- The Origin
The terror attacks on September 11th, 2001 were coordinated suicidal attacks that targeted different places in New York City and Washington DC. These involved the participation of 19 terrorists who belonged to the Al Qaeda Islamist militia group. The terrorists hijacked jets which they then intentionally crashed into the Twin Towers, the World Trade Centre in New York City. Subsequently, both towers were destroyed within a period of two hours. Other groups of the same terror gang crashed other two jets into the Pentagon and into a field in Pennsylvania when they could not get to their intended destination in Washington DC. The attack left well over 3000 persons dead (Maamoun, 2006).
- The Rescue Program
The Fire Department of New York City acted immediately to deploy more than half of the total units in the entire department to the site to undertake the rescue mission. They were later joined by the several off duty fire brigades and medical technicians who availed themselves for the emergency situation. Besides, Police Department of New York City and the Port Authority that had been deployed to the site for security reasons ended up in the search for civilian victims they could afford to rescue. When the condition seemed to be getting worse, the New York Police Department aviation unit issued evacuation orders from the towers before they could collapse. However, their coordination efforts were hampered by the incompatible radio communication between the different agencies. As such, many firefighters never heard the evacuation orders and so remained at the site at the greater risk of their own lives. Hours after the collapse, the real search and a comprehensive rescue operation was officially launched. This continued for several months leading to the eventual clearance of the site in May 2002 (Yuval, 2006).
- The Al Qaeda Link
The world reacted swiftly with the first suspicion being laid squarely on the Al Qaeda.
This terror gang had been traced back into the year 1979 during the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan. During this time, it is said that Osama bin Laden had travelled to Afghanistan with the main intention of organizing the Arab mujahedin to put up a strong resistance against the Soviet Army. This marked the beginning of the radical nature of their operations with Osama bin Laden first raising eyebrows with his call on the American Soldiers to leave Saudi Arabian soil in 1996. Later on, in 1998, he repeated the same sentiments but this time outlining his dissatisfaction with the American foreign policy in Israel as well as the sustained existence of American soldiers in Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War. During this time, he used Islamic texts to incite Muslim faithful to view Americans as their enemies till their grievances are properly addressed. In view of his harsh stance on the American people, the world did not hesitate to associate him with the terror attacks (Summers, 2011).
Although he initially denied involvement in the terror attacks, Osama bin Laden later on admitted that he was indeed responsible for the orchestration of the attacks. Five days after the terror attack, he released a press statement in Al Jazeera stressing that he had no responsibility whatsoever concerning the attack. According to him, the attack had been carried out by individuals who seemed to be acting on their own behest. However, US forces later recovered a video tape from a tattered house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, that showed Osama admitting knowledge of the attack in his conversation with Khaled al-Harbi. By December the same year, a second videotape had been recovered in which Osama was captured stating that terrorist attacks targeting the United States deserved praise from all quarters of the Islamic community. In his opinion, these attacks were simply in response to unbearable social injustice that America had perpetrated among the Muslims with their support of Israel. However, he stopped short of actually stating that he had orchestrated the attacks (Yuval, 2006).
The much awaited moment of his concession came to pass shortly before the Presidential election of 2004. This was in a taped statement in which the terror coordinator acknowledged that Al Qaeda was involved in the attacks and further that he personally had direct links to the attacks. It came as a shocker to the people of the United States especially considering he stressed that they were free and as such would stop at nothing to undermine the security of the United States as long as the United States undermined their security. The confirmation of his actual participation however came much later in 2006 a video obtained by Al Jazeera showing him and his gang of terror prepare for the attacks. Although the United States never made a formal indictment of bin Laden, he remained a wanted man under the supervision of FBI intelligence (Anthony, 2011).
- The World’s Stand on the Attacks
Immediately after the attacks, several governments as well as non-governmental organizations expressed their sympathy and pledged support for the war against the terrorists. For instance, NATO swiftly called for a meeting of its ambassadors in Brussels. In this meeting, the delegates unanimously assured the United States of the full support of their allies in North America and Europe and swore to ensure that the culprits would not get away with the act. On its part, the European Union called an emergency meeting the following day to discuss the possibilities of a joint response as a show of solidarity with the people of the United States. The rest of the world also joined hands in the United Nation’s resolution the following day in which they expressed their willingness to take any necessary steps to ensure that the world makes a united response to the terror attacks according to their Charter responsibilities (Maamoun, 2006).
The vast majority of the Muslim nations condemned the attacks including countries like Egypt, Syria, Libya and Pakistan. However, Iraq was conspicuously missing in action. When they finally raised their voice on the issue, the then president Saddam Hussein described the attack as a product of crimes against humanity perpetrated by the United States. According to him, the American cowboys were beginning to reap the fruits of their actions that amounted to crimes against humanity. Nonetheless, various Muslim scholars as well as the spiritual leader of the Hamas condemned the attacks denying that they had any interests of exporting such heinous crimes to the United States (Yuval, 2006).
- The Future of Terrorism and Conclusion
Terrorism has become the new threat in the global arena. The operatives have established far reaching networks making it very difficult to root out this gang. For instance, a good majority of Al Qaeda members have sought refuge in war torn third world countries like Somalia away from the reach of the United States intelligence. That is why it took nearly ten years of manhunt for the United States to locate and eventually kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. However, new efforts have been geared towards stabilizing these countries so as to destroy their terror networks. This is eminent in the military operations currently underway in Somalia under the leadership of Kenya Defense Forces and the Somalia Transitional Government Forces (Anthony, 2011).