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History of terrorism

September 11, 2001




In Focus:




History of terrorism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Ancient and medieval events and groups
Scholars dispute whether the roots of terrorism date back to the Sicarii Zealots in the first century, the Al-Hashshashin in the eleventh century and the Narodnaya Volya in 1878, or somewhere in between.[ The first-century Zealots used "propaganda of the deed" by publicly murdering Jews who collaborated with Roman rule. The Al-Hashshashin focused more on the assassination of prominent political leaders, which is different from "propaganda of the deed," because by killing a political leader one is primarily enacting change directly (by eliminating the person whose policies one disagrees with) rather than enacting change indirectly (by committing some act to intimidate the enemy or make others rally against the enemy).

Sicarii Zealots
In the 1st century CE, the Jewish Zealots were a primarily political group which rebelled against Roman rule in the Iudaea Province. According to the contemporary historian Josephus, in 6 C.E. Judas of Galilee led a small, more extreme group of Zealots to found an offshoot which would later be known as the Sicarii, meaning "dagger men." Like the Zealots, the Sicarii believed that paying tribute to Rome was a violation of Jewish religious law. The Sicarii saw the Jewish high priests of the day as collaborators with the Romans, and therefore thought it permissible to use violence to remove them. Led by Judas' grandson Menahem ben Jair, the Sicarii began agitation in the late 50s, becoming prominent only in the 60s, when they began to murder and kidnap to support their cause. Their efforts were mainly directed not against the Romans, but against Jewish “collaborators” such as priests of the temple, Sadducees, Herodians, and other wealthy elites who had profited from working with the Romans. According to Josephus, the Sicarii would hide short daggers under their cloaks, mingle with crowds at the great festivals, murder their victims, and then disappear into the crowd during the ensuing panic. Their most successful assassination was that of the high priest Jonathan.


Hassan-i Sabbah.

In the 11th century CE, the Hashshashin (a.k.a. the Assassins) were an offshoot of the Ismā'īlī sect of Shia Muslims. Led by Hassan-i Sabbah and opposed to Fatimid rule, the Hashshashin militia seized Alamut and other fortress strongholds across Persia in the late eleventh century. The Hashshashin did not have a large enough army to challenge their enemies directly, so they assassinated city governors and military commanders to curry favor among more militarily powerful neighbors: they murdered Janah al-Dawla, ruler of Homs, to please Ridwan of Aleppo; they killed Mawdud, Seljuk emir of Mosul, as a favor for the regent of Damascus; they attacked Crusader troops in 1126 as a means of cooperating with Tughtigen of Damascus; and they assassinated Marquis Conrad of Montferrat, King of Jerusalem, allegedly on orders from the King of England.

The Hashshashin carried out assassinations as retribution: Ibn Badi, military commander in Aleppo, had executed Hashshashin leader Abu Tahrir and refused to provide the group with a castle; Buri, ruler of Damascus, had incited the mob killing of thousands of Hashshashin; Dahhak, chief of Wadi al-Tayun, had attacked and defeated the Hashshashin at Hasbayya in 1128. Sometimes the Hashshashin murdered to seize a town (Khalaf of Afamiya, 1106) or to weaken the leadership of their Fatamid enemies (Army commander Al-Afdal, 1121; Fatimid Caliph Al-Amir, 1130), but never as a means to indirectly bring about political change by changing public opinion towards their cause or striking fear into the populace.

Modern events and groups

Early modern events and groups

Gunpowder Plot
In 1605 on the 5th of November, a group of conspirators led by Guy Fawkes attempted to destroy the English Parliament on the State Opening, by detonating a large quantity of gunpowder placed beneath the building. The purpose of this plot was to implement a coup by killing King James I and the members of both houses of Parliament. The conspirators planned to make one of the king's children a puppet crown and then restore the Catholic faith to England. The plan was betrayed and thwarted. The conspirators' intended act has been found to parallel the '9/11' attack on the World Trade Center, though a violent attempted coup may not be an act of terrorism. The event has become known as the Gunpowder Plot and is annually commemorated in Britain on 5 November with fireworks displays and large bonfires.

Sons of Liberty
The Sons of Liberty were a group in the American colonies opposed to the Stamp Act and later to British rule who committed several attacks, most famous among them the Boston Tea Party. The group was a secret organization of American patriots which originated in the Thirteen Colonies prior to the American Revolution. The British authorities and their supporters, known as Loyalists, considered the Sons of Liberty seditious rebels, referring to them as "Sons of Violence" and "Sons of Iniquity." Patriots attacked the apparatus and symbols of British authority and power such as the property of the gentry, customs officers, East India Company tea, and, as the war approached, vocal supporters of the Crown.

19th century events and groups
Prior to the 19th century terrorism had been associated with the Reign of Terror in France where the ruling Jacobins sometimes referred to themselves as terrorists. Modern scholars, however, do not consider the Reign of Terror itself terrorism in part because it was carried out by the French state. It was during the 19th century that the common meaning came into use, as terrorism came to be associated with non-governmental groups. Anarchists were the most prominent group to be associated with terrorism during the 19th century, with the emergence of militancy within nationalist groups, developing over the course of the century. The disjointed attacks of various anarchist groups led to the assassination of Russian Tsars and US Presidents but had little real political impact. In mid-19th century Russia, the intelligentsia grew impatient with the slow pace of Tsarist reforms and anarchists like Mikhail Bakunin maintained that progress was impossible without destruction. With the development of sufficiently powerful, stable, and affordable explosives, the gap closed between the firepower of the state and the means available to dissidents. Inspired by Bakunin and others, Narodnaya Volya was founded in 1878, and used bombs to kill state officials in an effort to incite state retribution and mobilize the populace against the government. Inspired by Narodnaya Volya, several nationalist groups in the ailing Ottoman Empire began using propaganda of the deed and terrorism in the 1890s, including the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, and the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO).

John Brown, abolitionist
John Brown (1800 - 1859) was an abolitionist who advocated armed opposition to slavery. He committed several attacks between 1856 and 1859, and was also involved in the illegal smuggling of slaves. His most famous attack was in 1859 on the armory at Harpers Ferry. Local forces soon recaptured the fort and Brown, trying and executing him for treason. His death made him a martyr to the abolitionist cause, one of the origins of the American Civil War, and a hero to the Union forces that fought in it.

Ku Klux Klan
In 1865, The original Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was created after the end of the American Civil War on December 24 1865, by six educated, middle-class Confederate veterans from Pulaski, Tennessee. Although a founder of the group boasted that the Klan was a nationwide organization of 550,000 men and that he could muster 40,000 Klansmen within five days' notice, as a secret or "invisible" group, it had no membership rosters, no chapters, and no local officers. It was difficult for observers to judge its actual membership. It had created a sensation by the dramatic nature of its masked forays and because of its many murders. The Klan has advocated what is generally perceived as white supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, anti-Catholicism, homophobia, and nativism. The group has often used terrorism, violence and acts of intimidation such as cross burning to oppress African Americans and other groups. From its creation to the present day, it has at times wielded much political influence and has also generated great fear among African Americans and their supporters. At one time the KKK controlled the governments of Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Oregon, in addition to some of the Southern U.S. legislatures.


Ku Klux Klan

Ku Klux Klan rally, 1923.

terrorist organization, United States

either of two distinct U.S. hate organizations that have employed terror in pursuit of their white supremacist agenda. One group was founded immediately after the Civil War and lasted until the 1870s; the other began in 1915 and has continued to the present.

The 19th-century Klan was originally organized as a social club by Confederate veterans in Pulaski, Tenn., in 1866. They apparently derived the name from the Greek word kyklos, from which comes the English “circle”; “Klan” was added for the sake of alliteration and Ku Klux Klan emerged. The organization quickly became a vehicle for Southern white underground resistance to Radical Reconstruction. Klan members sought the restoration of white supremacy through intimidation and violence aimed at the newly enfranchised black freedmen. A similar organization, the Knights of the White Camelia, began in Louisiana in 1867.

In the summer of 1867, the Klan was structured into the “Invisible Empire of the South” at a convention in Nashville, Tenn., attended by delegates from former Confederate states. The group was presided over by a grand wizard (Confederate cavalry general Nathan Bedford Forrest is believed to have been the first grand wizard) and a descending hierarchy of grand dragons, grand titans, and grand cyclopses. Dressed in robes and sheets designed to frighten superstitious blacks and to prevent identification by the occupying federal troops, Klansmen whipped and killed freedmen and their white supporters in nighttime raids.

The 19th-century Klan reached its peak between 1868 and 1870. A potent force, it was largely responsible for the restoration of white rule in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. But Forrest ordered it disbanded in 1869, largely as a result of the group’s excessive violence. Local branches remained active for a time, however, prompting Congress to pass the Force Act in 1870 and the Ku Klux Act in 1871.

These bills authorized the president to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, suppress disturbances by force, and impose heavy penalties upon terrorist organizations. President Grant was lax in utilizing this authority, although he did send federal troops to some areas, suspend habeas corpus in nine South Carolina counties, and appoint commissioners who arrested hundreds of Southerners for conspiracy. In United States v. Harris in 1882, the Supreme Court declared the Ku Klux Act unconstitutional, but by that time the Klan had practically disappeared.

It disappeared because its original objective—the restoration of white supremacy throughout the South—had been largely achieved during the 1870s. The need for a secret antiblack organization diminished accordingly.

The 20th-century Klan had its roots more directly in the American nativist tradition. It was organized in 1915 near Atlanta, Ga., by Colonel William J. Simmons, a preacher and promoter of fraternal orders who had been inspired by Thomas Dixon’s book The Clansman (1905) and D.W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation (1915). The new organization remained small until Edward Y. Clarke and Mrs. Elizabeth Tyler brought to it their talents as publicity agents and fund raisers. The revived Klan was fueled partly by patriotism and partly by a romantic nostalgia for the old South, but, more importantly, it expressed the defensive reaction of white Protestants in small-town America who felt threatened by the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and by the large-scale immigration of the previous decades that had changed the ethnic character of American society.

This second Klan peaked in the 1920s, when its membership exceeded 4,000,000 nationally, and profits rolled in from the sale of its memberships, regalia, costumes, publications, and rituals. A burning cross became the symbol of the new organization, and white-robed Klansmen participated in marches, parades, and nighttime cross burnings all over the country. To the old Klan’s hostility toward blacks the new Klan—which was strong in the Midwest as well as in the South—added bias against Roman Catholics, Jews, foreigners, and organized labour. The Klan enjoyed a last spurt of growth in 1928, when Alfred E. Smith, a Catholic, received the Democratic presidential nomination.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s the Klan’s membership dropped drastically, and the last remnants of the organization temporarily disbanded in 1944. For the next 20 years the Klan was quiescent, but it had a resurgence in some Southern states during the 1960s as civil-rights workers attempted to force Southern communities’ compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There were numerous instances of bombings, whippings, and shootings in Southern communities, carried out in secret but apparently the work of Klansmen. President Lyndon B. Johnson publicly denounced the organization in a nationwide television address announcing the arrest of four Klansmen in connection with the slaying of a civil-rights worker, a white woman, in Alabama.

The Klan was unable to stem the growth of a new racial tolerance in the South in the years that followed. Though the organization continued some of its surreptitious activities into the late 20th century, cases of Klan violence became more isolated, and its membership had declined to a few thousand. The Klan became a chronically fragmented mélange made up of several separate and competing groups, some of which occasionally entered into alliances with neo-Nazi and other right-wing extremist groups.


Irish Republican Brotherhood
In 1867 the Irish Republican Brotherhood, a revolutionary Irish nationalist group with support from Irish-Americans, carried out attacks in England. These are considered the first acts of "republican terrorism", which became a recurrent feature of British and Irish history. The Fenians are considered the precursor of the Irish Republican Army.

Narodnaya Volya
From 1878 to 1883, Narodnaya Volya (Íàðîäíàÿ Âîëÿ in Russian, known as People’s Will in English) was a group founded in Russia in 1878. Inspired by Sergei Nechayev and by Italian revolutionary Carlo Pisacane (author of the “propaganda of the deed” theory), the group assassinated prominent political figures with shootings and bombings in an effort to spark a revolutionary overthrow of Russia’s Tsarist regime. On March 13, 1881, the group assassinated Russia’s Tsar Alexander II. The assassination of the Tsar failed to spark the expected revolution and the ensuing crackdown by Russian authorities brought the group to an end. Narodnaya Volya developed certain ideas that were to become the hallmark of subsequent terrorism in many countries: they believed in the targeted killing of the 'leaders of oppression' and they were convinced that the developing technologies of the age - symbolized by bombs and bullets - enabled them to strike directly and discriminately.


Narodnaya Volya

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Narodnaya Volya (Íàðîäíàÿ Âîëÿ in Russian, known as People’s Will in English) was a Russian terrorist organization, best known for the successful assassination of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. It created a centralized, well disguised, and most significant organization in a time of diverse liberation movements in Russia. Narodnaya Volya was led by its Executive Committee: Alexander Mikhailov, Aleksandr Kvyatkovsky, Andrei Zhelyabov, Sophia Perovskaya, Vera Figner, Nikolai Morozov, Mikhail Frolenko, Lev Tikhomirov, Alexander Barannikov, Anna Yakimova, Maria Oshanina and others.

The Executive Committee was in charge of a network of local and special groups (composed of workers, students, and members of the military). In 1879–1883, Narodnaya Volya had affiliates in almost 50 cities, especially in Ukraine and the Volga region. Though the number of its members never exceeded 500, Narodnaya Volya had a few thousand followers.

The Program of Narodnaya Volya
Narodnaya Volya’s Program contained the following demands: convocation of the Constituent Assembly (for designing a Constitution); introduction of universal suffrage; permanent people’s representation, freedom of speech, press, and assembly; communal self-government; exchange of the permanent army with a people’s volunteer corps; transfer of land to the people; gradual placement of the factories under the control of the workers; and granting oppressed peoples of the Russian Empire the right to self-determination.

Narodnaya Volya's Program was a mix of democratic and socialist reforms. Narodnaya Volya differed from its parent organization, the narodnik Zemlya i volya, in that its members had come to believe that a social revolution would be impossible in the absence of a political revolution; the peasantry could not take possession of the land as long as the government remained autocratic. Given Zemlya i Volya's failures in its propaganda efforts among the peasants in the movements "to the people" in the early 1870s, Narodnaya Volya turned its energies against the central government. However, unlike Marxists, they continued to believe that Russia could achieve socialism through a peasant revolution, bypassing the stage of capitalism.

The members of Narodnaya Volya were not in complete agreement about the relationship between the social and political revolutions; some believed in the possibility of achieving both simultaneously, relying on the socialist instincts of the Russian peasantry, as demonstrated in the traditional peasant commune. Other members believed that a political revolution would have to take place first and, after the autocracy had been overthrown and democratic liberties established, revolutionaries would prepare people for the socialist revolution. The Liberal faction of Narodnaya Volya (which had no real influence) proposed to limit their demands to getting a Constitution from the tsarist government.

Narodnaya Volya spread its propaganda through all strata of the population. Its newspapers, "Narodnaya Volya" and “The Worker’s Gazette”, attempted to popularize the idea of a political struggle with the autocracy. Their struggle to topple autocracy was crowned by the slogan “Now or never!” Narodnaya Volya did not succeed in enlisting the peasantry in its work, which would later lead Soviet historians to charge it with Blanquism; these historians would argue that Narodnaya Volya understood political struggle only in terms of conspiracy and, therefore, looked more like a sect.

Resort to terrorism
As time went by, terrorism too became increasingly more important. A special place in the history of Narodnaya Volya belongs to its “Terrorist faction”, whose members — including Aleksandr Ulyanov (Vladimir Lenin's brother) — are also known as Pervomartovtsi. Narodnaya Volya prepared 7 assassination attempts on the life of Alexander II of Russia (until they finally killed him), and later on that of Alexander III of Russia. Its terror frightened the government and persuaded it to make a few concessions. However, the regime soon realized that the people would not rise up in support of the revolutionaries, and this encouraged the Russian government to counterattack. In 1879–1883, there were more than 70 trials of N.v.’s members with about 2,000 people brought to trial (see Trial of the Fourteen). Narodnaya Volya's members were imprisoned or exiled. This was the end of the organization.

After the assassination of Alexander II, Narodnaya Volya went through a period of ideological and organizational crisis. The most significant attempts at reviving Narodnaya Volya are associated with the names of Gherman Lopatin (1884), Pyotr Yakubovich (1883–1884), Boris Orzhikh, Vladimir Bogoraz, L. Sternberg (1885), and S. Ginzburg (1889). Organizations similar to Narodnaya Volya in the 1890s (in St. Petersburg and abroad) largely abandoned the revolutionary ideas of Narodnaya Volya.

Narodnaya Volya’s activity became one of the most important elements of the revolutionary situation in the late 1879–1880. However, ineffective tactics of political conspiracy and preference for terrorism over other means of struggle failed. At the turn of the century, however, as increasing numbers of former members of Narodnaya Volya were released from prison and exile, these veteran revolutionaries helped to form the Socialist Revolutionary Party, which revived many of the goals and methods of the former narodniki, including peasant revolution and terror.

Modern usage of the name
In December 2001, a small nationalist party led by a veteran Russian nationalist politician Sergey Baburin was created under the name Party of National Revival "Narodnaya Volya". Later Narodnaya Volya joined Rodina coalition which performed surprisingly well in the 2003 State Duma elections. Narodnaya Volya is seen by many as the most nationalist element in mostly leftist Rodina and a number of its members in the past were associated with Russian far right movements. When Rodina merged into the new party Fair Russia, Narodnaya Volya left the Rodina coalition instead.


Armenian Revolutionary Federation

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (in Armenian Dashnaktsuthium, or “The Federation”) was a nationalist revolutionary movement founded in Tiflis (Russian Transcaucasia) in 1890. It was founded by Christopher Mikaelian, and many of its members had been part of Narodnaya Volya or the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party. The group published newsletters, smuggled arms, and hijacked buildings because it sought—like the Hunchacks—to bring about the European intervention that could force the Ottoman Empire to surrender control of the Armenian territories. On August 24, 1896, 17-year old group member Babken Suni led twenty-six Dashnaks in capturing the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Constantinople. They demanded that an Armenian state be created and threatened to blow the bank up. The ensuing crackdown by the Ottoman government destroyed the group.

Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization
From 1893 to 1903, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) was a nationalist revolutionary movement founded in the Ottoman-controlled Macedonian territories in 1893. It was founded by Hristo Tatarchev, who was inspired by Narodnaya Volya. The group sought to coerce the Ottoman government into creating a Macedonian nation. To do this, the IMRO assassinated prominent political figures (as Narodnaya Volya had) and tried to provoke uprisings (just like the Hunchakian Revolutionary Party). On July 20, 1903, the group incited the Ilinden uprising in the Ottoman villayet of Monastir. As part of the uprising, the IMRO declared the town’s independence and sent demands to the European Powers that Macedonia be freed. The demands were ignored and the 27,000 rebels in the town were crushed by Turkish troops two months later. The group then split into two factions: one in favor of uniting the future nation of Macedonia to Bulgaria and one against such a plan. The pro-Bulgaria faction had effectively turned into a tool of the Bulgarian government by 1912.

Parisian anarchists in the 1890s
In 1893, Auguste Vaillant, a French anarchist, threw a bomb in the French Chamber of Deputies. No one was seriously hurt, but he was executed. In 1894, a struggling intellectual called Émile Henry sought to avenge Vaillant's death, by throwing his own bomb into a Paris cafe. He was caught and guillotined.


20th century events and groups

Following the example of the Irish Republican Army's campaign against the British in the 1910s, the Zionist groups Hagannah, Irgun and Lehi fought the British throughout the 1930s in the then mandate of Palestine, with the aim of creating an Israeli state. Like the IRA and the Zionist groups, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood used bombings and assassinations in an attempt to free its country from British control.

Early 20th century events and groups

Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand
On June 28 of 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot and killed in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Gavrilo Princip, one of a group of six assassins. The murders produced widespread shock across Europe. The Austro-Hungarian Empire presented to Serbia a list of demands which became known as the July Ultimatum. Included were demands aimed at ending the funding and operation of organizations which arguably had provided support for the assassination, and demands that Serbia suppress "propaganda" against Austria-Hungary in Serbia, even by private persons. Some have claimed that the ultimatum was designed to create a casus belli to enable Austria-Hungary to invade Serbia. After receiving a telegram of support from Russia, Serbia mobilized its army and replied that it would agree to and partially accept some of the demands but that it would reject the rest. Austria-Hungary rejected Serbia's conditional acceptance and broke off diplomatic relations. Austria-Hungary soon declared war and this set into motion a series of events which led to World War I.

The Easter Rising and the Irish Republican Army
On April 24, 1916, members of the Irish Volunteers, led by Patrick Pearse joined the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly to seize the Dublin General Post Office and several other buildings and proclaim an Irish Republic independent of Britain. The action, which came to be known as the Easter Rising or Easter Rebellion, was a failure militarily, but it turned into a success for physical force Irish republicanism after the British government had the leaders of the uprising executed by firing squad, thereby making them into celebrated Irish heroes.

From 1916 to 1923, the Irish Volunteers joined forces with the Irish Citizen Army to form the beginnings of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Michael Collins helped found the IRA in Dublin shortly after the Easter Rising. They carried out coordinated attacks on over 300 police stations in a single day, as part of their campaign to establish an independent Irish state. On November 21, 1920, the IRA carried out an attack which came to be known as Bloody Sunday, publicly killing a dozen police officers and simultaneously burning down the Liverpool docks and warehouses. After two years of street fighting between the IRA, the Royal Irish Constabulary, the Black and Tans and the British Auxiliaries, London agreed to a 1921 Anglo-Irish treaty that gave Dublin authority over an independent Irish nation which encompassed 26 of the island's 32 counties.

Collins and the IRA's tactics were an inspiration to other groups, such as those in Israel. The IRA also served as an inspiration for the British who emulated and improved upon the IRA's tactics during the Second World War.


The King David Hotel after the bombing

From 1931 to 1948, Irgun was a clandestine militant Zionist group. They splintered off from Hagannah in 1931 and operated in Palestine until 1948. The group was founded by Avraham Tehomi (Irgun leader from 1931 to 1937), who was inspired by Ze'ev Jabotinsky and his theory that only Jewish armed force would ensure the establishment of a Jewish state. The group was a non-socialist, more aggressive alternative to Hagannah. It sought to reduce the threat of Arab attacks on Jewish settlements by launching retaliatory attacks. These tactics, including bombing a crowded Arab market, are considered some of the first examples of terrorism against civilians. The Irgun also sought to bring to an end the British mandatory rule by assassinating police and capturing British government buildings and arms. Like the Hagannah, the Irgun also sabotaged British railways in Palestine, in addition to smuggling Jews into Palestine[citation needed]. This occurred mainly between 1945 and 1947. Their goal was to force the British to relax policies restricting Jewish immigration and, ultimately, to force them to withdraw, creating the opportunity to create a Jewish state in Palestine as quickly as possible. Their most famous attack was the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel, the British Military headquarters in Jerusalem. Ninety-one people, both soldiers and civilians, were killed. After the creation of Israel two years later, Menachem Begin (Irgun leader from 1943 to 1948) transformed the group into the political party Herut, which later became part of Likud.

From 1940 to 1948, Lehi (Lohameni Herut Yisrael, a.k.a. “Freedom Fighters for Israel,” a.k.a. Stern Gang) was a revisionist Zionist group. They splintered off from the Irgun in 1940. When the Irgun made a truce with the British in 1940, Abraham Stern led disaffected Irgun members to break off and form Lehi. Like People’s Will, Lehi used the tactics of assassinating prominent politicians. On November 6, 1944, Lehi assassinated Lord Moyne, the British Minister of State for the Middle East.

The assassination caused a massive stir among the Hagannah, Irgun, and Lehi, with Hagannah sympathizing with the British and launching a massive man-hunt against the other two splinter groups. After the founding of the Israeli state in 1948, Lehi was formally dissolved and its members were integrated into the newly formed Israeli Defense Forces. Yitzhak Shamir and his fellow underground fighters greatly admired the Irish Republicans and sought to emulate their anti-British struggle. Shamir himself took the nickname "Michael" after Michael Collins.

Muslim Brotherhood
In 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood was founded as a nationalist group in British-controlled Egypt. Its leader, Hassan al-Banna, founded the Muslim Brotherhood as both a social-welfare organization and a political-activist movement. In the late 1940s the Muslim Brotherhood began carrying out attacks on British soldiers and police stations, and assassinations of prominent politicians. In 1948, the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Egyptian Prime Minister Nuqrashi. Egypt’s British-friendly government was overthrown in the military coup of 1952, but shortly thereafter the Muslim Brotherhood had to go underground in the face of a massive crackdown. IN the contemporary era, the Muslim Brotherhood is still operating in modern day Egypt.


The Muslim Brothers

Muslim Brotherhood Emblem

The Muslim Brothers (Arabic: الإخوان المسلمون al-ikhwān al-muslimūn, full title The Society of the Muslim Brothers, often simply الإخوان al-ikhwān, the Brotherhood or MB) is a Sunni transnational movement and the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states, particularly Egypt. The world's oldest and largest Islamic political group was founded by the Egyptian schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928.

The Brotherhood's stated goal is to instill the Qur'an and Sunnah as the "sole reference point for ... ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community ... and state". Since its inception in 1928 the movement has officially opposed violent means to achieve its goals, with some exceptions such as in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or to overthrow secular Ba'athist rule in Syria (see Hama massacre). This position has been questioned, particularly by the Egyptian government, which accused the group of a campaign of killings in Egypt after World War II.

The Brotherhood has been described as both unjustly oppressed and dangerously violent. Members have been arbitrarily arrested; in Egypt the government has obstructed the party's attempts to field candidates in elections, with arrests or harassment of activists and obstruction of voting in Muslim Brotherhood strongholds. However, supporters of the Brotherhood have demonstrated violence on their part in many occasions and have often clashed with supporters of other parties, specifically the National Democratic Party (NDP) in Egypt.

Outside of Egypt, the group's political activity has been described as evolving away from modernism and reformism towards a more traditional, "rightist conservative" stance. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood party in Kuwait opposes suffrage for women. The Brotherhood's official opposition to terror against civilians and condemnation the 9/11 attacks is a matter of international controversy. Its position on violence has also caused disputes within the movement, with advocates of violence at times breaking away to form groups such as the Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group) and Al Takfir Wal Hijra (Excommunication and Migration).

Among the Brotherhood's more influential members was Sayyid Qutb. Qutb was the author of one of Islamism's most important books, Milestones, which called for the restoration of Islam by re-establishing the Sharia and by using "physical power and Jihad for abolishing the organizations and authorities of the Jahili system," which he believed to include the entire Muslim world. While studying at university, Osama bin Laden claimed to have been influenced by the religious and political ideas of several professors with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood including both Sayyid Qutb and his brother Muhammad Qutb. While some have claimed that the Brotherhood's theology and methods are opposed to those of bin Laden, and that they are "reformist," "democratic," "non-violent" and "chiefly political", some journalists have reported the opposite.

The Brotherhood is financed by contributions from its members who are required to allocate portion of their income to the movement. Some of these contributions were from members who lived in oil-rich countries.

In the group's belief, the Quran and Sunna constitute a perfect way of life and social and political organization that God has set out for man. Islamic governments must be based on this system and eventually unified in a Caliphate. The MB goal, as stated by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna was to reclaim Islam’s manifest destiny, an empire, stretched from Spain to Indonesia. It preaches that Islam enjoins man to strive for social justice, the eradication of poverty and corruption, and political freedom to the extent allowed by the laws of Islam. The Brotherhood strongly opposes Western colonialism, and helped overthrow the pro-western monarchies in Egypt and other Muslim nations during the early 20th century.

On the issue of women and gender the Muslim Brotherhood interprets Islam very traditionally. Its founder called for "a campaign against ostentation in dress and loose behavior," "segregation of male and female students," a separate curriculum for girls, and "the prohibition of dancing and other such pastimes..."

The Brotherhood is one of the most influential movements in the Muslim world, and especially so in the Arab world. It was founded in Egypt and Egypt is considered the center of the movement; it is generally weaker in the Maghreb, or North Africa, than in the Arab Levant. Brotherhood branches form the main opposition to the governments in several countries in the Arab world, such as Egypt, Syria and Jordan, and are politically active to some extent in nearly every Muslim country[citation needed], possibly excluding Turkey. There are also diaspora branches in several Western nations and in south and east Asia, composed by immigrants previously active in the Brotherhood in their home countries.

The movement is immensely influential in many Muslim countries, and where legally possible, it often operates important networks of Islamic charities, creating a support base among Muslim poor. However, most of the countries where the Brotherhood is active are ruled by non-pluralist regimes. As a consequence, the movement is banned in several Arab nations, and restrictions on political activity prevent it from gaining power through elections.

The MB is a movement, not a political party, but members have created separate political parties in several countries, such as the Islamic Action Front in Jordan and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank. These parties are staffed by Brotherhood members but kept independent from the MB to some degree.


World War II events and groups

The vast array of guerilla, partisan, and resistance movements that were organised and supplied by the Allies during World War II used tactics that can be considered terrorist in nature. The British Special Operations Executive (SOE) successfully conducted operations in every theatre of the war and provided an invaluable contribution to allied victory. On the eve of D-Day it organised with the French resistance the complete destruction of the rail and communication infrastructure of western France perhaps the largest coordinated attack of its kind in history[citation needed]. The SOE drew its inspiration from the IRA, Colin Gubbins, a key leader within the SOE, put to use the lessons he'd learned first hand in Ireland first to establish a resistance army in waiting and then at the SOE. The SOE effectively perfected modern terrorism, pioneering most of the tactics, techniques and technologies that are the mainstays of terrorism we know today. As the Nazis pushed East many disperate bands of soviet partisans formed in the chaos after operation Barbarossa, notable among these was the Young Guard of Krasnodon.

Mid 20th century events and groups

Aftermath of the 1964 Brinks Hotel bombing

After the end of World War II, there was a rise in nationalist and anti-colonial campaigns, and the European empires collapsed. Many of the resistance groups of World War II became nationalist groups. The Viet Minh which had previously fought against the Japanese now fought against the returning French (and later the Americans), and elements of the Malayan resistance turned on their former British allies and fought against them during the Malayan Emergency. In the 1950s, for example, the National Liberation Front (FLN) in French-controlled Algeria, the EOKA in British-controlled Cyprus, and the ETA in Spain waged guerilla and open war against what they considered occupying forces.

In the 1960s, inspired by Mao’s Chinese revolution of 1949 and Castro’s Cuban revolution of 1959, national independence movements in formerly colonized countries often fused nationalist and socialist impulses in the 1960s. This was the case with Spain's ETA, the Front de Liberation du Quebec, and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

In the 1970s, leftist groups on the rise in the 1970s Turkey’s PKK, and Armenian’s ASALA. In Japan, Europe, and the U.S., leftist student groups such as the Japanese Red Army, the German Red Army Faction, the Italian Red Brigade, and the American Weather Underground sympathized with the Third World and sought to spark anti-capitalist revolutions with bombings and assassinations. Nationalist groups such as the Provisional IRA and the Tamil tigers also began operations during this decade.

Throughout the Cold War, both sides made extensive use of violent nationalist organizations to carry on a war by proxy. For example, Soviet and Chinese military advisers provided training and support to the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. The US funded groups such as the Contras in Nicaragua, while the Soviet Union provided aid to Nicaragua's Sandinistas. Ironically, many 21st century Islamic terrorists were trained in the 1980s by the US and the UK to fight against the USSR in Afghanistan. Also during the Cold War, NATO ran a Europe-wide network called Operation Gladio which committed false flag terrorism and would have launched insurgent attacks in the event of a Soviet invasion of Europe.

Front de Liberation National
From 1954 to 1962, the Front de Liberation National (FLN) was a nationalist group founded in French-controlled Algeria in 1954. The group was actually a large scale resistance movement against French occupation, and terrorism was only one facet of its operations. The FLN leaders, inspired by the Indochinese rebels who had made French troops withdraw from their country, started out with support from Egypt’s President Nasser. The FLN was one of the first ideological groups to use compliance terror on a grand scale. The FLN would establish control over a rural Algerian village and coerce the peasants of that village to execute the loyalists among them. On the night of October 31, 1954 the FLN attacked French military installations and the homes of Algerian loyalists when it set off a coordinated wave of seventy bombings and shootings that is now known as the Toussaint attacks. Through the tactics of coercion terrorism, the FLN gained significant support for a 1955 uprising against loyalists in Philipville. This uprising—and the heavy-handed response of the French government—convinced many Algerians to support the FLN and the independence movement. The FLN eventually secured Algerian independence from France in 1962, and transformed itself into Algeria’s ruling party.

Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston
From 1955 to 1959, the Greek National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston, or EOKA) was a nationalist group founded in British-controlled Cyprus in 1955. Its founder, George Grivas, was covertly supported by the Greek government. The group sought the expulsion of British troops from the island, self-determination, and union with Greece. To achieve these ends, EOKA carried out a four year spree of IRA style shootings of British soldiers and police. EOKA also organized Hagannah style attacks on civilians. In December 1958 a cease-fire was declared and in 1960 Cyprus achieved independence from the United Kingdom; however, the settlement explicitly denied the possibility of a union between Cyprus and Greece.

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna
From 1959 to the present, the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (or ETA (Basque for "Basque Homeland and Freedom" pronounced )) is an armed Basque nationalist separatist organization. Founded in 1959 in response to General Francisco Franco's suppression of the Basque language and culture, ETA evolved from an advocate of traditional cultural ways into an armed revolutionary Marxist group demanding Basque independence.[99] Many of ETA's victims are government officials. The group's first known victim was a police chief who was killed in 1968. In 1973, ETA operatives killed Franco’s apparent successor, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, by planting an underground bomb below his habitual parking spot outside a Madrid church. In 1995, an ETA car bomb almost killed Jose Maria Aznar, then the leader of the conservative Popular Party, who later served as Spain’s prime minister. The same year, investigators disrupted a plot to assassinate King Juan Carlos. More recently, in March 2008, ETA killed a former city councilman in northern Spain two days before an election. In 2003, the Spanish Supreme Court banned the Batasuna political party, which was considered the political arm of ETA, and successive efforts by Spanish governments to negotiate with ETA have failed.



Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or ETA (English: Basque Homeland and Freedom; pronounced), is an armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization. The group was founded in 1959 and they evolved from a group promoting traditional Basque culture to a paramilitary group with the goal of gaining independence for the Greater Basque Country from a Marxist-Leninist perspective.

ETA's motto is Bietan jarrai ("Keep up on both"). This refers to the two figures in its symbol, a snake (representing politics) wrapped around an axe (representing armed struggle).

Since 1968, ETA has killed over 800 individuals, injured thousands and undertaken dozens of kidnappings.[9] The group is proscribed as a terrorist organization by the Spanish and French authorities as well as the European Union as a whole, and the United States. This convention is followed by a plurality of domestic and international media, which also refer to the group as "terrorists". More than 700 members of the organization are incarcerated in prisons in Spain, France, and other countries.


Palestine Liberation Organization and factions
From 1959 to the present, Fatah was organized as a Palestinian nationalist group in 1959. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was organized as an umbrella organization for secular Palestinian nationalist groups in 1964, and began armed operations in 1965. The PLO's membership is made up of separate and possibly contending paramilitary and political factions, the largest of which are Fatah, PFLP, and DFLP. Factions of the PLO have advocated or carried out acts of terrorism. Fatah leader and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat publicly renounced terrorism in December 1988 on behalf of the PLO, but Israel has stated it has proof that Arafat continued to sponsor terrorism until his death in 2004.

Plaque in front of the Israeli athletes' quarters commemorating the victims of the Munich massacre.Abu Iyad organized the Fatah splinter group Black September in 1970. The group is best known for seizing eleven Israeli athletes as hostages at the September 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. All the athletes and five Black September operatives later died during a gun battle with the West German police, in what was later known as the Munich massacre. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was founded in 1967 by George Habash. On September 6, 1970 the group hijacked three international passenger planes, landing two of them in Jordan and blowing up the third. Founded in 1968, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) is presently led by Abu Nidal al-Ashqar. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) was founded in 1969. The PFLP, DFLP, and PFLP-GC lost influence and resources with the rise of Hamas in the 1990s.


Palestine Liberation Organization

The PLO emblem shows
the Palestinian flag above
a map of the former
British Mandate of Palestine

The PLO emblem shows the Palestinian flag above a map of the former British Mandate of PalestineThe Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (Arabic: منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية‎; Munaẓẓamat al-Taḥrīr al-Filasṭīniyyat (help·info)) is a political and paramilitary organization founded in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people," by over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed observer status at the United Nations since 1974. In 1993 Israel also officially recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.

Founded by a meeting of 422 Palestinian national figures in the West Bank, in May 1964, following an earlier decision of the Arab League, its goal was the liberation of Palestine through armed struggle. The original PLO Charter (issued on 28 May 1964) stated that "Palestine with its boundaries that existed at the time of the British mandate is an integral regional unit" and sought to "prohibit... the existence and activity" of Zionism. It also called for a right of return and self-determination for Palestinians. Palestinian statehood was not mentioned, although in 1974 the PLO called for an independent state in the territory of Mandate Palestine. The group used multi-layered guerrilla and terrorist tactics to attack Israel from their bases in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, as well as from within the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The PLO was considered a terrorist organization by the US Government until the Madrid Conference in 1991, two years before the signing of the Oslo accords. In 1988, the PLO officially endorsed a two-state solution, contingent on terms such as making East Jerusalem capital of the Palestinian state and giving Palestinians the right of return to land occupied by Palestinians prior to 1948, as well as the right to continue armed struggle until the end of "The Zionist Entity." Though Arafat promised on multiple occasions in letters and in speeches to remove the parts of the PLO's charter which called for the destruction of "The Zionist Entity," the version which contains those articles is the version displayed to the UN, and to other Palestinian bodies.

In 1993, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat recognized the State of Israel in an official letter to its prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin. In response to Arafat's letter, Israel recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Arafat was the Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee from 1969 until his death in 2004. He was succeeded by Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen).

The PLO has a nominal legislative body, the Palestinian National Council (PNC), but most actual political power and decisions are controlled by the PLO Executive Committee, made up of 18 people elected by the PNC. The PLO incorporates a range of generally secular ideologies of different Palestinian movements committed to the struggle for Palestinian independence and liberation, hence the name of the organization. The Palestine Liberation Organization is considered by the Arab League and by the United Nations to be the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and holds a permanent observer seat in the United Nations General Assembly.

The PLO has no central decision-making or mechanism that enables it to directly control its factions, but they are supposed to follow the PLO charter and Executive Committee decisions. Membership has fluctuated, and some organizations have left the PLO or suspended membership during times of political turbulence, but most often these groups eventually rejoined the organization. Not all PLO activists are members of one of the factions - for example, many PNC delegates are elected as independents.

Present members include:

Fatah - Largest faction, Left-Wing/nationalist.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - Second largest, radically militant and communist
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) - Third largest, communist
The Palestinian People's Party (PPP) - Ex-communist, non-militant
The Palestine Liberation Front (PLF, Abu Abbas faction) - Minor left-wing faction
The Arab Liberation Front (ALF) - Minor faction, aligned to the Iraqi Ba'ath Party
As-Sa'iqa - Syrian-controlled Ba'athist faction
The Palestine Democratic Union (Fida) - Minor left-wing faction, non-militant
The Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF, Samir Ghawsha faction) - minor left-wing faction.
The Palestinian Arab Front (PAF) - minor faction.

Former member groups of the PLO include: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC)


The Arab League on Cairo Summit 1964 initiated the creation of an organization representing the Palestinian people. The Palestinian National Council convened in Jerusalem on 29 May 1964. Concluding this meeting the PLO was founded on 2 June 1964. Its Statement of Proclamation of the Organization declared "... the right of the Palestinian Arab people to its sacred homeland Palestine and affirming the inevitability of the battle to liberate the usurped part from it, and its determination to bring out its effective revolutionary entity and the mobilization of the capabilities and potentialities and its material, military and spiritual forces".

Due to the influence of the Egyptian President Nasser the PLO supported the nasseristic 'Pan-Arabism' - the ideology that the Arabs should live in one state. The first executive committee was formed on 9 August, with Ahmad Shuqeiri as its leader.

In spite of the 1949 Armistice Agreements, the Arab states remained unreconciled to Israel's creation as they had been to the proposed partition of Palestine in 1948. Therefore the Palestinian National Charter of 1964 stated: "The claims of historic and spiritual ties between Jews and Palestine are not in agreement with the facts of history or with the true basis of sound statehood... The Jews are not one people with an independent personality because they are citizens to their states." (Article 18).

Although Egypt and Jordan favored the creation of a Palestinian state on land they considered to be occupied by Israel, they would not grant sovereignty to the Palestinian people in lands under Jordanian and Egyptian military occupation, amounting to 53% of the territory allocated to Arabs under the UN Partition Plan. Hence Article 24: "This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area."

Executive Committee Chairmen
Ahmad Shukeiri (10 June 1964 – 24 December 1967)
Yahya Hammuda (24 December 1967 – 2 February 1969)
Yasser Arafat "Abu Amar" (2 February 1969 – 11 November 2004)
(in exile in Jordan to April 1971; Lebanon 1971 – December 1982; and Tunis December 1982 – May 1994)
Mahmoud Abbas "Abu Mazen" (From 29 October 2004 – present)
(acting [for Arafat] to 11 November 2004)

Leadership by Yasser Arafat
The resounding defeat of Syria, Jordan and Egypt in the Six Day War of 1967 destroyed the credibility of Arab states that had sought to be patrons for the Palestinian people and their nationalist cause. The war radicalized the Palestinians and significantly weakened Nasser's influence. The way was opened, particularly after the Battle of Karameh in March 1968, for Yasser Arafat to rise to power. He advocated guerrilla warfare and successfully sought to make the PLO a fully independent organization under the control of the fedayeen organizations. At the Palestinian National Congress meeting of 1969, Fatah gained control of the executive bodies of the PLO. Arafat was appointed PLO chairman at the Palestinian National Congress in Cairo on February 3, 1969. From then on, the Executive Committee was composed essentially of representatives of the various member organizations.

War of attrition
From 1969 to September 1970 the PLO, with passive support from Jordan, fought a war of attrition with Israel. During this time, the PLO launched artillery attacks on the moshavim and kibbutzim of Bet Shean Valley Regional Council, while fedayeen launched numerous attacks on Israeli civilians. Israel raided the PLO camps in Jordan, withdrawing only under Jordanian military pressure.

This conflict culminated in Jordan's expulsion of the PLO in September 1970.

Palestinian fighters after a battle
with Jordanian forces,
September 1970.


Black September in Jordan
The PLO suffered a major reversal with the Jordanian assault on its armed groups in the events known as Black September in 1970. The Palestinian groups were expelled from Jordan, and during the 1970s the PLO was effectively an umbrella group of eight organizations headquartered in Damascus and Beirut, all devoted to armed resistance to either Zionism or Israeli occupation, using methods which included attacks on civilians and guerrilla warfare against Israel. After Black September, the Cairo Agreement led the PLO to establish itself in Lebanon.

Ten Point Program
In 1974, the PNC approved the Ten Point Program formulated by Fatah's leaders which calls for the establishment of a national authority over any piece of liberated Palestinian land, and to actively pursue the establishment of a secular democratic binational state in Israel/Palestine under which all citizens will enjoy equal status and rights regardless of race, sex, or religion. The Ten Point Program was considered the first attempt by PLO at a peaceful resolution, though the ultimate goal was "completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory, and as a step along the road to comprehensive Arab unity."

This led to several radical PLO factions (such as the PFLP, PFLP-GC and others) breaking out to form the Rejectionist Front, which would act independently of PLO over the following years. Suspicion between the Arafat-led mainstream and more hardline factions, inside and outside the PLO, have continued to dominate the inner workings of the organization ever since, often resulting in paralysis or conflicting courses of action. A temporary closing of ranks came in 1977, as Palestinian factions joined with hard-line Arab governments in the Steadfastness and Confrontation Front to condemn Egyptian attempts to reach a separate peace with Israel (eventually resulting in the 1979 Camp David

Israel claimed to see the Ten Point Program as dangerous, because it allegedly allows the Palestinian leadership to enter negotiations with Israel on issues where Israel can compromise, but under the intention of exploiting the compromises in order to "improve positions" for attacking Israel. The Hebrew term for this is the "Plan of Stages" (Tokhnit HaSHlabim). During the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s, some Israelis repeated this suspicion, claiming that the Palestinians' willingness to compromise was just a smoke-screen to implement the Ten Point Program. After the Oslo Accords were signed, Israeli right-wing politicians claimed (and still claim) that this was part of the ploy to implement the Stage Program as Yasser Arafat himself admitted in Arabic many times. The Ten Point Program was never officially cancelled by the Palestinians.

Lebanon and the Lebanese Civil War
In the mid-1970s, Arafat and his Fatah movement found themselves in a tenuous position. Arafat increasingly called for diplomacy, perhaps best symbolized by his his Ten Points Program and his support for a UN Security Council resolution proposed in 1976 calling for a two-state settlement on the pre-1967 borders. But the Rejectionist Front denounced the calls for diplomacy, and a diplomatic solution was vetoed by the United States. The population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip saw Arafat as their best hope for a resolution to the conflict. This was especially so in the aftermath of the Camp David Accords of 1978 between Israel and Egypt, which the Palestinians saw as a blow to their aspirations to self-determination. Abu Nidal, a sworn enemy of the PLO since 1974, assassinated the PLO's diplomatic envoy to the European Economic Community, which in the Venice Declaration of 1980 had called for the Palestinian right of self-determination to be recognized by Israel.

During the Lebanese Civil War, the PLO first fought against Maronite Christian militias, notably the Phalange and the Lebanese Forces of Bachir Gemayel, then against Israel, then, finally against the Syrian-supported Amal militia. In the 1985-1988 War of the Camps, Amal and other pro-Syrian militias besieged Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon to drive out supporters of Arafat. Many thousands of Palestinians died of violence and starvation. After the Amal siege ended, there was a great deal of intra-Palestinian fighting in the camps.

As a partner for peace
Opposition to Arafat was fierce not only among radical Arab groups, but also among many on the Israeli right. This included Menachem Begin, who had stated on more than one occasion that even if the PLO accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242 and recognized Israel's right to exist, he would never negotiate with the organization (Smith, op. cit., p. 357). This contradicted the official United States position that it would negotiate with the PLO if the PLO accepted Resolution 242 and recognized Israel, which the PLO had thus far been unwilling to do. Other Arab voices had recently called for a diplomatic resolution to the hostilities in accord with the international consensus, including Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat on his visit to Washington, DC in August 1981, and Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia in his 7 August peace proposal; together with Arafat's diplomatic maneuver, these developments made Israel's argument that it had "no partner for peace" seem increasingly problematic. Thus, in the eyes of Israeli hard-liners, "the Palestinians posed a greater challenge to Israel as a peacemaking organization than as a military one". (Smith, op. cit., 376)

After the appointment of Ariel Sharon to the post of Minister of defence in 1981, the Israeli government policy of allowing political growth to occur in the occupied West Bank and Gaza strip changed. The Israeli government tried, unsuccessfully, to dictate terms of political growth by replacing local pro-PLO leaders with an Israeli civil administration.

In 1982, the PLO relocated to Tunis Tunisia after it was driven out of Lebanon by Israel during Israel's six-month invasion of Lebanon. Following massive raids by Israeli forces in Beirut, it is estimated that 8,000 PLO fighters evacuated the city and dispersed.

On October 1, 1985, in Operation Wooden Leg, Israeli Air Force F-15s bombed the PLO's Tunis headquarters, killing more than 60 people.

It is suggested that the Tunis period (1982-1991) was a negative point in the PLO's history, leading up to the Oslo negotiations and formation of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PLO in exile was distant from a concentrated number of Palestinians and became far less effective. There was a significant reduction in centres of research, political debates or journalistic endeavours that had encouraged an energised public presence of the PLO in Beirut. More and more Palestinians were abandoned, and many felt that this was the beginning of the end.

First Intifada
In 1987, the First Intifada broke out in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Intifada caught the PLO by surprise, and the leadership abroad could only indirectly influence the events. A new local leadership emerged, the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising (UNLU), comprising many leading Palestinian factions. After King Hussein of Jordan proclaimed the administrative and legal separation of the West Bank from Jordan in 1988, the Palestine National Council adopted the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in Algiers, proclaiming an independent State of Palestine. The declaration made reference to UN resolutions without explicitly mentioning Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

A month later, Arafat declared in Geneva that the PLO would support a solution of the conflict based on these Resolutions. Effectively, the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist within pre-1967 borders, with the understanding that the Palestinians would be allowed to set up their own state in the West Bank and Gaza. The United States accepted this clarification by Arafat and began to allow diplomatic contacts with PLO officials. The Proclamation of Independence did not lead to a Palestinian State, although over 100 states recognized the "State of Palestine".

Gulf War
In 1990, the PLO under Yasser Arafat openly supported Saddam Hussein in his regime's invasion of Kuwait, leading to a later rupture in Palestinian-Kuwaiti ties and the expulsion of many Palestinians from Kuwait.

Oslo Accords
In 1993, the PLO secretly negotiated the Oslo Accords with Israel. The accords were signed on 20 August 1993. There was a subsequent public ceremony in Washington D.C. on September 13, 1993 with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin. The Accords granted the Palestinians right to self-government on the Gaza Strip and the city of Jericho in the West Bank through the creation of the Palestinian Authority. Yasser Arafat was appointed head of the Palestinian Authority and a timetable for elections was laid out which saw Arafat elected president in January 1996, 18 months behind schedule. Although the PLO and the PA are not formally linked, the PLO dominates the administration. The headquarters of the PLO were moved to Ramallah on the West Bank.

On 9 September 1993, Arafat issued a press release stating that "the PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security".

Numerous leaders within the PLO and the PA, including Yasser Arafat himself, have declared that the State of Israel has a permanent right to exist, and that the peace treaty with Israel is genuine.[citation needed] However, members of the PLO have claimed responsibility for a number of attacks against Israelis since the Oslo Accords during the Second Intifada. Some Palestinian officials have stated that the peace treaty must be viewed as permanent. According to some opinion polls, a majority of Israelis believe Palestinians should have a state of their own—a major shift in attitude after the Oslo Accord—even though both Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres opposed the creation of a Palestinian state, both before and after the Accord. At the same time, a significant portion of the Israeli public and some political leaders (including the current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) express doubt over whether a peaceful, coherent state can be founded by the PLO, and call for significant re-organization, including the elimination of all terrorism, before any talk about independence.

Second Intifada
The Second or Al-Aqsa Intifada started concurrent with the breakdown of talks at Camp David with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The Intifada never ended officially, but violence hit relatively low levels during 2005. The death toll both military and civilians of the entire conflict in 2000-2004 is estimated to be 3,223 Palestinians and 950 Israelis, although this number is criticized for not differentiating between combatants and civilians.

Development and reactivation
In the Cairo Declaration and the Prisoners' Document, Palestinian factions agreed to rebuild the PLO. A meeting will be held in Damascus to discuss its future.

In the United Nations
The United Nations General Assembly granted the PLO observer status on November 22, 1974. On January 12, 1976 the UN Security Council voted 11-1 with 3 abstentions to allow the Palestinian Liberation Organization to participate in a Security Council debate without voting rights, a privilege usually restricted to UN member states.

After the Palestinian Declaration of Independence the PLO's representation was renamed Palestine. On July 7, 1998, this status was extended to allow participation in General Assembly debates, though not in voting.

The General Assembly has described the PLO as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian People."

Palestinian National Charter
The Palestinian National Charter as amended in 1968 endorsed the use of "armed struggle" against "Zionist imperialism."

'Article 10 of the Palestinian National Charter states "Commando (Feday’ee) action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war. This requires its escalation, comprehensiveness, and the mobilization of all the Palestinian popular and educational efforts and their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian revolution. It also requires the achieving of unity for the national ('wanted) struggle among the different groupings of the Palestinian people, and between the Palestinian people and the Arab masses, so as to secure the continuation of the revolution, its escalation, and victory."
The most controversial element of text of the Charter were many clauses declaring the creation of the state of Israel "null and void", because it was created by force on Palestinian soil. This is usually interpreted as calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.

In letters exchanged between Arafat and Rabin in conjunction with the 1993 Oslo Accords, Arafat agreed that those clauses would be removed. On 26 April 1996, the Palestine National Council held a meeting in camera, after which it was announced that the Council had voted to nullify or amend all such clauses, and called for a new text to be produced. At the time, Israeli political figures and academics expressed doubt that this is what had actually taken place, and continued to claim that controversial clauses were still in force.

A letter from Arafat to US President Bill Clinton in 1998 listed the clauses concerned, and a meeting of the Palestine Central Committee approved that list. To remove all doubt, the vote this time was held in a public meeting of PLO, PNC and PCC members which was televised worldwide, and in the presence of Bill Clinton who traveled to the Gaza Strip for that purpose. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted this as the promised nullification[citation needed]. He later wrote, "While the PLO repeatedly committed itself to amend the charter..., no changes have been made despite occasional claims to the contrary."

However, a new text of the Charter has not been produced, and this is the source of a continuing controversy. Critics of the Palestinian organizations claim that failure proves the insincerity of the clause nullifications. One of several Palestinian responses is that the proper replacement of the Charter will be the constitution of the forthcoming state of Palestine. The published draft constitution states that the territory of Palestine "is an indivisible unit based upon its borders on the 4th of June 1967" - which clearly implies an acceptance of Israel's existence in its 1967 borders.

Diplomatic representation
The Palestine Information Office was registered with the Justice Department of the United States as a foreign agent until 1968, when it was closed. It was reopened in 1989 as the Palestine Affairs Center.

Terrorist characterization
The PLO was considered by the USA and Israel to be a terrorist organization until the Madrid Conference in 1991. Most of the rest of the world recognized the PLO as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people from the mid-1970s onwards (after the PLO's admission to the UN as an observer.)

The most notable of what were considered terrorist acts committed by member organizations of the PLO were:

The 1970 Avivim school bus massacre by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), killed nine children, three adults and crippled 19.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the second-largest PLO faction after al-Fatah, carried out a number of attacks and plane hijackings mostly directed at Israel, most infamously the Dawson's Field hijackings, which precipitated the Black September in Jordan crisis.
In 1972 the Black September Organization carried out the Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes.
In 1974 members of the DFLP seized a school in Israel and killed a total of 26 students and adults and wounded over 70 in the Ma'alot massacre.
The 1975 Savoy Hotel hostage situation killing 8 civilians and 3 soldiers, carried out by Fatah.
The 1978 Coastal Road massacre killing 37 Israeli civilians and wounding 76, also carried out by Fatah.
In 2004 the United States Congress declared the PLO to be a terrorist organisation under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1987, citing among others the Achille Lauro attack.

According to a 1993 report by the British National Criminal Intelligence Service, the PLO was "the richest of all terrorist organizations", with $8–$10 billion in assets and an annual income of $1.5-$2 billion from "donations, extortion, payoffs, illegal arms dealing, drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, etc." The Daily Telegraph reported in 1999 that the PLO had $50 billion in secret investments around the world.




Yasser Arafat was the main
founder of Fatah and led the
group until his death in 2004

Fatah is generally considered to have had a strong involvement in revolutionary struggle in the past and has maintained a number of militant/terrorist groups, though unlike its rival Islamist faction Hamas, Fatah is not currently regarded as a terrorist organization by any government.

In the January 25, 2006 parliamentary election, the party lost its majority in the Palestinian parliament to Hamas, and resigned all cabinet positions, instead assuming the role as the main opposition party.

The full name of the movement is حركة التحرير الوطني الفلسطيني ḥarakat al-taḥrīr al-waṭanī al-filasṭīnī, meaning the "Palestinian National Liberation Movement". From this was crafted the reverse acronym Fatḥ (or Fatah), meaning "opening", "conquering", or "victory". (Ḥataf حتف, the non-reverse acronym, would mean "death", and has not been used by the movement.) The word Fatah is used in religious discourse to signify the Islamic expansion in the first centuries of Islamic history—as in Fath al-Sham, the "opening of the Levant" -- and so has positive connotations for Muslims. The term "Fatah" also has religious significance in that it is the name of the 48th sura, or chapter, of the Qu'ran, which according to the major Muslim commentators details the story of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah whereby Muhammad successfully conquered Mecca by first signing a peace agreement, and then later seeking to abrogate it when he had forces sufficient to secure certain victory over the Meccans. This Qu'ranic precedent was cited by Yasser Arafat as justification for his signing the Oslo Accords with Israel.

Two most important decision-making bodies is Central Committee of Fatah and the Fatah Revolutionary Council. Central Committee is mainly an executive body, while the Revolutionary Council is Fatah's legislative body.


The Fatah movement, which espoused a Palestinian nationalist ideology in which Palestinian Arabs would be liberated by the actions of Palestinian Arabs, was founded in 1954 by members of the Palestinian diaspora — principally professionals working in the Persian Gulf States who had been refugees in Gaza and had gone on to study in Cairo or Beirut. The founders included Yasser Arafat who was head of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) (1952–56) in Cairo University, Salah Khalaf, Khalil al-Wazir, Khaled Yashruti was head of the GUPS in Beirut (1958–62).

Fatah's first major guerrilla attack came on January 3, 1965, when they attempted to sabotage the Israeli National Water Carrier, which had recently started operation and diverted vast amounts of water from the Jordan River which mostly bordered Jordan. The attack was thwarted by the Israeli Security Forces.

Fatah became the dominant force in Palestinian politics after the Six-Day War in 1967. It dealt the coup de grâce to the pre-Baathist Arab nationalism that had inspired George Habash's Arab Nationalist Movement, the former dominant mainly Palestinian political party. The November 1959 edition of Fatah's underground journal, Filastinuna Nida al-Hayat, indicated that the movement was motivated by the status of the Palestinian refugees in the Arab world:

The youth of the catastrophe (shibab al-nakba) are dispersed... Life in the tent has become as miserable as death... [T]o die for our beloved Motherland is better and more honorable than life, which forces us to eat our daily bread under humiliations or to receive it as charity at the cost of our honour... We, the sons of the catastrophe, are no longer willing to live this dirty, despicable life, this life which has destroyed our cultural, moral and political existence and destroyed our human dignity.

From the beginning the armed struggle, as manifested in the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine and the military role of Palestinian fighters under the leadership of Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, was central to Fatah's ideology of liberating Palestine by a Palestinian armed struggle.

Fatah joined the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1967. It was immediately allocated 33 of 105 seats in the PLO Executive Committee. Founder Yasser Arafat became Chairman of the PLO in 1969, after the position was ceded to him by Yahya Hammuda. According to the BBC, "Mr Arafat took over as chairman of the executive committee of the PLO in 1969, a year that Fatah is recorded to have carried out 2,432 guerrilla attacks on Israel."

Battle of Karameh
Throughout 1968, Fatah and other Palestinian armed groups were the target of a major Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operation in the Jordanian village of Karameh, where the Fatah headquarters – as well as a mid-sized Palestinian refugee camp – were located. The town's name is the Arabic word for "dignity", which elevated its symbolism to the Arab people, especially after the Arab defeat in 1967. The operation was in response to attacks against Israel, including rockets strikes from Fatah and other Palestinian militias into the occupied West Bank. Knowledge of the operation was available well ahead of time, and the government of Jordan (as well as a number of Fatah commandos) informed Arafat of Israel's large-scale military preparations. Upon hearing the news, many guerrilla groups in the area, including George Habash's newly formed group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Nayef Hawatmeh's breakaway organization the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), withdrew their forces from the town. Fatah leaders were advised by a pro-Fatah Jordanian divisional commander to withdraw their men and headquarters to nearby hills, but on Arafat's orders, Fatah remained, and the Jordanian Army agreed to back them if heavy fighting ensued.

On the night of March 21, the IDF attacked Karameh with heavy weaponry, armored vehicles and fighter jets. Fatah held its ground, surprising the Israeli military. As Israel's forces intensified their campaign, the Jordanian Army became involved, causing the Israelis to retreat in order to avoid a full-scale war. By the end of the battle, nearly 150 Fatah militants had been killed, as well as twenty Jordanian soldiers and twenty-eight Israeli soldiers. Despite the higher Arab death toll, Fatah considered themselves victorious because of the Israeli army's rapid withdrawal.

Black September
In the late 1960s, tensions between Palestinians and the Jordanian government increased greatly; heavily armed Arab resistance elements had created a virtual "state within a state" in Jordan, eventually controlling several strategic positions in that country. After their victory in the Battle of Karameh, Fatah and other Palestinian militias began taking control of civil life in Jordan. They set up roadblocks, publicly humiliated Jordanian police forces, molested women and levied illegal taxes – all of which Arafat either condoned or ignored.

The Jordanian government moved to regain control over its territory, and the next day, King Hussein declared martial law. By September 25, the Jordanian army achieved dominance in the fighting, and two days later Arafat and Hussein agreed to a series of ceasefires. The Jordanian army inflicted heavy casualties upon the Palestinians – including civilians – who suffered approximately 3,500 fatalities. Two thousand Fatah fighters managed to enter Syria. They crossed the border into Lebanon to join Fatah forces in that country, where they set up their new headquarters.

In the 1960s and the 1970s, Fatah provided training to a wide range of European, Middle Eastern, Asian, and African militant and insurgent groups, and carried out numerous attacks against Israeli targets in Western Europe and the Middle East during the 1970s. Some militant groups that affiliated themselves to Fatah, and some of the fedayeen within Fatah itself, carried out civilian plane hijackings and terrorist attacks, attributing them to Black September, Abu Nidal's Fatah-Revolutionary Council, Abu Musa's group, the PFLP, and the PFLP-GC. Fatah received weapons, explosives and training from the USSR and some Communist regimes of East European states. China also provided some weapons.


Although hesitant at first to take sides in the conflict, Arafat and Fatah played an important role in the Lebanese Civil War. Succumbing to pressure from PLO sub-groups such as the PFLP, DFLP and the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), Fatah aligned itself with the Communist and Nasserist Lebanese National Movement (LNM). Although originally aligned with Fatah, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad feared a loss of influence in Lebanon and switched sides. He sent his army, along with the Syrian-backed Palestinian factions of as-Sa'iqa and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) led by Ahmad Jibril to fight alongside the radical right-wing Christian forces against the PLO and the LNM. The primary component of the Christian militias was the Maronite Phalangists.

Phalangist forces killed twenty-six Fatah trainees on a bus in April 1975, marking the official start of the 15 year long Lebanese civil war. Later that year, an alliance of Christian militias overran the Palestinian refugee camp of Quarantina. The PLO and LNM retaliated by attacking the town of Damour, a Phalangist stronghold. Over 330 people were killed and many more wounded. As the civil war progressed over 2 years of savage urban warfare, both parties resorted to massive artillery duels and heavy use of sniper nests, while atrocities and war crimes were committed by both sides. The war appeared to be headed for defeat by the Christian parties after the fighting shifted focus from Beirut to the mountains overlying it. Having secured Syrian Army intervention and seeing their enemies fold, the Christian militias hurried to secure a more favorable strategic footing for the war's aftermath and accelerated the siege of one of the Palestinian camps, pivotal to Fatah's war effort. In 1976, with strategic planning help from the Lebanese Army, the alliance of Christian militias, spearheaded by the National Liberal Party of former President Cammille Chamoun militant branch, the noumour el ahrar (NLP Tigers), took a pivotal refugee camp in the Eastern part of Beirut, the Tel al-Zaatar camp, after a six-month siege, also known as Tel al-Zaatar massacre in which hundreds perished. Arafat and Abu Jihad blamed themselves for not successfully organizing a rescue effort.

PLO cross-border raids against Israel grew somewhat during the late 1970s. One of the most severe - known as the Coastal Road Massacre - occurred on March 11, 1978. A force of nearly a dozen Fatah fighters landed their boats near a major coastal road connecting the city of Haifa with Tel Aviv-Yafo. There they hijacked a bus and sprayed gunfire inside and at passing vehicles, killing thirty-seven civilians. In response, the IDF launched Operation Litani three days later, with the goal of taking control of Southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. The IDF achieved this goal, and Fatah withdrew to the north into Beirut.

Israel invaded Lebanon again in 1982. Beirut was soon besieged and bombarded by the IDF; To end the siege, the US and European governments brokered an agreement guaranteeing safe passage for Arafat and Fatah – guarded by a multinational force – to exile in Tunis. Despite the exile many Fatah commanders and fighters remained in Lebanon.

When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, the faction was dispersed to several Middle Eastern countries with the help of US and other Western governments: Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, Iraq and others. In the period 1982–1993, Fatah's leadership resided in Tunisia.

Presidential and legislative elections
Until his death, Arafat was the head of the Palestinian National Authority - the provisional entity that was created as a result of Oslo. Farouk Kaddoumi is the current Fatah chairman, elected to the post soon after Arafat's death in 2004.

Fatah has "Observer Party" status at the Socialist International.

Since 2000, the group has been a member of the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces, which includes both PLO and non-PLO factions, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both listed as terrorist organizations in the West.

Fatah endorsed Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian presidential election of 2005.

In 2005, Hamas won in nearly all the municipalities it contested. Fatah is "widely seen as being in desperate need of reform", as "the PA's performance has been a story of corruption and incompetence - and Fatah has been tainted." Political analyst Salah Abdel-Shafi told BBC about the difficulties of Fatah leadership: "I think it's very, very serious - it's becoming obvious that they can't agree on anything."

Internal dissension
On 14, 2005, jailed Intifada leader Marwan Barghouti announced that he had formed a new political list to run in the elections, al-Mustaqbal ("The Future"), mainly composed of members of Fatah's "Young Guard." These younger leaders have repeatedly expressed frustration with the entrenched corruption in the party, which has been run by the "Old Guard" who returned from exile in Tunisia following the Oslo Accords. Al-Mustaqbal was to campaign against Fatah in the January 2006 Palestinian legislative election, presenting a list including Mohammed Dahlan, Kadoura Fares, Samir Mashharawi and Jibril Rajoub on December 14. However, on December 28, 2005, the leadership of the two factions agreed to submit a single list to voters, headed by Barghouti, who began actively campaigning for Fatah from his jail cell.

There has been numerous other expressions of discontent within Fatah, which is just holding its first general congress in two decades. Because of this, the movement remains largely dominated by aging cadres from the pre-Oslo area of Palestinian politics. Several of them gained their positions thanks to personal followings or support from Arafat, who balanced above the different factions, and the era after his death in 2004 has seen increased infighting among these groups, who jockey for influence over future development, the political line, funds, and constituencies. The prospect of Abbas leaving power in the coming years has also exacerbated tensions.

There have been no significant overt splits within the older generation of Fatah politicians since the 1980s, however. One founding member, Faruq al-Qaddumi (Abu Lutf), continues to openly oppose the post-Oslo arrangements and has intensified his campaign for a more hardline positions from exile in Tunis. Since Arafat's death, he is formally head of Fatah's political bureau and chairman, but his actual political following within Fatah appears limited. He has at times openly challenged the legitimacy of Abbas and harshly criticized both him and Mohammed Dahlan, but despite threats to splinter the movement, he remains in his position, and his challenges have so far come to nothing. Another influential veteran, Hani al-Hassan, has also openly criticized the present leadership. Fatah's internal conflicts have also, due to the creation of the Palestinian Authority, merged with the turf wars between different PA security services, eg. a longstanding rivalry between the West Bank (Jibril Rajoub) and Gaza (Muhammad Dahlan) branches of the powerful Preventive Security Service. Foreign backing for different factions contribute to conflict, eg. with the USA generally seen as supportive of Abbas's overall leadership and of Dahlan's security influence, and Syria alleged to promote Faruq al-Qaddumi's challenge to the present leadership. The younger generations of Fatah, especially within the militant al-Aqsa martyrs' brigades, have been more prone to splits, and a number of lesser networks in Gaza and the West Bank have established themselves as either independent organizations or joined Hamas. However, such overt breaks with the movement have still been rather uncommon, despite numerous rivalries inside and between competing local Fatah groups.

The 2009 Fatah Movement Assembly
Sixth General Assembly of Fatah Movement, nearly 16 years after the advent of the Oslo Conference and 20 years since the last Fatah convention, the long-overdue general congress began on 4 August 2009, in Bethlehem, Israel after being repeatedly postponed over conflicts ranging from who would be represented, to what venue would be acceptable. More than 2,000 delegates attended the three-day meeting.

The internal dissension was immediately obvious. Saudi King Abdullah told Fatah delegates meeting in Bethlehem that divisions among the Palestinians were more damaging to their cause of an independent state than the Israeli "enemy."

Fatah delegates resolved not to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace talks until preconditions were met. Among the 14 preconditions, included the release of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, freezing all Israeli settlement construction, and lifting the Gaza blockade.

Some 400 Fatah members from the Gaza Strip were unable to attend the conference in Bethlehem after Hamas barred them from traveling to the West Bank.

Fatah was appealing to Palestinians who want a more hardline response to Israel by reaffirming its option for "armed resistance" against Israel. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak described the adopted Fatah platform as not very promising. But he added there was no other way but to sit down and strike a deal, calling on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to enter negotiations.

Officials on the third day of the Fatah convention in Bethlehem unanimously accepted the proposal, put forth by the chairman of the Araft Institute, stating that Israel had been behind the "assassination" of the late Palestinian Authority Chairman and affirmed Fatah's request for international aid to probe the issue. Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, Danny Ayalon, said the conference was a "serious blow to peace" and "was another lost opportunity for the Palestinian leadership to adopt moderate views."

Elections to Central Committee and Revolutionary Councils
Delegates voted to fill 18 seats on the 23-seat Central Committee of Fatah, and 81 seats of the 128-seat Revolutionary Council after a week of deliberations. At least 70 new members entered the latter, with 20 seats going to Fatah representatives from the Gaza Strip, 11 seats filled by women (the highest number of votes went to one woman who spent years in Israeli jails for her role in the resistance), four seats went to Christians, and one was filled by a Jerusalem-born Jew, Uri Davis, a first Jew to be elected to the Revolutionary Council since its founding in 1958. Fatah activists from the Palestinian diaspora were also represented and included Samir Rifai, Fatah's secretary in Syria, and Khaled Abu Usba.

Fadwa Barghouti, the wife of Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in Israel for his role "in terrorist attacks" in Israel during the Second Intifada, was one of the representatives elected to the Fatah Central Council.

Allegations of voting fraud
Former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei accused Fatah leadership of voting fraud during the Central Committee elections. A large number of representatives have questioned the credibility of the election results and there is growing discontent within the party. Qurei accused Mahmoud Abbas and "some of his supporters" of influencing the ballots to secure support for their allies in the Central Committee. Every member of Fatah's Higher Committee in the Gaza Strip resigned in protest against what one of the officials described as "massive fraud," and Fatah members claimed that "dozens" of representatives were prevented from casting their vote during the election. However, Mahmoud Abbas hailed the elections as "democratic and successful." Senior Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip demanded an investigation into the allegations of fraud in the Central Committee elections. Of the 23 seats elected to the Central Committee, only 2 were representatives from the Gaza Strip: Muhammad Dahlan and Nabil Sha'ath.

Armed factions
Fatah has maintained a number of militant groups since its founding. Its mainstream military branch is al-Assifa. Fatah is generally considered to have had a strong involvement in terrorism in the past, though unlike its rival Islamist faction Hamas, Fatah is no longer regarded as a terrorist organization by any government. Fatah used to be designated terrorist under Israeli law and was considered terrorist by the United States Department of State and United States Congress until it renounced terrorism in 1988.

Fatah has since its inception created, led or sponsored a number of armed groups and militias, some of which have had an official standing as the movement's armed wing, and some of which have not been publicly or even internally recognized as such. The group has also dominated various PLO and Palestinian Authority forces and security services which were/are not officially tied to Fatah, but in practice have served as wholly pro-Fatah armed units, and been staffed largely by members. The original name for Fatah's armed wing was al-Assifa (The Storm), and this was also the name Fatah first used in its communiques, trying for some time to conceal its identity. This name has since been applied more generally to Fatah armed forces, and does not correspond to a single unit today. Other militant groups associated with Fatah include:

-Force 17 - Force 17 was created by Yassir Arafat, and plays a role akin to the Presidential Guard for senior Fatah leaders, but it has also carried out other assignments.
-Black September - Black September was a group formed by leading Fatah members in 1971, following the "Black September" events in Jordan, to clandestinely organize attacks that Fatah did not want to be openly associated with. These included strikes against leading Jordanian politicians, as a means of exacting vengeance and raising the price for attacking the Palestinian movement; and also, most controversially, for "international operations" (eg. the Munich Olympics attack), intended both to put pressure on the US, European countries and Israel, and to raise the visibility of the Palestinian cause, and to upstage radical rivals such as the PFLP. Fatah publicly disassociated itself from the group, but it is widely believed that it enjoyed Arafat's direct or tacit backing. It was discontinued in 1973-1974, as Fatah's political line shifted again, and the Black September operations and the strategy behind them were seen as having become a political liability, rather than an asset.
-Fatah Hawks - The Fatah Hawks was an armed militia active mainly until the mid-90s.
-Tanzim - The Tanzim (Organization) was a branch of Fatah under the leadership of Marwan Barghouti, with roots in the activism of the First Intifada, which carried out armed attacks in the early days of the Second Intifada. It has later been subsumed by or sidlined by the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade.
-Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades were created in the Second Intifada to bolster the organization's militant standing vis-à-vis the rival Hamas movement, which had taken the lead in attacks on Israel after 1993, and was gaining rapidly in popularity with the advent of the Intifada. The Brigades are locally organized and have been said to suffer from poor cohesion and internal discipline, at times ignoring ceasefires and other initiatives announced by the central Fatah leadership. They are generally seen as tied to the "young guard" of Fatah politics, organizing young members on the street level, but it is not clear that they form a faction in themselves inside Fatah politics; rather, different Brigades units may be tied to different Fatah factional leaders. They have carried out suicide bombings against Israel and Israeli civilians, often despite public condemnation from the Fatah leadership. The Brigades, but not Fatah proper, are listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.


Front de Liberation du Quebec
From 1963 to 1971, the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ) was a Marxist nationalist group that sought to create an independent, socialist Québec. Georges Schoeters, who founded the group in 1963, had been inspired by Che Guevara and the FLN. The group sought the overthrow of the Quebec government, the independence of Quebec from Canada, and the establishment of a French-Canadian workers society. It organized bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations against politicians, soldiers, and civilians. On October 5, 1970, the FLQ kidnapped James Richard Cross, the British Trade Commissioner. Shortly afterwards, on October 10, group members kidnapped the Minister of Labor and Vice-Premier of Québec, Pierre Laporte, and killed him a week later. The events of October 1970 contributed to the loss of support for violent means to attain Québec independence, and increased support for the political party, the Parti Québécois, which took power in 1976.

Colombian and Peruvian paramilitary groups
Several paramilitary groups formed in Colombia in the 1960s and afterwards. In 1983 President Fernando Belaúnde Terry of Peru describe terrorist-type attacks against his nation's anti-narcotics police. In the original context, narcoterrorism is understood to mean the attempts of narcotics traffickers to influence the policies of a government or a society through violence and intimidation, and to hinder the enforcement of the law and the administration of justice by the systematic threat or use of such violence. Pablo Escobar's ruthless violence in his dealings with the Colombian and Peruvian governments is probably one of the best known and best documented examples of narcoterrorism.

These groups include the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), and the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC).

Originally created as leftist revolutionary groups (except for the AUC), all have conducted numerous attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and are widely viewed in the West as terrorist organizations.

Provisional IRA

IRA political poster from the 1980s.

From 1969 to 2005, the Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish nationalist movement founded in December 1969 when several militants including Seán Mac Stíofáin broke off from the Official IRA and formed a new organization. Led by Mac Stíofáin in the early 1970s and by a group around Gerry Adams since the late 1970s, the Provisional IRA sought to create an all-island Irish state. Between 1969 and 1997, during a period known as the Troubles, the group conducted an armed campaign, including bombings, gun attacks, assassinations and even a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street. On July 21, 1972, in an attack later known as Bloody Friday, the group set off twenty-two bombs, killing nine and injuring 130. On July 28, 2005, the Provisional IRA Army Council announced an end to its armed campaign. The IRA is believed to have been a major exporter of terrorism selling arms and providing training to other groups such as the FARC in Columbia[126] and the PLO . In the case of the latter there has been a long held solidarity movement, which is evident by the many murals around Belfast.


Irish Republican Army (IRA)

Martin McGuinness at a press conference in London, 1998.

Irish military organization
also called Provisional Irish Republican Army

republican paramilitary organization seeking the end of British rule in Northern Ireland and the unification of the province with the republic of Ireland.

The IRA was created in 1919 as a successor to the Irish Volunteers, a militant nationalist organization founded in 1913. The IRA’s purpose was to use armed force to render British rule in Ireland ineffective and thus to assist in achieving the broader objective of an independent republic, which was pursued at the political level by Sinn Féin, the Irish nationalist party. From its inception, however, the IRA operated independently of political control and in some periods actually took the upper hand in the independence movement. Tellingly, its membership overlaps with that of Sinn Féin.

During the Irish War of Independence (1919–21) the IRA, under the leadership of Michael Collins, employed guerrilla tactics—including ambushes, raids, and sabotage—to force the British government to negotiate. The resulting settlement established two new political entities: the Irish Free State, which comprised 26 counties and was granted dominion status within the British Empire; and Northern Ireland, made up of six counties and sometimes called the province of Ulster, which remained part of the United Kingdom. These terms, however, proved unacceptable to a substantial number of IRA members. The organization consequently split into two factions, one (under Collins’s leadership) supporting the treaty and the other (under Eamon de Valera) opposing it. The former group became the core of the official Irish Free State Army, and the latter group, known as “Irregulars,” began to organize armed resistance against the new independent government.

The ensuing Irish Civil War (1922–23) ended with the capitulation of the Irregulars; however, they neither surrendered their arms nor disbanded. While de Valera led a portion of the Irregulars into parliamentary politics with the creation of Fianna Fáil in the Irish Free State, some members remained in the background as a constant reminder to successive governments that the aspiration for a united, republican Ireland—achieved by force if necessary—was still alive. Recruiting and illegal drilling by the IRA continued, as did intermittent acts of violence. The organization was declared illegal in 1931 and again in 1936. After a series of IRA bombings in England in 1939, the Dáil (the lower house of the Irish parliament) took stringent measures against the IRA, including provision for internment without trial. The IRA’s activities against the British during World War II severely embarrassed the Irish government, which remained neutral. (At one point the IRA sought assistance from Adolf Hitler to help remove the British from Ireland.) Five IRA leaders were executed, and many more were interned.

After the withdrawal of the republic of Ireland from the British Commonwealth in 1949, the IRA turned its attention to agitating for the unification of the predominantly Roman Catholic Irish republic with predominantly Protestant Northern Ireland. Sporadic incidents occurred during the 1950s and early ’60s, but lack of active support by Catholics in Northern Ireland rendered such efforts futile. The situation changed dramatically in the late 1960s, when Catholics in Northern Ireland began a civil rights campaign against discrimination in voting, housing, and employment by the dominant Protestant government and population. Violence by extremists against the demonstrators—unhindered by the mostly Protestant police force (the Royal Ulster Constabulary)—set in motion a series of escalating attacks by both sides. Units of the IRA were organized to defend besieged Catholic communities in the province and were sustained by support from units in Ireland. In 1970 four members of the Fianna Fáil government in Ireland, including future prime minister Charles Haughey, were tried for importing arms for the IRA (they were acquitted).

Conflict over the widespread use of violence quickly led to another split in the IRA. Following a Sinn Féin conference in Dublin in December 1969, the IRA divided into “Official” and “Provisional” wings. Although both factions were committed to a united, socialist Irish republic, the Officials preferred parliamentary tactics and eschewed violence after 1972, whereas the Provisionals, or “Provos,” believed that violence— particularly terrorism—was a necessary part of the struggle to rid Ireland of the British.

Beginning in 1970, the Provos carried out bombings, assassinations, and ambushes in a campaign they called the “Long War.” In 1973 they expanded their attacks to create terror in mainland Britain and eventually even in continental Europe. It was estimated that, between 1969 and 1994, the IRA killed about 1,800 people, including approximately 600 civilians.

The fortunes of the IRA waxed and waned after 1970. The British policy of interning persons suspected of involvement in the IRA and the killing of 13 Catholic protesters on “Bloody Sunday” (January 30, 1972) strengthened Catholic sympathy for the organization and swelled its ranks. In light of declining support in the late 1970s, the IRA reorganized in 1977 into detached cells to protect against infiltration. Assisted by extensive funding from some Irish Americans, the IRA procured weapons from international arms dealers and foreign countries, including Libya. It was estimated in the late 1990s that the IRA had enough weapons in its arsenal to continue its campaign for at least another decade. The IRA became adept at raising money in Northern Ireland through extortion, racketeering, and other illegal activities, and it policed its own community through punishment beatings and mock trials.

In 1981, after hunger strikes in which 10 republican prisoners died (7 were IRA members), the political aspect of the struggle grew to rival the military one, and Sinn Féin began to play a more prominent role. Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, together with John Hume, head of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), sought ways to end the armed struggle and bring republicans into democratic politics. Convinced by the Irish and British governments that a cease-fire would be rewarded with participation in multiparty talks, in August 1994 the IRA declared a “complete cessation of all military activities,” and in October a similar cease-fire was declared by loyalist paramilitary groups fighting to preserve Northern Ireland’s union with Britain. However, Sinn Féin continued to be excluded from the talks, because of unionist demands for IRA decommissioning (disarmament) as a condition of Sinn Féin’s participation. The IRA’s cease-fire ended in February 1996, when a bomb in the Docklands area of London killed two people, though it was reinstated in July of the following year. Having agreed that decommissioning would occur as part of the resolution of Northern Ireland’s sectarian conflict, the IRA’s political representatives swore to uphold principles of nonviolence and were included in the multiparty talks beginning in September 1997.

In April 1998 the participants in the talks approved the Good Friday Agreement, which linked a new power-sharing government in Northern Ireland with IRA decommissioning and other steps aimed at normalizing cross-community relations. Significantly, republicans agreed that the province would remain a part of Britain for as long as a majority of the population so desired, thus undermining the logic of continued military action by the IRA. Although the IRA subsequently destroyed some of its weapons, it resisted decommissioning its entire armoury, hampering implementation of key parts of the peace agreement. On July 28, 2005, however, the IRA announced that it had ended its armed campaign and instead would pursue only peaceful means to achieve its objectives.

Paul Arthur

Encyclopaedia Britannica


The Jewish Defense League
From 1969 to the present, the Jewish Defense League (JDL) was founded in 1969 by Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York City, with its declared purpose the protection of Jews from harassment and antisemitism. Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics show that, from 1980 to 1985, 15 terrorist attacks were attempted in the U.S. by members of the JDL. The National Consortium for the Study of Terror and Responses to Terrorism states that, during the JDL's first two decades of activity, it was an "active terrorist organization." Kahane later founded the far-right Israeli political party Kach, which was banned from elections in Israel on the ground of racism. The group's present-day website condemns all forms of terrorism.

People's Mujahedin of Iran
The PMOI or Mujahedin-e Khalq, is a socialist islamic group that has actively resisted the theocratic rule of Iran since the revolution. The group was founded originally to oppose the capitalism and what they perceived as western exploitation of Iran under the Shah. The group would go on to be a key part of his overthrow but was unable to capitalize on this in the following power vacuum. The group is suspected of having a membership of between 10,000 and 30,000. The group renounced violence in 2001 but remains a proscribed terror organization in Iran and the USA, The EU however has removed the group from its terror list. The PMOI is accused of supporting other groups such as the Jundallah.

Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional
From 1974 to the present, the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN, “Armed Forces of National Liberation”) was a nationalist group founded in Puerto Rico in 1974. Over the next decade, the group used bombings and targeted killings of civilians and police to try to create an independent Puerto Rico. On April 3, 1975, FALN took responsibility for four nearly simultaneous bombings in New York City, by leaving their Communique No. 4 for the Associated Press at a phone booth. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classifies the FALN as a terrorist organization.

Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia
From 1975 to 1986, the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) was founded in 1975 in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War by Hagop Tarakchian and Hagop Hagopian with the help of sympathetic Palestinians. At the time, Turkey was in political turmoil, and Hagopian believed that the time was right to avenge the Armenians who died during the Armenian Genocide and to force the Turkish government to cede to them the territory of Wilsonian Armenia for the purpose of unification with the existing Armenian SSR. In its most famous Esenboga airport attack, on 7 August 1982, two ASALA rebels opened fire on civilians in a waiting room at the Esenboga International Airport in Ankara. Altogether, nine people died and 82 were injured. By 1986, the ASALA had virtually ceased all attacks.

Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan
From 1978 to the present, the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (Kurdistan Workers Party) was a nationalist movement founded in Turkey by Abdullah Ocalan in 1978. Ocalan was inspired by the Maoist theory of people's war--like Mao, Ocalan had a little book outlining his views—and like the FLN he advocated the use of compliance terror. The group seeks to create an independent Kurdish state that consists of parts of south-eastern Turkey, north-eastern Iraq, north-eastern Syria and north-western Iran. Starting in 1984, the PKK transformed itself into a paramilitary organisation and launched conventional attacks as well as bombings against Turkish governmental installations. In 1999, Turkish authorities captured Öcalan. He was tried in Turkey and sentenced to life imprisonment. The PKK has since gone through a series of name changes.


Red Army Faction

From 1968 to 1998, the Red Army Faction was a New Leftist group founded by Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof in West Germany in 1968. Inspired by Che Guevara, Maoist socialism, and the Vietcong, the group sought to raise awareness of the Vietnamese and Palestinian independence movements through kidnappings, taking embassies hostage, bank robberies, assassinations, bombings, and attacks on US air bases. The group is best known for the “German Autumn”.

The buildup of events to German Autumn began on April 7, when the RAF shot Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback. This was followed on July 30, they shot Jurgen Ponto, then head of the Dresdner Bank in a failed kidnapping attempt; and on September 5, they kidnapped Hanns Martin Schleyer (former SS and one of the most powerful industrialists in West Germany) and executed him four weeks later, on October 19. The hijacking of Lufthansa aeroplane "Landshut" by the PFLP is also consider to be part of the German Autumn.


Red Army Faction

The aftermath of a department store arson attack

The Red Army Faction (German: Rote Armee Fraktion), shortened to RAF and in its early stages commonly known as Baader-Meinhof Gang, was one of postwar West Germany's most violent and prominent left wing groups. The RAF described itself as a communist and anti-imperialist "urban guerrilla" group engaged in armed resistance against what they deemed to be a fascist state. The RAF was founded in 1970 by Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler, and Ulrike Meinhof.

The Red Army Faction existed from 1970 to 1998, committing numerous operations, especially in the autumn of 1977, which led to a national crisis that became known as "German Autumn". It was held responsible for 34 deaths, including many secondary targets — such as chauffeurs and bodyguards — and many injuries in its almost 30 years of activity. Although more well-known, the RAF conducted fewer attacks than the Revolutionary Cells (RZ), which is held responsible for 296 bomb attacks, arson and other attacks between 1973 and 1995.

The Red Army Faction's Urban Guerrilla Concept is not based on an optimistic view of the prevailing circumstances in the Federal Republic and West Berlin.

—The Urban Guerrilla Concept authored by RAF co-founder Ulrike Meinhof (April 1971)

The origins of the group can be traced back to the student protest movement in West Germany. Industrialised nations in late 1960s experienced social upheavals related to the maturing of the baby boomers born after World War II, the Cold War, and the end of colonialism. Newly-found youth identity and issues such as racism, women's liberation and anti-imperialism were at the forefront of left-wing politics.

In West-Germany, 1966 saw the emergence of the Grand Coalition between the two main parties — the SPD and CDU - under chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger. With 95% of the Bundestag controlled by the coalition, an Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (APO) was formed with the intent of generating protest and political activity outside of government.

Young people were alienated from both their parents and the institutions of state. The historical legacy of Nazism drove a wedge between the generations and increased suspicion of authoritarian structures in society (some analysts see the same occurring in Italy, giving rise to "Brigate Rosse" or Red Brigades). In West-Germany there was anger among leftist youth at failures in the post-war denazification in West and East Germany which was seen as ineffective. The Communist Party of Germany had been outlawed since 1956. Elected and unelected government positions down to the local level were often occupied by ex-Nazis. Konrad Adenauer, the first Federal Republic chancellor had even kept on the Nazi chancellery secretary, Hans Globke.

The conservative media were considered biased by the radicals as they were owned and controlled by conservatives such as Axel Springer, who was implacably opposed to student radicalism. The late-1960s saw the emergence of the Grand Coalition between the two main parties—the SPD and CDU with Kurt Georg Kiesinger, a former Nazi Party member as chancellor. This horrified many on the left and was viewed as monolithic, political marriage of convenience with pro-NATO, pro-capitalist collusion on the part of the social democratic SPD. With 95% of the Bundestag controlled by the coalition, the APO or 'Extra-Parliamentary Opposition' was formed with the intent of generating protest and political activity outside of government. In 1972 a law was passed—the Berufsverbot, which banned radicals or those with a 'questionable' political persuasion from public sector jobs.

The leftist youth saw denazification as a failure and ineffective, as former (actual and supposed) Nazis held positions in government and economy. Some used the supposed association of society with Nazism was used as an argument against any peaceful approaches:

They'll kill us all. You know what kind of pigs we're up against. This is the Auschwitz generation. You can't argue with people who made Auschwitz. They have weapons and we haven't. We must arm ourselves!
—Gudrun Ensslin speaking after the death of Benno Ohnesorg.

The radicalized took were, like many in the New Left influenced by:

Sociological developments, pressure within the educational system in and outside Europe and the U.S. together with the background of counter-cultural movements.

The writings of Mao Zedong adapted to Western European conditions.
Post-war writings on class society and empire as well as contemporary Marxist critiques from many revolutionaries such as Franz Fanon, Ho Chi Minh and Che Guevara as well as early Autonomism.
Philosophers associated with the Frankfurt school (Habermas, Marcuse and Negt in particular) and associated Marxian philosophers.
RAF founder Ulrike Meinhof had a long history in the old illegal communist party. Holger Meins had studied film and was a veteran of the Berlin revolt, his short feature How To Produce A Molotov Cocktail had been seen by huge audiences. Jan Carl Raspe had lived at the Kommune 2, Horst Mahler had been an established lawyer, but was also at the center of the anti-Springer revolt from the beginning. From their own personal experiences and assessments of the socio-economic situation they soon became more specifically influenced by Leninism and Maoism, calling themselves 'Marxist-Leninist' though they effectively added to or updated this ideological tradition. A contemporaneous critique of the Red Army Faction's view of the state, published in pirate edition of Le Monde Diplomatique, ascribed to it 'state-fetishism' - an ideologically obsessive misreading of bourgeois dynamics and the nature and role of the state in post-WWII societies, including of course West Germany.

It is claimed that property destruction during the Watts Riots in the United States in 1965 influenced the practical and ideological approach of the RAF founders as well as some of those in Situationist circles.

The writings of Antonio Gramsci and Herbert Marcuse were drawn upon. Gramsci wrote on power, cultural and ideological conflicts in society and institutions—real-time class struggles playing out in rapidly developing industrial nation states through interlinked areas of political behaviour, Marcuse on coercion and hegemony in that cultural indoctrination and ideological manipulation through the means of communication—"repressive tolerance"—expended the need for complete brute force in modern 'liberal democracies'. His One-Dimensional Man was addressed to the restive students of the sixties. Marcuse argued that only marginal groups of students and poor, alienated workers could effectively resist the system. Both Gramsci and Marcuse came to the conclusion that the ideological underpinnings and the 'superstructure' of society was vitally important in the understanding of class control (and acquiescence). This could perhaps be seen as an extension of Marx's work as he did not cover this area in detail. Das Kapital, his mainly economic work was meant to be one of a series of books which would have included one on society and one on the state, but his death prevented fulfilment of this.

Many of the radicals felt that Germany's lawmakers were continuing authoritarian policies and the public's apparent acquiescence was seen as a continuation of the indoctrination the Nazis had pioneered in society (Volksgemeinschaft). The Federal Republic was exporting arms to African dictatorships, which was seen as supporting the war in Southeast Asia and engineering the remilitarization of Germany with the U.S.-led entrenchment against the Warsaw Pact nations.

Ongoing events further catalyzed the situation. Peaceful protests turned into riots on 2 June 1967, when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, visited West Berlin. The Shah's security were armed with wooden staves and were free to beat protesters. After a day of angry protests by exiled Persians, a group widely supported by German students, the Shah visited the Berlin Opera, where a crowd of student protesters gathered. During the opera house demonstrations, a German student Benno Ohnesorg—who was attending his first protest rally—was shot in the head by a police officer. The officer, Karl-Heinz Kurras, was acquitted in a subsequent trial. It has now been discovered that this officer had been a member of the West Berlin communist party SEW and had also worked for the Stasi.

Along with perceptions of state and police brutality, and widespread opposition to the Vietnam War, Ohnesorg's death galvanised many young Germans, and became a rallying point for the West German New Left. The Berlin Movement 2 June, a militant-Anarchist group later took its name to honour the date of Ohnesorg's death.

Before that the monopoly on violence had never been put into question by German oppositionists after 1945. In the spring of 1968 Gudrun Ensslin and Andreas Baader, who were joined by Thorwald Proll and Horst Söhnlein, decided to set fire to two department stores in Frankfurt as a protest against the Vietnam war, and carried out the arson attack on 2 April 1968. Two days later, on 4 April 1968, they were arrested.

While the four defendants were on trial, the journalist Ulrike Meinhof published several sympathetic articles in the most respected leftist political magazine konkret.

Meanwhile, on 11 April 1968, Rudi Dutschke, a leading spokesman for the protesting students, was shot in the head in an assassination attempt by the right-wing extremist Josef Bachmann. Although badly injured, Dutschke returned to political activism with the German Green Party before his death in a bathtub in 1979, which was a late consequence of his injuries.

Axel Springer's populist newspaper Bild-Zeitung, which had headlines such as "Stop Dutschke now!", was accused of being the chief culprit for inciting the shooting. Meinhof commented: "If one sets a car on fire, that is a criminal offence. If one sets hundreds of cars on fire, that is political action."

Formation of the RAF
"World War II was only 20 years earlier. Those in charge of the police, the schools, the government — they were the same people who’d been in charge under Nazism. The chancellor, Kurt Georg Kiesinger, was a Nazi. People started discussing this only in the 60's. We were the first generation since the war, and we were asking our parents questions. Because of the Nazi past, everything bad was compared to the Third Reich. If you heard about police brutality, that was said to be just like the SS. The moment you see your own country as the continuation of a fascist state, you give yourself permission to do almost anything against it. You see your action as the resistance that your parents did not put up."

— Stefan Aust, author of Der Baader Meinhof Komplex

All four of the defendants were convicted of arson and endangering human life for which they were sentenced to three years in prison. In June 1969, however, they were temporarily paroled under an amnesty for political prisoners, but in November of that year, the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) demanded that they return to custody. Only Horst Söhnlein complied with the order; the rest went underground and made their way to France, where they stayed for a time in a house owned by prominent French journalist and revolutionary, Régis Debray, famous for his friendship with Che Guevara and the focus theory of guerrilla warfare. Eventually, they made their way to Italy, where Mahler visited them and encouraged them to return to Germany with him to form an underground guerilla group.

The Red Army Faction was formed with the intention of complementing the plethora of revolutionary and radical groups across West Germany and Europe and was to be a more class conscious and determined force compared with some of its immediate contemporaries. The members and supporters were already associated with the 'Revolutionary Cells' and Movement 2 June as well as radical currents and phenomena such as the Socialist Patients' Collective, Kommune 1 and the Situationists. The main RAF protagonists trained in the West Bank and Gaza with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) guerrillas and looked to the Palestinian cause for inspiration and guidance. The organisation and outlook was partly modelled on the Uruguayan Tupamaros movement, which had developed as an urban resistance movement—effectively inverting Che Guevara's Mao-like concept of a peasant or rural-based guerrilla war and instead situating the struggle in the metropole or cities. Many members of the RAF operated through a single contact or only knew others by their codenames. Actions were carried out by active units called 'commandos', with trained members being supplied by a quartermaster in order to carry out their mission. For more long-term or core cadre members, isolated cell-like organisation was absent or took on a more flexible form.

In 1969 the Brazilian revolutionary Carlos Marighella published his Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla. He described the urban guerrilla as:

"...a person who fights the military dictatorship with weapons, using unconventional methods. ...The urban guerrilla follows a political goal, and only attacks the government, the big businesses and the foreign imperialists."

The importance of small arms training, sabotage, expropriation, and a substantial safehouse/support base among the urban population was exhorted in Marighella's guide. This publication was an antecedent to Meinhof's 'The Urban Guerrilla Concept' and has subsequently influenced many guerrilla and insurgent groups around the globe. Although some of the Red Army Faction's supporters and operatives could be described as having an anarchist or libertarian communist slant, the group's leading members professed a largely Marxist-Leninist ideology. That said, they shied away from overt collaboration with communist states although RAF members did receive intermittent support and sanctuary over the border in East Germany.

After their trial for the department store arson attacks, Baader and Ensslin went into hiding, but Baader was caught again in April 1970. On 14 May 1970, Baader was freed from custody by Meinhof and others. Baader, Ensslin, Mahler, and Meinhof then went to Jordan for their brief guerrilla warfare training with the PFLP and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Anti-imperialism and public support
"The Baader-Meinhof Gang drew a measure of support that violent leftists in the United States, like the Weather Underground, never enjoyed. A poll at the time showed that a quarter of West Germans under 40 felt sympathy for the gang and one-tenth said they would hide a gang member from the police. Prominent intellectuals spoke up for the gang’s righteousness (as) Germany even into the ’70s was still a guilt-ridden society. When the gang started robbing banks, newscasts compared its members to Bonnie and Clyde. (Andreas) Baader, a charismatic, spoiled psychopath, indulged in the imagery, telling people that his favorite movies were Bonnie and Clyde, which had recently come out, and The Battle of Algiers. The pop poster of Che Guevara hung on his wall, (while) he paid a designer to make a Red Army Faction logo, a drawing of a machine gun against a red star."

— Stefan Aust, author of Der Baader Meinhof Komplex
When they returned to West Germany, they began what they called an "anti-imperialistic struggle", with bank robberies to raise money and bomb attacks against U.S. military facilities, German police stations, and buildings belonging to the Axel Springer press empire. A manifesto authored by Meinhof used the name "RAF" and the red star logo with a Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun for the first time.

Despite murdering 34 people, Baader-Meinhof garnered a degree of support from the West German population. The group of militants began to be accepted if not always admired by "guilt-ridden liberals", who saw its panache as a countercultural critique of West Germany’s "boring bourgeois life" and who resented their nation's association with the American war in Vietnam. Baader-Meinhof seized on this sentiment and carefully cultivated an outlaw image, wholesaling the ideal of authenticity of acting out one’s impulses, in order to break through "the fascism of convention", just as its heroes abroad like Che Guevara supposedly "broke through the iron wall of America imperialism." Drawing on its New Left counterparts in the United States, the group even began to borrow such phrases as "burn baby burn," "right on," and "off the pigs."

However, despite such support, after an intense manhunt, Baader, Ensslin, Meinhof, Holger Meins, and Jan-Carl Raspe were eventually caught and arrested in June 1972.

Custody and the Stammheim trial

After the arrest of the main protagonists of the first generation of the RAF, they were held in solitary confinement in the newly-constructed high security Stammheim Prison in the north of Stuttgart. When Ensslin devised an "info system" using aliases for each member, the four prisoners were able to communicate again, circulating letters with the help of their defence counsels.

To protest against their treatment by authorities, they went on several coordinated hunger strikes; eventually, they were force-fed. Holger Meins died of self-induced starvation on 9 November 1974. After public protests, their conditions were somewhat improved by the authorities.

The so-called second generation of the RAF emerged at the time, consisting of sympathizers independent of the inmates. This became clear when, on 27 February 1975, Peter Lorenz, the CDU candidate for mayor of Berlin, was kidnapped by the Movement 2 June (allied to the RAF) as part of pressure to secure the release of several other detainees. Since none of these were on trial for murder, the state agreed, and those inmates (and later Lorenz himself) were released.

On 24 April 1975, the West German embassy in Stockholm was seized by members of the RAF; two of the hostages were murdered as the German government under Chancellor Helmut Schmidt refused to give in to their demands. Two of the hostage-takers died from injuries they suffered when the explosives they planted detonated later that night.

On 21 May 1975, the Stammheim trial of Baader, Ensslin, Meinhof, and Raspe began, named after the district in Stuttgart where it took place. It was possibly the most tense and controversial German criminal trial ever. The Bundestag had earlier changed the Code of Criminal Procedure so that several of the attorneys who were accused of serving as links between the inmates and the RAF's second generation could be excluded.

On 9 May 1976, Ulrike Meinhof was found dead in her cell, hanging from a rope made from jail towels. An investigation concluded that she had hanged herself, a result hotly contested at the time, triggering a plethora of conspiracy theories. Other theories suggest that she took her life because she was being ostracized by the rest of the group.

During the trial, more attacks took place. One of these was on 7 April 1977, when Federal Prosecutor Siegfried Buback, his driver, and his bodyguard were shot and killed by two RAF members while waiting at a red traffic light.

Eventually, on 28 April 1977, the trial's 192nd day, the three remaining defendants were convicted of several murders, more attempted murders, and of forming a terrorist organization; they were sentenced to life imprisonment.

German Autumn
On 30 July 1977, Jürgen Ponto, the head of Dresdner Bank, was shot and killed in front of his house in Oberursel in a botched kidnapping. Those involved were Brigitte Mohnhaupt, Christian Klar, and Susanne Albrecht, the last being the sister of Ponto's goddaughter.

Following the convictions, Hanns Martin Schleyer, a former officer of the SS and NSDAP member who was then President of the German Employers' Association (and thus one of the most powerful industrialists in West Germany) was abducted in a violent kidnapping. On 5 September 1977, his driver was forced to brake when a baby carriage suddenly appeared in the street in front of them. The police escort vehicle behind them was unable to stop in time, and crashed into Schleyer's car. Five masked assailants immediately shot and killed the three policemen and the driver and took Schleyer hostage.

A letter then arrived with the Federal Government, demanding the release of eleven detainees, including those from Stammheim. A crisis committee was formed in Bonn, headed by Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, which, instead of acceding, resolved to employ delaying tactics to give the police time to discover Schleyer's location. At the same time, a total communication ban was imposed on the prison inmates, who were now only allowed visits from government officials and the prison chaplain.

The crisis dragged on for more than a month, while the Bundeskriminalamt carried out its biggest investigation to date. Matters escalated when, on 13 October 1977, Lufthansa Flight 181 from Palma de Mallorca to Frankfurt was hijacked. A group of four Arabs took control of the plane (named Landshut). The leader introduced himself to the passengers as "Captain Mahmud" who would be later identified as Zohair Youssef Akache. When the plane landed in Rome for refuelling, he issued the same demands as the Schleyer kidnappers, plus the release of two Palestinians held in Turkey and payment of US$15 million.

The Bonn crisis team again decided not to give in. The plane flew on via Larnaca to Dubai, and then to Aden, where flight captain Jürgen Schumann, whom the hijackers deemed not cooperative enough, was brought before an improvised "revolutionary tribunal" and executed on 16 October. His body was dumped on the runway. The aircraft again took off, flown by the co-pilot Jürgen Vietor, this time headed for Mogadishu, Somalia.

A high-risk rescue operation was led by Hans-Jürgen Wischnewski, then undersecretary in the chancellor's office, who had secretly been flown in from Bonn. At five past midnight (CET) on 18 October, the plane was stormed in a seven-minute assault by the GSG 9, an elite unit of the German federal police. All four hijackers were shot; three of them died on the spot. Not one passenger was seriously hurt and Wischnewski was able to phone Schmidt and tell the Bonn crisis team that the operation had been a success.

Half an hour later, German radio broadcast the news of the rescue, to which the Stammheim inmates listened on their radios. In the course of the night, Baader was found dead with a gunshot wound in the back of his head and Ensslin was found hanged in her cell; Raspe died in hospital the next day from a gunshot wound to the head. Irmgard Möller, who had several stab wounds in the chest, survived and was released from prison in 1994.

The official inquiry concluded that this was a collective suicide, but again conspiracy theories abounded. However, none of these theories were ever brought forward by the RAF itself. Some have questioned how Baader managed to obtain a gun in the high-security prison wing specially constructed for the first generation RAF members. Also, only a total commitment to her cause could have allowed Möller to have herself inflicted the four stab wounds found near her heart. However, independent investigations showed that the inmates' lawyers were able to smuggle in weapons and equipment in spite of the high security. Möller claims that it was actually an extrajudicial killing, orchestrated by the German government, in response to Red Army Faction demands that the prisoners be released.

On 18 October 1977, Hanns-Martin Schleyer was shot to death by his captors en route to Mulhouse, France. The next day, on 19 October, Schleyer's kidnappers announced that he had been "executed" and pinpointed his location. His body was recovered later that day in the trunk of a green Audi 100 on the rue Charles Péguy. The French newspaper Libération received a letter declaring:

"After 43 days we have ended Hanns-Martin Schleyer's pitiful and corrupt existence... His death is meaningless to our pain and our rage... The struggle has only begun. Freedom through armed, anti-imperialist struggle."

The events in the autumn of 1977, possibly the biggest criminal and political showdown that Germany has experienced since the end of World War II, are frequently referred to as Der Deutsche Herbst ("German Autumn").

The RAF since the 1980s

Wanted poster from 1986

The collapse of the Soviet Union was a serious blow to left-wing groups, but well into the 1990s attacks were still being committed under the name "RAF". Among these were the killing of CEO of MTU, a German engineering company, Ernst Zimmermann; another bombing at the U.S. Air Force's Rhein-Main Air Base (near Frankfurt), which targeted the base commander and killed two bystanders; the car bomb attack that killed Siemens executive Karl-Heinz Beckurts and his driver; and the shooting of Gerold von Braunmühl, a leading official at Germany's foreign ministry. On 30 November 1989, Deutsche Bank chairman Alfred Herrhausen was killed with a highly complex bomb when his car triggered a photo sensor, in Bad Homburg. On 1 April 1991, Detlev Karsten Rohwedder, leader of the government Treuhand organization responsible for the privatization of the East German state economy, was shot dead. The assassins of Zimmermann, von Braunmühl, Herrhausen and Rohwedder were never reliably identified .

After German reunification in 1990, it was confirmed that the RAF had received financial and logistic support from the Stasi, the security and intelligence organization of East Germany, which had given several members shelter and new identities. This was already generally suspected at the time.

In 1992 the German government assessed that the RAF's main field of engagement now was missions to release former RAF-members. To weaken the organization further the government declared that some RAF inmates would be released if the RAF refrained from violent attacks in the future. Subsequently the RAF announced their intention to "de-escalate" and refrain from significant activity.

The last action taken by the RAF took place in 1993 with a bombing of a newly built prison in Weiterstadt by overcoming the officers on duty and planting explosives. Although no one was seriously injured this operation caused property damage amounting to 123 million German Marks (over 50 million euros).

The last big action against the RAF took place on 27 June 1993. A Verfassungsschutz (internal secret service) agent named Klaus Steinmetz had infiltrated the RAF. As a result Birgit Hogefeld and Wolfgang Grams were to be arrested in Bad Kleinen. Grams and GSG 9 officer Michael Newrzella died during the mission. While it was initially concluded that Grams committed suicide, others claimed his death was in revenge for Newrzella's. Two eyewitness accounts supported the claims of an execution-style murder. However, an investigation headed by the Attorney General failed to substantiate such claims. Due to a number of operational mistakes involving the various police services, German Minister of the Interior Rudolf Seiters took responsibility and resigned from his post.

On 20 April 1998 an eight-page typewritten letter in German was faxed to the Reuters news agency, signed "RAF" with the machine-gun red star, declaring the group dissolved:

"Vor fast 28 Jahren, am 14. Mai 1970, entstand in einer Befreiungsaktion die RAF. Heute beenden wir dieses Projekt. Die Stadtguerilla in Form der RAF ist nun Geschichte."
("Almost 28 years ago, on 14 May 1970, the RAF arose in a campaign of liberation. Today we end this project. The urban guerrilla in the shape of the RAF is now history.")

In 2007, amidst widespread media controversy, the German president Horst Köhler had considered pardoning RAF member Christian Klar, who filed a pardon application several years ago, but on 7 May, 2007 this was denied. However, on 24 November, 2008, parole was granted. RAF member Brigitte Mohnhaupt was granted a release on a five year parole by a German court on 12 February, 2007 and Eva Haule was released 17 August, 2007.

Horst Mahler has crossed the lines to the far right and is a Holocaust denier.[28] He is an anti-semite and in 2005 was sentenced to 6 years in prison for incitement to racial hatred. He is on record as saying that his beliefs have not changed: Der Feind ist der Gleiche (the enemy is the same).


Faction versus Fraktion
The name was inspired by that of the Japanese Red Army, a Japanese leftist paramilitary group. The usual translation into English is the Red Army Faction, however, the founders wanted it to reflect what they saw as not so much an orthodox political faction or splinter group but an embryonic militant unit or set of "groupuscules" that was embedded in or part of a wider communist workers' movement. The abbreviation RAF was also a gibe at the Royal Air Force, a major contributor to the huge NATO presence in West Germany.

RAF versus Baader-Meinhof
The group always called itself the Rote Armee Fraktion, never the Baader-Meinhof Group or Gang. The name correctly refers to all incarnations of the organization: the "first generation" RAF, which consisted of Baader and his associates, the "second generation" RAF, which operated in the mid to late 1970s after several former members of the Socialist Patients' Collective joined, and the "third generation" RAF, which existed in the 1980s and 90s.

The terms "Baader-Meinhof Gang" and "Baader-Meinhof Group" were first used by the media and the organization was generally known by these during its first generation, and applies only until Baader's death in 1977. The organization never used these terms for themselves, but the German media used them to avoid legitimizing the movement. Although Meinhof was not considered to be a leader of the gang at any time, her involvement in Baader's escape from jail in 1970 led to her name becoming attached to it.

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex is a 2008 German film by Uli Edel; written and produced by Bernd Eichinger. It stars Moritz Bleibtreu, Martina Gedeck and Johanna Wokalek. The film is based on the 1985 German best selling non-fiction book of the same name by Stefan Aust. It retells the story of the early years of the West German militant group the Red Army Faction (RAF). The film was selected as the official German submission for the 81st Academy Awards in the category Best Foreign Language Film and made the January shortlist. It was nominated on December 11, 2008 for the Golden Globe in the Best Foreign Language Film category.


From 1969 to 1977, the American Weather Underground (a.k.a. the Weathermen) was an extremist faction of the leftist Students for a Democratic Society organization. In 1969, the Students for a Democratic Society organization collapsed and was taken over by the Weathermen group. The Weathermen leaders, inspired by the Maoist revolution, the Black Panthers, and the 1968 student revolts in France, sought to raise awareness of its revolutionary anti-capitalist and anti-Vietnam War platform. It did this by destroying symbols of government power in Hunchakian style. On October 7, 1969, the group held an anti-war demonstration in downtown Chicago and blew up a statue dedicated to the police officers who died in the 1886 Haymarket Riot. Over the next five years, the Weathermen bombed corporate offices, police stations, and DC government sites such as the Pentagon. But after the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, most of the group disbanded.

Italian Red Brigade
From 1970 to 1989, the Italian Red Brigade was a New Leftist group founded by Renato Curcio in 1970. With PLO support, the group sought to create a revolutionary state and to separate Italy from the Western Alliance. On 16 March 1978, the Brigade kidnapped former Prime Minister Aldo Moro and murdered him 56 days later. The murder of Moro began an all-out assault against the Brigade by Italian law enforcement and security forces. The murder of a popular political figure also drew condemnation from Italian left-wing radicals and even from the imprisoned ex-leaders of the Brigade. The Brigade lost most of its social support and public opinion turned strongly against it. In 1984, the ailing Brigade split into two factions: the majority faction of the Communist Combatant Party (Red Brigades-PCC) and the minority of the Union of Combatant Communists (Red Brigades-UCC). The members of these groups carried out a handful of assassinations before almost all of them were arrested in 1989.


Red Brigades

Italian militant organization
Italian Brigate Rosse

militant left-wing organization in Italy that gained notoriety in the 1970s for kidnappings, murders, and sabotage. Its self-proclaimed aim was to undermine the Italian state and pave the way for a Marxist upheaval led by a “revolutionary proletariat.”

The reputed founder of the Red Brigades was Renato Curcio, who in 1967 set up a leftist study group at the University of Trento dedicated to figures such as Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, and Che Guevara. In 1969 Curcio married a fellow radical, Margherita Cagol, and moved with her to Milan, where they attracted a coterie of followers. Proclaiming the existence of the Red Brigades in November 1970 through the firebombing of various factories and warehouses in Milan, the group began kidnapping the following year and in 1974 committed its first assassination; among its victims that year was the chief inspector of Turin’s antiterrorist squad.

Despite the arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of alleged terrorists throughout the country—including Curcio himself in 1976—the random assassinations continued. In 1978 the Red Brigades kidnapped and murdered former prime minister Aldo Moro. In December 1981 a U.S. Army officer with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Brigadier General James Dozier, was abducted and held captive by the Red Brigades for 42 days before Italian police rescued him unharmed from a hideout in Padua. Between 1974 and 1988, the Red Brigades carried out about 50 attacks, in which nearly 50 people were killed. A common nonlethal tactic employed by the group was “kneecapping,” in which a victim was shot in the knees so that he could not walk again.

At its height in the 1970s, the Red Brigades was believed to comprise 400 to 500 full-time members, 1,000 members who helped periodically, and a few thousand supporters who provided funds and shelter. Careful, systematic police work led to the arrest and imprisonment of many of the Red Brigades’ leaders and ordinary members from the mid-1970s onward, and by the late 1980s the organization was all but destroyed. However, a group claiming to be the Red Brigades took responsibility in the 1990s for various violent attacks, including those against a senior Italian government adviser, a U.S. base in Aviano, and the NATO Defense College.

John Philip Jenkins

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Murder of Aldo Moro

16 March, 1987: The Red Brigades in Italy kidnapped Aldo Moro, the leader of the Christian Democrat Party.
Aldo Moro
Moro, photographed during his kidnapping by the Red Brigades;
Moro's body was found in Rome on 9 May.

In 1978, the Second BR, headed by Mario Moretti, kidnapped and murdered Christian Democrat Aldo Moro, who was the key figure in negotiations aimed at extending the Government's parliamentary majority, by attaining a Historic Compromise ("compromesso storico") between the Italian Communist Party and the Democrazia Cristiana. A team of Red Brigades members, using stolen Alitalia airline company uniforms, ambushed Moro, killed five of Moro’s bodyguards and took him captive.

The captors, headed by Moretti, sought the release of certain prisoners in exchange for Moro's safe release. The Government refused to negotiate with the captors, while the various Italian political forces took either a hard line ("linea della fermezza") or a more pragmatic approach ("linea del negoziato"). From his captivity, Moro sent letters to his family, to his political friends, to the Pope, pleading for a negotiated outcome.

After holding Moro for 54 days, the Brigades realized that the Government would not negotiate and, fearful of being discovered, decided to kill their prisoner. They placed him in a car and told him to cover himself with a blanket. Mario Moretti then shot him ten times in the chest. Moro's body was left in the trunk of a car in Via Caetani, a site midway between the Christian Democratic Party and the Communist Party headquarters, as a last symbolic challenge to the police, who were keeping the entire nation, and Rome in particular, under strict surveillance. Moretti wrote in Brigate Rosse: una storia italiana that the murder of Moro was the ultimate expression of Marxist-Leninist revolutionary action. Original founder Alberto Franceschini wrote that those imprisoned members did not understand why Moro had been chosen as a target.

Aldo Moro's assassination caused a strong reaction against the Brigades by the Italian law enforcement and security forces. The murder of a popular political figure also drew condemnation from Italian left-wing radicals and even the imprisoned ex-leaders of the Brigades. The Brigades suffered a loss of support.

A crucial turning point was the murder, in 1979, of Guido Rossa, a member of the PCI and a trade union organizer. Rossa had observed the distribution of BR propaganda and had reported those involved to the police; he was shot and killed by the Brigades, but this attack against a popular trade union organizer totally alienated the factory worker base to which the BR propaganda was primarily directed.

Also, Italian police made a large number of arrests in 1980: 12,000 far-left activists were detained while 300 fled to France and 200 to South America; a total of 600 people left Italy. Most leaders arrested (including, e.g., Faranda, Franceschini, Moretti, Morucci) either retracted their doctrine ("dissociati"), or collaborated with investigators in the capture of other BR members ("collaboratori di giustizia"), obtaining important reductions in prison sentences.

The most well-known collaboratore di giustizia was Patrizio Peci, one of the leaders of the Turin "column". In revenge, the Brigades assassinated his brother Roberto in 1981. This murder, too, greatly contributed to discredit the movement.

On April 7, 1979, the Marxist philosopher Antonio Negri was arrested along with the other persons associated with the Autonomist movement, including Oreste Scalzone. Padova's Public Prosecutor, Pietro Calogero, accused those involved in the Autonomia movement of being the political wing of the Red Brigades. Negri was charged with a number of offences including leadership of the Red Brigades, masterminding the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro and plotting to overthrow the government. At the time, Negri was a political science professor at the University of Padua, visiting lecturer at Paris' École Normale Supérieure. Thus, French philosophers Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze signed in November 1977 L'Appel des intellectuels français contre la répression en Italie (The Call of French Intellectuals Against Repression in Italy) in protest against Negri's imprisonment and Italian anti-terrorism legislation.

A year later, Negri was exonerated from Aldo Moro's kidnapping. No link was ever established between Negri and the Red Brigades and almost all of the charges against him (including 17 murders) were dropped within months of his arrest due to lack of evidence. Negri was however convicted of crimes of association and insurrection against the state (a charge that was later dropped) and, in 1984, sentenced to 30 years in jail. Two years later he was sentenced to an additional four and a half years on the basis that he was morally responsible for acts of violence committed by militants during the 1960s and 1970s largely due to his writing and association with far-left causes and groups. French philosopher Michel Foucault later commented, "Isn't he in jail simply for being an intellectual?"

Aldo Moro's assassination continues to haunt Italy today, and remains a significant event of the Cold War. In the 1980s-1990s, a Commission headed by senator Giovanni Pellegrino investigated acts of terrorism in Italy during the "years of lead," while various judicial investigations also took place, headed by Guido Salvini and others magistrates.


Japanese Red Army
From 1971 to 2001, the Japanese Red Army was a New Leftist group,. It was founded by Fusako Shigenobu in Japan in 1971. With support from the PFLP, the group murdered, hijacked a commercial Japanese aircraft, and sabotaged a Shell oil refinery in Singapore in an attempt to overthrow the Japanese government and start a world revolution. On May 30, 1972, Kōzō Okamoto and other group members launched a machine gun and grenade attack on Israel's Lod Airport in Tel Aviv, killing 26 people and injuring 80 others. Two of the three attackers then killed themselves with grenades.

Tamil Tigers
From 1976 to 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, (also called "LTTE" or Tamil Tigers) is a militant Tamil nationalist political and paramilitary organization based in northern Sri Lanka.[141] Since it was founded in 1976, it has actively waged a secessionist resistance campaign that seeks to create an independent Tamil state in the northern and eastern regions of Sri Lanka. This campaign has evolved into the Sri Lankan Civil War, one of the longest-running armed conflicts in Asia. Since its formation, the LTTE has been headed by its founder, Velupillai Prabhakaran. The group has carried out a number of bombings, including a car bomb attack carried out on April 21, 1987 at a bus terminal in Colombo which killed 110 people. In 2009 the Sri Lankan military launched a major military offensive against the guerrilla wing of the movement and claimed that it had been effectively destroyed upon completion of that operation, in which most of the leadership of the group was killed.

Umkhonto we Sizwe
From 1961 to 1990 in South Africa, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) was the military wing of the African National Congress. It was opposed to the racist apartheid policies of the South African government. MK launched its first guerrilla attacks against government installations on 16 December 1961. It was subsequently classified as a terrorist organization by the South African government and was banned. It waged a guerrilla campaign and was responsible for many bombings. Its first leader was Nelson Mandela and he was tried and imprisoned for his involvement in such acts. With the end of apartheid in South Africa, the Umkhonto we Sizwe was incorporated into the South African armed forces.

Contemporary era events and groups
In the contemporary era, the Ku Klux Klan, the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Jewish Defense League, the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, and the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan still exist and are active in the present. Other groups have also been formed and are presently conducting operations.

Late 20th century events and groups

In the 1980s, religious groups that committed violent acts in pursuit of their goals were increasing in number. Many of them drew inspiration from Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, especially Hezbollah. Other well-known Islamic groups include Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and Al-Qaeda.

In the 1990s, acts of terrorism were attempted by Aum Shinrikyo and the bombing of Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building was committed by Christian extremists. Secular nationalist groups also carried out attacks, most famously the Chechnyan separatists and the Tamil Tigers.

Beginning in 1982, Hezbollah (“Party of God”) is an Islamist revolutionary movement founded in Lebanon shortly after that country’s 1982 civil war. Inspired by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the Iranian revolution, the group has sought an Islamic revolution in Lebanon, the destruction of the State of Israel, and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon. Led by Sheikh Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah since 1992, the group has carried out kidnappings and suicide bombings against the Israeli military.



Hassan Nasrallah, 2006

Lebanese organization
Arabic Ḥizb Allāh (“Party of God”), also spelled Hezbullah or Hizbullah

militia group and political party that first emerged as a faction in Lebanon following the Israeli invasion of that country in 1982.

Shīʿite Muslims, traditionally the weakest religious group in Lebanon, first found their voice in the moderate and largely secular Amal movement. Following the Islamic Revolution in Shīʿite Iran in 1979 and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, a group of Lebanese Shīʿite clerics formed Hezbollah with the goal of driving Israel from Lebanon and establishing an Islamic state there. Hezbollah was based in the predominately Shīʿite areas of the Biqāʿ Valley, southern Lebanon, and southern Beirut. It coordinated its efforts closely with Iran, from which it acquired substantial logistical support, and drew its manpower largely from disaffected younger, more radical members of Amal. Throughout the 1980s Hezbollah engaged in increasingly sophisticated attacks against Israel and fought in Lebanon’s civil war (1975–90), repeatedly coming to blows with Amal. During this time, Hezbollah allegedly engaged in terrorist attacks including kidnappings and car bombings, directed predominantly against Westerners, but also established a comprehensive social services network for its supporters.

Hezbollah was one of the few militia groups not disarmed by the Syrians at the end of the civil war, and they continued to fight a sustained guerrilla campaign against Israel in southern Lebanon until Israel’s withdrawal in 2000. Hezbollah emerged as a leading political party in post-civil war Lebanon.

On July 12, 2006, Hezbollah, in an attempt to pressure Israel into releasing three Lebanese jailed in Israeli prisons, launched a military operation against Israel, killing a number of Israeli soldiers and abducting two as prisoners of war. This action led Israel to launch a major military offensive against Hezbollah. The 34-day war between Hezbollah and Israel resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 Lebanese and the displacement of some 1,000,000. Fighting the Israeli Defense Forces to a standstill—a feat no other Arab militia had accomplished—Hezbollah and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, emerged as heroes throughout much of the Arab world. In the months following the war, Hezbollah used its prestige to attempt to topple Lebanon’s government after its demands for more cabinet seats were not met: its members, along with those of the Amal militia, resigned from the cabinet. The opposition then declared that the remaining cabinet had lost its legitimacy and demanded the formation of a new government in which Hezbollah and its opposition allies would possess the power of veto.

Late the following year, efforts by the National Assembly to select a successor at the end of Lebanese Pres. Émile Lahoud’s nine-year term were stalemated by the continued power struggle between the Hezbollah-led opposition and the Western-backed government. A boycott by the opposition—which continued to seek the veto power it had been denied—prevented the assembly from reaching a two-thirds quorum. Lahoud’s term expired in November 2007, and the presidency remained unoccupied as the factions struggled to reach a consensus on a candidate and the makeup of the new government.

In May 2008, clashes between Hezbollah forces and government supporters in Beirut were sparked by government decisions that included plans to dismantle Hezbollah’s private telecommunications network. Nasrallah equated the government decisions with a declaration of war and mobilized Hezbollah forces, which quickly took control of parts of Beirut. In the following days the government reversed the decisions that had sparked the outbreak of violence, and a summit attended by both factions in Qatar led to an agreement granting the Hezbollah-led opposition the veto power it had long sought.

In July 2008 Hezbollah and Israel concluded an agreement securing the exchange of several Lebanese prisoners and the remains of Lebanese and Palestinian fighters in return for the remains of Israeli soldiers, including the bodies of two soldiers whose capture by Hezbollah had sparked the brief war two years earlier.

December 10, 2006 pro-Hezbollah rally in Beirut


Egyptian Islamic Jihad
Beginning in 1980, Egyptian Islamic Jihad (a.k.a. Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiyya) is a militant Egyptian Islamist movement dedicated to the overthrow of the Egyptian government and to the establishment of an Islamic state in its place. It is led by Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is accused of participating in the World Trade Center 1993 bombings. The group began as an umbrella organization for militant student groups and was formed after the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s. In 1981, the group assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. On, November 17, 1997, the group carried out an attack on tourists at the Temple of Hatshepsut (Deir el-Bahri) in Luxor, in which a band of six men dressed in police uniforms machine-gunned 58 Japanese and European vacationers and four Egyptians, in what became known as the Luxor massacre.

Beginning in 1987, Hamas (حماس Ḥamās, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamat al-Islāmiyyah, meaning "Islamic Resistance Movement") is an Islamic Palestinian group. Hamas was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi and Mohammad Taha of the Palestinian wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the First Intifada, an uprising against Israeli rule in the Palestinian Territories. Between February and April 1988, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin raised several million dollars from the Gulf states, which had withdrawn their funding from Fatah following its official support of Saddam Hussein during the first Gulf War. Beginning in 1993, Hamas launched numerous suicide bombings against Israel and, on March 27, 2002, it bombed the Netanya hotel, killing 30 and wounding 140. Hamas ceased the suicide attacks in 2005 and renounced them in April, 2006. Hamas has also been responsible for Israel-targeted rocket attacks, IED attacks, and shootings, but it reduced most of those operations in 2005 and 2006. Since June 2007, Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories.



A flag, with the Shahadah, frequently used by Hamas supporters

Hamas (حماس Ḥamās, an acronym of حركة المقاومة الاسلامية Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamat al-Islāmiyyah, meaning "Islamic Resistance Movement") is a Palestinian Islamic socio-political organization which includes a paramilitary force, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Since June 2007, after winning a large majority in the Palestinian Parliament and defeating rival Palestinian party Fatah in a series of violent clashes, described by some journalists, experts and publications as a preemptive response to fears of a 'U.S.-backed coup', Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories. The European Union, the United States, Israel, Canada, and Japan have classified Hamas as a terrorist organization, while the United Kingdom and Australia apply this classification to only the military wing of Hamas.

Hamas was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi and Mohammad Taha of the Palestinian wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the First Intifada, an uprising against Israeli rule in the Palestinian Territories. Hamas launched numerous suicide bombings against Israelis, the first of them in April, 1993. Hamas ceased the attacks in 2005 and renounced them in April, 2006. Hamas has also been responsible for rocket attacks, improvised explosive device attacks, and shootings, but it reduced those operations in 2005 and 2006.

In January 2006, Hamas was successful in the Palestinian parliamentary elections, taking 76 of the 132 seats in the chamber, while the previous ruling Fatah party took 43. After Hamas's election victory, violent and non-violent conflicts arose between Hamas and Fatah. Following the Battle of Gaza in June 2007, elected Hamas officials were ousted from their positions in the Palestinian National Authority government in the West Bank and replaced by rival Fatah members and independents. Hamas retained control of Gaza. On June 18, 2007, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah) issued a decree outlawing the Hamas militia. Israel then immediately imposed an economic blockade on Gaza, and Hamas launched Qassam attacks on areas of Israel near its border with Gaza. The rocket attacks ceased following an Egyptian brokered ceasefire that went into effect on June 19, 2008. Two months before the end of the six-month ceasefire the conflict escalated after an Israeli incursion into Gaza on November 4 that killed seven Hamas militants which led to a renewal of the rocket attacks and the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict began when Israel invaded Gaza in late December, 2008, killing over 1000 Palestinian civilians. Israel withdrew its forces from Gaza in mid-January 2009, but has maintained its blockade of Gaza's border and airspace.

According to a November 2009 survey conducted by Haaretz, 57% of Israelis support the view of MK Shaul Mofaz of Kadima, that Israel should establish a dialogue with Hamas under certain conditions, for example, that Hamas renounces violence, recognizes Israel's right to exist as a Jewish nation, and loses its designation as a terrorist organization. Hamas responded to this by labeling it "Zionist vulgarity" and stating that they will never negotiate with or recognize their "enemy", the state of Israel.

Through its funding and management of schools, health-care clinics, mosques, youth groups, athletic clubs and day-care centers, Hamas by the mid-1990s had attained a "well-entrenched" presence in the West Bank and Gaza. An estimated 80% to 90% of Hamas revenues fund health, social welfare, religious, cultural, and educational services.

Hamas's 1988 charter calls for replacing the State of Israel with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. However, Khaled Meshal, Hamas's Damascus-based political bureau chief, stated in 2009 that the group would accept the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and, although unwilling to negotiate a permanent peace with Israel, has offered a temporary, long-term truce, or hudna, that would be valid for ten years.

Hamas describes its conflict with Israel as neither religious nor antisemitic; the head of Hamas's political bureau stated in early 2006 that the conflict with Israel "is not religious but political", and that Jews have a covenant from God "that is to be respected and protected." Nonetheless, the Hamas Charter and statements by Hamas leaders are believed by some to be influenced by antisemitic conspiracy theories. According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Hamas is also anti-capitalist, and believes that the free market economy is against Islamic teachings. Hamas is described as a terrorist organization by the governments of Canada, the European Union, Israel, Japan, and the United States. Australia and the United Kingdom list the military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, as a terrorist organization. The US and the EU have implemented restrictive measures against Hamas on an international level.

Some disagreement exists over the meaning of the word "Hamas". Hamas is an acronym of the Arabic phrase حركة المقاومة الاسلامية, or Harakat al-Muqāwama al-Islāmiyya or "Islamic Resistance Movement". In Arabic the word "Hamās" translates roughly to "enthusiasm, zeal, élan, or fighting spirit". The initial consonant is not the ordinary /h/ of English, but a slightly more rasping sound, the voiceless pharyngeal fricative /ħ/, transcribed as <ḥ>; it is for this reason that speakers of Hebrew frequently use the voiceless uvular fricative /χ/, the equivalent sound for most Hebrew speakers.

The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing formed in 1992, is named in commemoration of influential Palestinian nationalist Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. Armed Hamas cells sometimes refer to themselves as "Students of Ayyash", "Students of the Engineer", or "Yahya Ayyash Units", to commemorate Yahya Ayyash, an early Hamas bomb-maker killed in 1996.

Hamas's 1988 charter calls for the replacement of Israel and the Palestinian Territories with an Islamic Palestinian state. However, Hamas did not mention that goal in its electoral manifesto during the January 2006 election campaign, though the manifesto did call for maintaining the armed struggle against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. According to historian and author Efraim Karsh, Hamas's long term goal is to create a worldwide Islamic caliphate of which "Palestine" (meaning the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Israel proper) will be a part.

However, Hamas focuses its activities on the more short term goals contained in its 1988 charter which calls for the replacement of Israel and the Palestinian Territories with an Islamic Palestinian state. However, Hamas did not mention that goal in its electoral manifesto during the January 2006 election campaign, though the manifesto did call for maintaining the armed struggle against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

After the elections, in April, 2006, Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar did not rule out the possibility of accepting a temporary two-state solution, but also stated that he dreamed "of hanging a huge map of the world on the wall at my Gaza home which does not show Israel on it . . . . I hope that our dream to have our independent state on all historic Palestine (will materialize). . . . This dream will become real one day. I'm certain of this because there is no place for the state of Israel on this land". Al-Zahar added that he did not rule out the possibility of having Jews, Muslims and Christians living under the sovereignty of an Islamic state, stating that the Palestinian, Muslimss had never hated the Jews and that only the Israeli occupation was their enemy.

On 21 April 2008, former US President Jimmy Carter met with Hamas Leader Khaled Meshal and reached an agreement that Hamas would respect the creation of a Palestinian state in the territory seized by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967, provided this be ratified by the Palestinian people in a referendum. Hamas later publicly offered a long-term hudna with Israel if Israel agreed to return to its 1967 borders and to grant the "right of return" to all Palestinian refugees. Israel has not responded to the offer. In November, 2008 Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, de jure Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority and de facto prime minister in Gaza, stated that Hamas was willing to accept a Palestinian state within the 1949 armistice lines, and offered Israel "a long-term hudna, or truce, if Israel recognized the Palestinians' national rights."

The majority of Israelis, and many supporters of the state of Israel abroad, reject the truce offers that Hamas has made, partly on the ground that giving displaced Palestinians and their families the right to return to their homes would create a demographic majority of Muslims in Israel, and thus put an end to Israel's existence as a Jewish state. Some also doubt the likelihood of a truce with Hamas holding. The New York Times's Steven Erlanger contends that Hamas excludes the possibility of permanent reconciliation with Israel. "Since the Prophet Muhammad made a temporary hudna, or truce, with the Jews about 1,400 years ago, Hamas allows the idea. But no one in Hamas says he would make a peace treaty with Israel or permanently give up any part of Palestine." Mkhaimer Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University writes that Hamas talks "of hudna, not of peace or reconciliation with Israel. They believe over time they will be strong enough to liberate all historic Palestine.”

A memorandum prepared by the political bureau of Hamas in the 1990s at the request of western diplomats, published in a book by Azzam Tamimi, states that Hamas is "a Palestinian national liberation movement that struggles for the liberation of the Palestinian occupied territories and for the recognition of Palestinian legitimate rights." Hamas, the document stated, "regards itself as an extension of an old tradition that goes back to the early 20th century struggle against British and Zionist colonialism in Palestine." The memorandum notes that, in principle, Hamas does not endorse targeting civilians, but argues that such attacks represented "an exception necessitated by Israel's insistence on targeting Palestinian civilians and by Israel's refusal to agree to an understanding prohibiting the killing of civilians on both sides comparable to the one reached between Israel and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon." Even in the 1990s, according to the memorandum, the organization foresaw the day when "dialogue" between itself and Israel would be possible, but warned that "The prospect of the movement initiating, or accepting dialogue with Israel is nonexistent at present because of the skewed balance of power between the Palestinians and the Israelis. In Sheikh Yassin's words: "There can be no dialogue between a party that is strong and oppressive and another that is weak and oppressed. There can be no dialogue except after the end of oppression.'"

The Hamas charter (or covenant), issued in 1988, calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and the obliteration or nullification of Israel. Specifically, the quotation section that precedes the charter's introduction provides the following quote, attributed to Imam Hassan al-Banna: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." The quotation has also been translated as follows: "Israel will be established and will stay established until Islam shall nullify it, as it nullified what was before it." The charter's advocacy of an Islamic state in the territory of the Palestinian territories and Israel is stated as an Islamic religious prophesy arising from Hadith, the oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. In this regard, the charter states that "renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith. . ."

The charter's current status within Hamas is unclear. For example, Mousa Abu Marzook, the deputy of the political bureau of Hamas, in 2007 described the charter as "an essentially revolutionary document born of the intolerable conditions under occupation" in 1988. Marzook added that "if every state or movement were to be judged solely by its foundational, revolutionary documents . . ., there would be a good deal to answer for on all sides," noting as an example that the US Constitution engaged in codifying slavery. Senior British diplomat and former British ambassador to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock stated in early 2009 that the Hamas charter was "drawn up by a Hamas-linked imam some [twenty] years ago and has never been adopted since Hamas was elected as the Palestinian government in 2006". Greenstock also stated that Hamas is not intent on the destruction of Israel. Finally, according to investigations by Israeli daily newspaper The Jerusalem Post in 2006, representatives of Hamas in Beirut, Damascus and London had intended to rewrite the charter. Azzam Tamimi, Director of the London-based Institute of Islamic Political Thinking, told the newspaper in a telephone interview: "All the madness from the Protocols of Elders of Zion and the conspiracy theory must be eradicated. It should never have been there in the first place".

The thirty-six articles of the Covenant detail the movement's founding beliefs regarding the primacy of Islam in all aspects of life. The Covenant identifies Hamas as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine and considers its members to be Muslims who "fear God and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors." Hamas describes resisting and quelling the enemy as the individual duty of every Muslim and prescribes vigilant roles for all members of society; including men and women, professionals, scientists and students. The enemy is defined primarily in terms of antisemitic conspiracy theories of world Jewish domination. According to a translation stored at a Yale University website, the Charter states that the organization's goal is to "raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned." It further asserts that "The Islamic Resistance Movement is a humanistic movement. It takes care of human rights and is guided by Islamic tolerance when dealing with the followers of other religions. It does not antagonize anyone of them except if it is antagonized by it or stands in its way to hamper its moves and waste its efforts. Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions - Islam, Christianity and Judaism - to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam. Past and present history are the best witness to that." In several places, the Charter compares Israeli treatment of Palestinians to the actions of the Nazis. For example Israel is described as "a vicious enemy which acts in a way similar to Nazism, making no differentiation between man and woman, between children and old people" and predicts that the "Zionist Nazi activities against our people will not last for long."

The Charter outlines the organization's position on various issues, including social and economic development and ideological influences, education, as well as its position regarding Israel. Amongst many other things, it reiterates the group's rejection of the principle of coexistence with Zionism, which it defines as a danger not just to Palestinians, but to all Arab states. While primarily focusing on what it calls the "Zionist invasion" of Palestine as the cause of conflict, in places the Charter asserts that Zionism was able to achieve its ends due to the activities of secret organizations such as Freemasons and cites as an example the ability of Zionists to obtain the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The Charter asserts that through shrewd manipulation of imperial countries and secret societies, Zionists were behind a wide range of events and disasters going as far back in history as the French Revolution and that "There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it." The Charter also selectively quotes Islamic religious texts to provide justification for fighting against and killing Jews.


Some have accused the Israeli security services, after the 1967 Six Day War, of looking to cultivate Islamism (and its most important group, the Muslim Brotherhood), as a counterweight to Fatah, the main secular Palestinian nationalist political organization. Between 1967 and 1987, the year Hamas was founded, the number of mosques in Gaza tripled from 200 to 600, and the Muslim Brotherhood named the period between 1975 and 1987 a phase of 'social institution building.' Likewise, antagonistic and sometimes violent opposition to Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Organization and other secular nationalist groups increased dramatically in the streets and on university campuses.

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin founded Hamas in 1987 as an offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, supported by Brotherhood-affiliated charities and social institutions that had gained a strong foothold in the occupied territories. The acronym "Hamas" first appeared in 1987 in a leaflet that accused the Israeli intelligence services of undermining the moral fiber of Palestinian youth as part of Mossad's recruitment of what Hamas termed "collaborators". Hamas's military branch, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was created in 1992. During the 1990s and 2000s it conducted numerous suicide bombings and other attacks directed against civilians, including the 2002 Passover suicide bombing. Although such attacks were against the Oslo accords signed by Yasir Arafat, Arafat tacitly approved these attacks and refused to disarm Hamas. The Palestinian Authority followed suit and did nothing to stop the Hamas practice of targeting and killing innocent civilians.

Hamas was banned in Jordan in 1999, reportedly in part at the request of the United States, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority.

Presidential and Legislative Elections
In January 2004, Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin offered that the group would end armed resistance in exchange for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem, and that restoring Palestinians' "historical rights" (relating to their 1948 expulsion) "would be left for future generations." On January 25, 2004, senior Hamas official Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi offered a 10-year truce, or hudna, in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the complete withdrawal by Israel from the territories captured in the Six Day War of 1967. Al-Rantissi stated that Hamas had come to the conclusion that it was "difficult to liberate all our land at this stage, so we accept a phased liberation." Israel immediately dismissed al-Rantissi's statements as insincere and a smokescreen for military preparations. Yassin was then killed on March 22, 2004, by a targeted Israeli air strike, and al-Rantisi was killed by a similar air strike on April 18, 2004.

After an attack on the southern Israeli town of Be'er Sheva in August 2004, in which 15 civilians were killed and 125 wounded, the truce was generally observed. However, in 2005, a group claiming to be aligned with Hamas was involved in several attacks on Israelis in the Hebron area of the West Bank, killing six.

While Hamas had boycotted the January 2005 presidential election, in which Mahmoud Abbas was elected to replace Yasser Arafat, it did participate in the municipal elections held between January and May 2005, in which it took control of Beit Lahia and Rafah in the Gaza Strip and Qalqilyah in the West Bank. In the Palestinian legislative election of 2006, Hamas gained the majority of seats in the first fair and democratic elections held in Palestine, defeating the ruling Fatah party. The "List of Change and Reform", as Hamas presented itself, obtained 42.9% of the vote and 74 of the 132 seats. Many perceived the preceding Fatah government as corrupt and ineffective, and Hamas's supporters see it as an "armed resistance"

Hamas had omitted its call for an end to Israel from its election manifesto, calling instead for "the establishment of an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem." In early February, 2006, after its victory in the 2006 parliamentary elections, Hamas reiterated that it was giving up suicide attacks and offered Israel a 10-year truce "in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories: the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem," and recognition of Palestinian rights including the "right of return." Mashal added that Hamas was not calling for a final end to armed operations against Israel, and it would not impede other Palestinian groups from carrying out such operations.

Mashal did not recognize a leading role for the road map for peace, adopted by the Quartet in June 2003, because "The problem is not Hamas' stance, but Israel's stance. It is in fact not honoring the Road Map". The road map had projected the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in 2005. Instead, Hamas took a stance favoring renewed support for the 2002 Arab peace initiative.

In May 2006, after the US and other governments imposed sanctions on the Palestinian territories for voting for Hamas, Hassan al-Safi, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, threatened a new intifada against those US-led international forces.

Hamas-Fatah conflict
After the formation of the Hamas cabinet on 20 March 2006, tensions between Fatah and Hamas militants progressively rose in the Gaza strip, leading to demonstrations, violence and repeated attempts at a truce.

On 27 June 2006, Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement which included the forming of a national unity government. On 8 February 2007, Hamas and Fatah signed a deal to end factional warfare that killed nearly 200 Palestinians, and to form a coalition, hoping this would lead Western powers to lift crippling sanctions imposed on the Hamas-led government.

The events leading to a mid-2006 conflict between Israel and Hamas began on 9 June 2006. During an Israeli artillery operation, an explosion occurred on a busy Gaza beach, killing eight Palestinian civilians. It was initially assumed that Israeli shellings were responsible for the killings, but Israeli government officials later denied this. Hamas formally withdrew from its 16-month ceasefire on June 10, taking responsibility for the subsequent Qassam rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel.

On 29 June, following a joint incursion by Fatah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas in which two Israeli soldiers were killed and corporal Gilad Shalit was captured, Israel captured 64 Hamas officials. Among them were 8 Palestinian Authority cabinet ministers and up to 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well as heads of regional councils, and the mayor of Qalqilyah and his deputy. At least a third of the Hamas cabinet was captured and held by Israel. On August 6 Israeli forces detained the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Hamas member Aziz Dweik, at his home in the West Bank.

In June 2007, renewed fighting broke out between Hamas and Fatah. After a brief civil war, Hamas maintained control of Gaza and the Fatah controlled the West Bank. President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government and outlawed the Hamas militia.

According to an article in the magazine Vanity Fair, in the months leading up to June 2007 Battle of Gaza, the United States, with the assistance of Israel, had armed and funded militias controlled by Mohammed Dahlan and nominally loyal to Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction. According to the magazine, the intention was to overthrow the Hamas-led government so that it could be replaced with a US-backed "emergency government." The plan was reportedly approved by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W. Bush.

Leaders of Hamas and Fatah later met in the Yemeni capital San‘a’ on 23 March 2008 and agreed to the tentative "Sana'a Declaration" to resume conciliatory talks.

Immediately upon the conclusion of the Battle of Gaza, Israel imposed an economic blockade on Gaza, and Hamas repeatedly launched rocket attacks upon areas of Israel near its border with Gaza because of the blockade. On June 18, 2008, Israel and Hamas announced a ceasefire, which formally began on June 19, 2008. The agreement was reached after talks between the two camps were conducted through Egyptian mediators in Cairo. As part of the ceasefire, Israel agreed to allow limited commercial shipping across its border with Gaza, barring any breakdown of the tentative peace deal, and Hamas hinted that it would discuss the release of Gilad Shalit. Hamas committed itself to enforce the ceasefire on the other Palestinian organizations. While Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire, the lull was sporadically violated by other groups, sometimes in defiance of Hamas. The ceasefire seriously eroded on November 4, 2008, after six Hamas paramilitary died during an Israeli incursion intended, Israel said, to destroy a tunnel dug by militants to abduct Israeli troops. The conflict escalated with Israel’s invasion of Hamas-ruled Gaza in late December, 2008. Both sides declared unilateral ceasefires on January 18, 2009.

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, December 2008

Gaza War
In February 2005, Hamas had declared a unilateral ceasefire with Israel, but this was ended after Israeli air strikes on tunnels Hamas used to transport weapons and civilian goods into Gaza. Ali Abunimah, author of "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse," writes that Hamas "had observed the unilateral truce with Israel. It had given up suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. And there was no response to that. On the contrary." Mashal reaffirmed the long-term truce offer in a March 5, 2008 interview with Al Jazeera English. citing Hamas's signing of the 2005 Cairo Declaration[dead link] and the National Reconciliation Document.

On 17 June 2008, and after months of mediation by Egypt, Egyptian mediators announced that an informal truce was agreed between Hamas and Israel. The six-month ceasefire was set to start from 19 June 2008. Israeli officials initially declined to confirm or deny the agreement while Hamas announced that it would "adhere to the timetable which was set by Egypt but it is Hamas's right to respond to any Israeli aggression before its implementation".

On November 4, 2008 Israeli forces killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid inside the Gaza Strip. Hamas responded with a barrage of rockets. During November a total of 190 home made rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel.

On December 18, 2008, Hamas issued a statement declaring that it would end the six-month ceasefire scheduled to officially expire the next day. Hamas blamed Israel, saying it had not respected its terms, including the lifting of the blockade under which little more than humanitarian aid has been allowed into Gaza. On December 21, following the launch of more than 70 rockets from Gaza targeted at Israel, Hamas issued a statement that they would consider renewing the expired truce—"if Israel stopped its aggression" in Gaza and opened up its border crossings. The previous six weeks had seen a "dramatic increase" in attacks from Hamas, spiking at some 200 or so a day, according to the Israeli government. On December 24, Israeli President Shimon Peres visited the western Negev town of Sderot which has been bombarded by Hamas rockets on a regular basis. Joining with residents in a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony, Peres said: "In Gaza they are lighting rockets and in Sderot we are lighting candles."

Over the weekend of 27-28 December, Israel implemented Operation Cast Lead against Hamas. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said "We warned Hamas repeatedly that rejecting the truce would push Israel to aggression against Gaza." Hamas has estimated that at least 100 members of its security forces had been killed. According to Israel, militant training camps, rocket-manufacturing facilities and weapons warehouses that had been pre-identified were hit, and later they attacked rocket and mortar squads who fired around 180 rockets and mortars at Israeli communities. The chief of Gaza's police forces, Tawfiq Jabber, head of the General Security Service Salah Abu Shrakh, senior religious authority and official Nizar Rayyan, and Interior Minister Said Seyam were among those killed. Although Israel sent out thousands of cell-phone messages urging residents of Gaza to leave houses where weapons may be stored, in an attempt to minimise civilian casualties, there have been widespread reports of civilian casualties including allegations of the deliberate targeting of Palestinian civilians.

Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire in their Gaza operations on 17 January 2009. Hamas responded the following day by announcing a one week ceasefire to give Israel time to withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights documented the deaths of 1,284 people in the war, of whom 894 appeared to be civilians, including 280 aged under 18. A further 167 members of Hamas's police force died. Earlier, on January 18, 2009, the Center reported that 95 of the 1194 Gazans officially registered as killed from December 27 to January 17 were Hamas or other militia. In contrast, Israel has estimated it killed about 500 paramilitary fighters during the conflict. On January 19, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia pledged $1 billion to help rebuild the Gaza Strip.


Provision of social welfare and education
Hamas is particularly popular among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, though it also has a following in the West Bank, and to a lesser extent in other Middle Eastern countries. Its popularity stems in part from its welfare and social services to Palestinians in the occupied territories, including school and hospital construction. Hamas devotes up to 90% of its estimated $70 million annual budget to an extensive social services network, running many relief and education programs, and funds schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues. Such services arent't generally provided by The Palestinian Authority. According to the Israeli scholar Reuven Paz "approximately 90 percent of the organization's work is in social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities".

In 1973, the Islamic center 'Mujamma' was established in Gaza and started to offer clinics, blood banks, day care, medical treatment, meals and youth clubs. The centre plays an important role for providing social care to the people, particularly those living in refugee camps. It also extended financial aid and scholarships to young people who wanted to study in Saudi Arabia and the West. In particular, Hamas funded health services where people could receive free or inexpensive medical treatment. Hamas greatly contributed to the health sector, and facilitated hospital and physician services in the Palestinian territory. On the other hand, Hamas’s use of hospitals is sometimes criticised as purportedly serving the promotion of violence against Israel. The party is also known to support families of those who have been killed (including suicide bombers), wounded or imprisoned by Israel, including providing a monthly allowance of $100. Families of militants not affiliated with Hamas receive slightly less.

Hamas has funded education as well as the health service, and built Islamic charities, libraries, mosques, education centers for women. They also built nurseries, kindergartens and supervised religious schools that provide free meals to children. When children attend their schools and mosques, parents are required to sign oaths of allegiance. Refugees, as well as those left without homes, are able to claim financial and technical assistance from Hamas.

The work of Hamas in these fields supplements that provided by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA). Hamas is also well regarded by Palestinians for its efficiency and perceived lack of corruption compared to Fatah. Since the 2008-2009 Israeli military operation in Gaza, "[c]redible Palestinian public opinion polls show Hamas steadily losing ground, to the point that barely a quarter of the public supports it any longer."

The Council on Foreign Relations estimates Hamas's annual budget at $70 million. The largest backer of Hamas is Saudi Arabia, with over 50% of its funds coming from that country, mainly through Islamic charity organizations. An earlier estimate by estimated a $50 million annual budget, mostly supplied by private charitable associations but with $12 million supplied directly by Gulf states, primarily Saudi Arabia, and a further $3 million from Iran. The funding by Saudi Arabia continues despite Saudi pledges to stop funding groups such as Hamas that have used violence, and its recent denouncements of Hamas' lack of unity with Fatah. According to the US State Department, Hamas is funded by Iran, Palestinian expatriates, and "private benefactors in Saudi Arabia and other Arab states." However, senior British diplomat and former Ambassador to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock stated in an interview on the BBC Today Programme that the Hamas is not politically tied to Iran.

Various sources, including United Press International, Gérard Chaliand and L'Humanité have claimed that Hamas' early growth had been supported by the Mossad as a "counterbalance to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)". The French investigative newspaper Le Canard enchaîné claimed that Shin Bet had also supported Hamas as a counterweight to the PLO and Fatah. It speculated that this was an attempt to give "a religious slant to the conflict, in order to make the West believe that the conflict was between Jews and Muslims", perhaps in order to support the controversial thesis of a "clash of civilizations". In a statement to the Israeli Parliament's (the Knesset) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday February 12, 2007, Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert said "Netanyahu established Hamas, gave it life, freed Sheikh Yassin and gave him the opportunity to blossom".

The charitable trust Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was accused in December 2001 of funding Hamas. The US Justice Department filed 200 charges against the foundation. But the case ended in a mistrial in which the jurors had acquitted on some counts and were deadlocked on charges ranging from tax violations to providing material support for terrorists. However in a retrial, on November 24, 2008, the US convicted the five leaders of the Foundation on all 108 counts of the original indictment.

The main website of Hamas provides translations of official communiqués in Persian, Urdu, Indonesian, Russian, English, and Arabic.

In 2005, Hamas announced its intention to launch an experimental TV channel, "Al-Aqsa TV". The station was launched on January 7, 2006, less than three weeks before the Palestinian legislative elections. It has shown television programs, including some children's television, which deliver anti-semitic messages. Hamas has stated that the television station is "an independent media institution that often does not express the views of the Palestinian government headed by Ismail Haniyeh or of the Hamas movement," and that Hamas does not hold anti-semitic views.


Beginning in 1988, Al-Qaeda (Arabic: القاعدة‎, meaning "The Base") is an international Sunni Islamist extremist movement founded by Osama bin Laden in 1988 to end foreign influence in Muslim countries and to create a new Islamic caliphate. On October 12, 2000, Al-Qaeda carried out the USS Cole bombing, suicide bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole while it was harbored in the Yemeni port of Aden and killed seventeen U.S. sailors.

On September 11, 2001, nineteen terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon. As a result of the attacks, both of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers completely collapsed. Not including the hijackers, nearly 3,000 people died during the attacks.



Flag of Al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda (pronounced /ælˈkaɪdə/ or /ælˈkeɪdə/; Arabic: القاعدة‎, al-qāʿidah, "the base"), alternatively spelled al-Qaida and sometimes al-Qa'ida, is an Islamist group founded sometime between August 1988 and late 1989/early 1990. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless arm and a fundamentalist Sunni movement calling for global jihad.

Al-Qaeda has attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, the most notable being the September 11 attacks in 2001. These actions were followed by the US government launching the War on Terrorism. Between three thousand and four thousand members of the network have been captured and many thousands more killed on the front in Afghanistan.

Characteristic techniques include suicide attacks and simultaneous bombings of different targets. Activities ascribed to it may involve members of the movement, who have taken a pledge of loyalty to Osama bin Laden, or the much more numerous "al-Qaeda-linked" individuals who have undergone training in one of its camps in Afghanistan or Sudan but not taken any pledge.

Al-Qaeda ideologues envision a complete break from the foreign influences in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate. Reported beliefs include that a Christian-Jewish alliance is conspiring to destroy Islam, and that the killing of bystanders and civilians is religiously justified in jihad.

Its management philosophy has been described as "centralization of decision and decentralization of execution." Following the War on Terrorism, it is thought that al-Qaeda's leadership has "become geographically isolated", leading to the "emergence of decentralized leadership" of regional groups using the al-Qaeda "brand name."

In Arabic, al-Qaeda has four syllables. However, since two of the Arabic consonants in the name (the voiceless uvular plosive [q] and the voiced pharyngeal fricative [ʕ]) are not phones found in the English language, the closest naturalized English pronunciations include /ælˈkaɪdə/, /ælˈkeɪdə/, and less commonly four syllables, /ˌælkɑːˈiːdə/.[citation needed] Al-Qaeda's name can also be transliterated as al-Qaida, al-Qa'ida, el-Qaida, or al Qaeda.

The name comes from the Arabic noun qā'idah, which means foundation or basis and can also refer to a military base. The initial al- is the Arabic definite article the, hence the base.

Osama bin Laden explained the origin of the term in a videotaped interview with Al Jazeera journalist Tayseer Alouni in October 2001:

The name 'al-Qaeda' was established a long time ago by mere chance. The late Abu Ebeida El-Banashiri established the training camps for our mujahedeen against Russia's terrorism. We used to call the training camp al-Qaeda. The name stayed.

It has been argued that two documents seized from the Sarajevo office of the Benevolence International Foundation prove that the name was not simply adopted by the mujahid movement and that a group called al-Qaeda was established in August 1988. Both of these documents contain minutes of meetings held to establish a new military group and contain the term "al-qaeda".

In April 2002, the group assumed the name Qa'idat al-Jihad, which means "the base of Jihad". According to Diaa Rashwan, this was "... apparently as a result of the merger of the overseas branch of Egypt's al-Jihad (EIJ) group, led by Ayman El-Zawahiri, with the groups Bin Laden brought under his control after his return to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s."

The radical Islamist movement in general and al-Qaeda in particular developed during the Islamic revival and Islamist movement of the last three decades of the 20th century along with less extreme movements.

Some have argued that "without the writings" of Islamic author and thinker Sayyid Qutb "al-Qaeda would not have existed." Qutb preached that because of the lack of sharia law the Muslim world was no longer Muslim, having reverted to pre-Islamic ignorance known as jahiliyyah.

To restore Islam, a vanguard movement of righteous Muslims was needed to establish "true Islamic states", implement Sharia and rid the Muslim world of any non-Muslim influences, such as concepts like socialism or nationalism. Enemies of Islam included "treacherous Orientalists"  and "world Jewry", who plotted "conspiracies" and "wicked[ly]" opposed Islam.

In the words of Mohammed Jamal Khalia, a close college friend of Osama bin Laden: Islam is different from any other religion; it's a way of life. We [Khalia and bin Laden] were trying to understand what Islam has to say about how we eat, who we marry, how we talk. We read Sayyid Qutb. He was the one who most affected our generation.

Qutb had an even greater influence on Osama bin Laden's mentor and another leading member of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri's uncle and maternal family patriarch, Mafouz Azzam, was Qutb's student, then protégé, then personal lawyer and finally executor of his estate—one of the last people to see Qutb before his execution. "Young Ayman al-Zawahiri heard again and again from his beloved uncle Mahfouz about the purity of Qutb's character and the torment he had endured in prison." Zawahiri paid homage to Qutb in his work Knights under the Prophet's Banner.

One of the most powerful effects of Qutb's ideas was the idea that many who said they were Muslims were not, i.e. they were apostates, which not only gave jihadists "a legal loophole around the prohibition of killing another Muslim," but made "it a religious obligation to execute" the self-professed Muslim. These alleged apostates included leaders of Muslims countries since they failed to enforce sharia law.


Founding in Pakistan
Notes of a meeting of bin Laden and others on August 20, 1988, indicate al-Qaeda was a formal group: 'basically an organized Islamic faction, its goal is to lift the word of God, to make His religion victorious.' A list of requirements for membership itemized the following: listening ability, good manners, obedience and making a pledge (bayat) to follow one's superiors.

According to Wright, the group's real name wasn't used in public pronouncements because "its existence was still a closely held secret." His research suggests that al-Qaeda was formed at an August 11, 1988, meeting between "several senior leaders" of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Abdullah Azzam and Osama bin Laden, where it was agreed to join bin Laden's money with the expertise of the Islamic Jihad organization and take up the jihadist cause elsewhere after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan.

Jihad in Afghanistan
Main articles: Soviet war in Afghanistan and Islamic mujahid movement
The origins of al-Qaeda as a network inspiring terrorism around the world and training operatives can be traced to the Soviet war in Afghanistan.[29] The United States viewed the conflict in Afghanistan, with the Afghan Marxists and allied Soviet troops on one side and the native Afghan mujahideen on the other, as a blatant case of Soviet expansionism and aggression. The U.S. channelled funds through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency to the native Afghan mujahedeen fighting the Soviet occupation in a CIA program called Operation Cyclone.

At the same time, a growing number of Arab mujahideen joined the jihad against the Afghan Marxist regime, facilitated by international Muslim organizations, particularly the Maktab al-Khidamat,[32] whose funds came from some of the $600 million a year donated to the jihad by the Saudi Arabia government and individual Muslims – particularly independent Saudi businessmen who were approached by Osama bin Laden.

Maktab al-Khidamat was established by Abdullah Azzam and Bin Laden in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 1984. From 1986 it began to set up a network of recruiting offices in the United States, the hub of which was the Al Kifah Refugee Center at the Farouq Mosque in Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue. Among notable figures at the Brooklyn center were "double agent" Ali Mohamed, whom FBI special agent Jack Cloonan called "bin Laden's first trainer,"[34] and "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman, a leading recruiter of mujahideen for Afghanistan.

Al-Qaeda evolved from the Maktab al-Khidamat, or the "Services Office", a Muslim organization founded in 1980 to raise and channel funds and recruit foreign mujahideen for the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It was founded by Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, a Palestinian Islamic scholar and member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

MAK organized guest houses in Peshawar, in Pakistan, near the Afghan border, and gathered supplies for the construction of paramilitary training camps to prepare foreign recruits for the Afghan war front. Azzam persuaded Bin Laden to join MAK.[when?] Bin Laden became a "major financier" of the mujahideen, spending his own money and using his connections with "the Saudi royal family and the petro-billionaires of the Gulf" in order to improve public opinion of the war and raise more funds.

Beginning in 1987, Azzam and bin Laden started creating camps inside Afghanistan. The role played by MAK and foreign mujahideen volunteers, or "Afghan Arabs", in the war was not a major one. While over 250,000 Afghan mujahideen fought the Soviets and the communist Afghan government, it is estimated that were never more than 2000 foreign mujahideen in the field at any one time. Nonetheless, foreign mujahedeen volunteers came from 43 countries and the number that participated in the Afghan movement between 1982 and 1992 is reported to have been 35,000.

The Soviet Union finally withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. To the surprise of many, Mohammed Najibullah's communist Afghan government hung on for three more years before being overrun by elements of the mujahedeen. With mujahedeen leaders unable to agree on a structure for governance, chaos ensued, with constantly reorganizing alliances fighting for control of ill-defined territories, leaving the country devastated.

Expanding operations
Toward the end of the Soviet military mission in Afghanistan, some mujahedeen wanted to expand their operations to include Islamist struggles in other parts of the world, such as Israel and Kashmir. A number of overlapping and interrelated organizations were formed to further those aspirations.

One of these was the organization that would eventually be called al-Qaeda, formed by Osama bin Laden with an initial meeting held on August 11, 1988. Bin Laden wished to establish nonmilitary operations in other parts of the world; Azzam, in contrast, wanted to remain focused on military campaigns. After Azzam was assassinated in 1989, the MAK split, with a significant number joining bin Laden's organization.

In November 1989, Ali Mohamed, a former special forces Sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, left military service and moved to Santa Clara, California. He traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan and became "deeply involved with bin Laden's plans."

A year later, on November 8, 1990, the FBI raided the New Jersey home of Mohammed's associate El Sayyid Nosair, discovering a great deal of evidence of terrorist plots, including plans to blow up New York City skyscrapers. Nosair was eventually convicted in connection to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and for the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane on November 5, 1990. In 1991, Ali Mohammed is said to have helped orchestrate Osama bin Laden's relocation to Sudan.

Gulf War and the start of U.S. enmity
Following the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 had put the kingdom and its ruling House of Saud at risk. The world's most valuable oil fields were within easy striking distance of Iraqi forces in Kuwait, and Saddam's call to pan-Arab/Islamism could potentially rally internal dissent.

In the face of a seemingly massive Iraqi military presence, Saudi Arabia's own forces were well armed but far outnumbered. Bin Laden offered the services of his mujahedeen to King Fahd to protect Saudi Arabia from the Iraqi army. The Saudi monarch refused bin Laden's offer, opting instead to allow U.S. and allied forces to deploy troops into Saudi territory.

The deployment angered Bin Laden, as he believed the presence of foreign troops in the "land of the two mosques" (Mecca and Medina) profaned sacred soil. After speaking publicly against the Saudi government for harboring American troops, he was banished and forced to live in exile in Sudan.

On April 9, 1994, his Saudi citizenship was revoked. His family publicly disowned him. There is controversy over whether and to what extent he continued to garner support from members of his family and/or the Saudi government.

From around 1992 to 1996, al-Qaeda and bin Laden based themselves in Sudan at the invitation of Islamist theoretician Hassan al Turabi. The move followed an Islamist coup d'état led by Colonel Omar al-Bashir, who professed a commitment to reordering Muslim political values; nobody in al-Qaeda could have foreseen their expulsion from the country. During this time bin Laden assisted the Sudanese government, bought or set up various business enterprises, and established camps where insurgents trained.

While in Sudan bin Laden lost his Saudi passport and source of income in response to his impugning the Saudi king. A key turning point for bin Laden occurred in 1993 when Saudi Arabia gave support for the Oslo Accords which set a path for peace between Israel and Palestinians.

Zawahiri and the EIJ, who served as the core of al-Qaeda but also engaged in separate operations against the Egyptian government, had even worse luck in Sudan. In 1993, a young schoolgirl was killed in an unsuccessful EIJ attempt on the life of the Egyptian Interior Minister, Hasan al-Alfi. Egyptian public opinion turned against Islamist bombings and the police arrested 280 more of al-Jihad's members and executed six.

In 1995 an even more ill-fated attempt to assassinate Egyptian president Mubarak led to the expulsion of EIJ and not long after of bin Laden by the Sudanese government.

Refuge in Afghanistan
After the Soviet withdrawal, Afghanistan was effectively ungoverned for seven years and plagued by constant infighting between former allies and various mujahedeen groups.

Throughout the 1990s, a new force began to emerge. The origins of the Taliban (literally "students") lay in the children of Afghanistan, many of them orphaned by the war, and many of whom had been educated in the rapidly expanding network of Islamic schools (madrassas) either in Kandahar or in the refugee camps on the Afghan-Pakistani border.

According to Ahmed Rashid, five leaders of the Taliban were graduates of Darul Uloom Haqqania, a madrassa in the small town of Akora Khattak. The town is situated near Peshawar in Pakistan but largely attended by Afghan refugees. This institution reflected Salafi beliefs in its teachings, and much of its funding came from private donations from wealthy Arabs. Bin Laden's contacts were still laundering most of these donations, using "unscrupulous" Islamic banks to transfer the money to an "array" of charities which serve as front groups for al-Qaeda or transporting cash-filled suitcases straight into Pakistan. Another four of the Taliban's leaders attended a similarly funded and influenced madrassa in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Many of the mujahedeen who later joined the Taliban fought alongside Afghan warlord Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi's Harkat i Inqilabi group at the time of the Russian invasion. This group also enjoyed the loyalty of most Afghan Arab fighters.

The continuing internecine strife between various factions, and accompanying lawlessness following the Soviet withdrawal, enabled the growing and well-disciplined Taliban to expand their control over territory in Afghanistan, and they came to establish an enclave which it called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. In 1994, they captured the regional center of Kandahar, and after making rapid territorial gains thereafter, conquered the capital city Kabul in September 1996.

After the Sudanese made it clear that bin Laden would never be welcome to return, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan—with previously established connections between the groups, administered with a shared militancy, and largely isolated from American political influence and military power—provided a perfect location for al-Qaeda to establish its headquarters. Al-Qaeda enjoyed the Taliban's protection and a measure of legitimacy as part of their Ministry of Defense, although only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

Around 1994, the Salafi groups waging "jihad" in Bosnia entered into a seemingly irreversible decline. As they grew less and less aggressive, groups such as EIJ began to drift away from the Salafi cause in Europe. Al-Qaeda decided to step in and assumed control of around 80% of the terrorist cells in Bosnia in late 1995.

At the same time, al-Qaeda ideologues instructed the network's recruiters to look for Jihadi international, Muslims who believed that jihad must be fought on a global level. The concept of a "global Salafi jihad" had been around since at least the early 1980s. Several groups had formed for the explicit purpose of driving non-Muslims out of every Muslim land, at the same time and with maximum carnage. This was, however, a fundamentally defensive strategy.

Al-Qaeda sought to open the "offensive phase" of the global Salafi jihad.[52] Bosnian Islamists today call for "solidarity with Islamic causes around the world", supporting the insurgents in Kashmir and Iraq as well as the groups fighting for a Palestinian state.

In 1996, al-Qaeda announced its jihad to expel foreign troops and interests from what they considered Islamic lands. Bin Laden issued a fatwa, which amounted to a public declaration of war against the United States of America and any of its allies, and began to refocus al-Qaeda's resources towards large-scale, aesthetic strikes. Also occurring on June 25, 1996, was the bombing of the Khobar towers, located in Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

On February 23, 1998, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, along with three other Islamist leaders, co-signed and issued a fatwa (binding religious edict) calling on Muslims to kill Americans and their allies where they can, when they can. Under the banner of the World Islamic Front for Combat Against the Jews and Crusaders they declared:

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 [in Jerusalem] and the holy mosque [in Makka] 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. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, 'and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,' and 'fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah'.

Neither bin Laden nor al-Zawahiri possessed the traditional Islamic scholarly qualifications to issue a fatwa of any kind; however, they rejected the authority of the contemporary ulema (seen as the paid servants of jahiliyya rulers) and took it upon themselves.[unreliable source?] Assassinated former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko alleged that the Russian FSB trained al-Zawahiri in a camp in Dagestan eight months before the 1998 fatwa.

Way to Somalia and Yemen
While Al Qaeda leaders are hiding in the tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the middle-tier of the extremist movement display heightened activity in Somalia and Yemen. “We know that the South Asia is no longer their primary base,” a source in the US defense agency said to the Washington Times. “They are looking for a hide-out in other parts of the world and continue to expand their organization. “ In Somalia, Al Qaeda agents closely collaborate with the Shahab group, actively recruit children for suicide-bombers training, and export young people to participate in military actions against Americans at Afghanistan-Pakistan border. This year, Al Qaeda’s division in Saudi Arabia has merged with the Yemeni wing to form Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula centered in Yemen. Here terrorists take advantage of poor economy, demography and domestic security. In August they made the first assassination attempt against a member of Saudi Arabia royal dynasty in decades. President Obama in his letter asked his Yemen counterpart Ali Abdullah Saleh to ensure closer cooperation with the USA in the struggle against the growing activity of Al Qaeda on Yemen’s territory, and promised to send additional international aid. Because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is unable to pay sufficient attention to Somalia and Yemen, which may cause the US some serious problems in the near future.

American operations
This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this section if you can. (November 2009)

Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born imam has been identified by Western media[specify] as an "9/11 Imam" and an "al Qaeda recruiter", although counterterrorism investigation by the FBI did not collect sufficient evidence for full investigation or prosecution.[citation needed] He has most-recently been associated with Iman University in Yemen where he currently resides. The university's students have allegedly been linked to assassinations, and it is headed by Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, who appears on US and United Nations lists as being associated with Al-Qaeda, and is wanted for questioning in connection with the USS Cole attack in Yemen.

Awlaki's sermons in the United States were attended by three of the 9/11 hijackers, as well as accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. US intelligence intercepted emails from Hasan to Awlaki between December 2008 and early 2009. On his website Awlaki has praised Hasan's actions in the Fort Hood shooting.

Awlawki is currently being sought by authorities in Yemen with regard to his possible al-Quaeda ties, but authorities have have not been able to locate him for months.

US officials called Awlaki an "example of al-Qaeda reach into" the United States in 2008 after probes into his ties to the September 11 hijackers. A former FBI agent identifies Awlaki as a known "senior recruiter for al Qaeda", and a spiritual motivator.

An unnamed official claimed there was good reason to believe Awlaki "has been involved in very serious terrorist activities since leaving the United States [after 9/11], including plotting attacks against America and our allies.”

Organization structure
Though the current structure of al-Qaeda is unknown, information mostly acquired from Jamal al-Fadl provided American authorities with a rough picture of how the group was organized. While the veracity of the information provided by al-Fadl and the motivation for his cooperation are both disputed, American authorities base much of their current knowledge of al-Qaeda on his testimony.

Osama bin Laden is the emir and Senior Operations Chief of al-Qaeda (although originally this role may have been filled by Abu Ayoub al-Iraqi). Bin Laden is advised by a Shura Council, which consists of senior al-Qaeda members, estimated by Western officials at about twenty to thirty people. Ayman al-Zawahiri is al-Qaeda's Deputy Operations Chief and Abu Ayyub al-Masri is possibly the senior leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Al-Qaeda's network was built ex nihilo (from scratch) as a conspiratorial network that draws on leaders of all its regional nodes "as and when necessary to serve as an integral part of its high command."

The Military Committee is responsible for training operatives, acquiring weapons, and planning attacks.
The Money/Business Committee funds the recruitment and training of operatives through the hawala banking system. U.S-led efforts to eradicate the sources of terrorist financing were most successful in the year immediately following September 11; al-Qaeda continues to operate through unregulated banks, such as the one thousand or so hawaladars in Pakistan, some of which can handle deals of up to $10 million. It also provides air tickets and false passports, pays al-Qaeda members, and oversees profit-driven businesses. In the 9/11 Commission Report, it is estimated that al-Qaeda requires $30 million per year to conduct its operations.
The Law Committee reviews Islamic law and decides if particular courses of action conform to the law.
The Islamic Study/Fatwah Committee issues religious edicts, such as an edict in 1998 telling Muslims to kill Americans.
In the late 1990s there was a publicly known Media Committee, which ran the now-defunct newspaper Nashrat al Akhbar (Newscast) and handled public relations.
In 2005, al Qaeda formed As-Sahab, a media production house, to supply its video and audio materials.
Command structure
When asked about the possibility of Al Qaeda's connection to the 7 July 2005 London bombings in 2005, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said:

"Al Qaeda is not an organization. Al Qaeda is a way of working ... but this has the hallmark of that approach ... Al Qaeda clearly has the ability to provide training ... to provide expertise ... and I think that is what has occurred here."

However, on August 13, 2005 The Independent newspaper reported, quoting police and MI5 investigations, that the 7 July bombers acted independently of an al-Qaeda terror mastermind some place abroad.

What exactly al-Qaeda is, or was, remains in dispute. Author and journalist Adam Curtis contends that the idea of al-Qaeda as a formal organization is primarily an American invention. Curtis contends the name "al-Qaeda" was first brought to the attention of the public in the 2001 trial of Osama bin Laden and the four men accused of the 1998 United States embassy bombings in East Africa.

The reality was that bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri had become the focus of a loose association of disillusioned Islamist militants who were attracted by the new strategy. But there was no organization. These were militants who mostly planned their own operations and looked to bin Laden for funding and assistance. He was not their commander. There is also no evidence that bin Laden used the term "al-Qaeda" to refer to the name of a group until after September the 11th, when he realized that this was the term the Americans had given it.

As a matter of law, the U.S. Department of Justice needed to show that Osama bin Laden was the leader of a criminal organization in order to charge him in absentia under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as the RICO statutes. The name of the organization and details of its structure were provided in the testimony of Jamal al-Fadl, who claimed to be a founding member of the organization and a former employee of Osama bin Laden.

Questions about the reliability of al-Fadl's testimony have been raised by a number of sources because of his history of dishonesty and because he was delivering it as part of a plea bargain agreement after being convicted of conspiring to attack U.S. military establishments. Sam Schmidt, a defense lawyer from the trial, had the following to say about al-Fadl's testimony:

There were selective portions of al-Fadl's testimony that I believe was false, to help support the picture that he helped the Americans join together. I think he lied in a number of specific testimony about a unified image of what this organization was. It made al-Qaeda the new Mafia or the new Communists. It made them identifiable as a group and therefore made it easier to prosecute any person associated with al-Qaeda for any acts or statements made by bin Laden.

Field commanders
The number of individuals in the organization who have undergone proper military training, and are capable of commanding insurgent forces, is largely unknown. In 2006, it was estimated that al-Qaeda had several thousand commanders embedded in forty different countries. As of 2009, it is believed no more than two hundred to three hundred members are still active commanders.

According to the BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares, al-Qaeda is so weakly linked together that it is hard to say it exists apart from Osama bin Laden and a small clique of close associates.

The lack of any significant numbers of convicted al-Qaeda members despite a large number of arrests on terrorism charges is cited by the documentary as a reason to doubt whether a widespread entity that meets the description of al-Qaeda exists at all. Therefore the extent and nature of al-Qaeda remains a topic of dispute.

Insurgent forces
According to Robert Cassidy, al-Qaeda controls two separate forces deployed alongside insurgents in Iraq and Pakistan.

The first, numbering in the tens of thousands, was "organized, trained, and equipped as insurgent combat forces" in the Soviet-Afghan war. It was made up primarily of foreign mujahideen from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Many went on to fight in Bosnia and Somalia, where their deeds helped raise the banner of global jihad.

Another group, approximately ten thousand strong, live in Western states and have received rudimentary combat training.

Other analysts have described al-Qaeda's rank and file as changing from being "predominantly Arab," in its first years of operation, to "largely Pakistani," as of 2007. It has been estimated that 62% of al-Qaeda members have university education.


Map of recent major attacks attributed to al-Qaeda:
1. The Pentagon, US – Sep 11, 2001
2. World Trade Center, US – Sep 11, 2001
3. Istanbul, Turkey – Nov 15, 2003; Nov 20, 2003
4. Aden, Yemen – Oct 12, 2000
5. Nairobi, Kenya – Aug 7, 1998
6. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Aug 7, 1998Al-Qaeda has carried out a total of six major terrorist attacks, four of them in its jihad against America. In each case the leadership planned the attack years in advance, arranging for the shipment of weapons and explosives and using its privatized businesses to provide operatives with safehouses and false identities.

Al-Qaeda usually does not disburse funds for attacks, and very rarely makes wire transfers.

On December 29, 1992, al-Qaeda's first terrorist attack took place as two bombs were detonated in Aden, Yemen. The first target was the Movenpick Hotel and the second was the parking lot of the Goldmohur Hotel.

The bombings were an attempt to eliminate American soldiers on their way to Somalia to take part in the international famine relief effort, Operation Restore Hope. Internally, al-Qaeda considered the bombing a victory that frightened the Americans away, but in the United States the attack was barely noticed.

No Americans were killed because the soldiers were staying in a different hotel altogether, and they went on to Somalia as scheduled. However little noticed, the attack was pivotal as it was the beginning of al-Qaeda's change in direction, from fighting armies to killing civilians. Two people were killed in the bombing, an Australian tourist and a Yemeni hotel worker. Seven others, mostly Yemenis, were severely injured.

Two fatwas are said to have been appointed by the most theologically knowledgeable of al-Qaeda's members, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, to justify the killings according to Islamic law. Salim referred to a famous fatwa appointed by Ibn Taymiyyah, a thirteenth-century scholar much admired by Wahhabis, which sanctioned resistance by any means during the Mongol invasions.

1993 World Trade Center bombing
In 1993, Ramzi Yousef used a truck bomb to attack the World Trade Center in New York City. The attack was intended to break the foundation of Tower One knocking it into Tower Two, bringing the entire complex down.

Yousef hoped this would kill 250,000 people. The towers shook and swayed but the foundation held and he succeeded in killing only six people (although he injured 1,042 others and caused nearly $300 million in property damage).

After the attack, Yousef fled to Pakistan and later moved to Manila. There he began developing the Bojinka Plot plans to blow up a dozen American airliners simultaneously, to assassinate Pope John Paul II and President Bill Clinton, and to crash a private plane into CIA headquarters. He was later captured in Pakistan.

None of the U.S. government's indictments against Osama bin Laden have suggested that he had any connection with this bombing, but Ramzi Yousef is known to have attended a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. After his capture, Yousef declared that his primary justification for the attack was to punish the United States for its support for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and made no mention of any religious motivations.

Late 1990s
The U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, resulting in upward of 300 deaths, mostly locals. A barrage of cruise missiles launched by the U.S. military in response devastated an al-Qaeda base in Khost, Afghanistan, but the network's capacity was unharmed.

In October 2000, al-Qaeda militants in Yemen bombed the missile destroyer U.S.S. Cole in a suicide attack, killing 17 U.S. servicemen and damaging the vessel while it lay offshore. Inspired by the success of such a brazen attack, al-Qaeda's command core began to prepare for an attack on the United States itself.

September 11 attacks
The September 11 attacks were the most devastating terrorist acts in American and world history, killing approximately 3,000 people. Two commercial airliners were deliberately flown into the World Trade Center towers, a third into The Pentagon, and a fourth, originally intended to target the United States Capitol, crashed in Pennsylvania.

The attacks were conducted by al-Qaeda, acting in accord with the 1998 fatwa issued against the United States and its allies by military forces under the command of bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and others. Evidence points to suicide squads led by al-Qaeda military commander Mohamed Atta as the culprits of the attacks, with bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Hambali as the key planners and part of the political and military command.

Messages issued by bin Laden after September 11, 2001, praised the attacks, and explained their motivation while denying any involvement. Bin Laden legitimized the attacks by identifying grievances felt by both mainstream and Islamist Muslims, such as the general perception that the United States was actively oppressing Muslims.

Bin Laden asserted that America was massacring Muslims in 'Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir and Iraq' and that Muslims should retain the 'right to attack in reprisal'. He also claimed the 9/11 attacks were not targeted at women and children, but 'America's icons of military and economic power'.

Evidence has since come to light that the original targets for the attack may have been nuclear power stations on the east coast of the U.S. The targets were later altered by al-Qaeda, as it was feared that such an attack "might get out of hand".

War on Terrorism

U.S. troops in Afghanistan

In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the United States government decided to respond militarily, and began to prepare its armed forces to overthrow the Taliban regime it believed was harboring al-Qaeda. Before the United States attacked, it offered Taliban leader Mullah Omar a chance to surrender bin Laden and his top associates. The first forces to be inserted into Afghanistan were Paramilitary Officers from the CIA's elite Special Activities Division (SAD).

The Taliban offered to turn over bin Laden to a neutral country for trial if the United States would provide evidence of bin Laden's complicity in the attacks. U.S. President George W. Bush responded by saying: "We know he's guilty. Turn him over", and British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned the Taliban regime: "Surrender bin Laden, or surrender power".

Soon thereafter the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan, and together with the Afghan Northern Alliance removed the Taliban government in the war in Afghanistan.

As a result of the United States using its special forces and providing air support for the Northern Alliance ground forces, both Taliban and al-Qaeda training camps were destroyed, and much of the operating structure of al-Qaeda is believed to have been disrupted. After being driven from their key positions in the Tora Bora area of Afghanistan, many al-Qaeda fighters tried to regroup in the rugged Gardez region of the nation.

Again, under the cover of intense aerial bombardment, U.S. infantry and local Afghan forces attacked, shattering the al-Qaeda position and killing or capturing many of the militants. By early 2002, al-Qaeda had been dealt a serious blow to its operational capacity, and the Afghan invasion appeared an initial success. Nevertheless, a significant Taliban insurgency remains in Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda's top two leaders, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, evaded capture.

Debate raged about the exact nature of al-Qaeda's role in the 9/11 attacks, and after the U.S. invasion began, the U.S. State Department also released a videotape showing bin Laden speaking with a small group of associates somewhere in Afghanistan shortly before the Taliban was removed from power. Although its authenticity has been questioned by some, the tape appears to implicate bin Laden and al-Qaeda in the September 11 attacks and was aired on many television channels all over the world, with an accompanying English translation provided by the United States Defense Department.

In September 2004, the U.S. government commission investigating the September 11 attacks officially concluded that the attacks were conceived and implemented by al-Qaeda operatives. In October 2004, bin Laden appeared to claim responsibility for the attacks in a videotape released through Al Jazeera, saying he was inspired by Israeli attacks on high-rises in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon: "As I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children."

By the end of 2004, the U.S. government proclaimed that two-thirds of the most senior al-Qaeda figures from 2001 had been captured and interrogated by the CIA: Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in 2002; Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2003; and Saif al Islam el Masry in 2004. Mohammed Atef and several others were killed.


Al-Qaeda involvement in Africa has included a number of bombing attacks in North Africa, as well as supporting parties in civil wars in Eritrea and Somalia. From 1991 to 1996, Osama bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda leaders were based in Sudan.

Islamist rebels in the Sahara calling themselves Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have stepped up their violence in recent years. French officials[citation needed] say the rebels have no real links to the al-Qaeda leadership, but this is a matter of some dispute in the international press and amongst security analysts. It seems likely that bin Laden approved the group's name in late 2006, and the rebels "took on the al Qaeda franchise label", almost a year before the violence began to escalate.

In 2003, Islamists carried out a series of bombings in Istanbul killing fifty-seven people and injuring seven hundred. Seventy-four people were charged by the Turkish authorities. Some had previously met Osama Bin Laden, and although they specifically declined to pledge allegiance to Al-Qaeda they asked for its blessing and help.

In 2009, three Londoners, Tanvir Hussain, Assad Sarwar and Ahmed Abdullah Ali, were convicted of conspiring to detonate bombs disguised as soft drinks on seven airplanes bound for Canada and the United States. The massively complex police and MI5 investigation of the plot involved more than a year of surveillance work conducted by over two hundred officers. British and U.S. officials said the plan—unlike many recent homegrown European terrorist plots—was directly linked to al-Qaeda and guided by senior Islamic militants in Pakistan.

Middle East
Following the Yemeni unification in 1990, Wahhabi networks began moving missionaries into the country in an effort to subvert the capitalist north. Although it is unlikely bin Laden or Saudi al-Qaeda were directly involved, the personal connections they made would be established over the next decade and used in the USS Cole bombing.

In Iraq, al-Qaeda forces loosely associated with the leadership were embedded in the Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad organization commanded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Specializing in suicide operations, they have been a "key driver" of the Sunni insurgency. Although they played a small part in the overall insurgency, between 30% and 42% of all suicide bombings which took place in the early years were claimed by Zarqawi's organization.

Significantly, it was not until the late 1990s that al-Qaeda began training Palestinians. This is not to suggest that resistance fighters are underrepresented in the network as a number of Palestinians, mostly coming from Jordan, wanted to join and have risen to serve high-profile roles in Afghanistan. Rather, large groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad—which cooperate with al-Qaeda in many respects—have had difficulties accepting a strategic alliance, fearing that Al-Qaeda will co-opt their smaller cells. This may have changed recently, as Israeli security and intelligence services believe al-Qaeda has managed to infiltrate operatives from the Occupied Territories into Israel, and is waiting for the right time to mount an attack.


Lockerbie bombing

Nose section of Clipper Maid of the Seas

In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was the Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) third daily scheduled transatlantic flight from London's Heathrow International Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. On December 21 1988 it was destroyed by Libyan terrorist mid flight over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. The bombing was widely regarded as an assault on a symbol of the United States, and with 189 of the victims being Americans, it stood as the deadliest attack against the United States until the September 11 attacks. Pan Am filed for bankruptcy partly as a result of the attack. On January 31, 2001, Libyan Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was convicted by a panel of three Scottish judges of bombing the flight. He was sentenced to 27 years in prison for the attack. In 2002 Libya offered financial compensation to the families of the victims in exchange for the lifting of UN and U.S. sanctions. In 2007 al-Megrahi was granted leave to appeal his conviction, and in August 2009 was released on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Executive due to his terminal cancer.

East Turkestan Liberation Organization

The ETLO is a Uyghur secessionist movement which wants independence for the Chinese region of Xinjiang, and has engaged in both bombing campaigns and armed attacks to achieve this goal[citation needed].

Aum Shinrikyo
Between 1990 and 1995, Aum Shinrikyo, now known as Aleph, was a Japanese religious group founded by Shoko Asahara. Aum Shinrikyo started in 1984 as a yogic meditation group, but it later transformed into a very different organization. Seeking to "demonstrate charisma" to attract a larger audience and to make the group more influential politically, Asahara began issuing bold and controversial statements. In 1990, Asahara and 24 other members stood for the General Elections for the House of Representatives under the banner of Shinri-tō (Supreme Truth Party). After none of them were voted in, the group began to militarize. Between 1990 and 1995, the group attempted several apparently unsuccessful acts of biological terrorism using botulin toxin and anthrax spores.

On June 28, 1994, Aum Shinrikyo members released sarin gas from several sites in the Kaichi Heights neighborhood of Matsumoto, Japan, killing eight and injuring 200 in what became known as the Matsumoto incident in the Kaichi Heights neighborhood.

Seven months later, on March 20, 1995, Aum Shinrikyo members released sarin gas in a co-ordinated attack on five trains in the Tokyo subway system, killing 12 commuters and damaging the health of about 5000 others in what became known as the subway sarin incident (地下鉄サリン事件, chikatetsu sarin jiken). In May 1995, Asahara and other senior leaders were arrested and the group's membership rapidly decreased.

Beginning in 1991, Lashkar-e-Taiba (Urdu: لشکرطیبہ laškar-ĕ ṯayyiba; translated as Army of the Righteous) is a militant organization currently based near Lahore, Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Taiba members have carried out major attacks against India and its objective is to introduce an Islamic state in South Asia and to "liberate" Muslims residing in Indian administered Kashmir.

Cave of the Patriarchs massacre
In 1994, Baruch Goldstein (December 9, 1956 – February 25, 1994), an American-born Israeli physician, perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, in which he shot and killed between 30 and 54 Muslim worshippers inside the Ibrahimi Mosque (within the Cave of the Patriarchs), and wounded another 125 to 150 victims. Goldstein was lynched and killed in the mosque. Goldstein was a supporter of Kach, an Israeli political party founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane that advocated the expulsion of Arabs from Israel and the Palestinian Territories. In the aftermath of the Goldstein attack and Kach statements praising it, Kach was outlawed in Israel. Today, Kach and a breakaway group, Kahane Chai, are considered terrorist organisations by Israel, Canada, the European Union, and the United States.

Chechnyan separatists
Beginning in 1994 and led by Shamil Basayev, Chechnyan separatists carried out several attacks from the 1994 until 2006. In the Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis, Basayev-led separatists took over 1,000 civilians hostage in a hospital in the southern Russian city of Budyonnovsk. When Russian special forces attempted to free the hostages, 105 civilians and 25 Russian troops were killed. In the 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis, 50 Chechnyan separatists took 850 hostages in a Moscow theater, demanding the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya and an end to the Second Chechen War. On September 1, 2004, in what became known as the Beslan school hostage crisis, 32 Chechnyan separatists took 1,300 children and adults hostage at Beslan’s School Number One. When Russian authorities did not comply with the rebels’ demands that Russian forces withdraw from Chechnya, 20 of the adult male hostages were shot. After two days of stalled negotiations, Russian special forces stormed the building. In the ensuing melee, approximately 300 hostages were killed, along with 19 Russian servicemen and all but one of the rebels. Shamil Basayev is believed to have participated in organizing the attack. Like Basayev’s hospital and theater hijackings, the attack at the Beslan school was propaganda of the deed.

Oklahoma City bombing
In 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing was considered a terrorist act against the U.S. Government. The attack on April 19 1995 was aimed at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a U.S. government office complex in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The attack claimed 168 lives and left over 800 injured.

It may be questioned whether the bombing was a terrorist act or not since the target was a government installation. But perhaps the strongest argument against calling it a terrorist act is that the actions of Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted and executed for his role in the bombing, seem to have been based more on a desire to get his revenge on the government rather than on any real political goal. He stated, "What the U.S. government did at Waco and Ruby Ridge was dirty. And I gave dirty back to them at Oklahoma City,"


21st century terrorism

Major terrorist events after the September 11, 2001 Attacks include the Moscow Theatre Siege, the 2003 Istanbul bombings, the Madrid train bombings, the Beslan school hostage crisis, the 2005 London bombings, the October 2005 New Delhi bombings, and the 2008 Mumbai Hotel Siege.

September 11 attacks

September 11, 2001 - The North and South towers
of the World Trade Center burn.

In 2001, the September 11 attacks, nineteen attackers affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon.

As a result of the attacks, both of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers completely collapsed. Not including the hijackers, nearly 3,000 people died during the attacks, and the attacks prompted drastic changes in United States foreign and domestic policy and security protocol, and placed national security at the forefront of American political dialogue. The War on Terrorism is the ongoing US military response to the attack, which is now the focus of American security and foreign policy.


September 11 attacks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The September 11 attacks (often referred to as September 11th or 9/11) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights.

2,976 victims and the 19 hijackers died in the attacks. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 90 countries. In addition, the death of at least one person from lung disease was ruled by a medical examiner to be a result of exposure to dust from the World Trade Center's collapse.

The United States responded to the attacks by launching a War on Terrorism, invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists, and enacting the USA PATRIOT Act. Many other countries also strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. Some American stock exchanges stayed closed for the rest of the week following the attack, and posted enormous losses upon reopening, especially in the airline and insurance industries. The destruction of billions of dollars worth of office space caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan.

The damage to the Pentagon was cleared and repaired within a year, and the Pentagon Memorial was built on the site. The rebuilding process has started on the World Trade Center site. In 2006 a new office tower was completed on the site of 7 World Trade Center. 1 World Trade Center is currently under construction at the site and, at 1,776 ft (541 m) upon completion in 2013, it will become one of the tallest buildings in North America. Three more towers were originally expected to be built between 2007 and 2012 on the site. Ground was broken for the Flight 93 National Memorial on November 8, 2009, and the first phase of construction is expected to be ready for the 10th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2011.


Image sequence of United Flight 175 hitting Two World Trade Center.
Map showing the attacks on the World Trade Center.

View of the World Trade Centre after both towers fellEarly on the morning on September 11, 2001, nineteen hijackers took control of four commercial airliners en route to San Francisco and Los Angeles from Boston, Newark, and Washington, D.C. (Washington Dulles International Airport). At 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 was crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower, followed by United Airlines Flight 175 which hit the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. Another group of hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. A fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m, after the passengers on board engaged in a fight with the hijackers. Its ultimate target was thought to be either the United States Capitol or White House.

During the hijacking of the airplanes, the hijackers used weapons to stab and/or kill aircraft pilots, flight attendants and passengers. Reports from phone callers from the planes indicated that knives were used by the hijackers to stab attendants and in at least one case, a passenger, during two of the hijackings. Some passengers were able to make phone calls using the cabin airphone service and mobile phones, and provide details, including that several hijackers were aboard each plane, that mace or other form of noxious chemical spray, such as tear gas or pepper spray was used, and that some people aboard had been stabbed.

The 9/11 Commission established that two of the hijackers had recently purchased Leatherman multi-function hand tools. A flight attendant on Flight 11, a passenger on Flight 175, and passengers on Flight 93 mentioned that the hijackers had bombs, but one of the passengers also mentioned he thought the bombs were fake. No traces of explosives were found at the crash sites, and the 9/11 Commission believed the bombs were probably fake.

On United Airlines Flight 93, black box recordings revealed that crew and passengers attempted to seize control of the plane from the hijackers after learning through phone calls that similarly hijacked planes had been crashed into buildings that morning. According to the transcript of Flight 93's recorder, one of the hijackers gave the order to roll the plane once it became evident that they would lose control of the plane to the passengers. Soon afterward, the aircraft crashed into a field near Shanksville in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, at 10:03:11 a.m. local time (14:03:11 UTC). Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, organiser of the attacks, mentioned in a 2002 interview with Yosri Fouda, an al Jazeera journalist, that Flight 93's target was the United States Capitol, which was given the code name "the Faculty of Law".

Three buildings in the World Trade Center Complex collapsed due to structural failure on the day of the attack. The south tower (2 WTC) fell at approximately 9:59 a.m., after burning for 56 minutes in a fire caused by the impact of United Airlines Flight 175. The north tower (1 WTC) collapsed at 10:28 a.m., after burning for approximately 102 minutes. When the north tower collapsed, debris heavily damaged the nearby 7 World Trade Center (7 WTC) building. Its structural integrity was further compromised by fires, and the building collapsed later in the day at 5:20 p.m.

The attacks created widespread confusion among news organizations and air traffic controllers across the United States. All international civilian air traffic was banned from landing on US soil for three days. Aircraft already in flight were either turned back or redirected to airports in Canada or Mexico. News sources aired unconfirmed and often contradictory reports throughout the day. One of the most prevalent of these reported that a car bomb had been detonated at the U.S. State Department's headquarters in Washington, D.C. Soon after reporting for the first time on the Pentagon crash, CNN and other media also briefly reported that a fire had broken out on the Washington Mall. Another report went out on the AP wire, claiming that a Delta Air Lines airliner—Flight 1989—had been hijacked. This report, too, turned out to be in error; the plane was briefly thought to represent a hijack risk, but it responded to controllers and landed safely in Cleveland, Ohio.


New York City World Trade Center - 2,605
Arlington Pentagon - 125
Shanksville United - 93 40
Total - 2,976

There were a total of 2,995 deaths, including the 19 hijackers and 2,976 victims. The victims were distributed as follows: 246 on the four planes (from which there were no survivors), 2,605 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. All the deaths in the attacks were civilians except for 55 military personnel killed at the Pentagon.

More than 90 countries lost citizens in the attacks on the World Trade Center. In 2007, the New York City medical examiner's office added Felicia Dunn-Jones to the official death toll from the September 11 attacks. Dunn-Jones died five months after 9/11 from a lung condition which was linked to exposure to dust during the collapse of the World Trade Center. Leon Heyward, who died of lymphoma in 2008, was added to the official death toll in 2009.

NIST estimated that about 17,400 civilians were in the World Trade Center complex at the time of the attacks, while turnstile counts from the Port Authority suggest that 14,154 people were typically in the Twin Towers by 8:45 a.m. The vast majority of people below the impact zone safely evacuated the buildings, along with 18 people who were in the impact zone in the south tower and a number above the impact zone who evidently used the one intact stairwell in the south tower. At least 1,366 people died who were at or above the floors of impact in the North Tower and at least 618 in the South Tower, where evacuation had begun before the second impact. Thus over 90% of the workers and visitors who died in the Towers had been at or above impact.

According to the Commission Report, hundreds were killed instantly by the impact, while the rest were trapped and died after tower collapse. At least 200 people jumped to their deaths from the burning towers (as depicted in the photograph "The Falling Man"), landing on the streets and rooftops of adjacent buildings hundreds of feet below. Some of the occupants of each tower above its point of impact made their way upward toward the roof in hope of helicopter rescue, but the roof access doors were locked. No plan existed for helicopter rescues, and on September 11, the thick smoke and intense heat would have prevented helicopters from conducting rescues.

A total of 411 emergency workers who responded to the scene died as they attempted to rescue people and fight fires. The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) lost 341 firefighters and 2 FDNY paramedics.[49] The New York City Police Department lost 23 officers. The Port Authority Police Department lost 37 officers, and 8 additional EMTs and paramedics from private EMS units were killed.

Cantor Fitzgerald L.P., an investment bank on the 101st–105th floors of One World Trade Center, lost 658 employees, considerably more than any other employer. Marsh Inc., located immediately below Cantor Fitzgerald on floors 93–101 (the location of Flight 11's impact), lost 355 employees, and 175 employees of Aon Corporation were killed. After New York, New Jersey was the hardest hit state, with the city of Hoboken sustaining the most deaths.

Weeks after the attack, the estimated death toll was over 6,000. The city was only able to identify remains for about 1,600 of the victims at the World Trade Center. The medical examiner's office also collected "about 10,000 unidentified bone and tissue fragments that cannot be matched to the list of the dead". Bone fragments were still being found in 2006 as workers were preparing to demolish the damaged Deutsche Bank Building.


The Pentagon damaged by fire and partly collapsed.

Along with the 110-floor Twin Towers of the World Trade Center itself, numerous other buildings at the World Trade Center site were destroyed or badly damaged, including 7 World Trade Center, 6 World Trade Center, 5 World Trade Center, 4 World Trade Center, the Marriott World Trade Center (3 WTC), and the World Financial Center complex and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.

The Deutsche Bank Building across Liberty Street from the World Trade Center complex was later condemned due to the uninhabitable, toxic conditions inside the office tower, and is undergoing deconstruction. The Borough of Manhattan Community College's Fiterman Hall at 30 West Broadway was also condemned due to extensive damage in the attacks, and is slated for deconstruction.

Other neighboring buildings including 90 West Street and the Verizon Building suffered major damage, but have since been restored. World Financial Center buildings, One Liberty Plaza, the Millenium Hilton, and 90 Church Street had moderate damage. They have since been restored. Communications equipment on top of the North Tower, including broadcast radio, television and two-way radio antenna towers, was also destroyed, but media stations were quickly able to reroute signals and resume broadcasts. In Arlington County, a portion of the Pentagon was severely damaged by fire and one section of the building collapsed.

Rescue and recovery
The Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) quickly deployed 200 units (half of the department) to the site, whose efforts were supplemented by numerous off-duty firefighters and EMTs. The New York Police Department (NYPD) sent Emergency Service Units (ESU) and other police personnel, along with deploying its aviation unit. Once on the scene, the FDNY, NYPD, and Port Authority police did not coordinate efforts, and ended up performing redundant searches for civilians.

As conditions deteriorated, the NYPD aviation unit relayed information to police commanders, who issued orders for its personnel to evacuate the towers; most NYPD officers were able to safely evacuate before the buildings collapsed. With separate command posts set up and incompatible radio communications between the agencies, warnings were not passed along to FDNY commanders.

After the first tower collapsed, FDNY commanders did issue evacuation warnings, however, due to technical difficulties with malfunctioning radio repeater systems, many firefighters never heard the evacuation orders. 9-1-1 dispatchers also received information from callers that was not passed along to commanders on the scene. Within hours of the attack, a substantial search and rescue operation was launched. After months of around-the-clock operations, the World Trade Center site was cleared by the end of May 2002.

Attackers and their motivation
Within hours of the attacks, the FBI was able to determine the names and in many cases the personal details of the suspected pilots and hijackers. Mohamed Atta's luggage, which did not make the connection from his Portland flight onto Flight 11, contained papers that revealed the identity of all 19 hijackers (all men), and other important clues about their plans, motives, and backgrounds. On the day of the attacks, the National Security Agency intercepted communications that pointed to Osama bin Laden, as did German intelligence agencies.

On September 27, 2001, the FBI released photos of the 19 hijackers, along with information about the possible nationalities and aliases of many. Fifteen of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt, and one from Lebanon. Mohamed Atta was the ringleader of the 19 hijackers. According to Jerrold Post, a professor of psychology at George Washington University and former CIA officer, the hijackers were well-educated, mature adults, whose belief systems were fully formed.

The FBI investigation into the attacks, code named operation PENTTBOM, was the largest and most complex investigation in the history of the FBI, involving over 7,000 special agents. The United States government determined that al-Qaeda, headed by Osama bin Laden, bore responsibility for the attacks, with the FBI stating "evidence linking al-Qaeda and bin Laden to the attacks of September 11 is clear and irrefutable". The Government of the United Kingdom reached the same conclusion regarding al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's culpability for the 11 September attacks.

Author Laurie Mylroie writing in the conservative political magazine The American Spectator in 2006 argues that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his family are the primary architects of 9/11 and similar attacks, and that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's association with Osama bin Laden is secondary and that al-Qaeda's claim of responsibility for the attack is after the fact and opportunistic. In an opposing point of view, former CIA officer Robert Baer, writing in Time magazine in 2007, asserts that George W. Bush Administration's publicizing of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's claims of responsibility for 9/11 and numerous other acts was a mendacious attempt to claim that all of the significant actors in 9/11 had been caught.


The origins of al-Qaeda can be traced back to 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Soon after the invasion, Osama bin Laden traveled to Afghanistan where he helped organize Arab mujahideen and established the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) organization to resist the Soviets. In 1989, as the Soviets withdrew, MAK was transformed into a "rapid reaction force" in jihad against governments across the Muslim world. Under the guidance of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden became more radical. In 1996, bin Laden issued his first fatwā, which called for American soldiers to leave Saudi Arabia.

In a second fatwā issued in 1998, bin Laden outlined his objections to American foreign policy towards Israel, as well as the continued presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War. Bin Laden used Islamic texts to exhort violent action against American military and citizenry until the stated grievances are reversed, noting "ulema have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries."

Planning of the attacks
The idea for the September 11 plot came from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who first presented the idea to Osama bin Laden in 1996. At that point, Bin Laden and al-Qaeda were in a period of transition, having just relocated back to Afghanistan from Sudan. The 1998 African Embassy bombings and Bin Laden's 1998 fatwā marked a turning point, with bin Laden intent on attacking the United States.

In late 1998 or early 1999, bin Laden gave approval for Mohammed to go forward with organizing the plot. A series of meetings occurred in spring of 1999, involving Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden, and his deputy Mohammed Atef. Mohammed provided operational support for the plot, including target selections and helping arrange travel for the hijackers. Bin Laden overruled Mohammed, rejecting some potential targets such as the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles because "there was not enough time to prepare for such an operation".

Bin Laden provided leadership for the plot, along with financial support, and was involved in selecting participants for the plot. Bin Laden initially selected Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, both experienced jihadists who fought in Bosnia. Hazmi and Mihdhar arrived in the United States in mid-January 2000, after traveling to Malaysia to attend the Kuala Lumpur al-Qaeda Summit. In spring 2000, Hazmi and Mihdhar took flying lessons in San Diego, California, but both spoke little English, did not do well with flying lessons, and eventually served as "muscle" hijackers.

In late 1999, a group of men from Hamburg, Germany arrived in Afghanistan, including Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Ziad Jarrah, and Ramzi Binalshibh. Bin Laden selected these men for the plot, as they were educated, could speak English, and had experience living in the west.[98] New recruits were routinely screened for special skills, which allowed Al Qaeda leaders to also identify Hani Hanjour, who already had a commercial pilot's license, for the plot.

Hanjour arrived in San Diego on December 8, 2000, joining Hazmi. They soon left for Arizona, where Hanjour took refresher training. Marwan al-Shehhi arrived at the end of May 2000, while Atta arrived on June 3, 2000, and Jarrah arrived on June 27, 2000. Binalshibh applied several times for a visa to the United States, but as a Yemeni, he was rejected out of concerns he would overstay his visa and remain as an illegal immigrant. Binalshibh remained in Hamburg, providing coordination between Atta and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The three Hamburg cell members all took pilot training in south Florida.

In spring 2001, the muscle hijackers began arriving in the United States.[100] In July 2001, Atta met with Binalshibh in Spain, where they coordinated details of the plot, including final target selection. Binalshibh also passed along Bin Laden's wish for the attacks to be carried out as soon as possible.

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden

Wikinews has related news: Wikileaks obtains 10 years of messages, interviews from Osama bin Laden translated by CIA
Osama bin Laden's declaration of a holy war against the United States, and a fatwā signed by bin Laden and others calling for the killing of American civilians in 1998, are seen by investigators as evidence of his motivation to commit such acts.

Bin Laden initially denied, but later admitted, involvement in the incidents. On September 16, 2001, bin Laden denied any involvement with the attacks by reading a statement which was broadcast by Qatar's Al Jazeera satellite channel: "I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation." This denial was broadcast on U.S. news networks and worldwide.

In November 2001, U.S. forces recovered a videotape from a destroyed house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in which Osama bin Laden is talking to Khaled al-Harbi. In the tape, bin Laden admits foreknowledge of the attacks. The tape was broadcast on various news networks from December 13, 2001. His distorted appearance on the tape has been attributed to tape transfer artifact.

On December 27, 2001, a second bin Laden video was released. In the video, he states, "Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people", but he stopped short of admitting responsibility for the attacks.

Shortly before the U.S. presidential election in 2004, in a taped statement, bin Laden publicly acknowledged al-Qaeda's involvement in the attacks on the U.S. and admitted his direct link to the attacks. He said that the attacks were carried out because "we are free...and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours." Osama bin Laden says he had personally directed the 19 hijackers. In the video, he says, "We had agreed with the Commander-General Muhammad Atta, Allah have mercy on him, that all the operations should be carried out within 20 minutes, before Bush and his administration notice." Another video obtained by Al Jazeera in September 2006 shows Osama bin Laden with Ramzi Binalshibh, as well as two hijackers, Hamza al-Ghamdi and Wail al-Shehri, as they make preparations for the attacks.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
The journalist Yosri Fouda of the Arabic television channel Al Jazeera reported that in April 2002, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitted his involvement, along with Ramzi Binalshibh, in the "Holy Tuesday operation". The 9/11 Commission Report determined that the animosity towards the United States felt by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the "principal architect" of the 9/11 attacks, stemmed "not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel".

Mohamed Atta shared this motivation. Ralph Bodenstein, a former classmate of Atta described him as "most imbued actually about... U.S. protection of these Israeli politics in the region". Abdulaziz al-Omari, a hijacker aboard Flight 11 with Mohamed Atta, said in his video will, "My work is a message those who heard me and to all those who saw me at the same time it is a message to the infidels that you should leave the Arabian peninsula defeated and stop giving a hand of help to the coward Jews in Palestine."

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was also an adviser and financier of a 1993 bombing, also on the World Trade Center. He is also the uncle of Ramzi Yousef, the lead bomber in that attack.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested on March 1, 2003 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan by Pakistani security officials working with the CIA, and is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. During US hearings in March 2007, which have been "widely criticized by lawyers and human rights groups as sham tribunals", Sheikh Mohammed again confessed his responsibility for the attacks, saying "I was responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z." Mohammed made the confession after being subject to waterboarding. In November 2009, US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Mohammed and four accused co-conspirators will be transferred from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to stand trial in civilian court near Ground Zero in New York. No trial date was given. Mr Holder expressed confidence that the defendants would get a fair trial that was "open to the public and open to the world".

Other al-Qaeda members
In "Substitution for Testimony of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed" from the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, five people are identified as having been completely aware of the operation's details. They are Osama bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, Abu Turab al-Urduni and Mohammed Atef. To date, only peripheral figures have been tried or convicted for the attacks. Bin Laden has not yet been formally indicted for the attacks.

On September 26, 2005, the Spanish high court directed by judge Baltasar Garzón sentenced Abu Dahdah to 27 years of imprisonment for conspiracy on the 9/11 attacks and being a member of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda. At the same time, another 17 al-Qaeda members were sentenced to penalties of between six and eleven years. On February 16, 2006, the Spanish Supreme Court reduced the Abu Dahdah penalty to 12 years because it considered that his participation in the conspiracy was not proven.

The fatwas written or signed by Osama Bin Laden in 1996 and 1998 both demand the end of the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. In the fatwa issued in 1998, bin Laden and others wrote: "For more than 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" (see February 22, 1998). [Nation, 2/15/1999] The attacks were consistent with the overall mission statement of al-Qaeda, as set out in the 1998 fatwā issued by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Ahmed Refai Taha, Mir Hamzah, and Fazlur Rahman.

This statement begins by quoting the Koran as saying, "slay the pagans wherever ye find them" and extrapolates this to conclude that it is the "duty of every Muslim" to "kill Americans anywhere". Bin Laden elaborated on this theme in his "Letter to America" of October 2002: "You are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind: You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator."

Many of the eventual findings of the 9/11 Commission regarding motives have been supported by other experts. Counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke explains in his 2004 book, Against All Enemies, that U.S. foreign policy decisions including "confronting Moscow in Afghanistan, inserting the U.S. military in the Persian Gulf", and "strengthening Israel as a base for a southern flank against the Soviets" contributed to al-Qaeda's motives. Others, such as Jason Burke, foreign correspondent for The Observer, focus on a more political aspect to the motive, stating that "bin Laden is an activist with a very clear sense of what he wants and how he hopes to achieve it. Those means may be far outside the norms of political activity [...] but his agenda is a basically political one."

A variety of scholarship has also focused on bin Laden's overall strategy as a motive for the attacks. For instance, correspondent Peter Bergen argues that the attacks were part of a plan to cause the United States to increase its military and cultural presence in the Middle East, thereby forcing Muslims to confront the "evils" of a non-Muslim government and establish conservative Islamic governments in the region. Michael Scott Doran, correspondent for Foreign Affairs, further emphasizes the "mythic" use of the term "spectacular" in bin Laden's response to the attacks, explaining that he was attempting to provoke a visceral reaction in the Middle East and ensure that Muslim citizens would react as violently as possible to an increase in U.S. involvement in their region.


Formed in 2003 the Jundallah are Sunni insurgent group from the Baloch region that have committed numerous attacks within Iran, their stated goal is fighting for the rights of the Sunni minority in Iran. The group rarely uses suicide bombing instead using tactics similar to groups like the IRA such as the 2007 Zahedan bombings. In 2005 the group attempted to assassinate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this led to the death of at least one of his bodyguards. Iran claims the group is merely a front for or supported by a range of nations, particularly the USA, UK, Saudia Arabia and Pakistan. Jundallah has received aid from Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization. The group is also accused of involvement in Narcotraffiking and the poppy trade.



Table of non-state groups accused of terrorism

Narodnaya Volya
Hunchakian Revolutionary Party
Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Internal Macedonian Revolut. Organizat.
Irish Republican Army
Muslim Brotherhood
Front de Liberation National
Front de Liberation du Quebec
Provisional IRA
Red Army Faction
Italian Red Brigade
Japanese Red Army
Tamil Tigers
Egyptian Islamic Jihad
East Turkestan Liberation Organizat.
Aum Shinrikyo
Chechnyan Separatists
Russian Empire
Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
Puerto Rico
Sri Lanka
Saudi Arabia
Hassan-i Sabbah
Avetis Nazarbekian
Christopher Mikaelian
Hristo Tatarchev
Michael Collins
Avraham Tehomi
Menachem Begin
Abraham Stern
Hassan al-Banna
George Grivas
Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Georges Schoeters
Seán Mac Stíofáin
Hagop Tarakchian
Abdullah Ocalan
Andreas Baader
Renato Curcio
Fusako Shigenobu
Hassan Nasrallah
Omar Abdel-Rahman
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin
Osama bin Laden
Shoko Asahara
Shamil Basayev
Assassinated Tsar Alexander II, 1881
Destroyed Ottoman coat of arms, 1890
Held hostages at Ottoman Bank, 1896
Led Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising, 1903
Bloody Sunday, 1920
King David Hotel bombing, 1946
Lord Moyne assassination, 1944
Assassinated Mahmud Fahmi al-Nuqrashi, 1948
Toussaint Rouge attacks, 1954
Assassinated “President” Blanco, 1978
Munich Olympics massacre, 1972

Black September skyjacking, 1970
Hangglider shooting, 1970
Avivim school bus massacre, 1970
October Crisis kidnappings, 1970
Bloody Friday bombings, 1972
Four NYC bombs, 1975
Attack on Ankara airport, 1982
Assassinated Nihat Erim, 1980
German Autumn killings, 1977
Chicago police statue bombing, 1969
Assassinated Aldo Moro, 1978
Lod Airport Massacre, 1972
Columbus bus terminal bombing, 1987
Luxor massacre, 1997
9/11 attacks, 2001
Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, 1995
Mumbai train bombings, 2006
Beslan school hostage crisis, 2004
Zahedan bombings, 2007




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