The War Against the Terror Masters is a must-read guide to the terrorist crisis. Michael A. Ledeen explains in startling detail how and why the United States was so unprepared for the September 11th catastrophe; the nature of the terror network we are fighting--including the state sponsors of that network; the role of radical Islam; and the enemy collaboration of some of our traditional Middle Eastern "allies";--and, most convincingly, what we must do to win the war.
The War Against the Terror Masters examines the two sides of the war: the rise of the international terror network, and the past and current efforts of our intelligence services to destroy the terror masters in the U.S. and overseas. Ledeen's new book also visits every country in the Near East and describes the terrorist cancers in each. Among many revelations that will attract wide attention: *How the terror network survived the loss of its main sponsor, the Soviet Union. *How the FBI learned from a KGB defector--twenty years before Osama's bin Laden's murderous assault--of the existance of Arab terrorist sleeper networks inside the United States. *How moralistic guidelines straight-jacketed the FBI from even collecting a file of newspaper clippings on known terror groups operating in America. *How the internal culture of the CIA, and severe limitations on its ability to operate, blinded us to the growth of terror networks. And much more.
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Michael A. Ledeen, a noted political analyst and highly knowledgeable about the Near East, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprises Institute. He is the author of Machiavelli on Modern Leadership and Tocqueville on American Character. A contributer to The Wall Street Journal, he lives and works in Washington, D.C.
War Against the Terror Masters
1THE RISE OF THE TERROR NETWORKWhen the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them and lie in ambush for them.--KORAN
The murder of man by man is as old as the human race, but the sort of terrorist that attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, is rather new. The concept itself was born during the French Revolution, whose bloodiest phase was known as "The Terror." This led straight to the notion of a "reign of terror," and by the second half of the nineteenth century there were "terrorist" organizations and actors. The most famous of these were Russian, aimed at theoverthrow of the czar and the creation of a freer polity, and similar groups came into being all over the world, including anarchists in both the New and Old Worlds, and nationalists and separatists in Central Europe, India, Ireland, and Armenia.Walter Laqueur, who has long been one of the most astute analysts of terror, credits an obscure German radical democrat, Karl Heinzen, as "the first to produce a full-fledged doctrine of modern terrorism."1 His magnum opus appeared just one year before the midpoint of the nineteenth century, and laid out the now-familiar strategy of using the mass murder of innocent civilians to achieve political objectives by frightening the rulers into making concessions they would otherwise have rejected. Heinzen even anticipated our contemporary anxiety by praising the destructive power of his day's weapons of mass destruction (bombs, mines, and missiles), and happily predicted great political gains following the murder of 100,000 people in a national capital.The terrorist movements of the nineteenth century were generally short lived and unsuccessful--often spectacularly so--a pattern that held well into the twentieth century. With the notable exceptions of Zionist terrorism against the British in Palestine (which contributed to the creation of the state of Israel), Palestinian terrorism against Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and the West (which contributed to thewidespread acceptance of the legitimacy of a Palestinian state) and the terrorist campaign of the African National Congress against the apartheid regime in South Africa (which contributed to the victory of "one man, one vote" for all races), terrorists usually made things worse for their announced causes. From Che Guevara in Bolivia in the 1960s to the record levels of murder in Turkey in the 1970s and 1980s, the terrorists generally provoked massive repression rather than the advance of their political objectives. The most tragic example of the terrorists' destructive effect was the Uruguayan Tupamaros, a briefly successful terrorist group that utterly ruined an otherwise civilized and prosperous South American country in the 1960s:... the only result of their campaign was the destruction of freedom in a country which, alone in Latin America, had had an unbroken democratic tradition of many decades and which had been the first Latin American welfare state ... The Tupamaros' campaign resulted in the emergence of a right-wing military dictatorship; in destroying the democratic system, they also destroyed their own movement. By the 1970s they and their sympathizers were reduced to bitter protests in exile against the crimes of a repressive regimewhich, but for their own action, would not have come into existence .2In like manner, the celebrated terrorists of the 1970s and 1980s--from the Palestine Liberation Organization and its various allies to the German Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades, the Irish Republican Army, several Turkish groups and the Spanish ETA in Europe, the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Weathermen in the United States, the Shining Path, Tupamaros, Montaneros, FARC, and others in Latin America--suffered defeat after defeat, even though they had significant support from the Soviet Union and its satellites. The targeted countries fought back, invariably restricting civil liberties, increasing police powers, and expanding surveillance. The citizens of these unfortunate countries generally accepted the loss of freedom as an acceptable price for better security, and the terrorists lost whatever popular support they had once had. Even the Palestinians were defeated in the Lebanese War of 1982, driven into temporary exile in Tunisia, and paradoxically rescued by their Israeli and American archenemies. Nonetheless, terrorism continued to plague the West.Americans, American airliners, and American allies were prime targets from the very beginning. The first hijacking of an American commercial aircraftwas carried out by a Puerto Rican activist in May 1961. He forced the plane to land in Cuba and was granted asylum. Seven years later the U.S. ambassador to Guatemala was assassinated in Guatemala City, and within months our ambassador to Brazil was kidnapped by Marxist terrorists. In March 1973, under direct orders from PLO leader Yasser Arafat, U.S. ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel and others were assassinated inside the Saudi embassy.The Iran hostage crisis, which began in November 1979, set a new standard, as U.S. diplomats were held by the Khomeini regime until January 20, 1981. Iranian-backed terrorists kidnapped American military and intelligence officers and religious leaders in Lebanon in the mid-1980s, killing some and blackmailing the American government for the release of others. American military installations and other sites frequented by our military personnel were bombed in Germany (Air Force base in Rammstein in August 1981, a discotheque in West Berlin in April 1986), Lebanon (Marine barracks in Beirut, October 1983), Spain (an Air Force base in Torrejon in April 1984 and a servicemen's bar in Barcelona, December 1987), Greece (a bus outside Athens in April 1987), Italy (a USO club in Naples in April 1988) and Saudi Arabia (a military compound in Riyadh in 1995, and the Khobar Towers military housing facility in June 1996).The biggest and most vulnerable American targets were diplomats and diplomatic facilities, beginning with the Iranian hostage crisis, in which the U.S. embassy in Tehran was assaulted and occupied. Four years later the American embassy in Beirut was bombed by Iranian-backed suicide terrorists. Sixty-three people were killed (including Robert Ames, the CIA's Middle East director) and over a hundred others were wounded. The U.S. embassy in Lima, Peru, was bombed in January 1990, and Iraqi agents placed bombs at a USIS library and at the ambassador's residence in Manila, Philippines, in January 1991. Two American diplomats were gunned down in Karachi, Pakistan in March 1995, the U.S. embassy in Moscow was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in September of the same year, and the Athens embassy was hit by a rocket in February 1996. The most devastating attack was the simultaneous terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in August 1998, in which hundreds of American diplomats and private citizens, local employees, and innocent bystanders were killed. Prior to September 11, this was bin Laden's most effective blow against the United States. In October 2000, the U.S. Navy ship Cole was bombed by suicide terrorists in a rubber dinghy. Seventeen sailors were killed and thirty-nine others injured.American commercial airliners were also attacked, most notably the bombing of TWA Flight 840 onfinal approach into Athens Airport in March 1986, and the total destruction of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988, which killed all 259 persons on board. In early 2001, a Libyan terrorist was convicted of the act.Americans were also attacked on the seas, as in the Achille Lauro hijacking in October 1985 by PLO terrorists. They segregated the Americans from the rest of the passengers, and then murdered an elderly American Jewish paraplegic by pushing him overboard in his wheelchair.Terrorist attacks on the American homeland were an old story well before September 11. In late January 1975, Puerto Rican separatists bombed Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan. Four patrons were killed and another sixty were injured. Two days later, the Weather Underground claimed responsibility for a bomb set off in a bathroom in the State Department. An exiled Chilean diplomat was killed by a car bomb in September 1976 in Washington, D.C. The World Trade Center was bombed by Islamic fundamentalists in February 1993, killing six and wounding a thousand others, and a follow-on plot to bomb the United Nations building and other targets in New York City was foiled shortly thereafter. In February 1997, a Palestinian terrorist shot several tourists on an observation deck of the Empire State Building before killing himself.American allies were also singled out. Spain, Germany,and Italy were rocked by domestic groups as well as by foreign terrorists, and there were several terrorist bombings in France as well. Great Britain was on a state of constant alert against Irish separatist terrorists, and the prime minister of Sweden was assassinated while walking in Stockholm. Several South Korean ministers and their aides were blown up by North Korean terrorists in Bangkok, and two Indian prime ministers were killed by suicide terrorists.Terrorism briefly subsided after the fall of the Soviet Empire, because the Soviets had long been the leading sponsors of international terrorism, and the terrorists were significantly weaker without Soviet support. Virtually all the major terrorist organizations, whether in Africa, South America, Western Europe, or the Middle East, received money and weapons directly from Soviet and Central and Eastern European intelligence and military services from the 1960s through the 1980s.3 These could be and were replaced; the market for weapons is wide open. Money was extorted from vulnerable Middle Eastern governments (particularly those, like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, that were extremely wealthy, feeble, and either sympathetic to the terrorists' cause or invitingly weak-willed) and was earned both legally (the great global boom of the nineties was accessible to anyone with some venture capital) and illegally (poppy seeds grow in the Middle East, anddrug trafficking produces huge profits). Even without the Soviet Union, the terrorists acquired enough wealth and weaponry to do significant damage.But a terrorist organization requires more than money and guns. You have to be able to get to your target, and unless you intend to die in the attack you will want an escape route to a safe haven once the operation is over. In practice, logistics and secure facilities were harder to come by than were finances and armaments, and by and large they had come, either directly or indirectly, from the Soviet Empire. The Soviets provided diplomatic "pouches" to secretly move lethal matériel, Soviet intelligence services gave the terrorists false passports and other travel documents of high quality, and Soviet territory was available for military training, indoctrination, and hiding.4 These indispensable services could not be readily obtained by a handful of terrorists, no matter how skilled and dedicated they might be, and no matter how much money they might have. They could only come from states, of which the USSR was the most important. The radical regimes of Syria, Iran, Iraq, South Yemen, and Libya did the same. After the defeat of the Soviet Empire, the others would have to take up the slack.Six states provided the vital wherewithal for the Islamic terror network we now combat: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, and Sudan. Of these, Iranwas the most important. It was the biggest--sixty million people at the time, now close to seventy million--and the richest, and it had a long national tradition of military skill and strategic deception.The Iranian ModelIran is the mother of modern Islamic terrorism. It was part of the fevered vision of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi'ite leader who overthrew the shah in the autumn of 1979. Khomeini was in league with Arab terrorists from the start, forging a military alliance with the PLO and other Palestinian terrorist groups by 1972 at the latest. Thousands of Iranian fighters were trained in the lethal arts by Fatah experts in the PLO's camps in Lebanon, where they also received active assistance from the Syrian regime. Others were trained in camps run by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine inside the tiny Marxist enclave in South Yemen. In that remote hell-hole, Iranians received training from the very best: East German intelligence officers and Cuban terrorist experts.Before his seizure of power, Khomeini used these terrorists both to attack the shah's regime and to kill off any challengers to his own claim to absolute religious authority. After the revolution of 1979 theseskilled killers constituted the hard core of the Pas-daran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. The mad vision that we now associate with Osama bin Laden--rage against the desecration of Islamic soil by the presence of unbelievers, the violent expansion of fundamentalist Islam throughout the Middle East, and a global holy war against the infidels outside the Islamic world--was elaborated more than a decade earlier by Khomeini and institutionalized in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Aside from the traditional differences between Sunnis and Shi'ites, bin Laden's doctrines are virtually identical to Khomeini's. Both preach unbridled hatred of America, the Jews, and anything that represents the modern secular state; and both demand the creation of a fundamentalist theocracy throughout the Islamic world. Like Khomeini, bin Laden wants to reestablish the ancient caliphate, where the ruler of the nation was simultaneously the authoritative guide to the faithful.Khomeini's indictment of the shah was not, as many believe (even including former president Clinton and his secretary of state, Madeleine Albright) that the Iranian government was excessively repressive and intolerant. It was precisely the opposite. According to Khomeini, Iran had become too modern, too tolerant--especially of women and of other religious faiths--and too self-indulgent. The shah had westernized Iran, and in so doing had underminedthe power of the mullahs--the religious authorities. The shah had corrupted morality by ending the strict separation of the sexes. He permitted women teachers in boys' schools, and men in girls' schools, "the moral wrongness of which is clear to all."5 Khomeini raged against the elevation of women to important posts in government and society, and promised to send them to the lower status they were assigned by the faith.6This was only the beginning of Khomeini's indictment of the shah's moral corruption. In the shah's Iran, crimes were judged by lay persons instead of by religious courts. " ... Jews, Christians, and enemies of Islam and of the Muslims ... interfere in the affairs of Muslims," and the lay people were far too lenient: "We want a ruler who would cut off the hand of his own son if he steals, and flog and stone his near relative if he fornicates."Just as bin Laden condemns Saudi Arabia for permitting the presence of infidel American soldiers on her holy land, so Khomeini condemned the shah for his strategic relationship with Israel, which he viewed as a violation of Islamic principles. "What is this ... association between the shah and Israel ... is the shah a Jew?" And Khomeini linked Israel and America so intimately that there was virtually no distinctio...
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