While that is widely accepted as fact due to the media's lack of interest in using history as a guide in their reporting, it's not really true. It's just one of the bogus after-the-fact rationalizations for why al Qaeda's activities were "justified." Bin Laden, years before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and subsequent massing on the Saudi border compelled the Saudis to ask for our help, had already established himself as an America-hating SOB. Al Qaeda, "the worldwide jihad" after all, was born not after the Saudis asked for our help in the early 1990s but even earlier, in 1988.
OBL's mentor, Azzam, with whom he cofounded MAK even before al Qaeda, was already known for his prolific rants against the U.S. and for his assertions that the U.S. undermined the Mujahadeen in the war in Afghanistan against the USSR.
In the late 1980s before al Qaeda was born and just as things were looking bad for the Soviets in Afghanistan, Azzam and Osama bin Laden got in a big dispute over MAK's goal. OBL wanted to wage jihad simultaneously against the United States and the various insufficiently islamic Governments that ruled over muslim lands from which he had recruited dissidents- a multi-front war. Azzam in contrast, planned to focus more narrowly on completing the war in Afghanistan, which he viewed as a training ground for his ultimate goal. He intended to gather these veteran mujahadeen together for an assault not on the United States or other Arab governments, but against Israel, upon whose ruins Palestine could be formed.
Their disagreement was sufficiently bitter that OBL left MAK and took the more radical members with him, forming, with Jalaidan, "Al Qaeda." This was in 1988, so he was preparing for war with the United States years BEFORE Iraq started the Gulf War, before this well-publicized 1991 gripe about US toops in Saudi Arabia ever came to be.
It wasn't long after the break, about a year, that Azzam was killed in a bombing.
After Azzam's death, the opportunistic OBL immediately moved back in and took over MAK's global operations, absorbing most of Azzam's followers.
The way was now clear, in 1989, for OBL to begin planning his multifronted jihad against the United States and the unpious rulers of countries from whence his jihadists came. Azzam's goal of Palestine went on the back burner- the jihad bin Laden had in mind was far broader than that, and OBL's big "base" , al Qaeda, eventually became the umbrella under which allied terrorist groups would join, their leaders becoming voting members of al Qaeda's shurra councils of operations and financing.
Thanks. You took a lot of time and effort to articulate that synopsis. OBL is one of those cases where some clandestine operations would have been in order decades ago. Instead of castrating OBL we castrated ourselves.
Major wars and grandstanding tend to snowball. Not good. Our involvement with foreign entities should be predominantly trade-related. I hate to admit it, but I suspect we’ve lacked the “tact, poise, and reason” to “gently squeeze them.”
What does the acronym MAK stand for?