Abu Ubaidah al-Banshiri
Abu Ubaidah al-Banshiri (Arabic: أبو عبيدة البنشير; May 1950 – May 23, 1996) was the nom de guerre of Ali Amin al-Rashidi (علي أمين الرشيدي), one of the "most capable and popular leaders" of al-Qaeda.
|“||It is as if 100 years were added to my life when I came to Afghanistan||”|
— Abu Ubaidah al-Banshiri
His brother had participated in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat. Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, introduced al-Banshiri to Osama Bin Laden, who was so favorably impressed that he made al-Banshiri military commander of the Afghan Arabs. Al-Bashiri's second in command, was Mohammed Atef. He was shot in the leg during the 1987 Battle of Jaji.
While in Kenya and Tanzania he was known by the aliases Adel Habib, Karim, and Jalal. He married a Kenyan woman, and set up a business in Nairobi importing automobiles from the United Arab Emirates.
At some point al-Banshiri acquired either Dutch citizenship or forged Dutch papers. Prior to 1996, al-Bashiri, Mohammed Atef and Yaseen al-Iraqi aided Enaam Arnaout in purchasing AK-47s and mortar rounds from a Pashtun tribesman named Hajjji Ayoub, and they were subsequently delivered in large trucks to the Jawr and Jihad Wahl training camps.
When the news broke that the ferry MV Bukoba had sunk in Lake Victoria, al-Qaeda sent Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and Wadih el-Hage to the scene, to verify that al-Banshiri had drowned, and had not been murdered.
Al-Banshiri was succeeded as al-Qaeda's "military" commander by another Egyptian ex-policeman, Mohammed Atef, who had been considered his inseparable friend. Al-Banshiri's senior role in East Africa was taken over, at least in part, by Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah.
A poem entitled "Tears in the Eyes of Time" was written about al-Banshiri, commemorating him among the greatest of the "fallen mujahideen". al-Zawahiri recited the poem in his January 2006 internet broadcast.
Notes and references
- Tactical Deception and Strategic Surprise in al-Qai’da’s Operations, Richard H. Shultz and Ruth Margolies Beitler; (other sources agree on his real name)
- 9/11 Commission, "Final Report", p. 65
- Indictment of Enaam Arnaout in 2002, archive at the US Department of Justice; describes the founding of al-Qaeda
- Al-Qaeda gains first members, GlobalSecurity.org
- Abu Ubaidah al-Banshiri, GlobalSecurity.org
- Mansfield, Laura. "His Own Words", p. 27
- Burke, Jason. "al-Qaeda, the true story of radical Islam", p. 106
- Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, Vintage, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4000-3084-2, p. 147
- Bergen, Peter, "The Osama bin Laden I Know', 2006.
- Global Security database on the founding of al-Qaeda
- Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon. "The Age of Sacred Terror", 2002. pp. 130
- Fitzgerald, Patrick J. United States of America v. Enaam M. Arnaout, "Governments Evidentiary Proffer Supporting the Admissibility of Co-Conspirator Statements", before Hon. Suzanne B. Conlon
- Transcript of testimony in the trial of El Hage and others
- Atwan, Abdel Bari. "The Secret History of al-Qaeda", p. 225