A close study of the development and performance of Islamic terrorism in Western Europe is extremely important for the comprehension of the terrorist threat to and in the United States. In essence, Western Europe serves as a testing ground for Islamist terrorism. Many operational and organizational concepts have been first refined in Europe before being implemented in the U.S. Thus, the current state of Islamist terrorism in Western Europe is also a forecast of the Islamist terrorism awaiting America.
...From the very beginning, the Islamist movement was determined to export the Islamic Revolution to Western Europe.
...At the same time, however, Tehran was fully aware of the complexities involving the conduct of terrorist operations in Western Europe. Therefore, out of pragmatic considerations, the HizbAllah decided to consider the early 1980s as "an era of sowing the seeds of tomorrow," namely, establishing a major terrorist infrastructure in Western Europe.
...Iran was attempting to continue the struggle against the enemy in Western Europe while the Islamist terrorist infrastructure was being built. Toward that end, Tehran decided to first employ a dual strategy:
...Behind the romanticized kaffiyas (Arab scarfs) and the myth of terrorist freedom fighters are well-trained soldiers-supported, equipped and programmed by states.
...Sebri al-Banna (Abu-Nidal) was the other great influence on the fledgling Islamist terrorist movement...Special attention was paid to operative and agent selection, training and indoctrination. Agents and weapons were planted well in advance of potential attacks. A locally-based detachment that would not be involved in the operation conducted target reconnaissance, prepared papers, itineraries, safe houses, etc. This group always cooperated with a locally-based embassy. It was Abu-Nidal's golden rule: never operate without the complete backing of the security and diplomatic sevices of at least one state.
...In France, recruitment concentrated on Sunni minorities such as Moroccans and Tunisians whose communities in France were relatively stable. Only proven devotees were actually recruited after a lengthy period of observation by Iranian agents. They were sent for training in Iran. Similarly in West Germany, the Iranians targeted the Pakistani and Benghali communities, in Scandinavia the Palestinians and the Kurds.
...Virtually all the Islamic centers in Western Europe, as well as the Shi'ite propaganda and agitation network, were penetrated by Iran...Iranian influence was constantly growing through its relentless propaganda...Simultaneously, growing numbers of Iranian operatives and controllers were being infiltrated into France, providing the Islamist network with teeth.
...By the mid 1980s, the Shi'ites were everywhere in Western Europe, quietly infiltrating the local Muslim communities in order to gain control and subvert them from the inside...Virtually all Iranian institutions, including international organizations, banks, students and schools and transport colonies (shipping, airlines, etc.) received formal instructions from Tehran and were required to participate in this campaign...Another method used to infiltrate Islamist operatives and terrorists is the sending of Iranian-trained agents, including Iranians, Lebanese, Palestinians, Tunisians, Africans or Sri Lankans, to the West, requesting political asylum...Iranians opened their own cultural and agitation centers and wrested control of existing Islamic centers from the Saudis. These centers are also used to shelter terrorists. Thus, ultimately, these activities all end up promoting terrorism.
...the established Muslim leadership in most of Western Europe was helpless against the destabilation campaigns by the spiritual messengers of Khomeini. There was always the underlying threat that the Hizbollahi and their masters are quite dangerous and that they would strike and kill anybody standing in their way...As a rule, Tehran is using its embassies, consulates, and cultural centers in Western Europe for conducting terrorist operations and smuggling. PP. 176-187
The Iranian embassy in Rome also directed various clandestine operations, including finding and assassinating anti-Khomeini Iranian exiles. The Iranians maintained a network of Iranian and Lebanese operatives who operated alone as well as in cooperation with the Italian neo-fascists.
...Indeed, there is a persistent radicalization of the West European Muslim community, especially in France, which is reflected both in everyday life and the emergence of activist Islamic circles...Moreover, the real quality nets, at least in France are yet to be uncovered. Members of these "sleeper" nets have perfectly authentic French identity papers and have been in the country for years. Additional authentic papers were issued by French embassies overseas, especially in Senegal, Tunisia and Guinea where French diplomats and local workers were members of HizbAllah. PP. 194-197
..The outcome of the conferences and consultations in 1984-86 was the emergence of an entirely new three-tiered pyramid-type organization for the coordination of and control over terrorism in Western Europe. The pyramid consisted of:
...The second tier is comprised of field officers in charge of preparing and carrying out the operations and assaults...They provided the trigger men with detailed instructions and weapons and then disappeared after the attack...The expert trigger men constitute the third tier. They are sent from training camps in Iran and Syria to Europe prior to the intended operations. In Europe, they "are" stored for months in safe locations by the local support system.
...The impact of the Iranian financial assistance is great in the impoverished Muslim communities...When some of these Muslim youth are judged ready and ripe for recruitment they are contacted by Arab "businessman" from outside the country, who offer them tempting education and job offers, usually in a foreign country, at first, and then in the Middle East. These Arab "businessmen" promise to compensate the families of the recruited youth so that by signing up they also help their relatives who remain in Europe. Once vetted, cleansed and agitated, those recruited end up in the HizbAllah training camps in Lebanon or Iran...After basic training and indoctrination, the trainees are dispatched to camps in Syria, Iran or Libya where they receive expert and specialized terrorist training...Average courses have 300 trainees each. They are taught to use explosives, handguns and knives as well as "the latest technology of death." Most important is the Tehran Khomeini training camp where they are thoroughly trained after being brainwashed by Vietnamese specialists. Iran has succeeded in organizing a molding system for the prospective trigger men by which, from the very beginning of their training, they are turned into fanatics, bewitched by the use of slogans. The process of conditioning goes even into creating a false, politically explosive, biography for each of the trainees. PP. 204-208
...Although these cells are capable of conducting terrorist operations, the terrorist leadership decided to make an effort not to risk its concealed infrastructure if possible. Thus, professional operatives, who form the third tier, are sent for specific operations and put under the local field commander. In Europe, they live off the operational support system, getting diversified assistance including intelligence...Also there are 'submarines' who guide the special sabotage agents, bomb installers and commandos dispatched on special missions.
...In early 1986, PLO sources pointed out that there were some 300 followers of Abu-Nidal in Western Europe ready to strike. They also claimed that Abu-Nidal, ostensibly dead since 1983, is a cover name for "the secret services of some arab countries." (Indeed, soon after the Rome and Vienna attacks, there were rumors that Abu-Nidal was hospitalized in Yugoslavia.) Dr. Nabil Sha'th of the PLO stated: Abu-Nidal is a alias given to Arab terrorist that operate in collaboration with Arab intelligence services...But certain Arab intelligence organs spend large funds in order to maintain his alias, in order to use it in crimes they commit against the Palestinian people in particular and the Arab people in general, so that such crimes will not be traced back to the actual perpetrators. PP. 210-211
For example, on February 7, 1986, the French police came upon a red Opel with two Iranians inside who eventually escaped on foot. Many documents, a Polish WZ 63 (9mm) and a Czech CZ Vzor 50 automatic pistol (7.65mm) were found. Both weapons are known to be favorites of the Iranian supported terrorists. P. 215