More than two and a half years after the attacks on Manhattan and Washington Osama bin Laden continues to influence the scope and targeting of the global jihad that al Qaeda put into motion with the 9/11 attacks. In October 2003 bin Laden released an audiotape calling for attacks on the Spain, Britain and Italy, all countries that are part of the coalition in Iraq. After that tape was released an al Qaeda affiliated group attacked an Italian police barracks in southern Iraq killing seventeen, Islamist militants in Istanbul carried out suicide attacks against a British bank and consulate killing some sixty people, seven Spanish intelligence agents were ambushed and killed in Iraq, and last month multiple bombs in Madrid killed 191.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: The tape which U.S. officials believe was recorded by Osama bin Laden. Among the many questions posed by the new terror tape, is there any meaning in the timing of its release? Could it mean an attack might be close at hand?

This link gets you to the video of the discussion

What is al Qaeda? It seems such a simple question: after all, it’s a term much bandied about by the public, politicians and pundits alike. Indeed, al Qaeda is now one of the best-known organizations in the world, with brand recognition seemingly only eclipsed by another successful franchise operation: McDonalds. Yet there is a great […]

This link between Islamist zealot and secular fascist just doesn’t add up Peter Bergen Thursday January 30, 2003The Guardian In his state of the union address President Bush returned to one of his favourite themes: Saddam Hussein “aids and protects” al-Qaida. Yet the evidence for this claim is somewhere between tenuous and non-existent. Every year […]

A suggested reading list for those who want to know more about al Qaeda, by topic Al Qaeda in general Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror, (New York: Random House, 2002) Peter Bergen, Holy War, Inc. Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden (New York: Touchstone, 2002). (paperback edition) Rohan […]

Every few days, somewhere inside the daily newspaper, there is an account of someone being detained somewhere for some link to al-Qaeda or somebody being let go. French police arrest three men and a woman for links to a planned chemical attack. A German convert to Islam, suspected of having been in phone contact with the truck bomber who blew up a historic synagogue in Tunisia, slips out of the country while, it was reported, he was under surveillance. From this patchwork of dispatches, it’s hard to figure out just how the global pursuit of al-Qaeda is going. Joining us now is Peter Bergen, who’s the author of “Holy War, Inc.” and also CNN’s terrorism analyst.

While the Bush Administration looks to the weapons inspection process in Iraq to turn up a material breach worthy of war, hawks in and out of government have been making a separate case for invasion, claiming that a US military strike against the country is necessary under the amorphous rubric of the “war on terrorism” and because of Saddam Hussein’s alleged connections to Al Qaeda. In fact, it is Saudi Arabia rather than Iraq that has supplied much of the ideological and financial impetus for Al Qaeda, and it is Saudi Arabia that continues to play an obstructionist role in the investigation of the 9/11 attacks, not Iraq.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: An audio statement attributed to a known associate of Osama bin Laden reportedly threatens more attacks on Christians and Jews. The statement on al-Jazeera TV purportedly by Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, says quote, “The Jewish crusader alliance will not, God willing, be safe from attacks anywhere. We will attack strategic interests with […]

 The Al Qaeda Connection: Try Riyadh not Baghdad.There may be good reasons to go to war against Saddam Hussein should he defy United Nations’ resolutions about his weapons of mass destruction, but going to war against Saddam under the amorphous rubric of the “war on terrorism” and his alleged connections to al Qaeda is not […]