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Monday, April 18, 2016

Events during the Past

Osama bin Laden was one of the controversial and evil men in our history. He consciously choose a life of irrational extremism and he was part of the CIA-funded efforts to fight the Soviets in 1979 inside of Afghanistan. He was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 10, 1957. He died on May 2, 2011 at the age of 54 in Abbottabad, Pakistan (as a product of a U.S. raid in his compound). He was the founder of Al-Qaeda. His father was the well-known Saudi businessman and billionaire named Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (who allied with Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia. He gave Prince Faisal financial assistance). He lived from 1908 to September 13, 1967 (in a plane crash). Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden led a construction company and his family had immense wealth. He or Mohammed bin Awad bin fathered a total of 77 children by 22 wives. Mohammed never had more than four wives at a time—divorcing older wives and marrying new ones as needed to limit the number of current wives to four. Osama bin Laden was raised with a strict religious and moral code. Osama went into a university. Bin Laden was raised as a devout Sunni Muslim. From 1968 to 1976, he attended the élite secular Al-Thager Model School. He studied economics and business administration at King Abdulaziz University.  Later, joined the mujahedeen forces in Pakistan to fight the Soviets (under the CIA’s Operation Cyclone) back during the late 1970's. Bin Laden met and built relations with Hamid Gul, who was a three-star general in the Pakistani army and head of the ISI agency. Although the United States provided the money and weapons and the training of militant groups was entirely done by the Pakistani Armed Forces and the ISI. The Reagan administration continued to fund the terrorist mujahedeen during the 1980’s. By 1984, bin Laden and Azzam established Maktab al-Khidamat, which funneled money, arms and fighters from around the Arab world into Afghanistan. Through al-Khadamat, bin Laden's inherited family fortune paid for air tickets and accommodation, paid for paperwork with Pakistani authorities and provided other such services for the jihadi fighters.  Osama bin Laden created camps for terrorists during the 1980’s. He founded Al-Qaeda in 1988. Osama bin Laden had many wives and many children. Osama believed that U.S. foreign policy oppressed, killed, and harmed Muslims in the Middle East according to former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer. It is true that many Muslims have been the victims of imperialism and oppression from the 20th century to the present. He wanted Sharia law to govern the world.

During the Persian Gulf War, Osama bin Laden met with King Fahd and Saudi Defense Minister Sultan and told them that no non-Muslims should assist them and that he could defend Saudi Arabia with his Arab legion. The Saudi monarchy rejected his plan and allowed U.S. forces in Saudi territory. Bin Laden was angered by this and said that the cities of Mecca and Medina should be protected by Muslims. The Saudi monarchy tried to silence Osama since Osama publicly criticized the Saudi policy. Osama bin Laden used a fatwa against the United States in 1996 as first published in Al Qubs Al Arabia or a London based newspaper.  It was entitled "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places." Osama bin Laden’s jihadists committed terrorism in many places from Africa to the Middle East. In the 1990's, bin Laden's al-Qaeda assisted jihadis financially and sometimes militarily in Algeria, Egypt and Afghanistan. In 1992 or 1993 bin Laden sent an emissary, Qari el-Said, with $40,000 to Algeria to aid the Islamists and urge war rather than negotiation with the government. Their advice was heeded. The war that followed caused the deaths of 150,000–200,000 Algerians and ended with the Islamist surrender to the government. The 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings were a series of attacks that occurred on August 7, 1998, in which hundreds of people were killed in simultaneous truck bomb explosions at the United States embassies in the major East African cities of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The attacks were linked to local members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. These evil attacks brought Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to the attention of the United States public for the first time, and resulted in the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation placing bin Laden on its Ten Most Wanted list. Terrorists were in the Yugoslavian conflicts of the 1990’s too. The September 11th attacks caused Osama bin Laden to be searched heavily by the West. Osama bin Laden at first denied any involvement in 9/11 and then in 2004 claimed that he had responsibility for the attacks. One thing is true. Osama is not the only person involved in terror. Western forces have done terrorism in the fours corners of the Earth for a long time. Many al-Qaeda leaders have died. The death of Osama bin Laden in 2011 outlined a turning point. Al-Qaeda is weakened in many cases, but ISIS is still powerful. Osama bin Laden’s life and death is a lesson that murder is wrong, that evil Western imperialism is real (US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, an Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert support to the radical Islamist organizations), and that we should reject harming innocent human life.

British General John Burgoyne worked to fight the Americans in June of 1777. He recaptured Fort Ticonderoga in early July. Afterwards, his march was slowed by the Americans. The Americans knocked down trees in his path. His army had an extensive baggage train. There was a detachment sent out to seize supplies and they were defeated in the Battle of Bennington by American militia in August. This caused Burgoyne to be deprived of almost 1,000 men. At St. Leger, more than half of his force of Native Americans led by Sayenqueraghta—had laid siege to Fort Stanwix. American militiamen and their Native American allies marched to relieve the siege but were ambushed and scattered at the Battle of Oriskany. When a second relief expedition approached, this time led by Benedict Arnold, St. Leger's Indian support abandoned him, forcing him to break off the siege and return to Quebec. Burgoyne’s army was reduced to about 6,000 men by the loss of Bennington. He wanted to garrison Ticonderoga and he was running short on supplies. With these setbacks, Burgoyne was determined to go to Albany. An American army of 8,000 men were entrenched about 10 miles south of Saratoga, New York. They were commanded by General Horatio Gates (by they were also led by his subordinate Benedict Arnold, who was in favor of the Patriot cause at the time). Burgoyne tried to outflank the Americans, but was checked at the first battle of Saratoga in September. Burgoyne’s situation was desperate. He hoped that help from Howe’s army in New York City might be on the way. It was not. Howe sailed away on his expedition to capture Philadelphia. American militiamen flocked to Gates’s army. This caused his force to be 11,000 people by the start of October. The British were defeated badly at the second battle of Saratoga, so Burgoyne surrendered on October 17, 1777. The British General Clinton in New York City tried to create a diversion in favor of Burgoyne in early October by capturing two key forts, but he withdrew after hearing of the surrender. Saratoga was a turning point of the Revolutionary War. Once, Patriot confidence and determination suffered with Howe’s successful occupation of Philadelphia. Yet, Patriot confidence and determination improved. This victory of Saratoga caused the French to make an open alliance with America after 2 years of semi-secret support. The war was more complicated for the British. The Americans held the British prisoners taken at Saratoga until the end of the war, in direct violation of the agreed surrender terms, which specified they would be repatriated immediately.

The war continued in Pennsylvania including Philadelphia. Howe started to fight in Pennsylvania in June of 1777. He failed to engage in battle against Washington’s smaller force in New Jersey. Howe sent his troops in transports and slowly sailed to the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay. He landed 15,000 troops on August 25 at the head of the Elk River. Washington positioned his 11,000 men in a strong position along the Brandywine River. That was between the British and Philadelphia. Howe outflanked and defeated General Washington on September 11, 1777. French observers noted that Howe didn’t follow up on his victory. If Howe continued to press the Americans, then that could have destroyed Washington’s army. The Continental Congress was abandoned against in Philadelphia. On September 26, Howe financially outmaneuvered Washington and marched into Philadelphia unopposed.  A part of Howe's army was then split off to reduce rebel forts blocking his communications up the Delaware River. Hoping to bring about another Trenton-like victory while the British were divided, on October 4 Washington assaulted against the British in a surprise attack at Germantown. Howe had failed to alert his troops there, despite being aware of the impending attack the previous day. The British were in danger of a rout, but faulty American decisions resulted in Washington being repulsed with heavy losses. Both armies met at White Marsh in December. There were some skirmishes. Howe decided to retire as he ignored the vulnerability of Washington’s rear. Such an attack would cut off Washington from his baggage and provisions. George Washington and his army encamped at Valley Forge in December 1777, which is about 20 miles from Philadelphia. At Valley Forge, they stayed for the next six months. During the winter, 2,500 men (out of 10,000) died from diseases and exposure to the elements. The army as reduced to 4,000 effectives. During this time, Howe's army, comfortable in Philadelphia, made no effort to exploit the weakness of the American army. The American army was in good order by the Spring of 1778 with the help of a training program, which was supervised by Baron von Steuben. Baron Von Steuben introduced the most modern Prussian methods of organization and tactics. Many historians say that British forfeited many chances for military victory in 1776-1777. According to them, if General Howe violated military tradition by going into Valley Forge in December of 1777, then the war could end in a British victory. Howe submitted his resignation in October 1777. Until it was accepted, he spent his time in Philadelphia preparing his arguments for an expected parliamentary inquiry. Although he had twice as many men as Washington, the bitter memory of Bunker Hill made him highly reluctant to attack entrenched American forces. General Clinton replaced Howe as British commander-in-chief on May 24, 1778.

After the news of surrender at Saratoga came to England and the concern over French intervention, the British decided to accept the original demands made by the American Patriots. The Parliament repealed the remaining tax on tea. They declared that no taxes should be imposed on the colonies without their consent (except for custom duties, the revenues of which would be returned to the colonies). A Commission was formed to negotiate directly with the Continental Congress for the first time. The Commission was empowered to suspend all the other objectionable acts by Parliament passed since 1763; issue general pardons, and declare a cessation of hostilities. The Commissioners arrived in America in June 1778 and offered to place the colonies in the condition of 1763 if they would return to the allegiance of the King.  The Parliament agreed that no troops would be placed in the colonies without their consent. The Congress refused to negotiate the commission unless they first acknowledged American independence or withdrew all troops. On October 3, 1778, the British published a proclamation offering amnesty to any colonies or individuals who accepted their proposals within forty days, implying serious consequences if they still refused. There was no positive reply. King George III gave up all hope of subduing America by more armies, while Britain had a European war to fight. "It was a joke," he said, "to think of keeping Pennsylvania." During this time, King George III didn’t want to acknowledge the independence of the Americans. He wanted to punish them by prolonging the war eternally. So, King George III wanted to keep the 30,000 men garrisoned in New York, Rhode Island, Quebec, and Florida; other forces would attack the French and Spanish in the West Indies. To punish the Americans the King planned to destroy their coasting-trade, bombard their ports; sack and burn towns along the coast. He wanted the Native Americans to attack in frontier settlements. These operations, the King felt, would inspire the Loyalists, would splinter the Congress, and "would keep the rebels harassed, anxious, and poor, until the day when, by a natural and inevitable process, discontent and disappointment were converted into penitence and remorse." King George III believed that the colonists would beg to return to his authority. He wanted to re-subjugate the colonies after dealing with the Americans’ European allies. This plan could even harm the Loyalists and the Native Americans who supported the British.

By Timothy

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