Geronimo : What if Osama Bin Laden was killed prior to 9/11?

Bush wins in 04 (Edwards gets the nomination and all the scandals become public), recession still happens in 08 and the dems get an even bigger majority than OTL?
Edwards was a sleazy lawyer but apparently he didn’t sleep around until Rielle Hunter in ‘08 - so there’s not many scandals on him before then, really
I always figured it would've made way more sense for Hillary to be the '04 front runner instead of Gore, personally.
Eh, there's always 2008. That's assuming Bush wins a second term in this timeline or not. If Gore or whatever Democrat defeats Bush in 2004, they'll probably run again in 2008 and Clinton will probably wait it out until 2012.
I always figured it would've made way more sense for Hillary to be the '04 front runner instead of Gore, personally.
It would have also made sense in OTL for Clinton to have run, what dissuaded her was a mix of Bush's popularity, but also the inevitable accusation that she was too inexperienced (not yet having served her full Senate term), perhaps she may have even run ITTL if Gore didn't jump in.
It would have also made sense in OTL for Clinton to have run, what dissuaded her was a mix of Bush's popularity, but also the inevitable accusation that she was too inexperienced (not yet having served her full Senate term), perhaps she may have even run ITTL if Gore didn't jump in.
She also explicitly promised not to run before finishing her term, and in 2002-2003 Bush was still very popular.
Will in this story the:
Montenegrin coup plot: On 16 October 2016 a Montenegrin attempted coup by Main Intelligence Directorate agents and pro-Russian organisations from Serbia and Montenegro against the government of Milo Đukanović on the day of the parliamentary election.
A coup d'état plot was foiled in Austria in April. The leader Monika Unger and others were arrested after they tried to organise an army-led coup.
The alleged 2007 Laotian coup d'état plan was a conspiracy allegation by the United States Department of Justice that Lt. Col. Harrison Jack (Ret.) and former Royal Lao Army Major General Vang Pao, among others conspired in June 2007 to obtain large amounts of heavy weapons and ammunition to overthrow the Communist government of Laos in violation of the Neutrality Act.The charges were ultimately dropped and the case helped serve to further highlight, instead, major human rights violations by the Lao government against the Hmong ethnic minority, Laotian refugees, and political dissidents.
Part 32: Speedbumps

Since the end of formal peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine in the 90s, there had been a rise in violence between Palestinian militants and Israeli security forces, the conflict known as the Second Intifada. The international community had come together to create a new formula for peace, called the Roadmap for Peace, built by members of the Supernational Quartet consisting of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. Negotiations between Israel and Palestine remained halted for a long time, as sporadic violence interrupted both sides' ability (or desire) to come to the table. There also remained considerable disagreement between factions of both the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority on how talks should proceed. The two main areas of conflict were Israel’s position on withdrawing from the disputed territories and the continued construction of Israeli settlements inside Palestinian territory, and the Palestinian groups were divided between the more moderate leadership associated with Fatah and the growing more militant and Islamist faction associated with Hamas. Despite the factionalism, the Palestinian groups took the major first step when they all uniformly declared a ceasefire against Israel in the summer of 2003 and pledged to keep the ceasefire alive as long as Israel met certain conditions to halt aggression, cease settlement construction and begin the military withdrawal from the Palestinian territory.
With the Palestinian declaration, an uneasy peace settled but eyes quickly turned on the Israeli government to see what (if any) concessions it would be willing to make, after some disagreements the Israeli government endorsed the ‘Roadmap’ and re-entered direct dialogue with the Palestinian government. At last, the ball finally began rolling again. But there were clearly still hurdles ahead, the Israeli government failed to commit to withdrawing to its pre-2000 boundaries or dismantling settlements. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon nicknamed ‘the father of settlements’ did however make a surprising turn, urged by U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Sharon appeared to firmly commit to the roadmap calling the current Israeli policy of pseudo-occupation unsustainable "You cannot like the word, but what is happening is an occupation -- to hold 3.5 million Palestinians under occupation. I believe that is a terrible thing for Israel and for the Palestinians," And he began proposing a freeze of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. These decisions of both paramount Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon were met with cautious eyes by their respective publics as most Palestinians and Israelis were sceptical of the roadmap, and occasional low-level violence threatened to upend either side's cautious manoeuvres.


Palestinian leader Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Sharon

There were clear issues, there was yet to be a firm decision from Israel to progress down the roadmap, and commit to pulling back settlements and withdrawing out of Palestinian territory, and it seemed to many that Israel was slowly withdrawing from the negotiations and was not keen to settle core issues with Palestine. Some saw it leaning more into a permanent separation policy rather than settled peace, the government claimed it was thoroughly following the plan but as some military outposts were removed, more were raised, and though raids into Palestine decreased, the number of roadblocks went up, and rather than the immediate release of 700 Palestinian prisoners held without charges, the Israelis drip fed them out. The Palestinians and the negotiators were growing frustrated with Israel’s tactics and President Bush penned a letter to Sharon expressing frustration that Israel wasn’t meeting its commitments to withdraw, many pondered if Sharon had any faith in the initiative, to begin with. The International Quartet held a press conference that put forward a simple demand “in accordance with the Roadmap, settlement activity must stop.”.

Criticism of Israel by the U.S. government and the Quartet's role in negotiations was abruptly halted by heightened tensions due to the Iraqi disarmament crisis, as the United States combed middle eastern states for support should an invasion of Iraq become necessary. but come the winter of 2003 as tensions between the United States and Iraq began to fade the question of Israeli intransigence re-emerged. The Sharon government finally released its plan, unilateral disengagement from Gaza including the relocation of settlements inside Gaza. The disengagement plan also made smaller commitments to pull some settlers from the west bank. It was an ominous step, and far from anyone’s preferred outcome, neither the Israeli hawks nor doves, the Palestinian leadership or hardliners were at all enthused by the move and even some Israeli government ministers such as finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu were publically disapproving and demanded the government hold a referendum to decide on the issue. The Palestinians viewed Sharon’s moves with suspicion, his refusal to progress the roadmap totally, and fully commit to the formation of a Palestinian state was notable as well as the lack of a withdrawal around Jerusalem. Foreign policy analysts noted that the removal of the settlements may have more to do with security policy rather than humanitarian ones or to cool western tempers (The disengagement plan was paired with the rerouting of the construction path of the west bank barrier, a sticking point for humanitarian groups) but the United States and the greater quartet welcomed the manoeuvre none the less "This initiative, which must lead to a full Israeli withdrawal and the complete end of occupation in Gaza, it can be a step towards achieving the two-state vision and could aid progress on the road map," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. The Palestinian and Israeli decisions didn’t inspire much optimism, but they at least allowed for a more peaceful interim and constituted what is generally considered the end of the second Intifada.


Second Intifada Wiki Box

The month of February was the tensest for the remaining Democratic contestants, 10 states and the District of Columbia would be hosting their contests, and both primaries and caucuses were spread across the calendar. Coming out of January, two candidates had emerged with a stronger hand. Former Vice President Al Gore and North Carolinian Senator John Edwards were the two favourites going head-to-head for the Democratic nomination, it was a classic matchup between the experienced establishment Gore, with 30 years of military, legislative and executive experience, including already winning the Democratic nomination only to be denied the Presidency by a heavily scrutinised supreme court decision 4 years ago. Compared to the young upstart Junior Senator John Edwards Who the Gore campaign in 2000 had seriously considered as a VP candidate. There was no clear political division between the two men, and both held traditional New Democratic values. But there were differences between the two when it came to some social, economic and defence issues. Gore’s stance had shifted from his time as a Tennessee Southern Democrat broadly conservative on the issues to broadly liberal, critics accused the vice president of flip-flopping on the issue, shifting his views to suit the voters while his defenders noted that the whole countries views had shifted ''There are lots of people who would now be regarded as pro-choice as they come, who voted very similarly to Al Gore in the mid-1980s,'' said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York. Edwards touted his pro-choice bona fides, his 100% pro-choice voting record, compared to Gore’s 84% and noted that unlike Gore he had been a steadfast opponent of the conservatives’ attacks on abortion rights including late-term abortions. The other major social issue of gay rights was more complicated between the candidates, their official views were one and the same, that they personally supported civil unions and not gay marriage but supported a state’s rights to define marriage (an issue sparked by Massachusetts legalisation) However Gore had made several comments that went further than his official view and even indicated personal support for gay marriage. The notable disagreement on the defence issue stemmed from the Iraqi disarmament crisis, both Gore and Edwards though in opposition to the President's overall strategy and neither ruled out a unilateral strike against Iraq, had struck different tones on the issue. Gore had been front and centre in his opposition to an invasion of Iraq the previous year and vowed to continue the containment policy. He said that the system of sanctions, no-fly zones and military strikes was successful under the Clinton administration and would continue to work. Edwards took a more hawkish stance and emphasized his commitment to the Iraqi Liberation Act, which made removing the Saddam regime part of American foreign policy. Their economic policies were the biggest difference, Gore represented the continuation of New Democratic liberalism, prioritizing eliminating debt and strengthening the social safety net to help those in need and pull people out of poverty. Edwards however diverted from the New Democratic economic agenda, his campaign was more class centred, his stump speech was about the ’two Americas’ “the America of the privileged and the wealthy, and the America of those who lived from pay check to pay check” he emphasised more economic intervention than Gore including raising the minimum wage and emphasized the importance of unions (a key voting group that won him Missouri) and criticised, businesses and trade deals for outsourcing jobs, said trade deals being achievements of the Clinton-Gore administration.


Former Vice President Al Gore and North Carolina Senator John Edwards

The three other candidates were Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, civil rights activist Al Sharpton and Ohio representative Dennis Kucinich. The only one with some lingering promise was the Kerry campaign. The runner-up in Iowa and winner in New Hampshire was a liberal war hero, well-educated and eloquent, many agreed he had the aura of a President but his peak in the polls had seemingly passed following his failure to win a state in mini-Tuesday elections though he still had a decent chunk of support including veterans and middle-class liberals who saw him as an attractive alternative to Bush or Gore. Both Kucinich and Sharpton were running principal campaigns not pitching themselves to win the nomination but to prove their agenda had support, Sharpton insisted that the Democratic party not concede ground on civil rights and Kucinich was the furthest left candidate, supporting same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization, full military isolationism and impeaching George Bush. Both Kucinich’s campaigns were focused on campaigning in single states to earn delegates to influence the party rather than contesting the country as a whole.

The first contests were the Michigan and Washington caucuses, both in the immediate aftermath of the mini-Tuesday contest Gore and Edwards firmly led the pack, Edwards had surpassed Kerry in Washington following his victories (a state that Edwards had invested fairly little in), but it seemed Gore was also on the rebound, his first state wins aided his so far lagging campaign but he still struggled on the campaign trail, Democrats including many of the establishment were desperate not to repeat their loss to George W Bush but had so far been unable to pick the ideal successor, Edwards primary victories elevated him as the main anti-Gore candidate and won him considerably more media attention than Gore. Kerry, in need of a win to revive any hopes of his possible candidacy, campaigned hard in Washington, a state that looked favourably on underdogs and had a history of unpredictable outcomes. A win in Washington followed up by a win in Maine the day after, could revive him.
The results confirmed the general view that a two-horse race had developed when Gore and Edwards triumphed in Washington and Michigan respectively, with Kerry in distant third place (though enough to prevent either candidate from securing a runaway victory). It was a big step for both men in the race especially Edwards whose Michigan win showed he had success outside of the south “This is a clear sign that this race is far from over” The election meant that both men remained tied for the number of states they had each won and both men made demographic inroads Gore gained considerably among younger and more liberal voters than his 2000 race but had dipped among more traditional and working-class Democrats as well as Black Democrats. Gore gave a victory speech from the stump in Seattle “This is a good omen, and a clear decision, this is the beginning of the end of George Bush”. The disappointing third place for Kerry resurfaced the possibility of the end of his campaign, but the candidate again shrugged off the suggestion “This race isn’t over yet, and we very much look forward to tomorrow’s Maine Caucus”.

Going into Maine, the stakes were high for the Kerry campaign, he desperately needed a victory and the New England state was his best chance to win one, he had picked up a few prominent endorsements including leading Democratic figure former Senator George Mitchell, the state was sandwiched between large contests and the Kerry campaign put in considerable footwork, but the disappointing performance following New Hampshire had sunk expectations. Kerry attacked Bush hard on his leadership and opened up on circling rumours regarding President Bush’s military service “The question is, was he present and active in Alabama at the time he was supposed to be?", referring to Bush’s time in the national guard. The state also attracted the outsider Dennis Kucinich who spent most of his remaining budget on the state. However, after the 400 caucus’s met across the state. despite Kerry’s furious efforts he was denied the significant support he needed coming out of Maine and again placed a disappointing third, only a few points ahead of Kucinich. But this time it was Gore who bested Edwards in the competition winning the state and for the first time, he had the lead in state victories, over his rivals with 42% to Edwards 36%. It seemed that Gore was finally building up momentum against his rivals “People go with a winner” Said Senator Kerry seemingly admitting he had an insurmountable task ahead but still said he intended to compete in the upcoming contests “But this fight isn’t over yet.” The two rivals were already busy battling in the south in the upcoming contests in Virginia and Gore’s home state of Tennessee.

The two southerners rallied hard and placed considerable resources in the states. Despite the Gore campaign's expectations, that the contest was going to be a formality by this point Edwards surged considerably jumping the polling considerably, to the point where the Gore campaign was forced to start buying ads in Tennessee to prevent the embarrassment of the front runner coming up short in his home state. The Gore campaign hoped that defeating Edwards in the south, would end his campaign “Once Gore wins the South, it shows he still has wide national support. That he can win anywhere” But he had been dogged throughout his campaign as Democratic voters consistently labelled him less electable, less likeable and less favourable than his opponents. But with Kerry counted out by most pollsters the voters of Virginia and Tennessee were left to decide, stick with Gore or go with Edwards. Fears of the honeymoon season being over for Edwards and that voters were finally getting serious over who they wanted to pick for President were suggested, and Gore picked up points and regained his solid lead in Tennessee, but Virginia was still down to the wire. However, Edwards pulled off a major triumph for his campaign when he received the endorsement of Virginias Democratic Governor, Mark Warner, the popular Governor was a significant endorsement for the now underdog candidate “We need a straight talker in the White House, who will fight for every vote,” said Warner.


Governor Mark Warner (Right) Endorses Senator Edwards (Left)

The polls had predicted a close night in Virginia and a blowout in Tennessee, however in Virginia, probably aided by Warner’s last-minute endorsement Edwards pulled off a decisive victory by 18 points, 49% to 31% his greatest victory yet, in Tennessee Gore’s home state, the vice president underperformed, peaking polls in the high 60’s he had lost support, enough to maintain a strong lead though and he won the state with a still strong 57% per cent of the vote.

Following the dual losses in the south, the Kerry team took the decision to suspend his campaign. Kerry told reports that it was the end of his Presidential run “This is the end of the campaign for the Presidency” Said Kerry after his two third-place finishes and he took the time to praise his Democratic rivals "They're good men, they're good Democrats and they're good patriots … and I look forward to helping either of them defeat President Bush”

Prior to further Democratic party contests, gay rights again became a prominent topic in the national dialogue. This change was prompted by events in San Francisco. Following a close election that nearly saw a second upset in the golden state, Democratic Mayor Gavin Newsom, long seen as a moderate for the traditionally liberal city bested his left-wing Green party opponent. The new mayor was an invited guest of the city’s U.S. representative and Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi to the 2004 State of the Union, the same event which saw President Bush speak out against “activist judges redefining marriage” his response to Massachusetts effectively legalizing gay marriage. Newsom and other San Francisco city officials prepared an ambitious plan, and on February 12th the city began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claiming that the constitution of California and the United States gave him the authority to under equal protection laws. Within hours hundreds of couples lined outside the city hall to be issued marriage certificates.


(Left) Gay couple celebrate receiving marriage certificate, (Right) San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom

The de-facto recognition of gay marriage by the city’s elected (democratic) mayor, was quickly under fire by conservative commentators and politicians as a moral outrage and a serious overreach by Newsom and a violation of California law which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Mathew D. Staver head of a group of lawyers determined to sue the city said the marriage certificates issued Thursday were ''not worth the paper they are written on.'' and added that Mr Newsom was ''giving the impression that mayors are above the law.''. Within the state, California’s governor Huffington largely aligned with Newsom, declining to open an investigation on the grounds that San Francisco and opposing groups had already launched legal actions and indicated her broad support for gay marriage (opening the possibility of legalization). The hotbed issue quickly found its way into the national sphere and the Democratic primary, Front runner Gore was again under the microscope regarding his stance on gay marriage, due in part to his campaigning in California the previous year where he endorsed Newsom, and again questions regarding discrepancies between statements on his views on gay marriage. And all the candidates were called to give their opinion on the issue, the President said that he was troubled by the decision and said that the “People need to be involved in this decision, not the courts” and shortly after formally declared his support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The decision in San Francisco clearly rippled across the country including a dozen county officials repeating the same decision.

Following the decision in San Francisco further, Democratic contests were held in D.C and Nevada. Prior to the official contest, D.C had held an informal primary prior to its official caucus. Gore triumphed in the informal primary with 2/3rds of the vote with the rest split among the minor candidates (with his primary opposition not on the ballot). In the official caucus though still the overall winner, his share of the vote had fallen to 41%, with Edwards and Sharpton taking away considerable support. But in Nevada, the caucus came down to the wire between the two frontrunners. The hotly contested state was split due to the interjection of the state's Democratic party and its influential Senator Harry Reid who had for months been warning party delegates about the dangers of a Gore renomination and that a fresh face was desperately needed to beat Bush. Nevada a swing state, was considered a key bellwether, and some analysts were concerned that Gore had overlooked the state and was campaigning in the delegate-rich Wisconsin to prevent Edwards from winning a second northern state. The results meant that Edwards won another victory over Gore, and as the polls closed on Valentine’s day the Democratic party’s love triangle wasn’t over.


Al Gore and John Edwards campaign for the Democratic nomination

With only a week before the pivotal Super Tuesday contests there were 4 states still up for grabs, Wisconsin on the 17th, then Hawaii, Idaho and Utah on the 24th. The Wisconsin primary was a true battle between the candidates, following Edward's victory in Michigan, Virginia and Nevada he now polled narrowly behind Gore as his insurgent campaign and his populist message caught wind in the state, where Gore hammered on his history of supporting labour groups. Both men campaigned hard for a victory. But the Gore campaign suffered another setback when the voters by a six-point margin went for Edwards. It was a massive victory for the Edwards team and evened out the number of states each candidate had won. Edward's victory was enabled by considerable moderate to conservative voters, as well as union support and some local newspapers, and the continuing theme of last-minute voters splitting his way. “They said they had us beat, well not so fast,” said Edwards. The talk of Edward's campaign not having legs were well and truly cast aside as many Democratic voters considered Edwards as a serious contender and somewhat more preferable candidate “This guy is like the new Clinton” Said one Edward voter “He’s got us rocking”.

In the days after Edward's Wisconsin victory, the political earth shifted considerably when Edwards won two significant endorsements, the first on February the 19th the AFL-CIO the U. S’s largest labour organisation representing 13 million workers announced its support for Edwards “He will be our champion in the White House” said the union president John Sweeney. Edward's anti-free trade message and victories in the so-called rustbelt states Wisconsin and Michigan had won the unions over compared to Gore (who had previously won the endorsement in 2000) and many preferred the fresh face and his charisma.

The second major endorsement was that of Senator Edward Kennedy. In a crowded convention hall in his native Massachusetts, the most famous living scion of the Democratic Party’s most famous family whipped up a crowd before heartily endorsing Senator Edwards “There are two things we need in a nominee, commitment and character, that’s what you’ve got!” Said the 71-year-old master endorsing the junior Senator Edwards. The pundits had seen hints for months that Kennedy had been distancing himself from the Gore campaign at first towards a natural ally, John Kerry his fellow Massachusetts Senator but had now deferred to Edwards whom he had worked closely with during his time in the Senate as a sort of mentor. The endorsement was a powerful one as it represented Edwards making inroads with the Democratic party’s liberal voting bloc.


Senator Ted Kennedy endorses Senator Edwards

The final set of contests before Super Tuesday proved pivotal, Edwards was on a hot streak with crucial endorsements and strong momentum from his victories. The Gore campaign comparatively was stumbling, a large conservative campaign had kicked off portraying Gore as too extreme on LGBT issues, including releasing the text to a speech the Vice President gave to an LGBT rights group the previous year where he described Gay Marriage as a “love that needed to be honoured and respected”, a radical on environmentalism who would further damage the economy and hurt the countries energy industry, and weak on foreign policy for his critics of the administration on Iraq and his numerous TV appearances where he said that Saddam Hussein wasn’t an “imminent threat”. It could have been Gore’s last chance to seriously wound Edwards before the final stretch, but it was another disappointment for the former Vice President. Edwards had won Utah and Idaho by wide margins, while the Vice President won in Hawaii (likely aided by Kucinich's decision to campaign in the often-ignored state) prior to Super Tuesday it looked like the tables had once again turned and the upstart Edwards became the favourite for the nomination.


Results of the February Democratic Primary


Map of the Democratic Primary following the February contest
Gore Edwards Kerry


Senator Edwards and Vice President Gore celebrate primary victories

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Image 774709 is not showing up and the website is saying that the image doesn't exist.

Also, I'm surprised that the final seven pictures are separate images instead of being in a collage like your other posts about the timeline normally are.

Apart from that, nice update.
Oops I think a non final version got uploaded by mistake, will correct.
Image 774709 is not showing up and the website is saying that the image doesn't exist.

Also, I'm surprised that the final seven pictures are separate images instead of being in a collage like your other posts about the timeline normally are.

Apart from that, nice update.
All fixed up now, thanks again for the message
Oops I think a non final version got uploaded by mistake, will correct.

All fixed up now, thanks again for the message
You're welcome Iwanh. Anything to help out.

Nominee Edwards makes me feel gross, knowing what we know IOTL. But he's better than Bush, I suppose.
The primaries aren't even over yet, but the Democratic nominee will either be him or Al Gore.

Anyways, I'm getting excited for this timeline's version of the 2004 US presidential election.
Just caught up with this timeline, great work! I know I might be just echoing everyone else when I say it, but it's deserved in saying you've put together one of the most realistic no-9/11 timelines I've seen.
I'm curious to see what's going on in Japan and Canada!
Regardless, in terms of America...
I was rooting for Kerry in the primaries, but fowards with Edwards and Gore!
Just caught up with this timeline, great work! I know I might be just echoing everyone else when I say it, but it's deserved in saying you've put together one of the most realistic no-9/11 timelines I've seen.
I'm curious to see what's going on in Japan and Canada!
Regardless, in terms of America...
I was rooting for Kerry in the primaries, but fowards with Edwards and Gore!
Thank you very much!