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Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west.
In September 1987, after the previous spring's escalation failed to produce results, Soviet Foreign Minister Edvard Shevardnadze met with Secretary of State George Shultz to tell him that Gorbachev planned to pull out of Afghanistan soon. He asked Shultz for help in containing the spread of "Islamic fundamentalism." Shultz had nothing to say. Most Reagan officials doubted Gorbachev would really withdraw, and they interpreted the warnings about Muslim radicals as a cover story for the Soviet Union's military failure.
"Al-Qaeda is as much an ideology or a set of values as a single organisation led by a single leader."
"The mere mention of al Qaeda conjures images of an efficient terrorist network guided by a powerful criminal mastermind. Yet al Qaeda is more lethal as an ideology than as an organization. Al Qaedaism will continue to attract supporters in the years to come--whether Osama bin Laden is around to lead them or not."
"Al Queda itself does not exist, except in the fevered imaginations of neo-cons and Likudniks, some of whom, I suspect, also know it is a myth, but find it extremely useful as a bogeyman to spook the public and the politicians to acquiesce in otherwise unacceptable policy initiatives at home and abroad. By those terms, Al Queda is cast like 'the Mafia' and similar nonsense coming from police lobbies.
Originally posted by cargo
Somebody posted here that "Al Qaeda" literally means "The Database", being those on the CIA payroll dating back to the US backing of Taliban forces during the Afghan/Soviet war.
[edit on 23-10-2005 by cargo]