The Siege of Mecca - The Forgotten Uprising in Islam's Holiest Shrine and the Birth of Al Qaeda-logo

The Siege of Mecca - The Forgotten Uprising in Islam's Holiest Shrine and the Birth of Al Qaeda

Yaroslav Trofimov

On November 20, 1979, worldwide attention was focused on Tehran, where the Iranian hostage crisis was entering its third week. The same morning-the first of a new Muslim century-hundreds of gunmen stunned the world by seizing Islam's holiest shrine, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Armed with rifles that they had smuggled inside coffins, these men came from more than a dozen countries, launching the first operation of global jihad in modern times. Led by a Saudi preacher named Juhayman al Uteybi, they believed that the Saudi royal family had become a craven servant of American infidels and sought a return to the glory of uncompromising Islam. With nearly 100,000 worshippers trapped inside the holy compound, Mecca's bloody siege lasted two weeks, inflaming Muslim rage against the United States and causing hundreds of deaths. Despite U.S. assistance, the Saudi royal family proved haplessly incapable of dislodging the occupier, whose ranks included American converts to Islam. In Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini blamed the Great Satan-the United States-for defiling the shrine, prompting mobs to storm and torch American embassies in Pakistan and Libya. The desperate Saudis finally enlisted the help of French commandos led by Captain Paul Barril, who prepared the final assault and supplied the poison gas that knocked out the insurgents. Though most captured gunmen were quickly beheaded, the Saudi royal family responded to this unprecedented challenge by compromising with the rebels' supporters among the kingdom's most senior clerics, helping them nurture and export Juhayman's violent brand of Islam around the world. This dramatic and immensely consequential story was barely covered in the press in the pre-CNN, pre-Al Jazeera days, as Saudi Arabia imposed an information blackout and kept foreign correspondents away. Yaroslav Trofimov now penetrates this veil of silence, interviewing for the first time scores of direct participants in the siege, including former terrorists, and drawing on hundreds of documents that were declassified

On November 20, 1979, worldwide attention was focused on Tehran, where the Iranian hostage crisis was entering its third week. The same morning-the first of a new Muslim century-hundreds of gunmen stunned the world by seizing Islam's holiest shrine, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Armed with rifles that they had smuggled inside coffins, these men came from more than a dozen countries, launching the first operation of global jihad in modern times. Led by a Saudi preacher named Juhayman al Uteybi, they believed that the Saudi royal family had become a craven servant of American infidels and sought a return to the glory of uncompromising Islam. With nearly 100,000 worshippers trapped inside the holy compound, Mecca's bloody siege lasted two weeks, inflaming Muslim rage against the United States and causing hundreds of deaths. Despite U.S. assistance, the Saudi royal family proved haplessly incapable of dislodging the occupier, whose ranks included American converts to Islam. In Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini blamed the Great Satan-the United States-for defiling the shrine, prompting mobs to storm and torch American embassies in Pakistan and Libya. The desperate Saudis finally enlisted the help of French commandos led by Captain Paul Barril, who prepared the final assault and supplied the poison gas that knocked out the insurgents. Though most captured gunmen were quickly beheaded, the Saudi royal family responded to this unprecedented challenge by compromising with the rebels' supporters among the kingdom's most senior clerics, helping them nurture and export Juhayman's violent brand of Islam around the world. This dramatic and immensely consequential story was barely covered in the press in the pre-CNN, pre-Al Jazeera days, as Saudi Arabia imposed an information blackout and kept foreign correspondents away. Yaroslav Trofimov now penetrates this veil of silence, interviewing for the first time scores of direct participants in the siege, including former terrorists, and drawing on hundreds of documents that were declassified
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Description:

On November 20, 1979, worldwide attention was focused on Tehran, where the Iranian hostage crisis was entering its third week. The same morning-the first of a new Muslim century-hundreds of gunmen stunned the world by seizing Islam's holiest shrine, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Armed with rifles that they had smuggled inside coffins, these men came from more than a dozen countries, launching the first operation of global jihad in modern times. Led by a Saudi preacher named Juhayman al Uteybi, they believed that the Saudi royal family had become a craven servant of American infidels and sought a return to the glory of uncompromising Islam. With nearly 100,000 worshippers trapped inside the holy compound, Mecca's bloody siege lasted two weeks, inflaming Muslim rage against the United States and causing hundreds of deaths. Despite U.S. assistance, the Saudi royal family proved haplessly incapable of dislodging the occupier, whose ranks included American converts to Islam. In Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini blamed the Great Satan-the United States-for defiling the shrine, prompting mobs to storm and torch American embassies in Pakistan and Libya. The desperate Saudis finally enlisted the help of French commandos led by Captain Paul Barril, who prepared the final assault and supplied the poison gas that knocked out the insurgents. Though most captured gunmen were quickly beheaded, the Saudi royal family responded to this unprecedented challenge by compromising with the rebels' supporters among the kingdom's most senior clerics, helping them nurture and export Juhayman's violent brand of Islam around the world. This dramatic and immensely consequential story was barely covered in the press in the pre-CNN, pre-Al Jazeera days, as Saudi Arabia imposed an information blackout and kept foreign correspondents away. Yaroslav Trofimov now penetrates this veil of silence, interviewing for the first time scores of direct participants in the siege, including former terrorists, and drawing on hundreds of documents that were declassified

Language:

English

Narrators:

Todd McLaren

Length:

8h 12m


Chapters

Introduction
Introduction

14:37


Chapter 1
Chapter 1

21:59


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

11:26


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

20:08


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

21:08


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

16:31


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

19:53


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

09:02


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

15:05


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

08:10


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

12:25


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

19:30


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

10:15


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

26:32


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

20:51


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

13:31


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

11:25


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

18:49


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

19:51


Chapter 19
Chapter 19

13:05


Chapter 20
Chapter 20

14:22


Chapter 21
Chapter 21

08:02


Chapter 22
Chapter 22

15:24


Chapter 23
Chapter 23

21:17


Chapter 24
Chapter 24

17:40


Chapter 25
Chapter 25

16:36


Chapter 26
Chapter 26

06:59


Chapter 27
Chapter 27

15:58


Chapter 28
Chapter 28

09:18


Chapter 29
Chapter 29

09:23


Chapter 30
Chapter 30

14:36


Chapter 31
Chapter 31

09:31


Chapter 32
Chapter 32

08:50


Chapter 33
Chapter 33

00:23