The following visual presentation is a compilation of the major al Qaeda attacks since the creation of the International Islamic Front and their subsequent declaration of war in February of 1998.
The purpose of the presentation is to graphically demonstrate al Qaeda’s ability to conduct mass casualty assaults on a global scale. This presentation by no means documents every single al Qaeda attack. For example, the murders of journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan and USAID executive Lawrence Foley in Jordan were excluded, as have smaller impact suicide attacks and beheadings by al Qaeda in Iraq and elsewhere. al Qaeda’s butchery in Iraq can fill a presentation of its own. Also, planned or foiled chemical attacks against Jordan, France and England, the assassination attempts on President Musharraf of Pakistan and numerous other incidents throughout the world have not been documented.
The facts presented speak for themselves.
There have been 30 major mass casualty attacks directed against the United States, Britain, France, Spain, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Iraq, Morocco, Yemen, Tunisia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and North Osetia. 14 of the 30 attacks were conducted prior to the invasion of Iraq, making claims of the occupation of Iraq as a casus belli for al Qaeda’s terrorism to be disingenuous at best. 4,895 people have been killed in these attacks, and 12,345 plus have been wounded. The majority of the countries attacked are Muslim countries. And although not stated, the vast majority of the victims of al Qaeda’s violence are Muslims.
The ideologues, leaders and foot soldiers of al Qaeda have no reservations about slaughtering the innocent. The majority of their attacks have been directed against civilian infrastructure such as embassies, consulates, shipping, transportation, hotels, resorts, nightclubs, bars, synagogues, churches, temples, mosques, markets, housing complexes, office buildings and schools. Each of al Qaeda’s targets were purposefully selected and carefully timed to inflict mass casualties as well as to provide the maximum media exposure. The radical Islamists embrace Muslim casualties, as many are considered infidel for embracing Western culture and rejecting the “pure” Islam espoused by al Qaeda. This is an enemy that deserves no quarter.
On a personal note: Although I am in constant contact with the news of al Qaeda’s operations and was aware of each attack presented, assembling the information, gathering the photographs and viewing the final cut still left an indelible impression on me. It is difficult to wade into the pools, lakes, seas and oceans of blood al Qaeda has created and not be affected.
I want to thank Marvin Hutchens for his tireless work in assembling this presentation. When we first discussed the idea on Friday, we immediately agreed on the vision for this presentation and how we wanted to present it. It is a rare opportunity when two people who have never met or spoke over the phone can seamlessly and effortlessly piece together ideas, images and data to create a presentation on an emotional topic such as this. It has been a pleasure to work with Marvin and I look forward to doing so in the future.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.