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How Osama bin Laden Rose to Power in Pakistan (Complete Essay)

How Osama bin Laden Rose to Power in Pakistan (Complete Essay)

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An Extended Excerpt from Mary Anne Weaver's PAKISTAN: DEEP INSIDE THE WORLD'S MOST FRIGHTENING STATE. Mary Anne Weaver writes: "After reporting from Pakistan for more than twenty years, one of the most incredulous aspects of Osama bin Laden’s final years was: how could he have lived in an acre-large, million dollar compound in the Pakistani Army town of Abbottabad, without the knowledge of the Pakistani military, especially its omnipotent intelligence organization, the ISI? Was he hiding in plain sight, or not hiding at all, in this leafy hill station, only 50 miles from the capital Islamabad; less than a mile from Pakistan’s Kakul Military Academy – the country’s West Point; and within walking distance of a division of Pakistan’s Northern Command? If you chart a timeline, it is, in a sense, almost Aristotelian how interconnected the life of Osama bin Laden with the ISI was." Copyright © 2010 by Mary Anne Weaver
An Extended Excerpt from Mary Anne Weaver's PAKISTAN: DEEP INSIDE THE WORLD'S MOST FRIGHTENING STATE. Mary Anne Weaver writes: "After reporting from Pakistan for more than twenty years, one of the most incredulous aspects of Osama bin Laden’s final years was: how could he have lived in an acre-large, million dollar compound in the Pakistani Army town of Abbottabad, without the knowledge of the Pakistani military, especially its omnipotent intelligence organization, the ISI? Was he hiding in plain sight, or not hiding at all, in this leafy hill station, only 50 miles from the capital Islamabad; less than a mile from Pakistan’s Kakul Military Academy – the country’s West Point; and within walking distance of a division of Pakistan’s Northern Command? If you chart a timeline, it is, in a sense, almost Aristotelian how interconnected the life of Osama bin Laden with the ISI was." Copyright © 2010 by Mary Anne Weaver

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Publish date: Feb 16, 2010
Added to Scribd: May 04, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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Excerpted from
Pakistan: Deep Inside the World's Most Frightening State 
by Mary Anne Weaver
Farrar, Straus and Giroux PaperbacksUpdated Edition, February 2010ISBN: 978-0-374-53225-3, 320 pages
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was born in 1957, theseventeenth of some twenty surviving sons of one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiestand most preeminent families. (His father, Mohammed, sired more than fiftychildren, with a total of eleven wives—mainly Egyptians and Saudi Arabians—inpart to consolidate strategic alliances through extended families.) Osama’smother, the patriarch’s fourth and final official wife, was, by contrast, from Syria.Osama was her only son, and their relationship continues to be close.The elder bin Laden had immigrated to the kingdom in the 1920s from theHadhramaut, a poor and deeply conservative area in Yemen, and had built aconstruction company into a financial empire, based in large part on hisfriendship with King Abdul Aziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia. One of Osama’smost vivid childhood memories, he has told friends, is of his father’s earlysuccess in expanding the sacred Islamic shrines of Mecca and Medina. Theyoung Osama lived a privileged and pampered life. As was customary in thekingdom’s prominent families, tutors and nannies, bearers and butlers formed alarge part of it. And if it is a paradox for the son of a patrician family to be preaching terrorand mass Islamist politics, then Osama bin Laden fails to grasp it. It is just oneof the anomalies of his life. He is an Eastern fatalist by birth, a Western-educated management expert and high-tech engineer, who has carefullymodeled himself on the legendary twelfth-century military hero Salah al-Din. He
 
is an introverted loner who relishes visibility. He is a man of more than averagevanity, who reveals little about himself. It is actually quite hard to say whoOsama bin Laden really is.He is part puritanical Wahhabi, reared in the severe traditions of WahhabiIslam, yet at one time he may have led a very liberated social life. He is partfeudal Saudi, an aristocrat who from time to time would retreat with his austerefather to the desert and live in a tent. And he is part of a Saudi generation thatcame of age during the rise of OPEC, with the extraordinary wealth thataccompanied it: that same generation whose religious fervor or political zeal,complemented by government airline tickets, led thousands to a distant Muslimland to combat the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.Bin Laden had shown no interest in politics before then. According tofamily members, he was bookish and withdrawn, spending much of his timealone. But after a trip to Pakistan in early 1980, he returned to Jiddatransformed. Over the next four years, before he moved to Peshawarpermanently, he traveled throughout Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf raisingmillions of dollars for the jihad. Some of the funding came directly from theSaudi government, some from official mosques, and some from the kingdom’sfinancial and business elite—including members of his family.Milt Bearden, the CIA’s station chief in Pakistan, who ran the agency’s sideof the war in Afghanistan from 1986 to 1989, told me that bin Laden and otherfund-raisers, largely from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, contributed as much as $20to $25 million a month to underwrite the war—a total of $200 million to $300million a year. And, after Jadji, there were other battles for bin Laden, too. Most notably,the badly organized, bloody siege of Jalalabad, a pivotal military operationplanned and directed by the ISI in March 1989, after the Soviets had withdrawn,in which the single largest number of Afghan Arabs fought together—under thedirection of Pakistani Army officers—during the jihad. There was also the battleof Ali Khel—in which bin Laden led a Saudi contingent in an operation planned

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