Some critics suggested in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War that the inaction of Iraqi-sponsored terrorism proved that international terrorism was no longer a viable threat, and that the law enforcement and security forces in the West were capable of neutralizing terrorism.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. The terrorist' relative inaction during this period marked a major phase in Iran's consolidating its dominance over the entire Middle East terrorist movement, primarily the Sunni Islamist movements. This development would have a profound impact on Iran's ability to strike America. P. 90
Saddam Hussein's real war was for the heart, soul, and future of the Muslim world, especially of the Arabs. The invasion of Kuwait which led to the Gulf War and the subsequent missile attacks on Israel were means toward this end of domination. In the summer of 1990, immediately after the invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein tried desperately to draw the Arab world into the fold of fundamentalist Islam which was, ironically, dominated by his arch enemy, Iran.
The only way Saddam Hussein could reverse the trend toward Iran was to lead an anti-American Jihad of his own.
The anticipated role of international terrorism had a major impact on Baghdad's willingness to compromise with Iran. The Iraqis realized that the most committed terrorists were motivated by Islamic zeal. Saddam Hussein would have to establish Islamic credentials before he could get Islamic terrorists to operate and die for him. P. 91
The Iraqi agreement with Iran called for Tehran to provide Baghdad with diversified vital support without becoming directly involved in the Gulf conflict. Primarily, the agreement gave Iraq access to the Iranian and Syrian international terrorist system which controlled an extensive, well organized support infrastructure in Western Europe and the U.S. P. 92
Ultimately, despite its pact with Baghdad, Tehran was ambivalent toward the unfolding of events in the Persian Gulf. This ambivalence led to its indecision on the role of Iranian-controlled terrorists in the anti-West campaign advocated by Saddam Hussein. P. 98
On September 12, 1990, Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared that Tehran "will never permit the American to establish a foothold for themselves in the region...where we have influence and any place" in the Muslim world. P. 99
Fadlallah saw in terrorism the only viable response to the U.S. Buildup. "The small can't destroy a house but they can make it untidy, and we're teaching Muslims to sabotage America's scheme of things..." P. 100
In mid-November, Iraq tried desperately to avert a strategic realignment by sending a high level military delegation led by Izat Ibrahim to Tehran, but to no avail. In late 1990, Tehran and Damascus decided not to join Iraq, but only after Tehran had convinced Baghdad to evacuate to Iran much of Iraq's strategic equipment, such as aircraft, tanks, and artillery, which were ultimately confiscated by the Iranians. However, Tehran declared its neutrality in case of a war against Iraq only on December 31.
Tehran's position now was that is agreement with Baghdad on the danger of the U.S. Presence in the region should not be confused with acceptance of Saddam Hussein's leadership or support of Iraq. Discussing the U.S. Danger in the Persian Gulf, Fadlallah stated, "the fact that we agree with Saddam on this issue does not make him an Arab hero." For this he lacks the format and the moral standing. P. 104
The most important reason for the failure of the anticipated terrorist campaign was that Iran and Syria had reneged on their deal with Saddam Hussein and actively prevented their terrorists from supporting the Iraqi cause. Since the international terrorist system controlled by Iran and Syria is the best organized and most capable in the industrialized West, there was not much the Iraqis could do once they were denied access to this infrastructure. P. 118