Talk:Al-Qaeda/Archive 1

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Of the various spellings given, which is the preferred transliteration of the Arabic? What is the most accurate pronunciation? (I've heard people pronounce it "al-kay-da", "al-kwai-da" and "al-ka-ee-da".) -- SJK

well, NOT al-kwai-da. I've heard both of the other two from people who ought to have checked. Most of the correspondents reporting from Afghanistan (and notice how lots of the Arabic speakers seem to say "af-wan-iss-tan"?) seem to be saying "al-kay-da" or "al-kai-da". Oh, and, as someone who regularly teaches history of Islamic art and architecture, there is no single 'preferred' transliteration. There are several transliteratin schemes operating inside the art and architecture journal style sheets alone! The Library of Congress system seems to be overtaking the English-language scholarship for Arabic, but I read a despairing note just last week about the lack of any standardization for Turkish. One thing to remember is that despite the single name, Arabic has many dialects; there are different regional variations on proper names, too; all of that comes through in transliteration. *sigh* --MichaelTinkler.

The linked page alleging Carter's funding of al-Qaida is a political advocacy page, not news or scholarship. Moreover it does not mention al-Qaida, though it does drop the name of Osama bin Laden. If a more accurate source cannot be found, then the allegation "Carter funded al-Qaida" should be removed, as it directly invites a libel suit against Wikipedia. --FOo

I fail to see how a link to an external site could remotely be considered libellous, although US law may be different. It is worth a look at nevertheless, and maybe someone more clued up on US legislation might like to give this some thought. I am moreover not remotely sure whether an accusation which has been levelled and not refuted in public on numerous occasions is likely to attract that much attention for fairly obvious reasons. user:sjc
Sjc, you didn't merely link to an external site. You edited the main text of the page so that it asserts that Carter and Brzezinski funded the creation of al-Qaida. I'm as opposed to U.S. funding of violent groups as anyone, but this accusation is not substantiated. Indeed, even the linked Zmag page -- which is a political advocacy article, not a piece of news or scholarship -- does not make that specific claim (it says the CIA recruited "'freedom fighters' like Osama bin Laden") and therefore really can't be stood upon as a defense of it.
As for whether or not a possibly libelous claim would "attract enough attention" to actually result in a libel suit -- I can't see how it matters. We are building an encyclopedia here. Encyclopedias do not libel, even if they think they can get away with it.
Mind you, I'm not saying the claim is wrong. It wouldn't surprise me one bit. But when Wikipedia makes an allegation that a public figure committed a wrong he is not widely acknowledged to have committed, we must back that allegation up. Otherwise, we are not encyclopedists; we are libellors or at best conspiracy-theorists. --FOo
PS. The funding of the mujaheddin, al-Quaida and the Taleban was the cornerstone of American foreign policy in Afghanistan in the wake of the Soviet invasion. user:sjc
I agree with the claim that the American government funded the mujahedin, whose movement led into the Taliban regime and the al-Qaida organization. That is not, however, the same as the claim that the American government funded al-Qaida. --FOo

Iran never supported the Mujaheddin or helped fund them in any way!


I think we should take some care in our use of the phrase "Al Qaeda terrorist organisation", and of our use of similar phrases like "high-ranking member of al-Qaeda", which imply things about the organisational structure of al Qaeda that I'm not sure are true. Personally I know next to nothing about the organisational structure of al Qaeda, and it seems to me that before we go labelling it an organisation with membership, we should try to establish a little better what it actually looks like.

For example, is Abu Zubaydah really bin Laden's "lieutenant" (or some similar formal post), or does the State Department just like to use this phrase because it implies that bin Laden places a lot of trust and responsibility in Abu Zubaydah's hands because he's a reliable guy? This is an important distinction, because if al Qaeda is not so much an organisation as it is a circle of trust and interconnecting working relationships (i.e., a network), then we should refrain from using language that implies a rigid hierarchy and an elaborate organisational structure. Unless we can establish, somehow, that there is, in fact, such a hierarchy at work. Graft


In many cases, Ive seen arguments which effectively say : you cant include that fact, because it belongs in another context. An example is the Raelism article, where cloning claims are handled in a discorporate way, on the Clonaid article. This practice is only misleading: There is no limitation on used space in a web environment, save bandwidth and server requirements - hardly affecting of how articles should be edited ..

But that the US supported the Mujaheddin, and not Al-Quaeda: Saying that no reference to US funding, as a part of Al-Quaeda's history is relevant on the Al-Quaeda article, is flawed thinking at best. It rather comes from a defensiveness of Western interests (most of us belong to Western Societies), and a popular element that believes that "it doesnt help" to make these contentious issues clearer, in any way. "They know what they are doing" in otherwords, referring to the propagandists who think this way to begin with.

Its ok to be redundant - having some of the same info on more than one article. In fact , if we werent redundant, every article would be chopped up into tiny little bits, linking to something else ( in a different direction ), which isnt conductive to good reading.

Al-Quaeda's history in the Mujaheddin is relevant to include in part. Which parts, shouldnt be so much an issue. The fact that people object to associating US funding of Mujaheddin on the Al-Quaeda page is similar to Raelians objecting to putting ( debunked ) claims of cloning on the Raelism page: Its the effort to divide the pie in one way, the way that least challenges the other facts... This is a rampant syndrome, present in all aspects of articles on the Middle East Oil-based conflicts, (of which this is a part), and it amounts to a kind of censorship, when people remove these... thorny facts. -Love, Stevert

--- Removed this from the page:

One of his al-Qaida related organisations fought alongside the Taliban, helping it to occupy nearly 90% of Afghanistan by 2000.

This conflicts with information from fas.org, which says that the taliban may have in fact waged a campaign against the "afghan arabs", attempted to assassinate bin Laden several times, and eventually put him under house arrest. Cite for this before it goes back into the article, and a clearer picture of the relationship between bin Laden and the Taliban is necessary.

In general a lot of the "attacks" need to be either more fleshed out or cited better. Personally I'm not willing to take the word of intelligence agencies and the like at face value. When the U.S. government claims to have foiled hundreds of al-Qaida attacks, I am a bit dubious, given their history. If the sources for all the information regarding these attacks and foiled-attacks is only the claims of intelligence agencies and security forces, it should be HEAVILY qualified to make this clear. It's certainly not "neutral" otherwise. Graft


Re: the removal of the Sudan bombing - i'm not going to defend it too heavily, because I think the whole passage sucks, is basically personal opinion, and probably needs to go/be drastically reworked. But, in any case, could you give some links showing no medicine shortage as a result? All the reports I can find say that 60-70% of the medicine, and nearly all of the vet meds that Sudan produced came from that plant. This says that as a result of the bombing a malaria epidemic arose. I read the newcriterion.com chomsky-bashing article, which was very thorough, but I haven't found any confirmation of that writer's point re: Sudan.

Here is part of a letter to clinton by HRW:

Finally, we wish to draw your attention once more to the famine gripping southern Sudan, where the U.N. estimates that 2.4 million people are at risk of starvation. Unfortunately for this devastated population, the U.S. bombing has had the unintended effect of leading to a disruption in assistance. For instance, all U.N. agencies based in Khartoum have evacuated their American staff, as have many other relief organizations. As a result, many relief efforts have been postponed indefinitely, including a crucial one run by the U.S.-based International Rescue Committee in the government garrison town of Wau in southern Sudan, where more than fifty southerners are dying daily. We urge you to remain mindful of this terrible crisis as you continue to assess U.S. policy in Sudan.

So, while Chomsky may be wrong about the particulars (i.e. the german ambassador wasn't a good source), I think it's fair to say the distruction of the factory and subsequent sanctions had negative impacts on the population, as confirmed by welfare agencies. Graft 21:49 31 May 2003 (UTC)


A request for help - I take serious issue with the word "linked" that is used in this article and in other associated articles, primarily because it is language frequently bandied about by the American government. When I hear this word, it says to me, "We want you to believe that Osama bin Laden is associated with X group, but we can't prove it, so we'll just say they're 'linked'." Jema'ah Islamiya is a case in point. There are many ways in which they might be "linked" to al-Qaida. For example, they might receive financial support from them. People from al-Qaida might visit and share thoughts with JI members. They might receive actual directions on operations, or only directions on long-term goals. They might receive no direction, financial support, or expert advice, but share only a common ideology/sympathize with each other. All of these can be called "linked".

I therefore consider this a very loaded term, and I do not think it is NPOV. We should remove it or clarify it (i.e., elucidate what kind of links we're talking about) where it is made use of in articles discussing terrorist or Islamist groups. No need to adopt the language of propaganda agencies.

Am I off the mark on this? Graft 23:45 14 Jun 2003 (UTC)


can someone incorporate this news story into this article? [1] Kingturtle 05:37, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)


This BBC news story [2] indicated that Al-Qaida was formed in 1979, not 1988 as the article says.

A matter of interpretation, and maybe propaganda. "Al-Qaida" might be bin Laden's international terror organization, or it might be the resting house from which that organization evolved. In any event, the Al-Qaida the International Terror Organization did not form in 1979, and probably shouldn't be considered especially active even in 1988, although that's a fine date to set the inception of the international terror organization - I think the article works as it stands. Graft 20:56, 8 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I brought this issue up before, but Kwantus' link to to this article prompts me to raise it again:

What is our philosophy on how we write about al-Qaida? The U.S. government presents a picture of al-Qaida as a terror organization, with some sort of internal hierarchy, structure, communications protocol, etc. But adopting this point of view may not be neutral: we have no evidence, really, that al-Qaida is not just a "bunch of guys" who are all committed to attacking western targets and communicate their ideas and share resources on an ad-hoc basis. After all, the name is not self-designated; we shouldn't try to reify something by labeling it if it's not a real thing.

Your thoughts? Graft 20:19, 16 Sep 2003 (UTC)