In February 1989 Osama bin Laden went home to Saudi Arabia a hero. The infidel communists in Afghanistan had been defeated and Bin Laden took credit for having brought legions of Arab foreign fighters into the armed jihad. The year before, bin Laden had launched al-Qa‘ida during a series of meetings in his house in Peshawar. The new organization was supposed to be a military vanguard in the service of the global armed jihad.

Back in Saudi Arabia and waiting for the payout from his inheritance, bin Laden started working in the family business. Then a new war offered an opportunity for bin Laden to show his military skills. On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait in a brief two-day-long military campaign. The invasion was a first step in Saddam Hussein's campaign to gain control over Kuwait's oil wells and was viewed as a potential springboard into an...

You do not currently have access to this content.