Yossef Bodansky's "Target America" (1993)
edited into a question and answer format

Part Two:

  1. What roles do the following states play in the sponsorship of terrorism in Europe and the US?

    "... diversified terrorist organizations became "mere pawns on the chessboard of Syrian intelligence, which is the real one pulling the strings." However, the highly proficient Syrian intelligence did its utmost not to leave its fingerprints while making full use of the large diversity of groups available for credible deniability in overseas terrorism.

    One of the main objectives of the Iranian terrorist system was to launch daring operations in the West, especially in the United States.

    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...

    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.

    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...

    ...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...

    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...

    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 terrorists. 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.

    Iran-Sudan Partnership
    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...

    Iran and Syria proved their basic argument in the ashes in Beirut - that international terrorism is an effective vehicle capable of delivering dramatic results that no other instrument of foreign policy could. The success of the Beirut bombings sent a surge through the ranks of the Islamists and their supporters...Iranian staff and financing dominated this infrastructure. The Islamist movements affiliated with Iran and Sudan will be identified by such names as mujahideen, HizbAllah, Jihad, and other religiously oriented names...

    Tehran continues to improve terrorist training provided to the Islamists in the vast infrastructure in Sudan...The terrorist infrastructure in Sudan serves as the strongest example of the cooperation between Tehran and Khartoum.

  2. Why is Europe a hotbed for Islamist terrorist activity?

    It is evident that it is relatively easy and extremely inexpensive to establish a clandestine network in a Western European country. When they have the support of Syria, Libya and Iran, groups such as ASALA, Islamic Jihad, the Fatah Revolutionary Council or the Orgainization for Armed Arab Struggle encounter no particular difficulty in establishing an efficient network overseas. The Middle East states support terrorism in a constant manner and have long-term oversight...

    In Western Europe, Muslim communities will constitute 25% of the population by 2000. At present, Muslims constitute 7-9% of the population in England and 8-10% in France. Moreover, the Muslim emigre community, and especially the younger, European-born, generation is rapidly becoming militant Islamist. Since the mid-1980s, Iran and the HizbAllah have successfully conducted a massive recruitment drive amon these locally-born Muslim youth. Many have received advanced terrorist training in Iran. It is a formidaable threat because, by a cautious estimate, about 3%-6% of the over eight million Muslim emigres in Western Europe are actively involved in Islamist activities that border on or are outright, subversive. This means around 250,000-500,000 potential terrorists and their supporters.

  3. What is the relationship between terror operations in Europe and terror operations in the US?

    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.

  4. What are the origins of the most recent wave of terrorist attacks on the US?

    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

  5. How do Islamist terrorist organizations succeed in infiltrating and taking control of Muslim communities in Europe and the US?

    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...

    The impact of the Iranian financial assistance is great in the impoverished Muslim communities

  6. How are ordinary Muslims in Europe unwittingly drawn into terrorist support networks?

    ...At first he asked them to safe-keep innocent, and later not so-innocent, items in their apartments. Most became ideologically committed to the cause. Those who wavered or were frightened were intimidated by being told they were already accomplices to violent bombings because they had unwittingly stored bombs or guns.

  7. What is the reason for popular support of the extremist views and actions of Islamist terrorists?

    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.

  8. How sophisticated is the training received by terrorist operatives currently deployed in the US?

    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.)...

    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.

  9. How good are the counterespionage (detection avoidance) capacities of terrorist networks in the US and Europe?

    The most important recommendation on security issues was the realization that after 15 years of operational experience in Europe, the terrorist organizations had streamlined their operations and have acquired valuable experience to the point that they are basically invulnerable to conventional surveillance-wiretaps, photography and other kinds of surveillance... They were prepared meticulously to state their claim for political asylum convincingly so they would be in a position to get permanent residence papers, thus freeing them from the surveillance that existed for diplomats and officials.

  10. Why are the leaders of the terrorist states opposed to a US-brokered peace settlements in the Middle East?

    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.

  11. Besides Western Europe and the US, where else have Islamist terror operations been active?

    Beginning in early 1992, the Islamists' commitment to Jihad against the West come to be tested in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in what was formerly Yugolavia...The "Muslim Forces" include several hundred volunteers primarily from Iran, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Persian Gulf arab states, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey...

    In early November 1992, more than 50 expert terrorists and instructors of the HizbAllah and the Tawhid (its Sunni counterpart under Sheikh Sha'ban) were sent from Baalbak to Bosnia-Herzegovina to train local cadres and launch operations on their own... Indeed, since the summer of 1992, there has been a marked escalation in provocations by the Muslim forces, the goal of which is to secure the military intervention of the West against the Serbs (and to a lesser extent, the Croats). Initially, these provocations were mainly senseless attacks on their own Muslim population. The UN concluded that a special group of Bosnian-Muslim forces, many of whom had served with Islamist terrorist organizations, committed a series of atrocities, including "some of the worst recent killings", against Muslim civilians in Sarajevo "as a propaganda ploy to win world sympathy and military intervention."

Remember: This material was available in a mass market paperback in 1993.

Text Copyright: Yossef Bodansky, 1993
Question and Answer format: Copyright: Ken McCarthy, 2001

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