Osama bin Laden‘s New York Times obituary went up Sunday night, almost immediately after President Obama announced that the Al Qaeda leader had been killed during a U.S. operations. And it’s a long one.
The obituary was written by writers Kate Zernike and Michael T. Kaufman, who actually died in 2010, before Bin Laden. Tim Weinger contributed reporting.
The article first details how long we have been searching for Bin Laden:
Long before Sept. 11… American officials considered Bin Laden at least in part responsible for the killing of American soldiers in Somalia and in Saudi Arabia; the first attack on the World Trade Center, in 1993; the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia; and a foiled plot to hijack a dozen jets, crash a plane into the C.I.A. headquarters and kill President Bill Clinton… After the bombings of two American Embassies in East Africa in August 1998, President Clinton declared Bin Laden “Public Enemy No. 1.”
Some details from Bin Laden’s childhood:
The elder Bin Laden [Osama’s father] died in a plane crash when Osama was 10. The siblings each inherited millions…and led a life of near-royalty. Osama… grew up playing with Saudi princes and had his own stable of horses by age 15.
On how the Al Qaeda began:
[Bin Laden] fell under the influence of two Islamic scholars: Muhammad Quttub and Abdullah Azzam, whose ideas would become the underpinnings for Al Qaeda.
The breaking point — for Bin Laden and for the Saudis — came when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990… The United States, he told an interviewer later, “has started to look at itself as a master of this world and established what it calls the new world order.”
As the obituary was published last night, it has few details on Bin Laden’s killing and the operations undertaken by the U.S. to finally find him. Instead, it ends on this chilling note:
[Bin Laden’s] greatest hope, he told supporters, was that if he died at the hands of the Americans, the Muslim world would rise up and defeat the nation that had killed him.