Bin Laden documents: Sowing jihad in the chaos

Former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s diaries reveal how he saw opportunity for his brand of extreme jihadism in the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, according to The Arab Weekly columnist Mark Habeeb.

“This chaos and the absence of leadership in the (‘Arab spring’) revolutions is the best envi­ronment to spread al Qaeda’s thoughts and ideas,” bin Laden dictated to one of his daughters, according to a trove of documents made public by the U.S. Central Intel­ligence Agency (CIA).


Bin Laden must have been aware that the “Arab spring” revolutions were the result of deep grievances against existing regimes, which were seen as cor­rupt and, in many instances, as being in collusion with the West. Added to these sentiments were feelings of injustice, humiliation and hopelessness — a perfect recipe for jihadist recruitment. 

Bin Laden's observations on that early stage of the popular revolts indicate his awareness of the deep grievances against the old regimes in the Middle East, seen as corrupt, and allied with the West. But it was the addition of injustice and hopelessness that turned political and social instability into a fertile ground for jihadist groups.

Habeeb argued:

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