The Bin Ladin Group vs. Usama bin Ladin

June 19, 2006 at 9:45 pm (Islamism, Middle East, The Left, The United States)

When many people hear or read “Bin Ladin,” they think of the terrorist, Usama bin Ladin. There’s just one small problem with this. The Bin Ladin Group is a highly influential and practically ubiquitous conglomerate of companies in the Middle East. Furthermore, it has nothing to do with terrorism.

Yes, Usama is descended from the founder the The Bin Ladin Group but Usama is not part of the Group. Evidently another bin Ladin, one of Usama’s brothers, Mahrous bin Ladin, was involved with radical militant Islamists, ultra-conservative reactionary Wahhabists, and helped them carry out a terrorist attempt which shocked the entire Muslim world. In November, 1979, a group of Sunnis took the Grand Mosque in Mecca hostage. They were led by a son of a former Wahhabi militia, which the House of Saud disbanded. Mahrous bin Ladin assisted them in smuggling in weapons into the Mosque. The Bin Ladin Group had exclusive contracts with the Saudi government for building, rebuilding, and maintaining mosques.

But the Group itself is neither terrorist nor Islamist. It exists to expand its commercial construction empire. There is no doubt that it was (or is?) closely linked to various royal houses and governments in the Middle East. When Usama bin Ladin rebelled against Saudi Arabia, the family cut its ties with him.

This is not to say that individuals may not be bankrolling terrorists or terrorist groups. But the Group itself has no involvement in terrorism. Any supporter of terrorism would be doing so at his/her own risk (which is substantial).

I must admit, it was somewhat amusing while I was living in the United Arab Emirates to hear of Usama’s firebrand speeches against The United States and Saudi Arabia and yet see “Bin Ladin” painted in white on plastic barriers around construction sites.

One must separate The Bin Ladin Group from Usama bin Ladin. Usama bin Ladin has been a major liability for the Group, but other than sending assassins there is nothing they can do that they have not already done. As it is, since 1979 it has had to deal with an image of being associated with terrorists (an image in the minds of Arab governments at least), and so I am sure it makes sure it does not become involved in any terrorist plots, otherwise the Bin Ladin commercial empire would collapse (and its members imprisoned if not executed) overnight. So when the likes of Michael Moore allege that The Bin Ladin Group is intimately involved with the Bush business empire, it really does not ring any alarm bells in my head. He’s capitalizing on the fact that most Americans are completely unaware The Bin Ladin Group exists, let alone what its about. This point of his is a blatant and conscious manipulation of reality. If he did his research right, he would find that The Bin Ladin Group is really not any different from any other international, multinational corporate empire.

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1 Comment

  1. GEORGE said,

    Who are terrorist besides USaman Binlandin

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