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United States' strongest allies in west Asia are Turkey (which is a member of NATO), Israel (to whom it gives billions of dollars of military and non-military aid annually), and Egypt. The U.S. also has military bases in Saudi Arabia (and more; where?).

1954-1979: United States back's Shah of Iran's dictatorship.

1967-: United States formally calls on Israel to withdraw from land taken in 1967 war (Gaza Strip, West Bank, Golan Heights), but blocks all serious efforts to do so.

1972: World Trade Center/North Tower is completed.

1973: World Trade Center/South Tower is completed.

1979: A communist government comes to power in Afghanistan, has Soviet backing. United States and Pakistan support the mujahadeen militarily in opposition (secretly at first), then the Soviet Union invades and gets involved in a long, fruitless war. Osama bin Laden gets involved through the Saudi Arabian government.

1983 United States troops go to Lebanon as part of United Nations peace-keeping force, end up taking sides, and withdraw after barracks bombing.

1980-1988: United States backs Iraq in long and bloody Iran-Iraq War. U.S. blocks Security Council resolutions condemning the Iraqi invasion, removes Iraq from its list of nations sponsoring terrorism, allows transfer if U.S. arms, re-establishes diplomatic relations, etc.

1987 U.S. sends navy to Persian Gulf to protect oil tankers, and show support for Iraq. One ship shoots down an Iranian civilian airplane, killing hundreds.

1989 Osama bin founds Al-Qaida. Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan. The United States ceases support. A government forms, but civil war among many factions ensues, some backed by Pakistan and other outsiders.

1990-1991: Gulf War -- Iraq invades Kuwait. International coalition led by the United States expels Iraq and restores the Kuwaiti monarchy. Saddam Hussein remains in power in Iraq. U.S. and allied forces keep new military bases in the region. Osama bin Laden, outraged by infidel presence in Saudi Arabia (home to two holy cities -- Mecca and Medina), and turns completely against the United States.

The United States and allies have since patrolled no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq. Economic sanctions against Iraq also continue, in an unsuccessful effort to compel Iraq to implement ceasefire agreements. Over a million Iraqi deaths have been blamed on the effects of these sanctions.

1992: Cold War ends with the Soviet Union splitting apart into republics.

February 26, 1993: 1993 World Trade Center bombing: A team allegedly backed by Osama bin Laden planted a van bomb in the World Trade Center, which exploded in the underground garage of the north tower. Six(?) people were killed and over a thousand injured. Six Islamic extremist conspirators were convicted of the crime in 1997.

1994: Osama bin Laden's Saudi Arabian citizenship revoked. He goes to Sudan.

November 13, 1995: A bomb at United States military headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia kills five Americans (other casualties?).

1996: The Taliban (some of them former mujahadeen) take the capitol Kabul and most of Afghanistan and form a government. The extreme Islamist regime is recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Osama bin Laden arrives from Sudan. The part of the country not under Taliban control remains under the Northern Alliance, made up of other mujahadeen, and Afghan minorities (the Taliban who are Afghani are mainly the majority Pashtun).

June 1996: A bomb at United States military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, kills 19 people and injures 500.

February 1998: Osama bin Laden and other Islamic extremists issue a fatwa declaring it the religious duty of all Muslims "to kill the Americans and their allies - civilians and military ... in any country in which it is possible." Bin Laden bases the fatwa on the United States support for Israel and its actions during and following the Gulf War.

August 7, 1998: bombings of the United States embassies in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. Over 200 people died in these attacks, which the United States has linked to Osama bin Laden.

August 21, 1998: The United States destroys a pharmaceutical plant (erroneously believed to be a chemical weapons plant) in Sudan with cruise missiles, and tries to kill bin Laden in a cruise missile attack on his camp in Afghanistan, during a meeting of "terrorist leaders". Twenty-four people were killed, but the leaders had dispersed by the time the missiles struck, and bin Laden was unharmed. The United States blocks a United Nations investigation into the Sudan attack.

October 1998: Iraq ejects United Nations monitoring teams, some of whose U.S. members were apparently spying for the United States. U.S. and Great Britain start bombing again, continuing to present.

1999: Drought in Afghanistan begins.

October 2000: USS Cole bombing, also tied to Osama bin Laden.

late 2000: Israeli peace process falls apart, regular violence resumes.

May 2001: United States gives $43 million to the Taliban for reducing poppy production (poppies are the source of heroin).

September 9, 2001: Taliban assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud, military leader of the the Northern Alliance Afghani opposition (he dies of the wounds September 13).

Timeline of the attack and since

September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack - Full Timeline
In Memoriam - Casualties - Missing Persons - Survivors - Personal experiences
Give Blood - Donations - Assistance - Closings and Cancellations - Memorials and Services
US Governmental Response - Responsibility - Hijackers - World political effects - World economic effects

See also: World Trade Center -- Pentagon -- New York City -- Washington, D.C. -- AA Flight 11 -- UA Flight 75 -- AA Flight 77 -- UA Flight 93 -- U.S. Department of Defense -- terrorism -- domestic terrorism -- Islamism -- Osama bin Laden -- Al-Qaida -- Taliban -- Northern Alliance -- Afghanistan -- collective trauma -- September 11


External Links and References

HISTORY: For Ages, Afghanistan Is Not Easily Conquered, New York Times, 9/18/2001

Millions of shares sold before disaster, London Times, 9/18/2001]

TIME Primer on Taliban and Afghanistan