In August 1998 two powerful car bombs exploded simultaneously outside U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. In Nairobi, the force of the blast shattered windows more than a quarter mile away. Less than two weeks later the United States retaliated by launching cruise missiles directed against terrorist camps in both Afghanistan and Sudan. The real target, however, was one man who has become the symbol of Islamic terror. "Our mission was clear," a somber President Clinton told the nation. "To strike at the network of radical groups affiliated with and funded by Osama bin Laden, perhaps the preeminent organizer and financier of international terrorism in the world today."
"Fascinating account. I strongly recommend it."
— Jeane J. Kirkpatrick
In meticulous detail, world-renowned terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky uncovers the events in bin Laden's life that turned the once-promising engineering student into a cold-blooded leader of radical Islam. In the process, Bodansky pulls together a chilling story that is as current as today's headlines but as ancient as the Crusades; a story that transcends bin Laden and any other single man, one that sweeps from Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq to Kosovo and beyond. He takes you deep into the heart of centuries-old hatreds that have produced generations of bin Ladens and a terror network of underground armies that can strike virtually anywhere in the world. Fueled by Middle Eastern oil wealth and covertly armed by some of America's closest allies, this terror network is waging a brutal guerrilla war whose aim is nothing short of changing the course of history. The battlefields are increasingly Western city streets and the casualties are most often innocents caught in the crossfire.
Including new information about bin Laden's pursuit of chemical and nuclear weapons, covert deals between the U.S. and Islamic terrorists, and American foreign policy blunders that have cost countless lives, this book is a sobering wake-up call.
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Shortly after terrorists led by Osama bin Laden attacked the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered retaliatory missile strikes against targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. It was the first time the United States had responded to an individual terrorist with such overwhelming military force. Bin Laden, of course, is no run-of-the-mill rabble-rouser; Clinton called him "perhaps the pre- eminent organiser and financier of international terrorism in the world today." That's quite a label for someone who, as biographer Yossef Bodansky describes, "lives with his four wives and some fifteen children in a small cave in eastern Afghanistan" without running water. Yet he is "a principal player in a tangled and sinister web of terrorism-sponsoring states, intelligence chieftains and master terrorists." Remarkably little is known about the man; as Bodansky reveals, even the year of bin Laden's birth is uncertain. This book, then, is more than the story of a single terrorist. It's a description of a whole movement waging a jihad--holy war- -against the United States in the belief that America's modernising influence on Arab nations thwarts Islamic fundamentalist goals. Bin Laden is strikingly current, extremely well-informed, and thoroughly detailed. Readers interested in facts about the Middle East's violent underworld will find it fascinating--and chilling. Bodansky notes that Bin Laden has become a hero to radical Muslim youth, and "Osama" is now a very popular baby name in many Arab countries. --John J. Miller
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