Alia Ghanem is the mother of Osama bin Laden, she came from a Syrian family of citrus farmers, with two brothers and another sister, living in two small villages, At the age of 14, she married Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden in Latakia in 1956 and moved to Saudi Arabia with her husband She was the tenth wife of Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden.
Osama bin Laden was her only child with Mohammad bin Laden, and they divorced soon after his birth in 1957. In 1974, when Osama was 18, he married her brother’s daughter, 14-year-old Najwa Ghanem, who had been promised to him.
It has been reported that, in the spring or summer of 2001, Osama bin Laden placed a phone call to his mother and in a “very brief conversation” told her “that he will not be able to call again for a long time,” adding that “great events are about to take place.” Following the September 11 attacks. For years, she has refused to speak about Osama, as has his wider circle of relatives during his two-decade reign as al-Qaida chief.
Hassan, brother of Osama struggles to explain the transformation from religious to the global jihadist. “I am very proud of him in the sense that he was my oldest brother,” he eventually continues. “I don’t think I’m very proud of him as a man though he has taught me a lot.”
The family say they last saw Osama in Afghanistan in 1999, a year in which they visited him twice at his base just outside Kandahar. “It was a place near the airport that they had captured from the Russians,” Ghanem says. “He was very happy to receive us. He was showing us around every day we were there. He killed an animal and we had a feast, and he invited everyone.”
“Everyone who met him in the early days respected him,” says Hassan, picking up the story. “At the start, we were very proud of him. Even the Saudi government would treat him in a very noble, respectful way. And then came Osama the mujahid.”
Bin Laden’s youngest son, 29-year-old Hamza, who is thought to be in Afghanistan. Last year, he was officially designated a “global terrorist” by the US and appears to have taken up the mantle of his father, under the auspices of al-Qaida’s new leader, and Osama’s former deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Hamza was heard saying, ‘I am going to avenge my father.’
Saudi Arabia’s critics have alleged that Osama had state enhance, and the households of quite a lot of 9/11 sufferers have introduced (up to now unsuccessful) felony movements towards the dominion. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers got here from Saudi Arabia.
Saudia Arabia’s allies are positive, however, be offering a observe of warning. The British intelligence officer I spoke to informed me, “If Salman doesn’t smash via, there shall be many extra Osamas. And I’m now not certain they’ll be capable to shake the curse.”