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Cablegate: Consulate Jeddah

R 240812Z SEP 96
FM AMCONSUL JEDDAH
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 0191
INFO AMCONSUL DHAHRAN
AMEMBASSY RIYADH

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JEDDAH 000948

E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR TAGS: PTER PINR SA

1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY C0NSUL D0UGLAS NEUMANN. REAS0N: 1.5(D)

------- SUMMARY -------

2. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX BIN LADEN TOLD THE AMBASSAD0R THAT XXXXXXXXXXXX USAMA WAS A SIMPLE PERS0N EASILY INFLUENCED BY OTHERS. HE LEFT THE FAMILY BUSINESSES AB0UT TEN YEARS AG0 AFTER A DISPUTE 0VER WORKING WITH BANKS AND M0VED TO AFGHANISTAN, WHERE HE WAS "BRAINWASHED" BY EXTREMIST EGYPTIANS. HE MAINTAINS N0 FINANCIAL LINKS T0 THE BIN LADENS AND, ACC0RDING T0 XXXXXXXXXXXX, LIVED OFF OF LITTLE M0NEY WHILE IN THE SUDAN BEYOND WHAT HE C0ULD EARN FR0M PR0JECTS DIRECTED HIS WAY BY THE G0VERNMENT. N0W THAT HE HAS RETURNED T0 AFGHANISTAN, USAMA IS NEAR THE END 0F THE ROAD, FELT XXXXXXXXXXXX. HE RECENTLY SENT WORD T0 HIS FAMILY THAT HE WAS WILLING T0 RETURN T0 SAUDI ARABIA, IF THE BIN LADENS W0ULD HELP SEEK THE RELEASE 0F CERTAIN P0LITICAL PRIS0NERS. THE FAMILY REFUSED. "HE IS FINISHED," XXXXXXXXXXXX SAID. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------- A PERSON 0PEN T0 SUGGESTI0N ---------------------------

3. (C) IN A MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR ON SEPTEMBER 17, XXXXXXXXXXXX DISC0URSED FREELY AB0UT HI8 N0T0RI0US XXXXXXXXXXXX USAMA. XXXXXXXXXXXX COMMENTED THAT AB0UT HALF OF HIS FATHER8 FIFTY-FOUR CHILDREN 8TUDIED ABR0AD. TH0SE THAT REMAINED IN SAUDI ARABIA TEND T0 HAVE A MORE C0NSERVATIVE 0UTL00K 0N LIFE; USAMA WAS 0NE 0F THESE.

4. (C) USAMAS M0THER IS SYRIAN. HE I8 THE 0NLY CHILD SHE BORE DURING HER MARRIAGE WITH M0HAMMED BIN LADEN (ALTHOUGH SHE HAD 0THER CHILDREN BY A PREVIOUS MARRIAGE). XXXXXXXXXXXX C0NSIDERED USAMA T0 BE A SIMPLE THINKER EASILY INFLUENCED BY THE IDEAS 0F 0THERS. THIS MADE HIM SUSCEPTIBLE T0 EXTREMIST RELIGI0US IDEA8, WHICH XXXXXXXXXXXX TH0UGHT HAD BEEN SPREAD AM0NG THE SAUDI PE0PLE BY "F0REIGN AGENTS".

5. (C) THE BIN LADEN FAMILY LEARNED THAT U8AMA WAS PICKING UP UNUSUAL IDEAS ABOUT TEN YEARS AG0 WHILE HE STILL WORKED IN 0NE 0F THE FAMILY BUSINESSES. AT THAT TIME HE PROTESTED TO 0NE OF HIS BROTHERS AB0UT THE BIN LADENS DEALINGS WITH BANKS, WHICH USAMA C0NSIDERED T0 BE UN-ISLAMIC. THE BR0THER DISMISSED HIS C0MPLAINTS, S0 USAMA LEFT THE C0MPANY AND M0VED TO AFGHANISTAN.

6. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX NOTED THAT USAMA HAD FREQUENTLY VI8ITED AFGHANISTAN EVEN BEF0RE HI8 M0VE. THERE HE J0INED UP WITH EGYPTIAN EXTREMISTS, WH0 "BRAINWA8HED" HIM AND INTR0DUCED HIM T0 THE TACTICS 0F TERR0RI8M. XXXXXXXXXXXX FELT THAT THESE EXTREMISTS WERE ONLY INTERESTED IN XXXXXXXXXXXXBECAUSE HE BEARS THE PRESTIGI0U8 BIN LADEN NAME.

------------------------------------- N0 FINANCIAL TIES WITH THE BIN LADEN8 -------------------------------------

7. (C) THE AMBASSAD0R A8KED WHETHER USAMA C0NTINUED T0 MAINTAIN FINANCIAL LINKS T0 THE BIN LADENS. USAMA HAD N0 STAKE IN THE SAUDI BIN LADEN GR0UP (THE C0MPANY ESTABLISHED BY THE S0NS 0F M0HAMMED BIN LADEN) XXXXXXXXXXXX REPLIED. HE D0E8 HAVE THE RIGHT T0 A SHARE IN HIS FATHERS BUSINESS, THE MOHAMMED BIN LADEN C0MPANY, BUT ONLY IF HE RETURNS T0 THE KINGD0M. H0WEVER USAMAS LIQUID ASSETS WERE FR0ZEN BY THE SAUDI G0VERNMENT WHEN THEY STRIPPED HIM OF HIS CITIZENSHIP.

8. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX CLAIMED THAT USAMA HAD LITTLE M0NEY WHILE LIVING IN SUDAN. THE SUDANI GOVERNMENT 8UPP0RTED HIM BY PASSING R0AD CONSTRUCTION AND FARMING PROJECTS HI8 WAY. XXXXXXXXXXXX ALS0 SUSPECTED THAT IRAN FUNNELED M0NEY T0 HIM THR0UGH MIDDLEMEN, 8INCE USAMA W0ULD N0T 0PENLY MAINTAIN TIES WITH A SHIA G0VERNMENT.

9. (C) ACCORDING TO XXXXXXXXXXXX, INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE AND INTEREST IN BETTER COMMERCIAL RELATI0NS WITH SAUDI ARABIA C0MPELLED SUDAN T0 ASK USAMA T0 LEAVE. HIS RETURN T0 AFGHANISTAN HAS MADE HIM VULNERABLE, XXXXXXXXXXXX TH0UGHT; USAMA I8 N0 LONGER PROTECTED BY THE SUDANI GOVERNMENT AND CAN N0W BE REACHED BY HIS ENEMIES. "HE IS FINISHED," XXXXXXXXXXXX SAID.

-------------------------- N0 C0NTACT WITH THE FAMILY --------------------------

10. (C) IN RESP0NSE T0 A QUESTI0N FR0M THE AMBASSAD0R, XXXXXXXXXXXX STATED THAT THE BIN LADENS ARE N0 L0NGER IS IN DIRECT C0NTACT WITH USAMA. IN THE PAST HE COMMUNICATED WITH HIS M0THER DURING HER FREQUENT STAYS IN SYRIA. THE FAMILY LAST ATTEMPTED T0 REAS0N WITH HIM THR0UGH A 90-YEAR-0LD UNCLE RESIDING IN MEDINA.

11. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX TH0UGHT THAT USAMA WAS APPROACHING THE END OF THE ROAD. HE HAD RECENTLY SENT WORD TO THE FAMILY 0F HIS WILLINGNESS TO RETURN T0 SAUDI ARABIA, ON C0NDITION THAT THE BIN LADENS HELP OBTAIN THE FREED0M 0F CERTAIN POLITICAL PRIS0NERS IN THE KINGDOM. XXXXXXXXXXXX SAID THAT THE FAMILY REJECTED THIS REQUEST.

------- C0MMENT -------

12. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX HAS NEVER BEF0RE SPOKEN S0 FREELY WITH A USG 0FFICIAL AB0UT HIS INFAM0US XXXXXXXXXXXX; WHENEVER THE C0NVERSATI0N STRAYED, HE BROUGHT IT BACK T0 USAMA. IN THIS FIRST MEETING WITH THE AMBASSAD0R, XXXXXXXXXXXX APPEARED T0 BE TAKING PAINS TO DEM0NSTRATE THAT USAMA, WITH NO FULL BIN LADEN BR0THERS OR FINANCIAL INTEREST IN THE SAUDI BIN LADEN GR0UP, REMAINED AN ISOLATED FIGURE IN HIS FAMILY.

BUCK

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