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Analysis of the Hamburg Network Over Time(Davis-Worth)

Analysis of the Hamburg Network Over Time(Davis-Worth)

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Published by Ian Davis
Dynamic Network Analysis of the Hamburg Network overtime using SNA/DNA tools for geospatial and temporal analysis.
Dynamic Network Analysis of the Hamburg Network overtime using SNA/DNA tools for geospatial and temporal analysis.

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Published by: Ian Davis on Dec 19, 2010
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02/13/2013

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NAVALPOSTGRADUATESCHOOL
MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA
DA 4610Final Project
Hamburg Network Analysis Over Time
ByMAJ Ian DavisMAJ Carrie Worth1
 
OVERVIEW
The Hamburg Network was a group of 24 radical Islamists operating infive cells and responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The origins of the networklay with a study group at al-Quds Mosque in Hamburg, led by MohammadBelfas.
1
The group originally consisted of Mohamed Atta, Mounir Motassadeq,and Abdelghani Mzoudi who were all studying at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH). Over time, the study group grew to include Ramzibin al-Shibh, Said Bahaji, Zaid Amir Jarrah, Zakarya Essabar and Marwan al-Shehhi. The actual “Hamburg Cell”
2
 began out of this study group whenMohammed Atta, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and Said Bahaji moved into an apartmenttogether on 53 Marienstrasse, which they named “Bait al-Ansar” or “the House of the Supporters (of the Prophet)”. It was there that the three held meetings todiscuss their anti-American and anti-Israeli views and began trying to find waysto further their cause.
3
With all eight associated through the study group led byBelfas and their increased social interaction through school, meetings, andweddings, their discussions grew more “virulent” and ultimately led to the friendslooking to join the jihad and go to Chechnya to fight the Russians. It was not untilthey met Mohamadou Ould Slahi that they were encouraged to travel toAfghanistan for training.
4
Prior to and completely independent of the forming of the HamburgNetwork, the plan for the “planes operation” was developing in the mind of KhalidSheikh Mohammed (KSM). “Equally comfortable in a government office or aterrorist safehouse”, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed used his imaginative mind along
1
Marc Sageman,
Understanding Terror Networks,
Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 2004, 103-104.
2
The individuals that met in the study group in Hamburg are widely known as theHamburg Cell. This paper will use the 9/11 commission report identifying them as the HamburgContingent who became the larger Hamburg Network. See National Commission on TerroristAttacks Upon the United States,
The 9/11 Commission Report 
,http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/index.html (accessed on November 17, 2010).
3
Sageman,
Understanding Terror Networks
, 105.
4
Sageman,
Understanding Terror Networks
, 106.
2
 
with technical and managerial skills to develop plans for a variety of terroristacts.
5
KSM knew that his plan for using airplanes in a terrorist attack on theUnited States required personnel, money, and logistical support that he did nothave, but Usama bin Ladin did. Although KSM had previously fought alongsideUsama bin Ladin in 1987, they did not have a “close working relationship”. ButSheikh Mohammed knew he had to meet with bin Ladin because of he couldprovided the personnel, money, and logistical support required. Mohammed metwith bin Ladin in mid 1996, but the two did not formally reach a deal to begin thefinal planning until late 1998. Sheikh Mohammed formally joined Usama binLadin and al-Qa’ida in 1998 after being given the green light for his “planesoperation.”
6
With the arrival of the first three members of the Hamburg Network inAfghanistan, Usama bin Ladin was about to find the perfect group to lead theattack: the members of the Hamburg Network spoke fluent English, wereeducated and knowledgeable of the western lifestyle, and were radical Islamists.In November of 1999, Mohamed Atta and his Hamburg Network were selectedfor the 9/11 operation.
7
 
5
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, “Al-Qa’ida Aims AtThe American Homeland”, http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch5.htm (accessedon August 30, 2010).
6
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did not join Usama bin Ladin and Al-Qa’ida when originallyinvited in 1996 because he wanted to remain independent. This allowed him to remain free towork with other organizations, such as the mujahideen led by Sayyaf, Sheikh Mohammed’smentor, who was loyal to Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance. Since bin Ladin wasforging ties with the Taliban, the opposition of the Northern Alliance, allying with Al-Qa’ida wouldhave proven troublesome for Sheikh Mohammed. See National Commission on Terrorist AttacksUpon the United States, “Al-Qa’ida Aims At The American Homeland”, http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Ch5.htm (accessed on August 30, 2010).
7
Sageman,
Understanding Terror Networks,
106-107.
3

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