Chapter 4

Both Tehran and Damascus have realized that U.S. influence in the region, being demonstrated and enhanced in the peace process, would not enable the realization of their strategic designs - the New Islamic World Order. The U.S. must be evicted from the Middle East and South-West Asia as a precondition for the rise of the Islamic bloc. Thus, a confrontation with Washington is inevitable. Damascus and Tehran believe, on the basis of their experience in Beirut in the early 1980s, that it is possible to compel Washington into drastic changes in its policy by a few spectacular terrorist operations, especially if the carnage is massive. This time, however, they would do it on U.S. Soil. P. 134

The February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York was but one of the first events in a new phase of the Islamist Jihad against the West, one that if carried out as planned, will be characterized by a spate of terrorism throughout America and Western Europe.

The importance in these incidents is that they are being carried out by Sunni networks affiliated with the new Islamist International, the umbrella organization of the various "Jihadist" organizations that operate within the theological framework of the International Muslim Brotherhood. Essentially controlled and sponsored by Iran, and run via Sudan under the leadership of Sheikh Hassan Abdallah al-Turabi, the Islamist International is the realization of Khomeini's original vision of an ecumenical all-Islamic Revolution that does not distinguish between Sunnis and Shi'ites. This new Islamist International has been consolidated only since the fall of 1991.

The leading terrorists are known as 'Afghans,' having been trained with the mujahideen in Pakistan. Some fought in Afghanistan. The Islamist legion sends its fighters all over Asia, Africa, Europe, and America to support, further, incite, and facilitate what the leadership considers Islamic liberation struggles. P. 135

The current rise of Islamist terrorism in its Sunni variant is an expression of a profound sociopolitical process throughout the Muslim world, with special importance in the Arab world where the tradition of political terrorism was most active. During the 1980s radical leftist Arab terrorism was slowly collapsing. The overall failure of the Arab revolutionary trend and the lack of charismatic young leaders had diverted the radicalized and frustrated youth away form the socialist-nationalist movements into the fold of revivalist radical Islam.

In contrast, the Islamist movement provides its followers with young charismatic leaders, divine guidance, and assurances of high rewards in eternity. P. 136

The rise of Islamist terrorism, and especially the Armed Islamic Movement, is the result of the convergence of several trends:

  • The aggregate impact of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, especially its call to arms, on the Sunni Islamist movement dominated by Muslim Brotherhood and its specific ideology.
  • The appeal and impact of the rise of the radical international terrorist movement dominated by Iran and Syria, the most notorious component of which is the HizbAllah, and the ensuing transformation of the leftist Palestinian organizations that "discovered" Islam.
  • The lingering impact of the war in Afghanistan and the presence of Arab volunteers in the ranks of the Mujahideen.
P. 137

Soon after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, Egypt's President Anwar el-Sadat, at the request of the U.S., agreed to help the fledgling Afghan resistance by supplying it with weapons... This definition enabled the Islamists in Egypt to agitate in the name of Afghanistan.

However, the impact of Afghanistan on the Muslim world became strong around the mid-1980s. Then, hundreds of Arabs, predominantly fundamentalists, began joining the Afghan resistance to fight in their ranks. P. 141

It was not long before Egyptian and other Arab Islamist groups began using Peshawar, the center of the Afghan resistance in Pakistan, as a center for their exiled headquarters. As a result of their growing cooperation they established an "International Jihad Organization" using Pakistan and Afghanistan as their springboard.

Meanwhile, in order to expedite and expand its own terrorist support programs, Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) encouraged the expansion and internationalization of the Islamist training and support effort. Muslim volunteers from several Arab and Asian countries were encourage to come to Pakistan and join the Afghan Jihad.

Although the Arabs (especially Egyptians, Palestinians, and Jordanians) were provided with intensive training, not all of them were sent to fight inside Afghanistan. Instead, many would disappear soon after their training and practice period were over. These foreign volunteers receive specialized training in such topics as the use of shoulder-fired SAMs and sabotage (especially the use of sophisticated remote-control detonators and advance explosives). They also underwent extensive Islamic indoctrination which makes them devout and over committed zealots. P. 142

Thus, in the quest of Islamist violence, the camps of the Islamist Afghan resistance in Pakistan have become the Sunni Islamist terrorism what Lebanon used to be for radical leftist storerooms. Pakistan has become a place of pilgrimage for aspiring Islamist radicals. Islamist terrorist have always looked for semi-autonomy - a sort of state within a state - as the ideal circumstance for their training and center of operations.

Thus, by the late 1980s the Afghan camps in Pakistan had turned into the center of Sunni Islamist terrorism, the melting pot of the Sunni Jihad... Afghanistan and Pakistan are to Islamist terrorism what Lebanon used to be to radical and progressive terrorism. P. 143

The transformation of Sudan from a Libyan-Iraqi ally to an Iranian fiefdom was not a mere change of hegemonic power, but rather a profound process with far reaching ideological ramifications for the entire Muslim World.

Sudan's profound shift toward Iran occurred in the early spring of 1991, in the wake of the Gulf Crisis, and especially Saddam Hussein's failure to conduct the war as a genuine Islamic Jihad. P. 145

The Arab Islamic Peoples' Conference took place in Khartoum on April 25-28, 1991. IT was a congress of a wide variety of terrorist organizations and popular Islamist movements from 5 countries. It was the first serious attempt to coordinate a Sunni Islamist assault on the Muslim world and against the West in revenge for war with Iraq

High level delegations from terrorist supporting states such as Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Somalia participated in the Khartoum conference. P. 146

Tehran continues to improve terrorist training provided to the Islamists in the vast infrastructure in Sudan. P. 157

The terrorist infrastructure in Sudan serves as the strongest example of the cooperation between Tehran and Khartoum. P. 158

By November 1991, Iran already assisted in the establishment of 30 terrorist training bases for Muslim terrorists from all over the world in several parts of Sudan. Iranian staff and financing dominated this infrastructure.

General training includes advanced sabotage with SEMTEX, armed ambushes, clandestine activities and counter-political work (subversion and the disruption of political rallies, etc.). (SEMTEX is a Czechoslovak-made plastic explosive, perhaps the best in the world. It is extremely powerful and undetectable by most detection machines.) P. 159

Several of the 30 terrorist training bases in Sudan have unique missions and roles.

The two most important sites are the al-Shambat and al-Mazra'ah camps where terrorists from Tunisia, Algeria, France, and Belgium receive advanced terrorist training. At these camps plans have been made for long-term terrorist operations in Western Europe. The subjects taught in these camps include the use of small arms, self-defense, explosives, laying ambushes, "manufacturing of explosives from local materials," topography, and using night-vision equipment. In the summer of 1991 there was a delay in sabotage training due to shortages of SEMTEX, but Iran ultimately supplied large quantities. P. 160

The Islamists developed the 'fulcrum theory,' arguing, in essence, that in order to take on the Muslim world, the Islamists must first have a solid base from which to affect the rest of the world.

The establishment of an Islamist regime in Khartoum in 1989 provided the militant Islamists with the long sought-after fulcrum. Indeed, under the guidance of Turabi, Sudan has been transformed into a center for the exportation of the Sunni Islamist Revolution. P. 168

The Gulf Crisis of 1990-91 was both a distraction and a crisis that rejuvenated and incited ever wider circles of the population throughout the Muslim world into adopting an anti-Western position. After the Gulf War, the Islamists sought to capitalize on the widespread communal shock and humiliation suffered by the Muslims. P. 169

The Islamist movements affiliated with Iran and Sudan will be identified by such names as mujahideen, HizbAllah, Jihad, and other religiously oriented names. Their activities will take place in three tiers:

  1. The mosque - in order to reach the popular masses.
  2. The universities - the first line of the 'Islamic rebels' because the largest groups of the best educated and motivated militant Islamists can be found there.
  3. The opposition community and pressure groups through taking over social and humanitarian services, social work, trade, etc. in order to insert secret cadres and better penetrate and subvert society from within. P. 170

The Islamist terrorist strategy for the forthcoming terrorist campaign in the West, and especially the U.S., underwent a major revision in a special conference of some 300 senior terrorist commanders and Iranian intelligence officials held in Tehran in early February 1993.

In Tehran, the Iranian and HizbAllah leaders conceded that Iran's policy of "moderation" failed to attract economic assistance and investment from the West, and that instead the West, and especially the United States, were paying increased attention to Iran's growing power and to the spread of Islam. U.S. policy in the Middle East and the Balkans was identified as a reflection of its growing threat to Islam. P. 171

Therefore the leaders decided that there was no alternative to the resumption of the classic uncompromising terrorist struggle against, and in, the West and particularly America.

Special attention has been paid to discussing the revival of spectacular terrorist operations such as kidnapping foreign (mainly American) hostages, political assassinations of the "enemies of Islam," hijacking or blowing up transport aircraft, and major sabotage operations.

In this context, Sheikh Fadlallah delivered a major sermon in which he justified and legitimized the resumption of international terrorism from the Islamist point of view. He dwelled on the theological bridging of differences between Shi'ite and Sunni Islam with emphasis on key aspects of international terrorism such as martyrdom (suicide) operations and the cross-trend issuing of fatwas, a crucial issue for authorization of spectacular terrorist operations in the West. P. 172

The lack of success of the Islamist political elites must not be confused with widespread popular sentiments. Even in the pseudo-democracies in the Muslim world, the masses are not really represented because the real power remains the domain of very limited elites, and the "parliaments" are limited to symbolism and titular procedures. The masses are disenchanted and, due to a widespread social and economic malaise in the Arab world, increasingly withdraw into the panacea of the absolute solutions offered by radical Islam. P. 173

They are drawn into, and won over by, radical Islam, in part through comprehensive and widespread Islamist programs of social services and welfare. This popular transformation is increasingly strong among the urban population, including very young professionals and intellectuals.

The Islamists consider their quest for power so divine as to justify and sanctify and conceivable means, primarily violence. That alone petrifies the already inherently unstable local leaders and regimes who, in turn, increase oppression and suppression, as seen in Algeria and Egypt, thus playing into the Islamists' hands while further destabilizing themselves

And, with the Islamists blaming the West, and particularly the U.S., for supporting the hostile regimes, their rage and craving of retribution in the form of international terrorism are increasingly aimed at the U.S.

The militant Islamists are increasingly convinced that only a total disengagement from, and a major confrontation with, the hostile world order will delivery salvation. P. 174

The hated regimes survive only because of the West's commitment to saving its own puppets, as clearly demonstrated recently during al-Az'ma or "the Crisis" - the Persian Gulf War. P. 175

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