US unable to detect him amongst all the men in beards and turbans running around the Pakistan/Afghanistan border region, they appeared to also be unable to detect the kidney dialysis machine amongst all the others in the area, much of which does not even have access to electricity on a regular basis.
 Tapes and drive-bys
O' bin Laden occasionally released new material, although it is usually stale and derivative of his earlier work. Sales are way down from his heyday in the 1980s. Some think that the capping of his arch-rival Saddam Hussein by George W. Bush permanently took the wind out of his sails of inspiration. But, worse acts have made comebacks!
Bin Laden was killed in his compound by US Navy SEALs on May 2nd, 2011 in Abbottabad, in northeastern Pakistan in the operation codenamed "Neptune's Spear" (the proclamation "Geronimo E-KIA" was especially controversial because it compared Osama to a 19th century Native American freedom fighter). He was buried at sea, as no nation would accept his remains for burial.
- ↑ CNN.com/Transcripts: Bin Laden Family Believes Osama Is Alive March 19, 2002
- ↑ "Bin Laden" is a patronymic rather than a last name, and hence cannot properly be used on its own, as is often done.
- ↑ see Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Osama, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
- ↑ The Washington Post: Al Qaeda-Hussein Link Is Dismissed June 17, 2004
- ↑ What They're Saying About the War, France: In Search of Bin Laden's Urologist, Time magazine, November 01, 2001.
- ↑ http://tasmantimes.com.au/did-the-us-find-bin-ladens-dialysis-machines/
- ↑ Udall, Senators Denounce Geronimo Connection To Bin Laden. youtube.com