DAILY NEWS BULLETIN
Bible Reading of the day
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 7,11-17. Soon afterward he journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, "Do not weep." He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!" The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming, "A great prophet has arisen in our midst," and "God has visited his people." This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.
Terrorists lying in wait for Canada? By Judi McLeod & Doug Hagmann.Free Canada Press.September 18/07
What's in a Name? 'Jihad' vs. 'Hiraba'.By Patrick Poole. American Thinker. September 18/07
Who will be the next president?By Sami Moubayed, September 18/07
Fear Factor: Lebanon and the European Way of Peacekeeping.By: Soeren Kern.September 18/07
Report: Israeli Jets Destroyed Syrian Nuke Cache.By: London Times.September 18/07
Iran's Proxy War Against America.By: Thomas Joscelyn. September 18/07
Kouchner's latest outburst focuses badly needed attention on the Iran crisis.The Daily Star.Sewptember 18/07
What Lebanon's president should do about Syria.By Chibli Mallat. September 18/07
Latest News Reports From
Miscellaneous Sources for September 18/07
Saniora for Talks with Saudi Monarch.Naharnet
Berri Hits Back at Jumblat.Naharnet
China, Russia and Hizbullah are America's Most Serious Threats. Naharnet
Israeli Aircraft Swoop Low over South Causing Sonic Bangs. Naharnet
US official: Syria anti-Semitic, must not attend peace summit.Ha'aretz
Sfeir Warns Against Boycotting Session to Elect New President-Naharnet
Jumblat Warns Against Consensus President-Naharnet
Majority of Lebanese Want Consensus President: Poll-Naharnet
Gen. Abizaid: World could abide nuclear-armed regime in Iran.AP
Lebanon says "progress" is being made to implement Paris 3.Monsters and Critics.com
Syria reopens Lebanon border posts.AFP
Olmert ready for uncondtional peace talks with Syria.Ynetnews
ISF nabs seven members of Sunni 'terror cell' in South-Daily Star
Jumblatt holds out, refuses to accept Berri's compromise plan-Daily Star
Survey of Lebanese finds strong support for neutral president, rejection of traditional families AFP
Sayyed says top prosecutor asks the wrong questions.Daily Star
Sfeir wants next president to be 'trustworthy-Daily Star
Opposition MPs to attend poll if Aoun can secure majoity vote-Daily Star
Feltman praises 'battles for freedom and independence'.Daily Star
Work starts on housing for Nahr al-Bared displaced-Daily Star
UNIFIL launches development projects in South in bid to fortify ties with locals-Daily Star
Seminar examines solutions for Damour River Basin-Daily Star
Sidon's downtown souks are home to no shortage of traditional delicacies-Daily Star
Tehran bristles at dire warning from Kouchner.Daily Star
Israeli MP demands briefingon air strike against Syria.AFP
Sfeir Warns Against Boycotting
Session to Elect New President
Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir stressed that a two-thirds quorum is needed to elect a new president for Lebanon and warned against boycotting the electoral session. "Presidential elections must take place … No one can boycott a nation," Sfeir said in remarks published by the daily An Nahar on Tuesday.
"… At the end, national sentiments should overcome the feelings of animosity," he added. Sfeir emphasized that he did not and will not name a presidential candidate, reiterating that the new head of state should be at an equal distance from all political players. "He (next president) should have a clean hand and a white heart and should unite all the people," he said, adding that "…It is essential for the next president not to be aligned with any party and to be transparent and trustworthy."
On the issue of the two-third vote, Sfeir said the Constitution was clear in this regard. "The Constitution is clear. The president of the republic should be elected by secret ballot and by a two-thirds quorum of PMs, and if the quorum is not secured, then a president will be elected by a half-plus-one vote," he clarified.
Sfeir also sounded the alarm, describing the situation as "dangerous.""If both sides remain clung to their positions then we will not reach a solution or we could reach disastrous outcomes," he warned. "However, if both sides consider the interests of the country and the people then maybe there will be a way out" of the political crisis that has crippled Lebanon for the past 10 months. Sfeir, who returned to Lebanon on Friday after a visit to the Vatican, said his anticipated meeting with House Speaker Nabih Berri will "take place soon." "I heard that the speaker is currently studying all possible scenarios and setting up an agenda for our talks," he said.
MP Saad Hariri held a telephone conversation with Sfeir on Monday. No details were given. Beirut, 18 Sep 07, 07:33
Suicide bombers and Cyber terrorists
Terrorists lying in wait for Canada?
By Judi McLeod & Doug Hagmann
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Startling news from Scotland today indicates that Canada--Ontario in particular--may be the next site for terrorist attacks.
Indeed, it now turns out that the arrests of 12 men and 5 teenagers as suspected terrorists in Toronto on June 2, 2006, didn't stop there but cropped up almost year and a half later in Glasgow. The 12 men and five teens are in custody in connection with the alleged attacks to the current day.
It is claimed that the attacks foiled by the RCMP and Toronto police stopped a mission that was to include detonating truck bombs, slaughtering shoppers and storming the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) and parliament building where terrorists allegedly planned to behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
According to firstname.lastname@example.org, "The security services feared Scotland's first home-grown "wannabe suicide bomber" had been preparing to carry out a terrorist attack in Canada it emerged last night." ( www.scotsman.com, Sept. 18, 2007).
The message could just as well have been: "SOS to Canada from Scotland: Heads up!"
The scene for the apprehension of the suspect terrorist in Scotland was the same one where terrorists drove a vehicle through the plate glass windows of Glasgow's Airport.
"Mohammed Atif Siddique was stopped at Glasgow Airport before he could board a flight to Pakistan amid concerns that he might go "off the radar" and joined alleged Islamic extremists in planning large-scale terrorist attacks in Ontario."
Is Siddique a member of the 300 suicide bombers that graduated in Pakistan last June, dispatched on missions to London, Germany and Canada?
Instead of disappearing off radar, Siddique was apprehended and found guilty yesterday of a string of terrorism offences at the High Court in Glasgow. He now faces a jail sentence of up to 15 years, to be decided on Oct. 23.
"During his trial, the defence and prosecution had argued over whether the 21-year-old IT student was actively involved in promoting terrorist attacks or was merely a "foolishly stupid young man" simply researching Islamic terrorism.
Canada Free Press (CFP) readers will recall that cyber terrorism is one of al Qaeda' latest strategies. Terrorists using Internet websites to recruit and plan attacks are on the increase. See here.
Siddique was accused of providing instruction or training in the making or use of firearms and explosive by means of the Internet, between September 2003 and April 2006.
On April 13, 2006, Siddique distributed or circulated terrorist publications by means of websites he set up.
After the judge handed down the verdict, Siddique's solicitor, Aamer Anwar, showed his displeasure, accusing the authorities of launching an "unwarranted" attack on civil liberties and of creating a climate of fear for young Muslims.
Anwar said the Canadian accusations—which were not presented in court—were an attempt to "smear" his client.
"Flanked by members of Siddique's family, who run a shop in Alva, Clackmannanshire, Mr. Anwar said: ""Today, Mohammed Atif Siddique was found guilty of doing what millions of young people do everyday—looking for answers on the internet."
"This verdict is a tragedy for justice and for freedom of speech and undermines the values that separate us from the terrorists, the very values we should be fighting to protect. The prosecution was driven by the state, with no limit to the money and resources used to secure a conviction in this case, carried out in an atmosphere of hostility after the Glasgow airport attack and ending on the anniversary of 9/11."
Anwar, who contends that Siddique did not receive a fair trial, said he is considering an appeal.
But Maureen Brown, assistant chief constable of Central Scotland Police, who was in charge of the investigation, said the verdicts had sent out a clear message to people in Scotland who may support the al Qaeda cause. She said the case demonstrated that "we will not tolerate terrorism in any form, including the possession of materials which would be useful to someone wanting to commit an act of terrorism or to induce or encourage someone to take such a course of action.
Siddique was detained at Glasgow Airport on April 5th last year, as he prepared to fly out to Pakistan with his uncle.
Sources close to the investigation said it was believed he might have been preparing to become involved in a terrorist attack in Canada.
"It is thought Siddique had been radicalized by a man from the north of England who was being monitored by the Secret Service and was having online chats with him. The man, who for legal reasons cannot be named, is suspected of being a major recruiting agent and handler for al Qaeda, and is related to a central figure in an alleged Canadian suicide-bomb team" (emphasis CFP's).
Sources also claim Siddique had discussions with "someone in Canada" over the possibility of setting up terrorist training camps along the U.S. border.
CFP, through Northeast Intelligence Network (NEIN) director Doug Hagmann, has run a number of stories during the past year and a half regarding radical Islamic compounds, some of which nestle the Canada-U.S. border. See here, and here.
A source close to the investigation said: "The security services got intelligence that Siddique was about to leave Glasgow Airport for Pakistan, where he would completely go off the radar. Special Branch were asked to detain him without delay."
One source said the Canadian connections were "intelligence" rather than evidence.
Siddique possessed all of the trappings to perfect the image of homegrown innocence.
Described as a model pupil at school, Mohammed Atif Siddique was a well-presented, quiet young man who pitched in to help at the family shop in the Clackmannanshire town of Alva.
His father runs a newsagent's in the Myretoungate area of Alva, a town with a population of about 5,000.
Meanwhile Canadian authorities seem to have fallen asleep after the foiled terrorist attacks in the June 2 Toronto bust.
The Scotland experience underlines the vulnerability to a Canada with troops in Afghanistan.
Canada Free Press founding editor Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on Newsmax.com, Drudge Report, Foxnews.com, Glenn Beck and The Rant. Judi can be reached at: email@example.com
Syria Reopens Northern Abboudieh-Dabboussieh Border Crossings
Syria reopened two Northern border crossings that were closed in May over alleged security concerns. The Abboudieh-Dabboussieh border crossings near the northern port city of Tripoli were temporarily closed soon after fighting between al-Qaida-inspired militants and the Lebanese army erupted on May 20 at nearby Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp. Syria said at the time that the closure was "to preserve the security" of Syrian and Lebanese citizens on both sides of the border.
The bloody, almost four-month siege at the Nahr el-Bared camp ended Sept. 2 with a ferocious gun battle that left many of the militants dead or captured.
Witnesses and the state-run National News Agency said the border crossings were reopened Monday afternoon. The reopening followed a visit by north Lebanese delegates to Damascus on Sunday Visiting Lebanese MP Wajih Baarani said earlier he was told by Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara that both posts would be reopened, following the army's seizure of the Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon on September 2.
Assad's decision was "excellent because northern Lebanon suffered from the closures," Baarani said, referring to the economic fallout on trading links between the two neighbors. It quoted Interior Minister General Bassam Abdel Majid as announcing "the reopening of the two Syrian-Lebanese border posts of Arida and Dabussiya to travelers in both directions," on President Bashar al-Assad's instructions. Lebanon's anti-Syrian majority charged that the Fatah al-Islam militiamen who fought the army in a deadly showdown which cost almost 400 lives had links to Syrian intelligence, an allegation denied by Damascus.
Syria, however, has threatened to shut its border if international forces are deployed on the Lebanese side to curb alleged arms smuggling following last year's war between Israel and the Damascus-backed Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.(AP-AFP-Naharnet) Beirut, 18 Sep 07, 11:31
Majority of Lebanese Want Consensus President: Poll
Most Lebanese want the new president to be a consensus figure who does not need to belong to either of the two rival camps vying to win the divisive September 25 poll, a survey said. The Ipsos opinion poll found that 60.5 percent of Lebanese thought the new president should not necessarily be from the ruling majority or the Hizbullah-led opposition, which is strongly supported by Syria and Iran. The poll, published Monday, said 40.8 percent want the new president to have a degree, 24.8 percent want a military figure, 14.3 percent a technocrat, 12.8 percent a businessman and 7.5 percent someone from a traditional political family.
Asked if the next president should necessarily be a man, 50.5 percent said "no." Sixty-nine percent said the new president should have a greater role in domestic politics, while 31 percent want the next president to be neutral and a go-between between the country's rival political factions. In Lebanon, the head of state is not elected by the people directly, but by parliament which is due to meet on September 25 for the presidential poll. The vote for a successor to Syrian-backed President Emile Lahoud has exacerbated Lebanon's ongoing political crisis which has split Beirut into pro- and anti-Damascus camps. The stalemate was sparked last November, when opposition forces, led by Hizbullah, withdrew their six ministers from the Saniora cabinet. Analysts said that failure by political foes to choose a consensus candidate could spark a dangerous power vacuum or even the naming of two rival governments -- a grim reminder of the final years of the 1975-1990 civil war when two competing administrations battled it out. Researchers interviewed a representative sample of 500 Lebanese who live in Beirut and the Mount Lebanon area. No margin of error was given.(AFP) Beirut, 18 Sep 07, 10:07
Jumblat Warns Against Consensus President
Democratic Gathering leader Walid Jumblat stood by his comments about Speaker Nabih Berri's initiative, warning the Hizbullah-led opposition against moving ahead with its "coup" through presidential elections. "The opposition is seeking to push off with its goals of a coup through the upcoming presidential elections," Jumblat told the weekly al-Anbaa. He gave a lengthy explanation as to why having a consensus presidential candidate was not a good idea.
"A consensus president is the return of tutelage" to Lebanon, Jumblat cited one reason. This was a reference to the nearly three decades of Syrian hegemony over Lebanon. "It violates democracy." He said a consensus president might also block the Special International Tribunal for Lebanon to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Jumblat also feared that a consensus president could "turn Lebanon into an arena for settling regional and international scores." He slammed Speaker Nabih Berri, saying there is a "big difference between open talks and a conditional dialogue."Addressing Berri, Jumblat said he "threatened the Lebanese with the 'death notice' and what it is, in fact, is surrendering the very foundation of sovereignty, independence and justice." Beirut, 18 Sep 07, 09:25
Libyan Terrorist and aides arrested,
Police arrested four suspected terrorists, a Libyan and three Lebanese, and confiscated explosives and Katyusha rockets, a reliable source told Naharnet. Two suspects, a Lebanese and a Libyan, were rounded up Sunday in a police bust of a hideout and a camouflaged dump in the village of Anout, in the Kharoub province southeast of Beirut. The two other suspects were rounded in the southern village of Zawtar in a separate bust carried out the same day. The coordinated operation followed months of monitoring, said the source who asked not to be identified. He said two other suspects of the six-man cell remain at larges and a man hunt has been launched for them. He refused to disclose further information pertaining to their names or nationalities. The Lebanese citizen arrested in Anount was identified as Walid Mohammed Ammar, a reputed Salafist in the Sunni Muslim region. The cell, according to the source, had been active in carrying out attacks and planning for attacks in the sector of south Lebanon patrolled by the U.N. Interim Force (UNIFIL). Beirut, 17 Sep 07, 10:12
Abizaid: World could abide nuclear Iran
By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
WASHINGTON - Every effort should be made to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but failing that, the world could live with a nuclear-armed regime in Tehran, a recently retired commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said Monday. John Abizaid, the retired Army general who headed Central Command for nearly four years, said he was confident that if Iran gained nuclear arms, the United States could deter it from using them.
"Iran is not a suicide nation," he said. "I mean, they may have some people in charge that don't appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon."The Iranians are aware, he said, that the United States has a far superior military capability.
"I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear," he said, referring to the theory that Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike by using a nuclear weapon against the United States. "There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran," Abizaid said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank. "Let's face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we've lived with a nuclear China, and we're living with (other) nuclear powers as well."
He stressed that he was expressing his personal opinion and that none of his remarks were based on his previous experience with U.S. contingency plans for potential military action against Iran.
Abizaid stressed the dangers of allowing more and more nations to build a nuclear arsenal. And while he said it is likely that Iran will make a technological breakthrough to obtain a nuclear bomb, "it's not inevitable." Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for energy resources, not to build weapons. Abizaid suggested military action to pre-empt Iran's nuclear ambitions might not be the wisest course. "War, in the state-to-state sense, in that part of the region would be devastating for everybody, and we should avoid it — in my mind — to every extent that we can," he said. "On the other hand, we can't allow the Iranians to continue to push in ways that are injurious to our vital interests."He suggested that many in Iran — perhaps even some in the Tehran government — are open to cooperating with the West. The thrust of his remarks was a call for patience in dealing with Iran, which President Bush early in his first term labeled one of the "axis of evil" nations, along with North Korea and Iraq.He said there is a basis for hope that Iran, over time, will move away from its current anti-Western stance.
Abizaid's comments appeared to represent a more accommodating and hopeful stance toward Iran than prevails in the White House, which speaks frequently of the threat posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions. The administration says it seeks a diplomatic solution to complaints about Iran's alleged support for terrorism and its nuclear program, amid persistent rumors of preparations for a U.S. military strike.
Abizaid expressed confidence that the United States and the world community can manage the Iran problem. "I believe the United States, with our great military power, can contain Iran — that the United States can deliver clear messages to the Iranians that makes it clear to them that while they may develop one or two nuclear weapons they'll never be able to compete with us in our true military might and power," he said. He described Iran's government as reckless, with ambitions to dominate the Middle East. "We need to press the international community as hard as we possibly can, and the Iranians, to cease and desist on the development of a nuclear weapon and we should not preclude any option that we may have to deal with it," he said. He then added his remark about finding ways to live with a nuclear-armed Iran. Abizaid made his remarks in response to questions from his audience after delivering remarks about the major strategic challenges in the Middle East and Central Asia — the region in which he commanded U.S. forces from July 2003 until February 2007, when he was replaced by Adm. William Fallon.
The U.S. cut diplomatic relations with Iran shortly after the 1979 storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Although both nations have made public and private attempts to improve relations, the Bush administration labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil," and Iranian leaders still refer to the United States as the Great Satan.
(This version SUBS 9th graf, Iran says ..., to CORRECT word to 'program,' sted 'problem'))
be the next president?
By Sami Moubayed, Special to Gulf News
Published: September 18, 2007, 00:27
It seems like the big players have placed their bet in Lebanon. The Saudis "prefer" Nassib Lahhoud of the March 14 Coalition, a respected statesman from the Maronite community. The Americans, who "insist" that nobody should interfere in the elections, "prefer" Boutros Harb, another Maronite candidate from March 14. The Syrians want Michel Aoun, the Christian heavyweight who is allied to Hezbollah. French are undecided, with an official line saying that they would support whomever is chosen by the people of Lebanon. Some press reports, however, say that they were in favour of bringing Army Commander Michel Suleiman to Ba'abda Palace, for an interim period of two years, to avoid a constitutional vacuum. That proposal, apparently, was vetoed by the Americans and Saudis because of Suleiman's friendship with both the Syrians and Hezbollah. Suleiman, however, still stands as a possible president-in-waiting, depending on the outcome of events in the upcoming week. All of these "bets" are preliminary. Anything can change between now and September 25.
According to the Lebanese weekly Al Kifah Al Arabi, if the Americans back out on Lahhoud, their second bet would be Riad Salameh, the compromise candidate who currently serves as Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon. Salameh, who is currently not officially standing for the presidential elections, is seen as an independent technocrat with an exceptionally unblemished record, who is acceptable by all parties in the Lebanese conflict. If the Hezbollah-led opposition vetoes all of March 14's candidates, then Salameh would stand a higher chance at becoming president. His candidacy, however, like that of Michel Suleiman, requires a constitutional amendment. Article 49 of the Constitution says that a candidate running for office must not be employed by the government. A period of no less than two years in retirement is needed before a civil servant can run for office - something that applies neither to Salameh nor Suleiman. Legal experts, however, are saying that although this clearly applies to Suleiman, it does not apply to Salameh, who is "contracted" for the post and not actually employed by the Lebanese government.
Several politicians in Lebanon, including March 14 heavyweights such as Samir Gagegea and Walid Junblatt, argue that no constitutional amendments can be made after the constitutional deadline of September 25. They want to minimise the chances of bringing any figure who is not a member of March 14 to the Ba'abda Palace. After this given date, they argue, parliament loses its legislative powers and becomes strictly, a voting body.
It can no longer amend the constitution. This means if Salameh or Suleiman stand any chance at running for office, this would have to be within the next week.
The Syrians are worried about US plans for Lebanon, especially after US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman said that Lebanon is a strategic partner for the US in the Middle East. They repeatedly claim that they will not tolerate an anti-Syrian president in Lebanon, who allows Lebanon to be used by the US for anti-Syrian activity.
They fear that a president from March 14 would further the anti-Syrian campaign, and work for the disarming of Hezbollah, Syria's main ally in Lebanon. Likewise, a president from March 14, who rules with Fouad Siniora means that all of Syria's allies in Lebanon will be completely marginalised and kept out of government jobs.
The fact that the US Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffery Feltman has prolonged his stay in Lebanon until after the elections, and that his successor Michele Sison has not arrived is worrying for Damascus. This means that the Americans are planning to manipulate the presidential elections through Feltman, an outright supporter of March 14. On the other hand, the Saudis "prefer" Lahhoud. They do not want to force their candidate on Lebanon, however, fearing that the opposition would refuse to vote or obey him, and resort to creating a parallel government, headed by a pro-Syrian president.
That is why the Saudis supported the Berri Initiative, hoping to win support from Hezbollah for Lahhoud, or any candidate from March 14.
The other March 14 candidate is Boutros Harb. A lawyer by profession, he worked with Nassib Lahhoud in the Qornet Shehwan Gathering, but had previously been a strong ally of the Syrians, who made him Minister of Education in the early 1990s. One of the two Maronite candidates from March 14 has to step out of the presidential race, so that only one Christian runs in the race, supported by the Hariri bloc. This would take place after all Christian forces within March 14, which include the Lebanese Phalange and the Lebanese Forces, decide on one candidate. Sources in Lebanon still do not rule out the candidacy of former President Ameen Gemayel, whose record was seriously affected, however, after losing the Metn parliamentary elections earlier this summer, against a political nobody from the Free Patriotic Movement of General Michel Aoun.
Respectable candidates, however, whether it is Lahhoud or Harb, will refuse coming to power with a purely Christian mandate. They will even refuse being voted into office under nothing more than US support and an umbrella from March 14. They want history to remember them as spokesmen for all of Lebanon. They also don't want Christian history to remember them as having come to power under Sunni patronage, thanks to Sa'ad Al Hariri and the Saudis, or US support. This is a long-standing norm in Lebanon. During the last proper elections that took place in 1975, between Suleiman Franjiyyieh and Elias Sarkis, each had an impressive mixture of Christians and Muslims among their parliamentary supports. Franjiyyieh, who won with a one vote difference over Sarkis, had Christian leaders behind him such as Pierre Gemayel and Raymond Edde, as well as Muslim heavyweights like Kamel Al Asaad and Saeb Salam. Sarkis's team had Christians such as Rene Mouawwad, and Muslim "giants" such as Rashid Karameh. Will history - or can history - repeat itself, given so much polarisation in Lebanese politics, and so many different "preferences" from Washington, Riyad, Paris, and Damascus?
***Sami Moubayed is a Syrian political analyst.
Proxy War Against America
By Thomas Joscelyn
The Claremont Institute | Monday, September 17, 2007
The following forward is written by Brian T. Kennedy, President of The Claremont Institute:
The Claremont Institute’s National Security Studies series is devoted to the serious discussion of what will be required to defend the United States and the West. Our Declaration of Independence teaches that government is instituted among men to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution’s injunction to provide for the “common defense” requires a vigorous and vigilant approach to national security. American foreign policy dedicated to the security of the interests and rights of its citizens requires not only informed and prudent statesmanship, but also a responsible citizenry that is engaged in the national discussion about friends and foes. It is in this tradition of spirited self-government that we publish these studies.
Iran has long been one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism worldwide. Iran’s ruling mullahs are extending their regional influence in the fog of the Iraq conflict. Their pursuit of nuclear weapons and a robust ballistic missile capability continues apace. Thomas Joscelyn argues that Iran is guilty of far more. An emboldened Iran has vicariously waged war against America for nearly three decades, yet America’s leaders are unwilling to admit what is plain for all to see.
Because of our reluctance to confront this terrorist state openly, we are losing ground on a vital front in our war against radical Islam. Through careful analysis of open sources, Joscelyn explains both the intelligence establishment’s misreading of history and the numerous but unfounded assumptions by today’s elite concerning Iran and its link to terrorist operations.
One of the most damaging and unwarranted assumptions made is that sectarian differences within Islam should prevent cooperation in operations against the West. A brief look at the evidence shows that Iran and others have had no trouble in putting aside differences in theology to harm their enemies, especially America. Specific links include the Iranian connection to al-Qaeda in the Sudan, a partnership brokered by Hassan al-Turabi, one-time leader of Sudan’s ruling party, the National Islamic Front. Next, there is Imad Mugniyah, Hezbollah’s master terrorist, who helped Osama bin Laden upgrade al-Qaeda’s capabilities in the early 1990s. The 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, long suspected to be the handiwork of Hezbollah under direction from Iran, may also have had a junior partner in al-Qaeda. The 9/11 Commission established that the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania were the work of Hezbollah-trained al-Qaeda operatives. There are disturbing signs that may implicate Iran in, at the very least, facilitating travel for some of the 9/11 hijackers. Finally, there is extensive evidence that Iran aided al-Qaeda’s retreat from Afghanistan in late 2001 and has allowed al-Qaeda agents to operate from Iranian soil ever since.
Recognizing this pattern is a prerequisite to restoring a sound policy towards Iran. We must be honest about Iran’s past actions over the last three decades. We must also publicly investigate Iran and Hezbollah’s possible involvement in 9/11 and other al-Qaeda attacks. Evidence not harmful to current national security assets or strategy should be declassified. We should demand that Iran turn over any al-Qaeda fighters seeking refuge on Iranian soil. Finally, we should set about the business of devising a broad and coherent strategy for confronting Iran. How we go about meeting the Iranian threat is open for debate, but we cannot hope to resolve this vital issue by continuing to pretend that Iran does not play a large role in the terrorists’ ongoing war against America.
The American regime has faced down larger and more formidable foes than Iran, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda. But in an age of increasing technological sophistication, it is irresponsible to sit idly by while threats gather and foreign actors are allowed to carry out acts of war. The way forward requires prudence, clear strategic thinking, and statesmanship. Thomas Joscelyn’s compelling case that we must first open our eyes is a vital contribution to what we hope will be a new direction for American foreign policy.
Fear Factor: Lebanon and the European Way of Peacekeeping
By Soeren Kern
Human Events | Monday, September 17, 2007
The European-led United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon known as UNIFIL is proof positive, if any were needed, of why Europe is unlikely to ever be a global superpower. When the 13,400-member force was scratched together following last summer’s 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah, Europeans said their kinder, gentler “soft power” approach to peacekeeping would teach the United States a thing or two about global politics. While the United States starts wars, Europe ends them, or so they claimed.
But today Lebanon is on the verge of political collapse, a defiant Hezbollah has rearmed to the hilt and rumors of another war with Israel are rife. And as Lebanon slides further into chaos, UNIFIL itself has become a tempting target, so much so that it now spends most of its time trying to protect itself.
Which raises the question: What, exactly, are the Europeans doing in Lebanon?
Not much, says UNIFIL. In what may be the understatement of the year, UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmine Bouziane on August 29 said the UNIFIL mission “has not fulfilled its stated goals, including those dictated by UN Resolution 1701”. Presumably taking aim at her European political masters, she continued: “It is at this time essential to remind that UNIFIL’s primary mission is to restore security and stability to South Lebanon.” Indeed it is.
But since the UN Security Council has just extended UNIFIL’s mandate for another year, this might be a good time to survey the European state of play in Lebanon.
Hezbollah Spoiling for Another Fight?
Most analysts agree that UNIFIL’s mission has been compromised from the start. Although UN Resolution 1701, which brought an end to the Lebanon war in August 2006, is unequivocal in its call for an arms embargo, UNIFIL’s rules of engagement were deliberately muddled by politics to prevent the force from actively looking for Hezbollah’s weapons. The lack of a clear commitment to disarm Hezbollah is a shortcoming that Iran and Syria have been quick to exploit: They have rebuilt Hezbollah’s arsenal while Europeans have stood by and watched.
As early as October 2006 Terje Roed-Larsen, the special UN envoy for Lebanon, reported that “there have been arms coming across the border into Lebanon.” In April, Walid Jumblatt, a senior Lebanese politician, told Al-Jazeera television that Lebanese security agents were helping Hezbollah guerrillas smuggle weapons across the porous border with Syria. In June, Roed-Larsen again warned the Security Council of an “alarming and deeply disturbing picture” of “a steady flow of weapons and armed elements across the border from Syria.” And in July, The Jerusalem Post, citing Israeli intelligence, reported that Hezbollah has received several hundred medium-range missiles from Syria.
But weapons are not the only item on Hezbollah’s shopping list. The group is now building an independent wireless phone network throughout southern Lebanon and in Beirut. Underground cables were recently discovered running parallel to those of the state phone system, a development that would naturally complicate intelligence-gathering on Hezbollah during a future war.
This may explain why Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s ever-pompous leader, has been especially cocky of late. In July he boasted that Hezbollah guerrillas possess an arsenal of rockets that can reach “any corner” of the state of Israel, including Tel Aviv. And in an August speech marking the one-year anniversary of his “divine victory” over Israel, he promised the Jewish state would face a “big surprise” in any future confrontation with Hezbollah.
Meanwhile, Europeans remain indifferent, indeed, duplicitous, vis-à-vis Hezbollah. On the one hand, Hezbollah has killed scores of Europeans in assassinations and bombings around the world. On the other hand, European officials refuse to join the United States, Canada and Australia in adding Hezbollah to its official list of terrorist organizations, a move that would deprive the group funding from Islamic “charities” in Europe.
Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, in June 2006 said there was no plan to add Hezbollah to the terrorism list because the EU did not have enough information to determine whether the group should be deemed as such. Solana tries to justify himself by saying the issue is legal, not moral, in nature. But in March 2005 the European Parliament passed a resolution by 473 votes to eight stating there is abundant evidence that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization and calling for “all needed measures to put an end to the terrorist activities of this group.”
Just why are Europeans so ambivalent about doing the right thing? Fear, fear and more fear, according to experts at a June 20 hearing titled Adding Hezbollah to the EU Terrorist List sponsored by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives. Europeans are reluctant to call Hezbollah what it is because they fear reprisals against European interests at home and abroad.
Europeans are afraid that if they take a hard line against Hezbollah, their troops in Lebanon may be attacked. They are also afraid that Hezbollah (which is said to have operatives in every EU country) may activate sleeper cells to carry out attacks inside Europe. And Europeans are afraid of inciting the thousands of shiftless young Muslim immigrants in towns and cities throughout Eurabia. Indeed, the fear of angry Muslims is so pervasive that in practical terms Islam has already established a de facto veto on European foreign policymaking.
Fear also drives the European peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. In a predictable turn of events, European peacekeepers sent to Lebanon as neutral observers have been converted into Hezbollah’s primary protectors, largely because Hezbollah guerillas are now the primary protectors of European peacekeepers. Say what?
After an attack in June that killed six Spanish peacekeepers, Spain started cooperating with Hezbollah to determine who killed its soldiers. In fact, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, a post-modern disciple of the ‘cult of engagement’ who also happens to be deathly afraid of negative public opinion polls, decided to recruit Hezbollah and even Iran to safeguard Spanish troops as a way to safeguard his own job.
Then the hapless Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, phoned Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and bizarrely praised Iran’s “constructive and effective role in resolving regional crises.” Moratinos also described as “positive” his relationship with Hezbollah. Indeed, after secretly meeting with Spanish intelligence agents, who presumably promised that Spanish troops would look the other way as Hezbollah rearms for its next war against Israel, Hezbollah militants agreed to provide “escorts” to protect UNIFIL patrols.
So why did Europeans send troops to Lebanon in the first place? Because Lebanon was supposed to have been Europe’s superpower moment. The United States, by staying on the sidelines in Lebanon, provided an opening for Europeans to prove themselves as honest brokers in the Middle East. And indeed, Europeans opposed sending a NATO force to Lebanon precisely because they said it would be too American.
But today’s UNIFIL, like so many other things European, is an empty shell. It was manipulated by pretentious Europeans who, resentful of American power and influence on the world stage, think they can pretend their way to super powerdom by acting a part.
Indeed, many Europeans, evoking the American experience in Beirut in 1983, assumed that Lebanon would prove how much better things would be if the world would just let Europe run things. Instead, Lebanon is showing the world what post-heroic Europeans are really made of. Because, if anything, Lebanon shows that fear is the great European Achilles’ heel. Meanwhile, as Europeans look on, Hezbollah prepares for another war.
Soeren Kern is Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.
Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’
Secret raid on Korean shipment
Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv, Sarah Baxter in Washington and Michael Sheridan
IT was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles from the Iraqi border was under way.
At a rendezvous point on the ground, a Shaldag air force commando team was waiting to direct their laser beams at the target for the approaching jets. The team had arrived a day earlier, taking up position near a large underground depot. Soon the bunkers were in flames.
Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea.
The Israeli government was not saying. “The security sources and IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] soldiers are demonstrating unusual courage,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister. “We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”
US tells generals to ‘lay off’ Britain
The Syrians were also keeping mum. “I cannot reveal the details,” said Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. “All I can say is the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.” The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.
Andrew Semmel, a senior US State Department official, said Syria might have obtained nuclear equipment from “secret suppliers”, and added that there were a “number of foreign technicians” in the country.
Asked if they could be North Korean, he replied: “There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that.” He said a network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, could be involved.
But why would nuclear material be in Syria? Known to have chemical weapons, was it seeking to bolster its arsenal with something even more deadly?
Alternatively, could it be hiding equipment for North Korea, enabling Kim Jong-il to pretend to be giving up his nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid? Or was the material bound for Iran, as some authorities in America suggest?
According to Israeli sources, preparations for the attack had been going on since late spring, when Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, presented Olmert with evidence that Syria was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea.
The Israeli spy chief apparently feared such a device could eventually be installed on North-Korean-made Scud-C missiles.
“This was supposed to be a devastating Syrian surprise for Israel,” said an Israeli source. “We’ve known for a long time that Syria has deadly chemical warheads on its Scuds, but Israel can’t live with a nuclear warhead.”
An expert on the Middle East, who has spoken to Israeli participants in the raid, told yesterday’s Washington Post that the timing of the raid on September 6 appeared to be linked to the arrival three days earlier of a ship carrying North Korean material labelled as cement but suspected of concealing nuclear equipment.
The target was identified as a northern Syrian facility that purported to be an agricultural research centre on the Euphrates river. Israel had been monitoring it for some time, concerned that it was being used to extract uranium from phosphates.
According to an Israeli air force source, the Israeli satellite Ofek 7, launched in June, was diverted from Iran to Syria. It sent out high-quality images of a northeastern area every 90 minutes, making it easy for air force specialists to spot the facility.
Early in the summer Ehud Barak, the defence minister, had given the order to double Israeli forces on its Golan Heights border with Syria in anticipation of possible retaliation by Damascus in the event of air strikes.
Sergei Kirpichenko, the Russian ambassador to Syria, warned President Bashar al-Assad last month that Israel was planning an attack, but suggested the target was the Golan Heights.
Israeli military intelligence sources claim Syrian special forces moved towards the Israeli outpost of Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights. Tension rose, but nobody knew why.
At this point, Barak feared events could spiral out of control. The decision was taken to reduce the number of Israeli troops on the Golan Heights and tell Damascus the tension was over. Syria relaxed its guard shortly before the Israeli Defence Forces struck.
Only three Israeli cabinet ministers are said to have been in the know � Olmert, Barak and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister. America was also consulted. According to Israeli sources, American air force codes were given to the Israeli air force attaché in Washington to ensure Israel’s F15Is would not mistakenly attack their US counterparts.
Once the mission was under way, Israel imposed draconian military censorship and no news of the operation emerged until Syria complained that Israeli aircraft had violated its airspace. Syria claimed its air defences had engaged the planes, forcing them to drop fuel tanks to lighten their loads as they fled.
But intelligence sources suggested it was a highly successful Israeli raid on nuclear material supplied by North Korea.
Washington was rife with speculation last week about the precise nature of the operation. One source said the air strikes were a diversion for a daring Israeli commando raid, in which nuclear materials were intercepted en route to Iran and hauled to Israel. Others claimed they were destroyed in the attack.
There is no doubt, however, that North Korea is accused of nuclear cooperation with Syria, helped by AQ Khan’s network. John Bolton, who was undersecretary for arms control at the State Department, told the United Nations in 2004 the Pakistani nuclear scientist had “several other” customers besides Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Some of his evidence came from the CIA, which had reported to Congress that it viewed “Syrian nuclear intentions with growing concern”.
“I’ve been worried for some time about North Korea and Iran outsourcing their nuclear programmes,” Bolton said last week. Syria, he added, was a member of a “junior axis of evil”, with a well-established ambition to develop weapons of mass destruction.
The links between Syria and North Korea date back to the rule of Kim Il-sung and President Hafez al-Assad in the last century. In recent months, their sons have quietly ordered an increase in military and technical cooperation.
Foreign diplomats who follow North Korean affairs are taking note. There were reports of Syrian passengers on flights from Beijing to Pyongyang and sightings of Middle Eastern businessmen from sources who watch the trains from North Korea to China.
On August 14, Rim Kyong Man, the North Korean foreign trade minister, was in Syria to sign a protocol on “cooperation in trade and science and technology”. No details were released, but it caught Israel’s attention.
Syria possesses between 60 and 120 Scud-C missiles, which it has bought from North Korea over the past 15 years. Diplomats believe North Korean engineers have been working on extending their 300-mile range. It means they can be used in the deserts of northeastern Syria � the area of the Israeli strike.
The triangular relationship between North Korea, Syria and Iran continues to perplex intelligence analysts. Syria served as a conduit for the transport to Iran of an estimated £50m of missile components and technology sent by sea from North Korea. The same route may be in use for nuclear equipment.
But North Korea is at a sensitive stage of negotiations to end its nuclear programme in exchange for security guarantees and aid, leading some diplomats to cast doubt on the likelihood that Kim would cross America’s “red line” forbidding the proliferation of nuclear materials.
Christopher Hill, the State Department official representing America in the talks, said on Friday he could not confirm “intelligence-type things”, but the reports underscored the need “to make sure the North Koreans get out of the nuclear business”.
By its actions, Israel showed it is not interested in waiting for diplomacy to work where nuclear weapons are at stake.
As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.
This weekend President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent Ali Akbar Mehrabian, his nephew, to Syria to assess the damage. The new “axis of evil” may have lost one of its spokes.
Have your say
so many comments here reflect how ignorant many are on the middle east. Those refering to syria as an islamic extremist country. Syria is very secular & has crushed islamic extremists in the city of hama in a brutal way back in 1982.
Those congratulating the IDF forget that its the same body that botched up big time last year & couldn't retrieve its 2 captured soldiers.
What i am witnessing here is the same irrational zealous that hizbullah supporters displayed after the end of hostilities in 2006. I find it a load of hollow bravado flamed by prejudice.
S Ahmed, Cairo,
Thank you, Israel. As an American, I'm almost ashamed to admit a tiny country in the Middle East is doing our dirty work for us and doing it better than we could do ourselves.
Many Americans such as myself support your country wholeheartedly. Don't pay attention to what our ignorant media says. We love you guys and have your back.
Oh, and great story. What a refreshing piece of journalism.
Sean, Pocatello, Idaho
We all know that the UK is allowed to have nuclear weapons. So is France and a host of other countries (including the US). None of these countries are under constant attack. There is however, one (and only one) state whose right to have nuclear weapons is constantly debated. The foes of that state have stated (last week) that they would dance in the town square (presumably in London since there will be no Gaza) once Iran launches its nukes at this state. That state happens to be a Jewish state. And 80% of the inhabitants of that state have lived under unremitting persecution from the same people who day in and day out question whether the Jews have any right whatsoever to defend themselves.
Inna, Sacramento, CA/USA
What's in a Name? 'Jihad' vs. 'Hiraba'
By Patrick Poole - American Thinker
September 18, 2007
What's in a name? When it comes to identifying what we are fighting against in the war for our civilization, quite a lot. Members of a movement among military and intellectual circles want to avoid asserting that we are fighting against "jihad" because that term is loaded with religious significance in Islam, replacing it with "hiraba", to highlight the criminal nature of Islamic terrorists:
Walid Phares, writing in American Thinker several weeks ago, challenged these advocates. As Phares noted in his article, Preventing the West from Understanding Jihad: The good holy war is when the right religious and political authorities declare it against the correct enemy and at the right time. The bad jihad, called also Hiraba, is the wrong war, declared by bad (and irresponsible) people against the wrong enemy (for the moment), and without an appropriate authorization by the "real" Muslim leadership. According to this thesis, those Muslims who wage a Hiraba, a wrong war, are called Mufsidoon, from the Arabic word for "spoilers." The advocates of this ruse recommend that the United States and its allies stop calling the jihadists by that name and identifying the concept of Jihadism as the problem. In short, they argue that "jihad is good, but the Mufsidoon, the bad guys and the terrorists, spoiled the original legitimate sense."
The foremost advocate for this approach has been Jim Guirard of the Truespeak Institute, who has published a series of articles in recent years recommending this shift, citing a number of Muslim scholars in support. But a review of the scholars Guirard cites in support of his new lexicon finds that vast majority are American Muslims. There is no indication that this new linguistic initiative has any actual support from scholars in the Muslim world.
Additionally, as Pentagon Joint Staff analyst Stephen Coughlin recently observed in a unclassified memo (his analysis reprinted by Doug Farah) with reference to the "Truespeak" movement, many of these Muslim scholars cited by Guirard are affiliated with known Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the US -- groups that are advancing the very extremist views that Guirard intends this new lexicon to defeat.
And Coughlin is not the only military analyst to raise serious questions about the jihad-hiraba exchange. William McCants of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point notes several reasons why caution must be used with this approach.
But a more fundamental question has to be raised as to whether Guirard and others recommending this linguistic substitution have carefully read and understood the original sources upon which they have relied.
The earliest proponent of this new Islamic lexicon that I have been able to locate was University of Michigan professor Sherman Jackson, whose article "Domestic Terrorism in the Islamic Legal Tradition" (Muslim World 91, 3/4 [Fall 2001], pp. 293-310) advocates this new terminology of hiraba, rather than jihad. This article is based on a series of lectures Jackson delivered prior to the 9/11 attacks, so his argument is not colored by those events. Many of the articles on this topic published since 9/11 refer back to Jackson's 2001 treatment of the subject, and Guirard specifically cites Jackson in support of his "truespeak".
However, one problem immediately appears when trying to use this analysis: it is confined to "domestic terrorism". In his first endnote, he explains the difficulty from the viewpoint of Islamic law to apply the argument to international terrorism:
I limit my discussion in this paper to domestic terrorism because a discussion of international terrorism would take us into the complicated issue of extraterritoriality and the question of the applicability of Islamic law outside the lands of Islam, an issue on which the jurists differed widely. (p. 306)
Thus, while Jackson's new lexicon might apply to "sudden jihad syndrome" of Muslims living in the West committing spontaneous, limited and "leaderless" acts of terror, applying the label of hiraba to international terrorist activities becomes problematic from the perspective of Islamic jurisprudence. But since Guirard and others are trying to use this terminology with reference to international terror, it is worth hearing Jackson out to see how the exchange of hiraba for jihad is not supported by Islamic law itself.
Secondly, while Jackson states that hiraba fits nicely with the FBI's definition of terrorism, he then issues three qualifications that severely negate its use with reference to al-Qaeda, et al. (I have preserved his alternative spelling, "hirabah"):
Close examination of the classical Islamic law of hirabah, however, reveals that this law corresponds in its most salient features to domestic terrorism in the American legal system. This holds despite a number of important differences between hirabah and domestic terrorism. First, the importance of the political motivations of would-be terrorists appears to be inversely proportional in the two systems. Whereas the pursuit of political aims tends to heighten or perhaps establish the correspondence between publicly directed violence and terrorism in American law, in Islamic law it tends to have the opposite effect. In other words, to the extent that a group declares itself or is deemed by the government to be acting in pursuit of political objectives (and the assumption here is that these are grounded in some interpretation of religion), their activity is actually less likely to fall under the law of hirabah. Second, the importance attached to numbers appears to be inversely proportional in the two systems. Under Islamic law, the greater the number of individuals involved in a prima facie act of terrorism, the less likely to fall under the laws of hirabah. By comparison, according to FBI guidelines issued in 1983, a terrorism investigation may not even be initiated unless circumstances indicate that two or more persons are involved in an offense. Third, hirabah, at least in its fully developed form, appears to be potentially a much broader category than terrorism proper, covering as it does a spectrum of crimes ranging from breaking and entering to "hate crimes" to rape to terrorism proper. (pp. 293-294, emphasis added)
So, two paragraphs into Jackson's treatment of hiraba, and we face three seemingly insurmountable hurdles in applying the term to international terrorism on the basis of Islamic law:
1) If a group has legitimate (in the eyes of Islam) political aims, such as al-Qaeda's call to reestablish to global Islamic caliphate or groups like the Muslim Brotherhood trying to overthrow secular Arab leaders to reinstitute shari'a or inflict a "civilization-jihadist process" to undermine the West for establishing Islamic governments, the use of hiraba for terrorism is not warranted;
2) The more members a group has, such as al-Qaeda's international network of thousands of individuals or the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in more than 70 countries, the more legitimate their claims become and the application of hiraba for their actions does not hold;
3) Hiraba is a malleable category in which Jackson is trying to make terrorism fit. But the scholarly interpretations that he relies upon nowhere seem to contemplate the equation of hiraba for terrorism in its contemporary understanding.
These first two points of qualification especially seem to eliminate the possibility of any use of hiraba instead of jihad or terrorism with reference to acts of terror by international organizations.
But further into Jackson's analysis we find that the use of hiraba with reference to even domestic terrorism becomes problematic:
There were essentially two major considerations on the basis of which an act of hirabah was to be distinguished from an act of baghy, or rebellion....
The first of these considerations was that the rebels be motivated by what jurists referred to as a ta'wil, or "a plausible interpretation" that might justify, at least in their minds, rebellion as a means of redress or of carrying out the Qur'anic imperative to command what is good and forbid what is evil. It does not matter if the interpretation is "wrong" or even heterodox; what matters is that it be plausible; that the language of the Qur'an and/or Sunna or the circumstantial and contextual indicators surrounding this language could accommodate such a reading. In fact, the focus of the rebels' interpretation might even be purely "political" as opposed to religious.... In sum, it is essentially the appearance or the rebels' insistence that their actions are based on their understanding of their duty as Muslims that confers upon these actions the status of "political speech." This sets them apart from criminal acts of hirabah.
The second stipulation was that the rebels be backed by a sufficient level of force (shawkah), measured mainly in numbers and military preparedness. The jurists differed on this number. The 7th/13th century al-Qarafi notes that a number of jurists placed it at ten.... This stipulation has the effect of reserving the more lenient law of rebellion for the most serious and widespread cases of public disaffection. That is to say, the gieivances that allegedly prompt a group to rebel must be serious and widespread enough to enlist the support of significant numbers of people. Otherwise, small groups of extremists, sophomoric idealists, prurient bandits or terrorists will be denied the refuge afforded by the law of rebellion and be treated under the more severe and salutary law of hirabah. (pp. 302-303, emphasis added)
So according to Jackson, domestic terrorist acts do not qualify as hiraba following two stipulations:
1) If the rebels are acting under what they themselves understand to be a "reasonable" interpretation of Islamic law, such as those many fatwas issued by Islamic scholars throughout the Muslim world permitting attacks against the US;
2) If they are well-coordinated and use sufficient force, such as ramming fuel-laden airliners into military headquarters, government offices or skyscrapers.
In such cases, the use of hiraba does not apply, but are instead legitimate acts of rebellion. This would certainly disqualify the use of hiraba to describe the Muslim Brotherhood's "civilization-jihadist process" for destroying the US from within that Pentagon analysis Stephen Coughlin identifies, since it is both well-planned, extensive, and is coordinated with its self-identified "security apparatus", i.e. military/terror component.
Jackson unwittingly tips us off to another problem with applying hiraba for terrorism, according to traditional Islamic law, with this statement:
Indeed, a number of early jurists had associated hirabah with the activities of groups who had formally apostatized and resorted to violence in an attempt to overthrow the Islamic social and political order. (p. 305)
That is certainly no description of al-Qaida or affiliated groups, who seek to enforce an Islamic social and political order. There is apparently no justification in Islamic jurisprudence for applying the term and/or punishments of hiraba when the violence is directed at non-Muslim governments, societies or individuals. At least Jackson provides no references along those lines.
At this point, it is difficult, if not impossible, to see how the use of hiraba for jihad or terrorism is warranted in any current contemporary situation relevant to the US. But there are further difficulties with Jackson's analysis. He defines hiraba as follows:
...these jurists confirm that hirabah is distinguished by its connection to the spreading of fear (ikhafah) and helplessness (àdam al-ghawth) and the fact that no effective security measures can be taken against it (taàdhdhur al-ihtiraz). (p. 296)
The difficulty here is that there are several Quranic authorizations that call for instilling terror and fear into the heart of the enemy (8:60, et al.). And in his authoritative treatment of jihad, Pakistani Brigadier General S.K. Malik in his book, The Quranic Concept of War, notes the critical element of fear and terror in waging jihad:
In war our main objective is the opponent's heart or soul, our main weapon of offence against this objective is the strength of our own souls, and to launch such an attack, we have to keep terror away from our own hearts.... Terror struck into the hearts of the enemies is not only a means, it is the end itself. Once a condition of terror into the opponent's heart is obtained, hardly anything is left to be achieved. It is the point where the means and the end meet and merge. Terror is not a means of imposing decision on the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose on him. ([Delhi, 1992], p. 59; emphasis added)
Malik explains that the very elements that Jackson wants to attribute to the concept of hiraba, fear and helplessness, are integral to the Islamic doctrine of jihad itself. (LTC Joseph Myers examines Malik's explanation of Islamic war doctrine in his review article published in the Winter 2006-2007 edition of Parameters: The US Army War College Quarterly.)
The effort by Jim Guirard and others in the "truespeak" movement to attempt to use the Islamic lexicon against international Islamic terrorism is certainly commendable. But as we see with Sherman Jackson's own treatment of hiraba, the attempt is wide off the mark. Our enemies are no doubt amused at our attempts to appear informed on matters of Islamic law, but this erroneous exegesis is hardly the tool to strike the fear of eternal damnation into the hearts of Osama bin Laden and his followers, as Guirard has claimed for his "truespeak".
And as Walid Phares and Stephen Coughlin have already revealed, many of the Western Muslim advocates of this new approach are directly tied to known Muslim Brotherhood front groups operating in the US. As Coughlin itemizes, Sherman Jackson is a "trustee" to the North American Islamic Trust, and affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Student Association, the first two of which were named as unindicted co-conspirators in the current Holy Land Foundation terror financing federal trial underway in Dallas, and the last was the original organizational wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. The hiraba-jihad terminology has also been endorsed by the Wahhabist Council for Islamic Education and the extremist mouthpiece Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), also named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial. That is telling in and of itself.
Walid Phares' warning is appropriate:
Thus the promoters of this theory of Hiraba and Mufsidoon are representing the views of classical Wahabis and the Muslim Brotherhood in their criticism of the "great leap forward" made by bin Laden. But by convincing Westerners that al Qaeda and its allies are not the real jihadists but some renegades, the advocates of this school would be causing the vision of Western defense to become blurred again so that more time could be gained by a larger, more powerful wave of Jihadism that is biding its time to strike when it chooses, under a coherent international leadership.
This new "truespeak" lexicon is not a new tool to engage terrorists groups like Al-Qaeda, but rather as Phares states, an obstacle "preventing the West from understanding jihad". The "truespeak" movement would be much more appropriate for a Madison Avenue advertising campaign, not a Global War on Terror. Given the apparent success "truespeak" and its adherents have had to date with regular briefings to senior military and policy audiences, that alone seems an indicator of a leadership unstudied and unprepared for the nuances of the terrorist doctrines opposing us.
Six years after 9/11, it is long past time for scholars in diplomatic, military, intelligence and academic circles to get a better grip on the threat we are confronting in the West and around the world. Analysts like Phares and Coughlin have already laid out a path for us to follow and the real war of ideas that needs to be waged.
**Patrick Poole is an occasional contributor to American Thinker. He is the Executive Director of Central Ohioans Against Terrorism, and he maintains a blog, Existential Space.