A brewing jihad

The general perception is that the global Jihad phenomenon in the modern world started with US geopolitical interests and opportunism backed with financing from the House of Saud to various Islamist militant groups.

This conventional wisdom has permeated because many of the books published in the last few decades on this subject focused on the biographies of Osama bin Laden and his ilk, or discussed the background of al-Qaeda and its founding in relation to Afghan jihad and terrorist attacks in the West.

The modern grand jihad did not start with Afghanistan, nor was it initiated by al-Qaeda. The Meccan rebellion in late 1979 was the first jihadist operation launched by a truly international Islamist group, Juhayman’s Ikhwan. The attempt to take over Mecca failed, and the Saudis executed the rebel leader, Juhayman al-Utyabi, and the self-anointed Mahdi, Muhammad bin Abdallah al Qahtani. Their story did not end there. In fact, it was just the beginning of an endless clash between religious zealots and the rest of the world. Very few understood that the global jihad extends far beyond the Afghan war.