Did 'Siege of Mecca' Give Birth to Al-Qaida? In November 1979, gunmen in Mecca seized Islam's holiest shrine to proclaim the arrival of the Muslim messiah. It took Saudi forces, aided by French commandos, two weeks to flush the rebels out of Mecca.
NPR logo

Did 'Siege of Mecca' Give Birth to Al-Qaida?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/14623518/14623501" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Did 'Siege of Mecca' Give Birth to Al-Qaida?

Did 'Siege of Mecca' Give Birth to Al-Qaida?

Did 'Siege of Mecca' Give Birth to Al-Qaida?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/14623518/14623501" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In November 1979, gunmen in Mecca seized Islam's holiest shrine to proclaim the arrival of the Muslim messiah. It took Saudi forces, aided by French commandos, two weeks to flush the rebels out of Mecca. Author Yaroslav Trofimov argues that the way the rebellion was quashed helped spawn the birth of al-Qaida. Trofimov discusses his book with Jacki Lyden.

Books Featured In This Story