By David N. Bossie* & Christopher M. Gray*
We studied Al-Qaeda’s motivation for hating the United States in a previous policy paper. In this policy paper we examine Al-Qaeda’s methods of terrorism. We illuminate how bin Laden finances, organizes, staffs, and trains Al-Qaeda,the largest and most dangerous terror network in the world. We also analyze the nation-states that sponsor or pretend not to notice Al-Qaeda’s terrorist agents.
II) AL-QAEDA’S METHODS OF TERRORISM
A.) How does Al-Qaeda finance its terror network?
The Al-Qaeda global terror network is financed by a bewildering variety of enterprises and contributors, all masked by multiple layers of front companies. Bin Laden is a genius at disguising the financial transactions of Al-Qaeda operations. So any figures we offer are very rough estimates subject to drastic correction. The two largest contributors are probably the Afghan Taliban narcotics trade, estimated to be $8 billion per year, and Iran’s lavish government terror subsidy. The other contributors to Al-Qaeda include bin Laden himself, with a fortune of perhaps $300 million, rich Radical Muslim Persian Gulf businessmen, the governments of Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, and Yemen, and Radical Muslims around the globe. 1
Al-Qaeda’s finances are almost impossible to identify by Western governments for two cultural reasons: 1) bin Laden uses Islamic banks that are not allowed to charge interest; and 2) the havala system of doing business in the Middle East. The Koran prohibits usury, or the charging of interest for lending money. Bin Laden thus refuses to deposit any of Al-Qaeda’s money in 99.9 percent of the world’s banks. President Bush’s September 2001 decision to freeze bin Laden’s financial assets thus will probably have limited success just as former President Bill Clinton’s effort to do likewise in August 1998 did. Bin Laden employs couriers carrying large sums by hand to further complicate any attempt to destroy Al-Qaeda’s finances. But havala, the traditional system of doing business in the Middle East, especially by Afghans engaged in the narcotics trade, most frustrates the financial war. As Al-Qaeda expert Peter Bergen puts it, [monies] arrive [to bin Laden] through the venerable havala system of interlocking money changers, which has operated through decades all over the Middle East and Asia, handling sums large and small, on a handshake and trust. Hundreds of millions of dollars are transferred through this system every year and the funds are essentially untraceable.” 2
Al-Qaeda’s untraceable finances make it extremely powerful in poverty-stricken Afghanistan, and its neighbor, Pakistan. Plenty of young manpower from all over the Muslim world is willing and available to work for and learn from this terror network. After the U.S. and Saudi Arabia pumped $6 billion in military aid to the mujahedeen during the 1980’s, weapons and explosives became plentiful and cheap. The ruling Taliban regime in Afghanistan venerated bin Laden for his heroism in the Soviet-Afghan war and his unyielding Wahhabist Muslim stance. They welcome his continued residence in Afghanistan. So Al-Qaeda took advantage of Afghan circumstances to finance and administer the world’s largest collection of terrorist training camps at bargain prices. 3
B.) Al-Qaeda’s Services Organization: Using Charities for un-charitable acts
In 1984, bin Laden organized and co-founded with his university mentor, Palestinian Abdullah Azzam, (1941-1989) [ See Citizens United Foundation Foreign Policy Paper, Bin Laden’s Rage,” Volume II, Issue 1] the Mekhtab al-Khadamat (MAK), or Services Office,” in Peshawar, the Pakistani city bordering Afghanistan. The Services Office provided money, men, weapons, supplies and lodging to the anti-Soviet mujahedeen guerrilla movement. Al-Qaeda became adept at recruiting, training, and organizing mujahedeen Muslim holy warriors from many different countries to wage jihad against the Soviet infidels. He had first developed his masterful financial and organizational skills executing contracts for his family’s construction company around the Muslim world. But working for Abdullah Azzam in Afghanistan taught Osama bin Laden how to lead an international guerrilla war movement. He learned how to use construction equipment to build training camps and fortify caves from air attack. Bin Laden became famous in 1987 for resisting over 200 Soviet Spetsnaz commandos with supporting fighter-bombers and helicopters for a week with only fifty men fighting from fortified caves. This week-long battle made him an international legend in the Muslim world.
Bin Laden did not just help soldiers. Borrowing teachings from Iran’s notorious Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, bin Laden created Al-Qaeda charitable institutions in the late 1980’s for the families of the mujahedeen. He poured in his own money and solicited funds from Saudi contacts to provide Afghan women and children with social welfare services such as schools, soup kitchens, machine shops, Radical Islam study centers, and hospitals. In the 1990’s, bin Laden exported these charitable services to the entire Islamic world. The money spent to subsidize these services was concealed just as carefully as that used to fund terrorism. 4
The Muslim foreign volunteers Al-Qaeda assisted, mostly from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Algeria, did not win the war against the Soviets. The Afghan mujahedeen did that themselves. But these volunteers, known as Afghan Arabs,” provided Al-Qaeda with the core troops needed to wage jihad against the hated West, especially the United States and Israel. These Afghan Arabs” exported the ideas and practices of international Islamic jihad to six different continents. The Services Office,” by providing social welfare services, gives these Radical Muslim terrorists useful cover. It also makes the terrorists popular in their resident communities.
C.) How does Al-Qaeda recruit its terrorist agents?
Al-Qaeda uses the most advanced headhunting methods to recruit terrorist agents. It advertises by using recorded videos on Internet websites, CD Roms, recorded cassettes, and blast faxes. Osama bin Laden and his subordinates also offer interviews to sympathetic radical Muslim newspapers and television and radio stations.
Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden’s mentor, inspired many Al-Qaeda volunteers with his fiery preaching. Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda aides emulate him by persuading Muslim preachers around the world to help with recruiting. The many thousands of Afghan Arabs” who he trained and fought with against the Soviets in Afghanistan still take their lead from Al-Qaeda. The network recruits terrorists in over sixty different countries; from immigrant communities in the United States and Western Europe across the world to Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The recent capture of three Taliban warriors who claim American citizenship underline how effective Al-Qaeda’s recruiting is. Its agents seek new human talent in all six inhabited continents. Even far-off South America and Australia now host Al-Qaeda members and enablers.
D.) Where does Al-Qaeda train its terrorist agents?
Most Al-Qaeda terrorist training camps are located in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Afghanistan is the most popular location for two reasons: 1) it is almost inaccessible to the outside world; and 2) its ruling Taliban regime shares bin Laden’s core religious and political values. Pakistan, sponsor of Afghanistan’s ruling regime and supposedly a U.S. ally, is Al-Qaeda’s second favorite location. Sudan, where bin Laden lived from 1991-1996, hosted Al-Qaeda camps until recently. Yemen and Somalia still do. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Iran, and Syria have all operated in the terrorist training business for over two decades. We discuss these regimes that sponsor terrorism, as well as those regimes that enable it by looking away, in Section III.
E.) What do Al-Qaeda’s terrorist training camps teach?
Al-Qaeda’s training camps transform angry young Radical Muslims into fanatical but skilled operators of advanced weapons and explosives. First the camps put the trainees into physical shape. Then they rigorously indoctrinate their charges with theological justifications for killing civilians. Military training in small arms, grenades, and explosives follows. Then comes training in heavy weapons: tanks, antitank missiles, anti-aircraft guns and surface to air missiles, and Stinger surface to air missiles.
The elite graduates of the training camps, especially those earmarked for suicide or martyr” missions, then move on to receive advanced training in covert operations: setting up a sleeper cell; methods for maintaining security; conforming to Western customs; casing and surveying the site of a terrorist attack; flight training; and sometimes even training in biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction. 5
F.) Command, Control, and Communications Osama bin Laden’s organizational genius reveals itself in Al-Qaeda’s structure. Unlike the rigid, tightly organized, terror networks of the 1970’s and 1980’s, such as Abu Nidal’s, Al-Qaeda is loosely affiliated and carefully compartmentalized. It is thus extremely difficult to trace. Al-Qaeda coordinates a huge number of local and national Radical Muslim terrorist groups around the globe. These terrorist affiliates include the Afghan Taliban, the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Palestinian HAMAS, the Muslim Brotherhoods of Egypt and Sudan, the Chechnya rebels, the international Islamic Jihad, and many others. Wherever there is a violent Radical Muslim faction nourishing a grudge against the West or a Muslim state friendly to the West, Al-Qaeda installs a branch office to nurture that grudge into terrorist attacks. We know so far that Al-Qaeda boasts branch offices in sixty different countries. Its terrorist members comprise at least fifty different nationalities.
These terrorists are not commanded from a central headquarters. Instead, they are assigned to sleeper cells” in their own countries. There they quietly lie in wait for a terrorist attack assignment. After training in an Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, or Yemen, these terrorist agents spend over 90% of their time working at a peaceful” cover occupation in their local area. As we know from investigating the planning of Al-Qaeda’s various terror attacks, these terrorists can spend over five years preparing for an assignment. They wait for couriers to bring them verbal orders. Al-Qaeda screens recruits carefully to make sure they are patient, disciplined, and ready to wait for decades before executing an operation.
When Al-Qaeda orders an attack, it uses several layers of cutouts,” i.e., case officer subordinates to meticulously plan, supervise, and execute Al-Qaeda’s terror attacks. Bin Laden’s deputy, Al Zawahiri, say, will contact a subordinate in Afghanistan or Pakistan. That subordinate will then contact one below him to travel to the region where the terror attack will occur. The regional case officer will control four different officers dealing with the five phases of an attack: 1) maintaining secrecy and security; 2) procuring the weapons; 3) casing” and filming the target in preparation for an attack; 4) securing local transportation to carry the bomb for the attack; and 5) choosing a suicide bomber or bombers to execute the attack without hesitation.
Security, probably the most important facet of terrorist operations, is painstakingly enforced by Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda training enables its members to blend into the local scenery and become utterly inconspicuous. For instance, the World Trade Center and Pentagon airline terrorists deliberately indulged non- Muslim habits of drinking, womanizing, and going beardless in order to blend into the hedonistic South Florida way of life. Ali Mohammed, one of bin Laden’s closest aides, even managed to become a sergeant in the U.S. Special Forces Training Center at Fort Bragg, NC.
When Al-Qaeda’s leadership decides to conduct a terror attack, it usually begins in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden or Al-Zawahiri directs the attack by using satellite phone calls or personal couriers to communicate with subordinates. The subordinates then contact case officers in the host countries to activate the sleeper cells. The network tells the various members of its local sleeper cells” the minimum amount of information they need to know and no more. Al-Qaeda’s network also devises parallel sleeper cells” unknown to the others in case cells are blown” by informers or foreign intelligence agents. The money, transportation, weapons, and explosives needed for the attack are provided by case officers working with local Al-Qaeda affiliates. At every stage, Al-Qaeda carefully covers its tracks. The network eschews a tight, hierarchical, organization structure. Instead, Al-Qaeda prefers to loosely affiliate with local Muslim militants in order to prevent foreign enemies from rolling it up and destroying it. 6
III) AL-QAEDA NATION STATE SPONSORS
In this section, we discuss countries that directly assist and harbor Al-Qaeda’s terrorist camps and operations. In Section IV, we discuss countries that try to keep the terror network’s operations out of their backyard, but that refuse to suppress indigenous financial and ideological institutions aiding the Al-Qaeda network.
Population: 25 Million Government: Radical Muslim Taliban clans control what central government there is. Per Capita Gross Domestic Product (or GDP): $800 per year. The U.S. GDP is $30,600 per year. Largest producer of narcotics in the world. Human Rights: One of world’s ten most repressive countries, out of 192 regimes in the world, according to Freedom House 2002 Report. Comparative Area: Slightly smaller than state of Texas. Terrain: High, forbidding mountains. 7
After bin Laden became too hot for even Sudan’s radical Muslim rulers, he fled to Afghanistan. Mullah Omar, the religious leader of the Taliban, guaranteed bin Laden safe haven here thanks to his personal friendship, past heroic exploits, and financial contributions. Al-Qaeda locates 12-18 terrorist camps, and its headquarters, here. Pakistan, a country where bin Laden and Al-Qaeda are enormously popular, sits next door.
As television viewers have already noticed, the country is desperately poor after two straight decades of war. It is only rich in weapons and opium. Food and medicine are in short supply. Of 192 countries ranked by the World Bank, Afghanistan ranks 182. Only being the world’s largest narcotics exporter keeps it ranked above such cellar dwellers as Rwanda, Cambodia, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Yemen. Not coincidentally, these destitute countries all suffer from brutal, long-term civil wars, as does Sudan, which barely ranks above them in GDP.
Population: 145 Million Government: Military Dictatorship by Pakistani Army Commanding General Pervez Musharraf. Per Capita GDP: $2600 per year. Pakistanis struggle economically, but live materially better than Indians or Afghans. Human Rights: Quite repressive, but not among the worst regimes, according to Freedom House 2002 Report. Comparative Area: One fourth larger than Texas. Terrain: Ranges from the Himalayas, the highest mountains in the world, to the massive Indus River valley plain.
Pakistan, supposedly a U.S. ally, is Al-Qaeda’s second favorite location for its terrorist training camps. Ever since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has warred with India over the sacred mountain province of Kashmir. Kashmir is located where the borders of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Tajikstan all meet. Since 1990, over 50,000 people have died because of the India-Pakistan border rivalry over Kashmir. Both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers; they are now considered the most likely pair of countries to engage in nuclear war. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, controlled American military funds sent to aid the mujahedeen. The ISI used the Soviet-Afghan war to continue waging its private terrorist war in Kashmir by funneling American and Saudi funds to mujahedeen sympathetic to its purposes in Kashmir, not to reward those who were effective against Soviet forces. Thus Gulbuddin Hekmatyr, a Radical Muslim thug, who spent much time murdering other mujahedeen and never won any battles against Soviet troops, was lavishly funded by the ISI. Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the pro-Western Northern Alliance and the finest of the anti-Soviet guerrilla leaders, received one- fourth the foreign aid that Hekmatyr did. Massoud was murdered by Al-Qaeda agents two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The Pakistani ISI also allowed bin Laden to set up training camps inside Pakistan. The ISI was eager to train terrorists to infiltrate and de-stabilize Indian rule in Kashmir. So it ignored the danger created for itself and other countries by assisting thousands of Radical Muslim commandos from around the world to become adept at high technology weapons and explosives. Pakistan’s rulers abused the massive amounts of U.S. foreign aid they received in order to pursue a parochial, selfish, and self-defeating obsession in Kashmir. By making a long-term deal with bin Laden to train Radical Muslim terrorists, the Pakistani government endangered lives on six continents.
Pakistan’s government will cooperate with the U.S. government against the Taliban, but a majority of its Muslim people probably honors Osama bin Laden. Many Taliban and Al-Qaeda soldiers will find sanctuary in Pakistan’s mountains. There is also evidence Pakistani nuclear scientists supplied Al-Qaeda with the knowledge and materials to construct a crude, dirty” nuclear bomb. Most Pakistanis regard American popular culture as decadent and opposed to the Koran’s teaching. Madrassahs, Pakistani popular religious schools, indoctrinate their students with Radical Muslim values. Many Madrassah graduates become Al-Qaeda terrorists. Pakistan will demand close attention from Americans for some time to come. 8
C.) Sudan-Primary Sponsor until recently
Population: 36 Million Government: Radical Muslim military dictatorship. Per Capita GDP: $875 per year. Human Rights: One of world’s ten most repressive countries, according to Freedom House 2002 Report. Ongoing civil war in south of country. Comparative Area: 4 times the size of Texas; the largest country in Africa. Terrain: Deserts, mountains, and river valleys in the south.
Until recently, Sudan was the African country most eager to export Radical Muslim terrorism. After Osama bin Laden was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, he was welcomed to Sudan by Hassan al-Turabi. Al-Turabi is the Western-educated, fanatical Radical Muslim cleric who exercised great influence over the ruling military junta ca. 1989-1996. Like bin Laden and his mentor Abdullah Azzam, Turabi hated the infidel invaders of the West. He exhibited his hatred by ordering the Sudanese military to wage cruel jihad against the dark-skinned Christians of southern Sudan. These Sudanese Christians were cluster-bombed, systematically starved, and even sold into slavery by their Muslim rulers. Turabi also acted to reconcile the hatred between Iranian Shiite Muslims and Radical Sunni Muslims like himself. Turabi brokered an alliance between Iran and Sunni Arabic regimes like Sudan on the basis of shared hatred of Western, especially American, involvement in the Middle East. To Turabi, Osama bin Laden seemed the ideal holy warrior guest: devout, selflessly brave, and willing to pump his own riches into poor Sudan’s economy. Turabi encouraged bin Laden to settle in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital city.
Turabi encouraged and enabled bin Laden to construct an Al-Qaeda terror network in Sudan. Three fully- equipped terrorist training camps were set up there. Thousands of terrorists learned their trade at these camps. Iranian Hezbollah terrorists visited Sudan to teach their more advanced terrorist tactics and explosives techniques to Al-Qaeda’s pupils. After being schooled by their Hezbollah instructors, Al-Qaeda organized attacks against American targets in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania with personnel trained, equipped, and sometimes commanded, from Sudan.
Osama bin Laden did not just install Al-Qaeda terrorist training camps in Sudan. He also built superhighways, elaborate facilities such as hospitals and airports, and contributed $50 million to the Al-Shamal Islamic Bank in Khartoum. Bin Laden also brought the full range of Al-Qaeda charitable services to the Sudanese people. The Saudi warrior millionaire became very popular with the Sudanese people thanks to his construction projects and charities.
However, beginning in 1996, Brigadier Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, head of the Sudanese military junta, began to move away from some of his mentor Hassan al-Turabi’s policies. Bashir decided to conciliate the United States. He offered to hand bin Laden over to the Clinton Administration State Department. The State Department, stupidly fearing a trap, refused to negotiate. Bashir then expelled bin Laden from Sudan. 9 The latter then moved to Afghanistan. In 1998, Bashir placed al-Turabi under house arrest. The Sudanese government stopped actively sponsoring Al-Qaeda terror attacks. But Bashir still clings to much of the Radical Muslim program. He continues the savage government war against the Christians in southern Sudan.
The ambush of American Rangers in Somalia, the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 were all planned and launched with the help of Al-Qaeda’s Sudan branch offices. 10
Population: 18 Million Government: Loose and weak coalition Muslim government, partly military and partly parliamentary. This government is unable to control Yemen’s remote regions and contains anti-Western elements. The country settled a civil war just eleven years ago. It still suffers from its aftereffects. Per Capita GDP: $750 per year. Human Rights: Very repressive country, next to worst category (182-173), according to Freedom House 2002 Report. Comparative Area: More than twice the size of Wyoming. Terrain: Mostly desert with some mountainous regions.
Yemen also hosts Al-Qaeda terrorist training camps. Osama bin Laden’s father was a Yemeni who migrated to bordering Saudi Arabia. The family maintains close ties with relatives and financial investments in the country. Bin Laden considered moving his base of operations there in 1997. Some Radical Muslim members of the ruling Yemeni government hate Western influences and assist indigenous Al-Qaeda terrorists. During the 1990’s, as Peter Bergen observed, Yemen has attracted an international cast of Muslim militants who find its weak central government and remote mountainous regions a congenial place to train-and to launch attacks on American and British targets.” 11
Yemeni Al-Qaeda terrorists call themselves the Islamic Army of Aden. They conducted two major terrorist attacks in Aden, Yemen’s major port: 1) the bombing attack on hotels housing American troops in 1992; and 2) the dinghy bomb attack on the destroyer U.S.S. Cole that killed 16 American sailors and put the ship out of action. Radical Muslim members of the Yemeni government prevented the FBI from intensively investigating these two attacks. It was apparent the terrorists boasted friends in high places. Many of the Afghan Arabs” who served in the Soviet-Afghan war came from Yemen. These Yemeni Afghan Ar abs came home and brought Al-Qaeda methods with them.
Yemen does not lack for weapons. Thanks to the long, bloody civil war that concluded in 1990, 65 million weapons are now distributed among its 18 million people. 12 Any effort to destroy the Al-Qaeda camps of this destitute but strategically situated country must proceed carefully.
Population: 7,300,000 Government: No functioning government at present; various tribal clans war for supremacy amidst anarchy. Per Capita GDP: $600 per year. Human Rights: Very repressive country, next to worst category, according to Freedom House 2002 Report. Comparative Area: Slightly smaller than Texas. Terrain: Mostly desert and scrub.
Al-Qaeda terrorists helped direct the bloody 1993 ambush of American troops in downtown Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital and largest city. The terrorists actually believed the American relief expedition was a backdoor effort to infiltrate the Muslim holy places of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. 13 The Al-Qaeda network maintains both training camps and sleeper cells” in this ruined Muslim African country. Somalia’s Al-Qaeda chapter assisted all the bombing attacks against American troops and embassies in nearby Yemen, Kenya, and Tanzania. Some Somali clans not affiliated with the terror network now indicate a willingness to help the United States in order to undermine their rival clans.
Population: 23 Million Government: Baath National Socialist Dictatorship under Saddam Hussein. Per Capita GDP: $2,700 per year. Economy is dominated by oil production. Human Rights: Probably the most repressive and cruel regime in the world; definitely one of the five worst, according to Freedom House 2002 Report. Comparative Area: Slightly more than twice the size of Idaho. Terrain: Mostly desert, with Tigris and Euphrates River valley plains.
Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, Iraq became the United States’ primary enemy. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime has ruled since the 1960’s. It survived a severe beating during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Saddam Hussein has employed terrorists, including those affiliated with Al-Qaeda, to strike at America and its allies.
Some evidence testifies to Iraq’s involvement with Al-Qaeda. 14 Although Saddam Hussein is an irreligious Muslim, he cynically makes alliances with Radical Muslims who share his hatred of the United States. Mohammed Atta, Egyptian ringleader of the September 11 terrorist attacks, met several times over the last two years with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. Jane’s Foreign Report recorded regular meetings between Iraqi intelligence and Osama bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Hezbollah leader Imad Mugniyeh. 15 Laurie Mylroie, the leading expert on Iraq, documented how Al-Qaeda worked closely with Iraqi intelligence to execute the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. We now know Iraq uses a Boeing 707 jetliner to train pilots in terrorist highjackings and attacks. Iraq’s government-controlled media applauded the September 11 attacks against the United States. But Saddam Hussein carefully masked any other Iraqi activity on behalf of Al-Qaeda.
Overthrowing the Iraqi regime will be much harder than overthrowing the Taliban of Afghanistan. Saddam Hussein’s secret police and Republican Guard have so far successfully destroyed any internal effort to undermine Iraq’s national socialist dictatorship. We know from Iraqi defectors that Saddam Hussein’s programs to create atomic and biological weapons of mass destruction develop steadily. The Iraqi National Congress domestic opposition to Saddam Hussein is not militarily strong, so U.S. armed forces will need to massively intervene to remove his dictatorship. Since 1991, both the Bush Administrations and the Clinton Administrations refused to confront the strategic realities of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Instead, all three Administrations replied to Iraqi provocations by regular tactical bombings that accomplished little. September 11 has compelled the United States to now make a hard decision about Saddam Hussein’s future.
Population: 66 Million Government: Shiite Muslim Theocratic rule. Per Capita GDP: $5,300. Economy dominated by oil production. The richest and most populous Radical Islamic regime. Human Rights: Very repressive country, next to worst category according to Freedom House 2002 Report. However, women are allowed to work and hold public office. Comparative Area: Slightly larger than Alaska. Terrain: Mountainous regions, deserts, and wide plains.
Iran actively and officially sponsors radical Islamic terrorist attacks aimed at driving Western powers in general, and the United States in particular, out of the Middle East. This terrorist policy applies especially to driving infidels from the sacred soil associated with Mecca, Medina, Baghdad, and Jerusalem. Before 1979, only Turkey among the Muslim states was a more reliable American ally. However, after the return that year of the Ayatollah Khomeini and his institution of theocratic Shiite rule, the United States became the Great Satan” to Iran’s rulers. Making terrorist war on America became a holy duty of the Iranian government.
To export terror against America and Israel, Iran created Hezbollah (the Party of God) in 1983. Hezbollah, as an American government analyst observes, operates as a terrorism clearinghouse” around the world. The Iranian intelligence service uses Iranian embassies and commerce delegations to carry the war to American and Israeli targets. Imad Fayez Mugniyeh is Hezbollah’s star terrorist leader. Mugniyeh, a Shiite Radical Muslim from Lebanon, directed all these spectacular terrorist attacks: 1) the April 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut that killed 63; 2) the October 1983 bombing that killed 300 U.S. Marines and French troops in Beirut; 3) the kidnapping and torture death of Beirut CIA station chief William Buckley; 4) the June 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 from Greece to Beirut when a Navy diver was murdered; 5) the April 1988 hijacking of a Kuwait Airlines Flight to Bangkok when two Kuwaitis were killed; and 6) the March 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29.
In 1992, thanks to Sudanese Hassan al-Turabi’s diplomacy, Mugniyeh began meeting with Al-Qaeda’s leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, to teach them Hezbollah’s methods of terrorism. 16 Later in the 1990’s, Mugniyeh joined the Al-Qaeda leaders in meetings with Iraqi intelligence. Although Iraq and Iran fought a long, bloody war in the 1980s, they have recently forgiven each other in order to drive American power out of the Persian Gulf. Iraq, Iran, and Syria all fear that a U.S. conquest of Iraq will be followed by a U.S. conquest of Iran and Syria.
Population: 16.5 million. Government: Baath National Socialist Dictatorship under General Assad. Per Capita GDP: $2,500. Economy is based on oil and agriculture. There is also a large narcotics trade. Human Rights: Among the ten worst regimes in the world according to Freedom House 2002 Report. Syria’s abuses much resemble the repression of its neighbor and ally, Iraq. Comparative Area: Slightly larger than North Dakota. Terrain: Mostly desert with mountains in the western region.
Of all the world’s countries, Syria is the most consistently guilty of exporting terror. The Assads, the late father Hafez who ruled from 1969-1999, and his son Bashar who now reigns, regard terror as the best card for their tottering regime to play. While Iraq is a close ally, Syria is hemmed in by both Turkey and Israel, the two most effective military powers in the Middle East. Both countries are also close allies of the United States. So Syria, whose military never won a victory since becoming independent from France in 1946, chooses terrorist attacks to get its way. Syria aims to weaken Israel and de-stabilize Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United States with its low intensity terror tools, just as it de-stabilized Lebanon. Yasser Arafat’s PLO, Abu Nidal, the Palestinian terror network HAMAS, and Iran’s Hezbollah all receive training, weapons, and safe transport from Syria’s government. 17
Syria most fears the overthrow of its ally Iraq. If that happens, Syria will be surrounded by pro-American regimes that will end its terror exporting. The regime will probably then collapse into warring ethnic factions, just as Lebanon collapsed.
IV) AL-QAEDA’S ENABLERS: THEY PRETEND NOT TO NOTICE OR ARE UNABLE TO SUPPRESS DOMESTIC RADICAL ISLAMISM
Two of these countries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, enable terrorism by their selfish, shortsighted policies. The third country, Egypt, tries very hard to suppress its Radical Muslim terrorist thinkers and actors. However, thanks to Egypt’s heritage of Arabic cultural leadership, its government can only suppress or expel Muslim radicals, not destroy their influence entirely.
A.) Saudi Arabia
Population: 22.1 million (over 5.36 million are non-Saudi nationals). Government: Monarchy ruled by House of Saud dynasty. Per Capita GDP: $9000 per year. Economy based on oil production and services. Human Rights: Repressive regime in next worst category, according to Freedom House 2002 Report. Comparative Area: One-fifth the size of the United States. Terrain: Desert.
Al-Qaeda, as we showed in our first policy paper, is rooted in Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabist Radical Muslim culture. Its founder, Osama bin Laden, is a native Saudi whose Yemeni father became rich executing construction contracts for the royal Saud family. Fifteen of the nineteen September 11 terrorist hijackers were native Saudis. The Saudi ruling class pumped $3 billion dollars of their oil revenues into aiding Al-Qaeda’s involvement in the Soviet-Afghan war. After the war’s end, they continued to finance Al-Qaeda terror operations and Radical Muslim madrassah schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They also finance eighty percent of Muslim Mosques in the United States and pressure those mosques to adopt Wahhabist Radical Muslim ideology. The Saudis ban the practice of Judaism and Christianity in their society. They also permit Wahhabist preachers to egg terrorists on to extirpate Jews and Christians.
Although Saudi Arabia expelled Osama bin Laden and stripped him of his Saudi citizenship for sedition in 1991, it refuses to ban Saudi financial support of Al-Qaeda overseas operations. It also refuses to track the financial accounts of Saudi nationals known to be Al-Qaeda members. As long as Al-Qaeda does not attack Saudi targets, the Saudi government continues to appease its Saudi members. After the September 11 attack, when FBI and CIA agents tried to interview bin Laden’s relatives, the Saudi government refused the agents access. The Saudi rulers demand American military protection for their country but pretend they owe the United States nothing for that protection. They also pressure America not to pressure, invade, or overthrow terror-exporting regimes such as Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, or Pakistan. 18
B.) United Arab Emirates
Population: 2.4 million (includes 1.6 million non-nationals). Government: Federated principality structure. Per Capita GDP: $17,700 per year. Economy based totally on oil and natural gas production. Human Rights: Repressive Regime in Next Worst Category according to Freedom House 2002 Report. Comparative Area: Slightly smaller than Maine. Terrain: Desert.
The United Arab Emirates resembles a much smaller and richer version of its Persian Gulf neighbor Saudi Arabia. It is a stronghold of Wahhabist Islam ideology. It possesses very little population but does send proportionally even more money to Al-Qaeda fronts and operations than Saudi Arabia. Like Saudi Arabia, it refuses to fully cooperate with American attempts to track and apprehend Al-Qaeda terrorists. 19
Population: 68 million, the largest in the Arab world. Government:Arab Republic that is actually a military dictatorship by President Hosni Mubarak. Voters only allowed yes or no votes to continue him in office. Per Capita GDP: $3,000 per year. Egypt’s economy is just modern enough to give its citizens hope but not enough to satisfy their aspirations. Human Rights: A repressive regime, according to Freedom House 2000 Report. Comparative Area: Slightly more than three times the size of New Mexico. Terrain: Mostly desert except for the Nile River valley plain.
Egypt, the traditional cultural capital of the Arab world, now suffers from a very delicate and dangerous situation. President Hosni Mubarak rules a regime pursuing a pro-American policy. However, a large majority of his people loathes the United States for propping up the Egyptian military regime and for supporting Israel. Egyptian intellectuals have long played a key role in creating and fomenting anti-Western Radical Islamic movements. Mubarak must literally fear for his life. Radical Muslim Egyptian soldiers assassinated his mentor and predecessor, Anwar Sadat, in 1981. Mubarak himself is constantly threatened with assassination attempts. Al-Qaeda came tantalizingly close to killing him while he visited Ethiopia in June 1995.
Unlike the Saudi, UAE, Yemeni, and Pakistani regimes, Egypt cracks down hard on any citizens connected with Al-Qaeda, or the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist groups associated with the network. Mubarak systematically persecutes Radical Muslim elements because he rightly fears they seek to set up an Islamic Republic enforcing values similar to Afghanistan’s Taliban. Despite Mubarak’s repression, Egypt furnishes most of Al-Qaeda’s leadership. As Peter Bergen notes:
All [Al-Qaeda’s] its key members are Egyptian and all its ideology and tactics are based on Egyptian models. The argument can be made that a group of Egyptian jihadists took over bin Laden’s organization rather than the other way around.” 20 The deputy commander of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man, is the bloodthirsty Egyptian pediatrician Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Zawahiri persuaded bin Laden, contrary to the Koran, that attacking civilians is justified in order to terrify the United States out of the Middle East. Al-Zawahiri’s family was close to the family of Sayyid Qutb. Qutb is the Radical Muslim Egyptian martyr discussed in our first policy paper. Mohammed Atta, commander of the September 11 attack, was also an Egyptian member of the Muslim Brotherhood. So it is imperative Americans understand that Mubarak must keep repressing the Radical Muslim Brotherhood or perish like his mentor Sadat. 21
V) THE PROTRACTED JIHAD
In 1955, Robert Strausz-Hupe, the eminent strategist and diplomat, wrote that the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Cold War was a protracted conflict.” This protracted conflict, Strausz-Hupe predicted, would test the endurance and strategic skill of both societies until one emerged victorious over the other. Al-Qaeda and its allied Radical Muslim countries are now waging a protracted Jihad against post-Cold War America. By constantly using large-scale terror against vulnerable sectors of U.S. society, Radical Muslims gamble that Americans will eventually grow weary of protracted Jihad and withdraw their military forces from the Middle East. We Americans must understand much patience and understanding will be required to wage the war against Al-Qaeda and its many associated Radical Muslim terror groups. This war may last over a decade. It will require us to use our wits and self-restraint more than our high-tech bombs and missiles. Most importantly, we must understand our enemies’ strengths and weaknesses better than they already understand many of our attributes. If we make this effort to understand, then we can win this protracted jihad.
*Mr. Bossie is the President of Citizens United and the Citizens United Foundation. He previously served as Chief Investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. He is a frequently sought-after commentator on politics and investigations and appears on such programs as Crossfire, Hardball, and Politically Incorrect. Mr. Bossie attended Towson State University and the University of Maryland where he studied Government and Politics. For the past 12 years he has proudly served as a volunteer fireman in Burtonsville, Maryland, where he resides with his wife Susan and daughter Isabella.
*Mr. Gray is Senior Policy Analyst for Citizens United, and Contributing Editor at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He writes articles and consults frequently on public policy matters. Mr. Gray received a BA and MA in Modern History from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA from George Mason University. He also did graduate work in public policy at Duke University. He resides in Fairfax County, Virginia.
1 Peter Bergen, Holy War, Inc. (Free Press, 2001), Chapters 2,3, 8, and 10; Yossef Bodansky, Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America (Forum, 1999, 2001).
2 Bergen, op.cit., page 103. Bergen actually interviewed bin Laden for CNN and has spent much time interviewing his followers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.
3 Bergen, Prologue, Chapters 2 and 3; Bodansky, Chapters 1, 2, and 3.
4 Bergen, Chapter 4; Karen DeYoung & Michael Dobbs, Bin Laden: Architect of New Global Terrorism” www.washingtonpost.com, posted Sept. 15, 2001.
5 Bergen, Chapters 6 & 7.
6 Bergen, Chapters 1, 6, 7, 9, and 10.
7 All country facts and statistics come from CIA World Fact book, www.theodora.com/world facts. Freedom House 2002 Report assessments at www.freedomhouse.com
8 Bergen, Prologue, Chapters 2, 3, and 8 offer a frank discussion of Pakistan’s relations with Al-Qaeda, as does Christopher Hitchens, On the Frontier of Apocalypse” Vanity Fair, January 2002. Also see Stanley Wolpert, The Roots of Confrontation in South Asia (Oxford, 1982) for an expert historical discussion of Kashmir tar baby.
9 For bin Laden and al-Qaeda in Sudan see David Rose, The Osama Files” Vanity Fair, January 2002.
10 Bergen, Chapters 6 and 9.
11 Bergen, page 168.
12 Bergen, page 169. Bergen’s book carefully traces Yemeni role in al-Qaeda terrorist attacks.
13 Adam Garfinkle, September 11: Before and After” Foreign Policy Research Institute Bulletin October 2001.
14 Laurie Mylroie, The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks (HarperCollins, 2001) painstakingly analyzes the connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda.
15 Kenneth Timmerman, Likely Mastermind of Tower Attacks” www.insightmag.com Posted Dec. 7, 2001, illuminates Mugniyeh’s operations, citing Jane’s Foreign Report and other sources.
16 Timmerman, op. cit.
17 Bodansky, Bin Laden, pp. 364-365.
18 David Wurmser, An Unholy Alliance” New York Post October 27, 2001; Garfinkle, op. cit, Bergen, Chapters 2,3, and 10 all explore Saudi Arabia’s complicity in al-Qaeda ideology and operations.
19 Bergen, pp. 103, 145.
20 Bergen, page 199.
21 P. J. Vatikiotis, History of Modern Egypt: From Muhammad Ali to Mubarak 4th Ed. (Johns Hopkins, 1991) details the country’s key role in creating Radical Islamic intellectual and political movements like the Muslim Brotherhoods.
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