Why Blame Yemen?

Issue 2

May 8, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is Saudi Arabian not Yemeni

By Hassan Al-Haifi

Whenever any news of the late Osama Bin Laden. former founder and head of the Al-Qaeda Organization, is given in the media, it is always mentioned that his origins are from Yemen.  The fact that OBL was born and raised in Saudi Arabia and hails from a wealthy family of Saudi Arabian nationality, albeit of ancestral linkage to Yemen, is hardly given any relevance.  The important thing is that he has Yemeni origins and Saudi Arabia is of no significance to the man, who enjoyed the reputation of the most wanted man in the world.

The truth of the matter is that there are many prominent families in Saudi Arabia with ancestral linkages to other countries, such as the Al-Jawis, Al-Maghribis, Al-Amoudis, Al-Sudanis, Ben Mahfouz, Al-Masris, Al-Baghdadis, Al-Shamis, Al-Ajamis, etc. They range from Indonesians, to Moroccans to Syrians, to Persians to Turks, etc. In Saudi Arabia one should expect to find people with origins to many different former homelands, especially in the Moslem World, whose parents, grandparents or ancestors either came to Mecca for the piligrimage rites (Fifth Pillar of Islam).  For different reasons (illness, poverty, desire to settle in the Holy Land. eetc.) They and their descendants mostly settled in the Hijaz, or the Western strip of plateus that extends from Asir in the South, northeasterly to Tabuk atop the Red Sea, in which the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina, and the more cosmopolitan Jedda Ports were found.  With the Ottoman Empire still pretty much in control of the Middle East region, such relocation and resettlement was rather easy as all Moslems were considered home wherever they went in the Ottoma Empire.  There were many Yemenis, especially from the Wadi Hadhramaut (Hadhramaut Governorate), who have a long histori of emigration to many distant lands including Indonesia and the Far East (Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand).  There they were able to propogate Islam (peacefully) and eventually got most of the paganic population there to adopt Islam.  The case of the Philippines was different on account of the Jesuit Spanish implementation of the Spansih Inquisition with vigor (Christian Catholicism or death to both Moslems and remaining pagans, when the Archipelago became Spanish colonial territory  applicvation of the Spani where significant Moslem populations existed (the ones in the Philippines were eliminated by the Spanish Inquisition that was applied there with vigor, when Spain colonized the Philippines Archipelago. 

Many Hadhramis, especially in the early and mid Twentieth Century, began a progressively increasing tendency of Yemenis to emigrate to Saudi Arabia, mainly for improving their economic lots.  Yemen (in both the northern independent Kingdom and .later republic and the southern Colony of Aden and the surrounding “protectorates”) was under extremely poor economic conditions.  Saudi Arabia was just emerging as a major oil producer.  The vast majority of these emigrants to Saudi Arabia were neither founders or even members of any dubious informal paramilitary organization such as Al-Qaeda, whose legal and institutional status remains clearly undefined: place of origin, institutional framework, legal framework, financial support and management, political goals and objectives, etc.  In fact most Hadhramis, including the other children and grandchildren of Mohammed Bin Laden, the patriarch of the family are bona fide citzedns of Saudi Arabia of good standing.  Yet, still, why must the ancestral home of OBL be cited and the real place of Osama’s birth, education, and religious nurturing is in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, and had harldy any influence from his ancestral home.  His religious education was more Wahhabi/Salafi oriented and was not the product of any Yemeni religious institution, Sunni or Shi’a.  So why is none of this ever cited by journalists, especially in mainstream US and British media?  This question has often arose in this observer’s mind as one tries to keep track of all the news written, or reported by Americna, and right wing British media (newspapers, TV and radio, etc.).  One is almost inclined to believe that the Saudis pressure or persuade these media challnesl to avoid mentioning Sauid Arabia whenever discussing OBL.  That is why, this ovserver believes it is imperative that Saudi Arabia begins to take more of the blame for breeding terrorism, throghh extreme Wahhabi doctrine and through the different institutions that teach this relatively obscure sect of Islam, which was founded in the Eighteenth Century in Najd, the in the northeastern desert of what is now Saudi Arabia.  The birthplace, education and religious teachings of OBL all originate in Saudi Arabia.  In fact OBL never even entered Yemen, although he did marry from Yemen, when he was already in Afghanistan in the Year 2000.  Thus Bin Laden’s association is fictitious and suspicious indeed.  Perhaps, it was the Saudis, who always threw their garbage to Yemen to cover up for their million and one faults. It is also a probability that a new place was being sought for western adventurism of the likes of Iraq, God forbid, but nevertheless should not be discounted.  In this case, we would like the United States to take back their Anwar Awlaki.

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