A former FBI agent has said that the son of Osama bin Laden is poised to take control of al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization founded by his father, and has vowed revenge on the United States over bin Laden’s death.
According to Ali Soufan, who was the FBI’s lead investigator of al-Qaeda after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, documents seized after bin Laden's reported assassination in 2011 indicated that Hamza bin Laden (shown, old film image) was being groomed to inherit his father’s terrorist leadership mantle — a goal the younger appeared to embrace wholeheartedly.
“I consider myself to be forged in steel,” Hamza, now 28 years old, is said to have written in one of the seized documents. “The path of jihad for the sake of God is why we live.” In another letter written to his father when he was around 22, Hamza expressed affection for the elder bin Laden, telling him: “I remember every look ... every smile you gave me, every word you told me.”
Soufan recalled that as a child, Hamza was often used in al-Qaeda propaganda videos holding a gun, and that even at a young age “he was that kid that exhibited leadership skills early on. He was a poster kid for the al Qaeda ... and for members of al Qaeda, who were indoctrinated with these propaganda videos, he means a lot to them.”
In a handful of recent audio and video messages, said Soufan, Hamza has sounded increasingly like his father, “using sentences and terminology that was used by Osama bin Laden.” One of the themes of those missives has been revenge for his father's death, said Soufan. “He’s basically saying, ‘American people, we’re coming and you’re going to feel it. And we’re going to take revenge for what you did to my father.”
The UK Daily Mail reported that a video message from Hamza released in early May appears to reflect the younger bin Laden’s efforts to position himself as the heir to his father’s al-Qaeda leadership. In the video, Hamza encourages his followers to carry out solitary attacks against the West. “In the ten-minute footage,” reported the Daily Mail, “Hamza Bin Laden urges his followers to embark on suicide missions that cause most damage and go for ‘the jugular of the enemy.’”
Speaking in Arabic, with English subtitles on the video screen, the younger bin Laden offers “advice for anyone who intends to carry out a martyrdom operation.” With pictures in the background of terrorists who have launched terrorist attacks against the West, Hamza advises: “Be perfect in your choice of targets, so that you may damage your enemies more. If you are able to pick a firearm, well and good; if not, the options are many.... Take the lead in inflicting losses, attacking the jugular of the enemy and hitting its joints.”
In a message that appears to be directed particularly at the United States, Hamza warns (over images of Fort Hood, Texas, shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan, as well as clips from the 1993 World Trade Center attack): “We shall continue to target you until you withdraw your forces from the Arabian Peninsula and from every single land of Islam.”
Largely missing in the ongoing major media narrative surrounding Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda is the extent to which the terror group was at one time supported and encouraged by the U.S. government. Days after bin Laden's reported assassination on May 2, 2011 at the hands of a Navy SEAL team, The New American recalled that while “he ultimately became one of the most loathed figures in the American psyche, it’s important to remember that bin Laden was once a good friend of the U.S. government. In many ways, he can even be considered a creation of American officials and their allies. His Mujahedeen, or Islamic warriors, were even armed, trained, supplied and financed by America and some of its allies.”
The article quoted former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook as recalling that “throughout the 80s [bin Laden] was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan,” Cook called bin Laden a “product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies,” and although it is debatable as to whether that miscalculation was accidental or intentional, that the legendary terrorist figure “worked with the U.S. government and other Western powers is beyond dispute,” reported The New American.
In the mid 1990s, long after the Soviet Union had abandoned the country, “bin Laden moved back to Afghanistan and reportedly announced ‘Jihad,’ or Holy War, against the U.S. government,” reported The New American. “His primary goal, he said, was to drive American troops from Islamic lands and eliminate U.S. and Western support for the corrupt regimes terrorizing much of the Muslim world.”
In fact, noted The New American, “The name al-Qaeda, which in Arabic means ‘the base,’ was originally applied to the CIA’s database of thousands of friendly Muslim extremists who were recruited, armed, and trained by the U.S. government. But under the al-Qaeda banner, bin Laden would inspire legions of Muslims angry at American meddling in the Middle East to unleash a reign of terror upon his new-found enemies.”
Now, it appears, Osama bin Laden’s power to inspire his followers to destroy and kill has been passed on to his son, who will, no doubt, follow lock-step behind his father.
Photo: Hamza bin Laden