Where Would bin Laden Go?

WASHINGTON, D.C.—If Osama bin Laden splits from Afghanistan, he would most likely to wind up in one of the following regions:

  • Northwest Pakistan, hotbed of jihad training

  • Southern Philippines, but Muslim fundamentalists there deny links to bin Laden and Philippine intelligence has been on top of jihad since first World Trade Center bombing.

  • Chechyna, but it would be difficult to avoid U.S. and Russian scrutiny.

  • Yemen, where he was born and where he has numerous relatives and supporters.

  • Iraq: Bin Laden has met with Iraqi intelligence officials in the past, and Saddam Hussein might think he can use him to stir up rebellion in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Neoconservatives in the U.S. are pushing for a war that reaches far beyond Afghanistan and takes in Iraq. Quoting Israeli intelligence, some in Washington think it was Saddam Hussein who masterminded the WTC attacks. And there is much speculation in Washington that the U.S. military build-up will be deployed against Iraq.

  • Indonesia, where fundamentalists have been moutning demonstrations since the attacks.

    Some speculate bin Laden might go to Iran, but the Iranians have been at war with Afghanistan, and Iran's Shia Muslims are opposed to bin Laden and the Taliban, who are Sunni. In Pakistan, bin Laden is associated with Muslim groups which have killed Iranian diplomats.

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