The International Terrorism
SUBJECT AREA - Topical Issues
THE INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
MILITARY ISSUES PAPER
COLONEL ALFALASI JUMA, U.A.E.
Title: The International Terrorism
Author: Colonel Alfalasi Juma, U.A.E. Armed Forces
Thesis: The continuous use of terrorism warfare around the
world and its effect on international security and
Background: Terrorism is not an Islamic or Arabic
invention or Palestinian innovation. It is a unique
instrument in the political turmoil in modern times.
At first, terrorism was known as an expression and practiced
two centuries ago. While the organized and unorganized wars
are sold as human kind, terrorism did not crystallize
actually until 1773. It was during the "Reign of Terror" in
France in the 1790's when the English and French termed the
word terrorism. During the French Revolution, Robespierre
and St. Just practiced political violence on a large scale.
Out of 27 million Frenchmen, 90,000 were beheaded and
300,000 were jailed.
Political violence can be a revolution if it succeeds in
bringing down a regime and seizing the power of the ruling
class as evidenced during the Russian revolution in 1917.
It can be terrorism, if it succeeds in creating political
unrest, as in Latin America.
A terrorist could be a revolutionary, and a revolutionary
could be a terrorist according to one's point of view. At
the same time, the world considers a terrorist a defendant
to be trailed as the terrorist acts as a judge of the
political system it is trying to change.
The first half of the 20th century saw numerous wars while
the latter half, only the Iran-Iraq and Gulf war.
Presently, political movements are adapting violence and
guerilla warfare as a means to achieve their aims.
Recommendation: What is required for countering terrorism
is cooperation instead of confrontation or imposition of
one's will upon another. History teaches us that some
countries are leaders who are instrumental in the formation
of worldwide policies. The need to utilize the United
Nations to enforce laws and rules according to logic and
ethics is extremely important in the world community.
The roots of terrorism and the outlook to the year 2000.
Thesis Statement: The continuous use of terrorism warfare
around the world and its effect on international security
I. Historical background
II. The threats of international security and relationships
III. To counter these threats, a policy of deterrence should
A. World intelligence gathering is essential.
B. Anti-terrorism warfare should be planned by the
C. Aerial surveillance and early warning systems must
D. The need for S.O.G. - United Nations
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1
II. TERRORISM OF COUNTRIES 12
III. THE ISLAMIC SUMMIT 16
IV. USE OF ADVANCED WEAPONS BY FUTURE INTERNATIONAL
V. POSSIBILITIES OF USING NUCLEAR WEAPONS 30
VI. THE INFLUENCE OF THE MEDIA 34
END NOTES 48
Terrorism is not an Islamic or Arabic invention or
Palestinian innovation. It is a unique instrument in the
political turmoil in modern times.
At first, terrorism was known as an expression and
practiced two centuries ago. While the organized and
unorganized wars took its toll on humans, terrorism did not
crystallize actually until 1773. It was during the "Reign
of Terror" in France in the 1790's when the English and
French termed the word terrorism. During the French
Revolution, Robespierre and St. Just practiced political
violence on a large scale. Out of 27 million Frenchmen,
90,000 were beheaded and 300,000 were jailed.
Political violence can be a revolution if it succeeds
in bringing down a regime and seizing power of the ruling
class as evidenced during the Russian revolution in 1917.
It can be terrorism if it succeeds in creating political
unrest as in Latin America.
A terrorist could be a revolutionary, and a
revolutionary could be a terrorist according to one's point
of view. At the same time, a terrorist is seen through the
eyes of the whole world as being a criminal committing a
crime against humanity, while the terrorist acts as a judge
of the political system it is trying to change.
In his book Terrorism, Walter Liqueur mentioned that
terrorist movements would usually start as small groups,
while researchers will concentrate usually on large groups.
Liqueur noticed that terrorism always claims defending some
certain aspects of our time. Some undisciplined forces
would float on the surface of the ideological strategy of
the leftists or rightists which always provide those more
interested in violence instead of liberty and justice.
As a matter of fact, terrorism has a lot to do with
politics. "The concept of politics based on the saying that
it is social activity supported by the force of law in order
to ensure the external security and internal unity in a
frame of political unit keeps order in the middle of
disputes which might be aroused due to the interests and
opinion diversities."1 But at the same time, it does not
mean terrorism cannot influence politics, or terrorism
cannot achieve its goals. Due to terrorism's interaction
with politics, it can offer a major problem which is the
complexion of the political relations from both the enemy
and friendly point of view.
In 1954, Egypt completed negotiations with Britain on
withdrawal from the Suez Canal and dissolved the British
military bases. At the same time, Egypt was negotiating
with the United States for military assistance. Israel was
also trying to offer some proposal for political compromise
Israel was watching these contacts with the Western
world concerned about its own political future. Israel's
objectives at the time were:
1. Geographical expansion at the coast of Syria and
Jordan in order to complete the boundaries of Israel before
any political compromise.
2. Breaking the Arabic force.
3. Convincing the United States that Israel is the
natural ally and not the Arab states.
In order to achieve these objectives, Great Britain
and the United States needed to break down the contacts
between Egypt and Great Britain and on the other side, Egypt
and the United States.2
For that reason, the Israeli military intelligence
created undercover groups to carry out terrorist operations
in Egypt. That group was supposed to report directly to the
Israeli Defence Minister, who at the time was Benhas Lavon.
The group arrived in Egypt in June 1954 and was joined by
another group already operating within Egypt. They began a
series of terrorist operations such as: bomb attacks on the
British theater in Cairo; on the main Post Office; and on
the Cairo bus station. They even tried to set some of
Cairo's theaters on fire. It was unclear whether this
action was aimed at the British or American interests. But
as a result, it delayed negotiations between the three and
any effort for political settlement between Egypt and
During the arsonist's try in Alexandria, Philip
Natason, leader of the group's 13 other members was
arrested. Ten other members were also arrested, but two
managed to escape from Egypt. In October 1954, the Egyptian
Interior Minister announced the arrests. After one week,
they were referred to the Military Court. In January 1955,
the Court ordered the execution of four members (two in
absentia) and jail terms for six with two being found not
In Israel an investigation committee was formed. The
task was to identify those responsible for backing the
group. Was it the Defence Minister, Lavon or the Director
of Military Intelligence? Even though no specific answer
was reached, the Israeli Prime Minister asked for the
resignation of the two officers and they resigned in
The terrorists objectives used terrorist methods.
But neither the terrorist objectives nor the terrorist
methods were condemned by London or Washington.
As terrorism has a special and circumstantial case in
relation to political conflict, it is also different from
the latter. There are differences between the various types
of terrorism, especially what is called political terrorism.
Terrorism is political only when it has certain meanings in
political fields. Political terrorism does not end in
assassination. It is more than that, even though
assassination is an integral part of the terrorist action.
Terrorism is such a decisive action, and that is why
it is used in politics. It is a method based on violence
that plays a very important part in finding a solution to
political disputes or shaping the results through what
terrorism does in the main stream of violent political
conflict. In some cases, it becomes the only method that
parties may find in order to go in a conflict due to some
social, ideological or economical reason. In the two cases,
terrorism has one role to play--to create a status quo in
Hijacking is not a new word introduced by the
Palestinians to the terrorism dictionary. In 1956, France
hijacked a civilian Moroccan plane boarding five members of
the Algerian revolutionary leadership on their way to
Tunisia to attend a meeting with French officers. While in
international skies over the sea, it was rammed by French
fighters forcing it to land at an Algerian airport. France
kept those members jailed until 1962 when Algeria got its
Two years later, the United States hijacked a Cuban
flight that led to the death of 17 persons. During 1960-
1964, a total of 40 Cuban flights were hijacked and those
responsible were warmly received at American airports. The
U.S., encouraging and financing these incidents, was
attempting to deprive Fidel Castro of his air fleet.
In 1968, an Israeli air raid destroyed 13 civilian
Lebanese planes that landed at the Beirut airport. By these
examples, Arabs did not create terrorism, but were victims
of the original inventors. The most eloquent example is
Israel which built its existence with the help of the Irgun
and Stern gangs.
Menachim Begin was in charge of the der Yaseen
massacre in 1948 in Palestine where 30 persons were
massacred. He was wanted by the British judicial system on
charges of a bomb attack on King David Hotel in Jerusalem in
1946. Some years later, despite these acts he became Prime
Minister of Israel.
Lt. Isaac Shamir, another Israeli leader led the team
assassination of Count Bernadotte, the U.N. representative,
because of his proposal establishing a confederation between
Jordan and Palestine instead of advocating dividing
Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.
Ariel Sharon led the massacre at a Libyan village
where 69 civilians died. This terrorism was continuous up
to sabra and shatilo camps in Lebanon in September 1982 and
to the PLO headquarters in Tunisia in October 1985.
Southern Lebanon is still suffering from the series of
terrorist actions Israeli forces carried out. Every time
Lebanon asked the U.N. for a resolution against Israel, the
U.S. veto in the Security Council aborted their try. This
happened during the Israeli invasion, during the seizure of
Beirut, and after that. U.S. support encourages the Israeli
terrorism and to some extent participates in it by
supporting the Israeli action politically and through
In his book, Isiam and War, Jean Paul Charley
presents a theory saying:
Islam includes (like all other great religions
and philosophies, except those derived from
the essential idea of external peace)
religious texts belonging to the classical
phases of Islamic history. These texts are
pointed out and identified the conditions
allowing Muslims to adapt war, or in more
specific words, the legal circumstances that
authorize Muslims using legal violence and the
religious limit that this violence cannot
Islam then, is not a religion of war, but as most
other religions, accepts the action of war as either forced
or is reluctant to use it. But even acceptance is included
with special cases where religion would allow war when it is
a fair war. The common understanding in the Western world
about Islam is that terrorism is a trademark, so to say.
This trademark is due to practices of some countries or to
policies adapted by some movements that take Islam as
ideology. It is obvious that these practices then give the
impression that Islam is a religion which includes a great
deal of violence that can be used in the political game.
We have to differentiate whether these practices are
abiding to the Islam religion. In this case, there are
different explanations. Some Islamic movements adapt
violence as it is legalized by Islam and some go far beyond.
But, both depend on explanations of the religious text as
shown in the Holy Koran or the Prophet's Hadis. This case
lead us to the contradiction established by the extremists
actions. These groups are very far from the essence of
Islam even if they claim they are defending their religion.
They don't respect the logical Islamic explanations for the
Islamic doctrine which was established by the doctrine
Concerning the limits of war and revolution, the
concept of the word "Jihad" has a wide range of meanings.
It implies effort we do against ourselves and others. Some
Islamic countries mixed the two concepts of Jihad and
revolution through its political and military actions. In
this case, the concept of revolution implies two meanings:
The first refers to change and development in the
political, social and economical infrastructure. The second
refers to reviving, purifying and refining the moral and
ethical values. At this level, revolution could be a
violent act, but it should respect the legal conditions in
its effectiveness, or it should compromise with the Islamic
Secondly, danger because of terrorism upon a
country's national security is the same as a regular war and
may be considered more. For the U.S., being defeated in war
is not a strong possibility, however, in facing terrorism,
the outcome becomes unknown. An example was terrorist
operation costing 500 Marines their lives in Lebanon.
We have seen from the previous discussion that
countries exposed to terrorism's danger cannot depend upon
the decisive action carried out by others in the
international community. Article 51 in the United Nations
Charter ensures the inherited rights of individuals and
groups upon legal self-defense. Without international
coordination and agreement, it is impossible to prevent the
financing of terrorist organizations, stopping the flow of
its weapons supplies and elimination the terrorist methods.
The United Nations' unit for counter terrorism could operate
in much the same way as U.N. peacekeeping forces,
international emergency forces or establishing a criminal
court to be responsible for terrorism trials in a manner
similar to the International Court of Justice.
As total international coordination and agreement is
presently not possible, given the examples mentioned above,
it is necessary for a country being attacked by terrorists
to take the following actions:
1. To enact strong and integrated national
legislation imposing severe sanctions for
2. To establish a strong organization for
collecting information about terrorists and
their activities in cooperation with friendly
3. To impose strict and powerful systems for
securing targeted persons and installations such
as airports and other public places.
4. To form new units in police units and military
forces capable of repressing terrorism
5. To sign dual or multinational conventions with
countries having common points of view and
common interests towards terrorism and terrorist
operations. These conventions state on
exchanging support regarding information on
terrorist units including the main condition
that prevents terrorist from gaining benefits
from the spoils. This can be achieved by
delivering the terrorist to the countries hurt
by the terrorism operations or by putting them
on trial with extreme penalties given.
6. To impose punishment and embargoes upon those
countries giving shelter to terrorists or
supporting terrorist actions.4
TERRORISM OF COUNTRIES
In 1985, 25 Americans were killed in terrorist
incidents abroad. In the same year, 1063 Americans died in
their baths, 3,100 died in food suffocating and 43,500
Americans were killed in traffic accidents. In New York
City alone, 1,384 were killed in criminal incidents. In
1991, more than 24,000 murders were registered in the U.S.
more than the 1990 record by 500 crimes. A Senator
commented on these number saying: "1991 witnessed how the
world became more safe for Americans, when the nation became
less safe for its citizens."5 That means the crime rate for
every 1,000 Americans is 947 crimes in 1991 and 942 in 1990
compared with 980 in 1981.
Most of the homicide crimes in 1988-1989 were related
to drugs. The number of these crimes went down only to
increase the rate of crimes without a known motive. It has
presently become common to have people killed through random
firing from cars on the highways or while waiting at traffic
Decreasing violence rates brought great debate
in the U.S. Analysts agreed that it is not an
easy matter and it needs years through
educational programs and enforcing the morals
of the new generation who did not know drugs
and fire arms. Those who are already familiar
with these kind of things, there is no hope to
do something for them. Legislatives confirm
that the court system is unable to find a
The international statistics show that between 1967-
1970, there were two million victims in the war in Nigeria
alone; in 1971, one half million in Bangladesh; 100,000 and
in Burundi and more than 30,000 in Uganda. In the south of
Phils, more than 60,000 Muslims were claiming self-rule.
There are no statistics about the numbers claimed in the
wars in Chad, Rhodesia, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Iran-
Iraqi war victims were estimated to number one million
persons. In Southern Yemen, more than 10,000 persons were
killed during one week of violence alone. The victims of
the Lebanese civil war exceeds 125,000. No exact total is
yet given for the Gulf war of 1990-1991.
Who stands behind this terrorism which costs
countries millions of dollars?
When T.E. Lawrence furnished terrorist operation
services in the Arab countries against Turks demolishing
bridges and railways, Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime
Minister endorsed these operations by saying "The Turkish
army depends on this railway in its operations against
British forces in Egypt. This narrow railway goes for
hundreds of miles through the desert, if it is cut, the
Turkish forces will be terminated."7
If we take these justifications as a general rule, it
gives the Palestinians, for example, the right to demolish
Israeli planes. Lawrence's mission not only hit the Turks,
but also achieved Lawrence's original mission. Concerning
Sharif Hussain's revolt against the Ottomans part of his
message to the British Intelligence reads:
Hussain's revolt in Hijaz is useful for
Britain because it goes with the present aim--
crushing the Islamic forces and overcoming the
Ottoman Empire. The countries to be
established will not be of any harm for us, as
Turkey before becoming a German tool,
providing the Arabs are more stabilized than
Turks--if they are well handled, they will
remain in political discretion and small
This political terrorism which deals with people's
destiny, propagates reacting terrorism while looking for
liberation and national sovereignty. Victims of the first
kind of terrorism, such as war, are all innocent victims.
Most types of terrorism are immoral and anti-human.
Unfortunately, it becomes a rule in international politics
because of the methods used to achieve an ultimate goal.
Using violence to influence the political decisions of
another country could lead to major changes in the rules of
politics. Some countries possessing a nuclear arsenal
against a lesser technologically developed country could
bring down a regime of that country. On one side, small
countries with limited capabilities could achieve an
international presence by using violence in effective ways
in order to disturb the powerful country. The most obvious
example of the former is the U.S. and Panama and in the
latter case, the U.S. and Libya.
For that reason, some weak countries in terms of the
traditional standard of military force can compete
successfully with nuclear countries when using extremist
terrorism skillfully. Terrorism can overcome the problem of
limited sources and capabilities and as a result, it becomes
an effective way to achieve the ambitions of those
Not only small countries would look to use terrorism,
but also powerful countries may try to use it. Countries
who depend on military power, to establish its external
reaction, would use force to solve political problems. The
international community's reaction against the Soviet
intervention in Afghanistan and the American aggression
against Libya has proven that the powerful military action
of two super powers could not achieve what was desired.
THE ISLAMIC SUMMIT
Many observers considered the Seventh Islamic Summit
in Casablanca in 1994 as an Arab summit run by Arab states.
This was reflected throughout the statements and side
discussions conducted during the week's time. What was
discussed in Casablanca goes back to many historical
incidents, and if this summit did not achieve an Arab
reconciliation, it created the right environment for Arabic
convergence which makes reconciliation a needed thing.
The Islamic Summit was moderate in its dealing with
both international and Arabic crises. Nevertheless, it did
failed to achieve Arab reconciliation and not because its
direct aim to achieve reconciliation. The Arab situation
was very complicated and needed a lot of time and effort.
As Moroccan Prime Minister, King Hassan said that any try on
this effort: "...should be processed gradually, so it is
more logical to look at results achieved and the proposed
ones, taking into consideration two events to take place in
Morocco next month which are the meeting of "Jerusalem
Committee" and "The Arabic Parliamentary Union.""9
The Arabic reconciliation dominated the agenda as
opposed to the issues of Islamic matters and economic
cooperation among Arab countries. The Arabic situation was
tension-filled due to the additional crises of the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait, the Jordanian-Palestinian dispute over
holy places in Jerusalem, the increased Algerian-Moroccan
dispute, the border area disputes between Egypt and Sudan
near Halayeb and Saudi Arabia and Yemen, increased tensions
due to extremism in Egypt and Algeria and the situation in
King Hassan's speech during the opening ceremony of
the Islamic Foreign Minister's Conference failed to mention
Jerusalem and Bosnia. It did not mean those cases were not
worthy, but Arabic solidarity was the priority topic in the
summit. King Hassan's stated political campaign exactly
after the Gulf War was to break the wall between Iraq and
its allies on one side and Kuwait and its allies on the
other. For that reason he launched his 1992 tour to include
Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Egypt, Syria and Jordan. He looked at
the Seventh Islamic Summit as a chance to achieve Arab
reconciliation especially between Iraq and Kuwait.
The title of this summit was "Fraternity and Revival"
which was intended to deepen the feeling of forgetting the
Gulf crisis and its political and psychological results.
This concept was enforced by a series of meetings held
between the Moroccan king and Arab leaders focusing on Arab
unity to be addressed at the summit sessions itself.
Apart from the officially announced meetings were
secret meetings between King Hussain and the Kuwaiti Foreign
Minister, later confirmed by Al Majali, Jordanian Prime
Minister. Information was leaked about a meeting between
Taha Yaseer Ramadan, Iraqi Vice President and a top ranking
Gulf official. The meeting of the two foreign ministers was
the third of its kind to take place and it received high
importance after Iraq's statements terminating the war with
There is a big difference between the Sixth Summit in
Dakar and the Seventh in Casablanca. It was the first time
that all Arabic countries showed the necessary flexibility
to the Moroccan intentions supported by Egypt. Observers
had an unusual understanding of the Iraqi and Kuwaiti
positions. Dakar's summit concentrated on pushing the two
states "to deal with the pending matters through the spirit
of Islamic fraternity." Iraq's Saddam Hussein went so far
when he confirmed his willingness to propose steps to regain
the confidence between Iraq and other Gulf countries.
The Moroccan efforts also succeeded in compromising
the Iraqi and Kuwaiti stands. These efforts changed the
title of the decision concerning their dispute from "the
sequences of the Iraqi invasion to Kuwait" to "the
relationship between Iraq and Kuwait." The ministers of the
Gulf countries also expressed relief over Iraq's recognition
of the Kuwaiti border and a show of sympathy for the Iraqi
At the same time, a meeting was held between Ali
Abduhl Saleh, the Yemeni President and the Saudi Crown
Prince. This meeting was the first between the leadership
and was considered a good step toward decreasing tensions in
their recent border crisis in order to keep it from
The Moroccans were the prime winners of this summit.
The Prime Minister said:
We have to think about future enforcing of our
relations in this changeable world because we
can't change geography, nor mutual history.
In that course, a meeting between the Algerian
and Moroccan Foreign Ministers will be held
next January to discuss mutual problems. It
is agreed by the two countries to revise the
mutual relationship and other pending
problems. The meeting is proposed to discuss
the last developments especially the problem
of closing the borders.10
The Arabic disputes still exist, but some issues are
not so sharp and sensitive as before. This summit made a
real attempt at Arabic reconciliation. It also laid the
framework of the Arab relations on the basis of balance and
realities imposed by the international changing
Terrorism, practicing violence in the name of Islam,
and monopolizing Islam representation were all matters
engaged by the speakers at the Seventh Islamic summit in
Casablanca. It should be noted that country participating
delegates at the Conference included Interior Ministers and
important security figures of each country making
discussions and exchange of ideas possible. In addition,
the military security summits, which were held
simultaneously, may have achieved the same success as the
Some Muslim leaders see the assassination of the
Egyptian President Anwar Al Sadat in 1981 as the birth of
the violence phenomena in one of the most important
countries in the ICO. Two previous ICO summits in 1984 and
1987 ignored this phenomena. The Dakar summit in 1991 took
a stand against the violence in the name of Islam, without
directly mentioning the word terrorism. This was
considered a major step forward.
Some Western sources said that most of the Arabic
countries asked the Moroccans to add the violence case on
the summit agenda and also requested additional action be
taken in dealing with the Islamic violence in the East and
the West. If ICO was not able to adopt a decision in some
conflicts like Jerusalem, Bosnia and Kashmir, many felt the
ICO should at least do something for at least one Arabic
country fighting a real war against extremists. President
Mubarak proposed an agreement of honor to be approved by all
Islamic countries. But, terrorism was dealt with in the
summit in a way aimed to refine the Islam vision rather than
referring to the "stains" which related Islam to terrorist
type action done in some ICO countries--clearly referring to
Algeria and Egypt.
The Saudi Foreign Minister believed:
... that if we reject any conduct against Islam
from outside, including ICO countries which
distorted that image, we should reject also
any conduct from an Islamic country that may
cause the same distortion. If we refuse any
outside aggression, we should also refuse any
aggression on the Islamic interest by an
Islamic country. ICO moves on two axis,
internal and external, and its determination
to sort out terrorism is just on time. But
goodwill among the Islamic countries is the
main base for any kind of attitude. So we
should reach something that can control the
attitudes prevailing among the Islamic
The Algerian Foreign Minister's reference to the
"expected regional result for the confrontation in Algeria"
expressed his views for the quiet handling of terrorism at
the summit. But the Egyptian Foreign Minister saw that
"terrorism by the name of Islam is not a private Egyptian
problem any more. It has become more imposing and it should
be treated in a regional way but effective at the same
But the question becomes, can the ICO take a clear
stand on what is going on in more than a member country?
Hamed al Ghabe, General Secretary of ICO thinks that this
organization is not an ethical court to convict countries or
to prove charges about supporting terrorist groups in
another Islamic country. ICO is not even supposed to take
any position in any political debate between Islam in
countries or in the regional area. But in spite of that, we
see Hussain Abusaleh, Sudanese Foreign Minister, insisting
on finding a specific definition of world terrorism. The
West described a country's national resistance as terrorism
mixing between the legal right of resistance and violence
for political reasons.
ICO did not notice the interaction between the
position of Islam inside the ICO countries and the outside
world perception and the image of Islam in the West due to
the wrong doings of extremists. Abdulhadi Boutnl, advisor
to King Hussain of Morocco said, "what was achieved is a
good and promising staff." Rather than waiting for the 8th
summit in Tehran in 1977, it was agreed that ICO should
address this phenomena before that time. It would be
ridiculous that Iran would host an Islamic summit debating
terrorism when Iran itself was one of the first countries
charged with supporting extremist groups.
The following are some views expressed by key players
at the summit:
Dr. Issam Aryan
The narrow corner for those extremists were
founded due to the repeated arrest which
lasted for three years in some cases. This
arrest is organized by the law, but the
government is breaking the law. The person
will stay in jail and will get the release
order. The government will keep him for three
years if he was not liquidated.
That is the most serious thing. When the
young man will feel he is dead by all means,
he has no other choice but to use his gun.
But here we have different things in 705 and
805 violence aims to control the country. But
now, it's aim is to shake the state dignity,
that means or a try to coverage.13
Dr. Amro Abdul Samie
It has been said that there are some
relationships between the extremists in
Algeria, Tunis and Egypt. We heard about
coordination among these countries of facing
the violent directions which confirm the
coordination basically between the Islamic
Dr. Mohammad Amara
I believe there is media exaggeration.
Extremism and violence is present in most
Islamic countries and not only Egypt, Algeria
and Tunisia. I believe we are facing a media
plan started locally to maximize and escalate
this phenomena--first in preparation to
confrontation with the Islamic phenomena as
all and to distort and abort this Islamic
phenomena. When we compare between what is
being written about Omas Abdul Rahman and
other Islamic scholars who have millions of
readers, we will realize that it is a
designated plan. The American media is just
trying to find a resemblance between Khomani
of Iran when he left France and how Omar Abdul
Rahman living in the U.S. he will come back to
invade Egypt. It is the media phenomena
exaggerating things because these extremists
have not political experience at all.
In 1981, those who killed Anwar Sadat though
some members will come from the southern city
of Asiet to seize power in Cairo. They are so
naive that they could believe seizing power is
so simple like that.
There are three factors that set differences
between extremism and moderate directions.
The extremist direction antagonizes society
and considers it as an unbeliever. This
direction believes that the only solution is
the change. There is a difference between
violence as individual acts and the violence
as theory and ideology. It was Sayed Kotib
who first adopted this theory.
The question now is why these ideas could find
acceptance among young men rather than other
age levels. Why did it spread in some
environments rather than others. In other
words, why is it more obvious in the south
province of Egypt than in Cairo. And even in
Cairo, why is it more popular in the racist
poor suburbs of the capital.
We believe the frustration due to the Islamic
situation in the present time compared with
its golden ages drive the fury young men out
of control. The second reason is the
provocation of the Islamic values. When
comparing the tourist village and farming
village in one Western country, we call it
provocation. In Egypt there is no problem
with the best cars in the world, but with the
public buses. No problem with the finest
wines, but with the drinking water. We are
angry because some Hindu assaulted a Mosque in
India, but we have mosques in Egypt assaulted
as never before happening. These kind of
phenomena provoke the values.15
Dr. Amro Abdul Salamie
We would like to welcome the participants in
this seminar which deals with this very
serious subject. It is the terror in which
some groups use in the name of Islam. And
even we who are concentrating on this
phenomena in Egypt, we believe that the
importance goes far beyond the Egyptian case
since many countries in the region are
suffering due to this phenomena of 20 years
The question in 1975 was why did this
direction come out? We used to answer, for
example, because of the 1967 war. After
awhile, there was another question, why did
these groups use violence? I think that the
third question is: why did these groups look
in a certain moment so confident that they did
not act as to protect the movement but replace
Actually, we are dealing with a changing and
developing phenomena, and if we want to
understand it, we should ask many questions.
Not why it is founded, but why is it using
violence. The Islamic movement in Algeria,
Tunisia and Egypt, and on a smaller scale in
Jordan and Kuwait, is accused of using
violence. Here we have to differentiate
between using a violent attitude of
individuals and political groups representing
itself as a substitute for the present
political regime using violence as a method.
In Egypt, we should look at the position of
these groups concerning the assassination of
Faraj Fouda. Most of the Islamists said they
condemn the assassination, but Fouda was
instigating like that, they justify the act.
So many statements have taken a pro-Islamist
direction condemning the assassination as
principal, but it is necessary sometimes to
punish some so and so. The first question is
to try to understand and talk to this
direction, which is an actual one having its
entity--what is this direction position to
violence? The second question, is why are
The extremists in Egypt are confused between
the desire of the government not to confront,
and the weakness of the government. The
Egyptian government hesitated to carry out
total confrontation--that gives the feeling of
not being willing to become involved due to
At the same time, the Algerian experience was a bad
lesson to the Egyptian extremists. Some people in Egypt
thought that the election was just a trick. But, I believe
this is not true because Algeria is not Egypt. But the
question is what is the government's reaction to some
practices done by certain extremist groups. For example,
when followers of extremist groups dominate an area causing
minor disturbances, the local police may not think it is a
threat to the government so they will ignore this conduct.
But when this conduct escalates to a larger scale, like
killing a policeman, it sends a clearer message that these
groups are so organized that they can confront the
government. We come here to the most important point that
it is not the right thing to consider these groups as solid
because there are different points of views within these
groups--those who believe in dialogue should speak out and
deny violence as a means of seizing power.
USE OF ADVANCED WEAPONS BY FUTURE INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS
The terrorist organizations always try to approach
any progress in the military sciences. They often get some
weapons which are not available yet to particular country's
armies. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) for example, used
the weapon, "Armalite" which is an advanced version of the
M-16. The IRA used this weapon even before it was used by
the American Army. It was because the British Company,
Sterling who produced the weapon gave the authority of
production to some factories in Japan and Florida and
consequently, it reached into the hands of terrorist
Not limited only to the light weapons, terrorist
organizations also used medium range weaponry (heavy weight
and large size) like the multi-purpose machine gun M60 which
comes with its ammunition link of 40 pounds in weight. This
weapon is a major infantry weapon and is not fit for
terrorist operations due to its large size, despite that it
was used in previous incidents.
While leftist terrorists used missiles like the SA-7,
RPG, the rightist groups backed by the U.S. in Latin America
used those provided by the CIA. Though there are no clues
of using these sophisticated weapons, Red-Eye missiles
seemed to be available, and the light weight anti-aircraft
missile, Stinger seemed to make its debut in 1981. This
missile can work with infrared aiming, as well as,
ultraviolet which makes its hit a certainty.
The American Military Weapon Association invented
"Mac" after six years of research which was the smallest
machine gun in the world (Ingram M-10). This machine gun
was expected to be the main terrorist weapon during the
1980's and 1990's. It was discovered in 1981 that 350 units
of this weapon managed to find their way to Northern
It is not a surprise that terrorist organizations can
access the use of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons are
prohibited internationally in accordance with the Laha
Agreement of 1899 and Geneva Convention of 1925. But all
world armies keep chemical war units ready to use within
their armies in times of need. Israel used napalm during
the 1967 war and in the 1980's in Lebanon. The U.S. used in
addition to chemical weapons in Vietnam, some other types of
chemicals such as:
1. Suffocating Chemicals: PHOSGENE
2. Nerve Chemicals: Sarin, Napon, Roman, Alpha X7
and Alpha R55. Available, but not used.
3. Blood Chemicals: Hydro Cyanide, Siatogin
Chloroid. Available, but not used.
4. Vomiting Chemicals: ADM
Like chemical weapons, terrorists tried to use
biological weapons to treat rivers and water tanks. Some
threats of this kind occurred, but were not executed. Where
terrorism takes the place of the conventional war, it is
possible that some countries will provide its terrorist
agents with the most advanced weapons it may have, including
those prohibited by the international community (since these
terrorists do not abide to any rules or conventions).
POSSIBILITIES OF USING NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Along with the invention of nuclear destruction
weapons, there was an accepted idea that nuclear materials
are very dangerous to deal with. It could not be handled by
ordinary people. But with the growth of terrorism, to be a
tool to be used by countries and gigantic organizations,
this idea became a point of argument.
In 1975, a number of scientific and political debates
arose in the United States about what constituted the
individual use of nuclear weapons. The spark of these
debates was an American high school student who could reach
to the theoretical construction of a small atomic bomb.
When asked how he came to his conclusion, the student
answered that anyone could construct one. This incident
plugs the discussions about the possibilities for terrorist
organizations to use atomic weapons. The question still
needing an answer is, what if a terrorist managed to produce
an atomic bomb, or to steal one, and threatened the complete
destruction of a city?
This idea was used in the movies also. In 1983, NBC
produced a film about a terrorist group using a ship to
carry an atomic bomb. They entered South Carolina and took
some hostages. The threat was to destroy the entire city
unless their demands were met by the U.S. government. At
the end, the terrorists ignited the bomb and destroyed the
city. The film initiated a wave of turmoil in the U.S. and
the television station did not rebroadcast the film again
due to the possible ideas it could generate.
Therefore, this case was under discussion in the most
serious studies about international terrorism. It is clear
that terrorists will try to use nuclear weapons in the
future. We can say here that with the increasing number of
civilian nuclear complexes in the world, the nuclear
knowledge is not restricted to super powers anymore. It is
clear that some of the smallest countries have nuclear bombs
now. It is also due to the increased number of workers in
these complexes that nuclear secrets have become common
Three things are needed so a terrorist can produce
nuclear bombs: 1) scientific knowledge; 2) facilities for
production, and 3) nuclear raw materials. The acquisition
of these three factors is no longer impossible now.
However, experts in the field see that circumstances are not
yet ready for terrorists to use nuclear weapons. These
circumstances may occur in the future and it will be only a
matter of time before terrorists use this destructive tool.
All governments realize that this threat is probable but are
not sure under what circumstances this threat will be used.
We can now see that using nuclear weapons for
terrorism is possible due to two important points:
1. Suicide operation phenomena which has begun in
terrorist activities. Those willing to give up
their lives will enable a suicidal group to use
some kind of nuclear weapon during operations.
2. It is possible that science can provide mini-
nuclear complexes or clinical nuclear weapons
that terrorists can use.
The most serious problem to be faced is that some
rich, Third World countries are very interested in breaking
the nuclear monopolization without a regard for global
peace. These countries can finance terrorist projects to
threaten the international security and safety to bring
attention to their cause or to effect a change in policies.
Unfortunately, this destructive dimension is not
receiving the serious attention from researchers.
Consideration is still given to the traditional methods of
terrorism like the TWA hijacking from Athens to Beirut,
holding Americans hostage for 18 days. Another serious
incident was the bombing of an Indian airline where a
terrorist of the Sikh cult put explosives onboard which led
to the death of 329 passengers. There are a lot of similar
incidents, but the international media does not give a lot
of attention to them unless they are similar in magnitude to
the TWA incident.
It is also worthy to mention the Achille Lauro
cruiseship and the sequences of these incidents. The
objective or this operation was not hijacking. As the
planned journey for the ship began from Boursaeed to the
destination Port of Ashdood in Israel, four terrorists
boarded in order to carry out offensive attacks against
certain Israeli installations upon arrival in Israel. After
leaving Alexandria, the four were compromised and they were
forced to highjack the cruiser which later led to the
hijacking of an Egyptian airline plane and intervention by
American fighter planes. Hijacking the Egyptian plane to
Malta and the two bomb attacks on Rome and Vienna airports
show us the new tendencies in terrorism until it ends with
the suicidal attack. If this development in methods
continues forward, we really cannot exclude the possibility
in the near future to have chemical weapons used by
THE INFLUENCE OF THE MEDIA
Since counter terrorism became an essential part of
NATO's foreign policy, the media of these countries has
dealt with terrorism as an Arabic phenomena, and then as an
It is Israel who first started hijacking in the
Arabic region (air raid on Beirut Airport in 1968) and later
knocking down the civilian Libyan flight in 1973. Although
these actions were condemned by the U.N., the European and
American media did not describe them as acts of Israeli
terrorism. Some spy convictions appeared in the Western
media during the Israeli massacres in Lebanon in 1978 and
1982 or even the previous ones committed inside Palestine,
Egypt or Tunisia. It is noteworthy that Western press
reported on the convictions making it look as if Islam was
the real enemy of the West.
Regardless of the reasons and aims of some terrorist
operations, the Western media has not describe the offenses
of other allies it favors. It is this same media who
concentrates on any incident of Arabic involvement and calls
it Arabic or Islamic terrorism. The object behind their
reporting seems not to condemn terrorism but to distort the
reputation of Islam and the identity of Arabs.
Islamic media has found itself cornered against these
continued and concentrated campaigns. This situation forces
Arab countries and their media to react most of the time to
misinterpreted, distorted and abused facts. The French
magazine Paris Match once said, "The world is witnessing
nowadays a new kind of violence against persons and
properties based on religion and supported by the most
extremist religions in the world."17
It is the same Western media who described the
Palestinian resistance and Intifada as terrorism, while at
the same time, describing the Afghan resistance against the
Soviet occupation as "Hiojahedin" using one of the most holy
adjectives in Islam. The Islamic media constantly faces the
contradicted stands of the Western media when dealing with
the main and essential Islamic matters. The U.S. and
Western countries support of the Afghan Mujahedin is done
not because of their national right, but because they are
opposing the Soviet Union.
The Islamic media cannot handle efficiently the
double standard. This may be due to the absence of the
Islamic media in the Western world. Even those established
and founded in the U.S. and Europe, do not use the languages
of these countries, but use the Arabic language aimed only
at the Arab community rather than the population as a whole.
I think that the media is a major player in all
conflicts. War is based on the continuity of political
conflict in order to achieve a desired end. The media is
one major tool of a conflict in its political and war
versions. The conflict between the advanced world and the
developing world takes place in various fields. It is
similar in politics, economy, education and sociology. The
Arab and Islamic world is part of the developing world.
Consequently, it is part of the conflict. When this
conflict takes on a religious feature, in other words, when
the international media will stand up to the holy symbols of
Islam and when the Islamic media will stand up against the
conflicts and erroneous reporting, then the situation will
normalize. It will be a conflict on behalf of God and here
is the point of danger. The media process integrates with
the political and military processes in order to achieve an
objective for a country or group of countries against
another country or group of other countries. The media
process goes through many phases. The most important are:
First. Alerting the international community and
preparing the feeling of enmity against a certain country.
Flooding the international media with fabricated news in
order to prepare international opinion to accept any
aggressive action against that country, even if it is in
contradiction with the values of peace and human rights.
Using the media in political or psychological war is
not something new. In 1986, the U.S. National Security
Council put a plan in motion to overthrow the Libyan
President Quaddafi. The basis of this plan was to harmonize
between fictitious and actual facts in order to make the
Libyan leader think his regime was collapsing, forcing him
into taking uncontrolled reactions, thereby justifying using
the American military against him. The CIA was tasked with
spreading false news in the international media about the
situation with Libya. The Secretary of State was tasked
with promoting this news by pretending to take it seriously.
The Wall street Journal was another tool in this charade
reporting on the possibility of a coup d'etat, terrorist
operations and preparation of U.S. intervention on the
Soviet bases in Libya.18
The plan was exposed after a short time of being
carried out. The Washington Post published a report under
the title "Network Offices" showing the importance of making
false new official reports in order to overthrow the Libyan
President. As a result of the report, the Secretary of
State official spokesman resigned saying, "...because of
using official media tools to promote misleading news for
the public opinion."19
Second. Seducing the target country to the media
concern so planners will have the necessary new materials to
deepen the feeling of enmity against that country. This
means pushing the target country to make a mistake. This
way has become a specialty in modern media.
Third. Flooding public opinion with a flow of
information news, comments and opinions which justify the
aggression. This aggression will appear later on as
legalized and approved by the public international opinions.
To achieve these goals, two points are necessary:
First. Neutralizing or having the media of the
target country be absent or fail to report in the country's
language. It is worthy to mention that Arabic media in the
Western world is not a force. In addition to the regional
and narrow approach of the various types of Arabic media, no
single Arabic newspaper is published in Europe and in the
Second. Flooding the media of the target country
with a huge flow of media materials. The following shows
what the media said and published prior to launching an
Associated Press 17 Million words per day
United Press 11 Million words per day
Reuter's 10.5 Million words per day
AFP 3 Million words per day
Total 41.5 Million words per day
Add to this millions of words broadcasted by radio stations
directed at the Arab world. We can then understand the
reason Arabs are suffering confusion as in their concepts,
values and options which are being distorted.
Jean Paul Charnay noticed that European media is
responsible directly for creating a type of confused effect
relating violence to Islam in the European mind. Facts are
revealed in a one-sided fashion. It basically helps to
create certain concepts to the Europeans in general, and the
French in particular. The media uses behavior or statements
made by some Arab politician known for supporting terrorism,
in order to exaggerate and create a spirit of haste and
disgust against Arabs. But, as soon as we go into details,
we find that these terrorist actions are not a result of the
Islam religion or carried out by groups adopting Islamic
doctrine. Terrorism is not necessarily an action of Islamic
organizations. It could originate with secular or Christian
groups such as Palestinians and Lebanese groups.
Charnay saw that Europeans believed that the
terrorism in Lebanon was limited to the Islamic movement
only; when in fact, there is no way that it related Islam to
terrorism. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding began
because of the media's nature and its mechanism and then as
a result of the political understanding in the mentality of
the European societies. The press and media was offering
general political information strategically motivated
towards a specific plan. News about Arab terrorists
operating against Israel and then the Israeli military
reactions was generated. The Israeli aggressive reaction is
then justified against the Arabic action in the European
reader's mind. Whatever the consequences, whether the
number of victims is "excessive" or the brutality, Israeli
aggression is seen as a self-defense action in the European
The U.S.'s most unfortunate and unnecessary foreign
policy failure is in the former Yugoslavia where communist
hard-liners mounted an attack to destroy the democratic
government of Croatia. There have been excesses on both
sides, but the cycle of violence resulted when Serbian
aggression increased against other Yugoslav republics.
In 1991 the U.N., the U.S. and the European community
vacillated, equivocated, orated, condemned and ultimately
did nothing to counter effectively the Serbian onslaught.
The massacre of scores of shoppers and their children in
Sarajevo in February 1994 would most certainly not have
occurred had the West acted sooner.
Following the massacre, the U.S. and its NATO allies
issued an ultimatum to the Serbs to withdraw their weapons
around Sarajevo stopping the siege of one city. But, the
U.S. did not take action until forced to do so by the public
reaction to bloody images on television. My personal
opinion is had the Sarajevo citizens been Christian or
Jewish, the civilized world would not have permitted the
siege to continue.
Terrorism is a strategy of organized and continuous
violence in order to achieve political aims. It is the
style which concentrates on political violence, due to
excluding other styles of violence like total or general
wars since it leads to the termination of the two parties in
any conflict. Terrorism which was the weapon of the weak
party in the past, is a method used by various countries'
intelligence agencies through supporting terrorist
organizations and who operations are directed to attain
benefits of the originating intelligence agency.
The most serious thing about terrorism is that it is
a war without rules, and that its victims are not
necessarily involved in the dispute or conflict that the
operations are made for.
Terrorism aims mostly to affect the political
decision of those countries at which it is aimed. Terrorism
depends its strategy of using the modern technological
methods and utilizing the huge reporting abilities of the
international media in painting behind exciting head lines.
Clues provide us that terrorism will be more fierce in the
future with the possibility of using chemical, biological or
nuclear weapons. These weapons will be used as long as it
serves some country's political objectives. The media's
responsibility is to search in depth for the actual causes
and show them to the public from different perspectives, and
to include those other than those of the government in
power. Individuals can then see the actual problem and
place pressures on their governments to take action to deal
with terrorism on an equal basis around the world and stop
using it as a policy tool or pressure card whenever it is
Terrorism must be clarified from the other types of
political violence and in order to sort out its real
identification which looks so confusing. Terrorism becomes
the common word used by any person who wants to describe his
Some thoughtful observers have warned that if the
West mishandles relations with the Muslim world, a "clash of
civilizations" could pit the West against Islam. Recent
military conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina with Bosnian
Muslims and Christian Serbs fighting for control have
supported this thesis. Further examples are in the former
Soviet Union of Christian Armenians and Muslim Azerbaijanis;
in Lebanon where Christian and Muslim militia have been
slaughtering each other for years; and in Central Asia where
religious tensions have contributed to the fighting in
The United States must not let the "clash of
civilizations" to become the dominant characteristic of the
post-Cold War era. The real danger is not that this clash
is inevitable, but by the Western inaction, it will make it
a self-fulfilling prophecy. By ignoring conflicts in which
Muslim nations are victims, the Western world will invite a
clash between the Western and Muslim worlds.
Since the U.S. is the last super power remaining, no
worldwide crisis is irrelevant. It must have a reputation
for being an evenhanded player on the international stage
and not contribute to an image promoted by extreme Muslim
fundamentalists that the West is callous to the fate of
Muslim nations, but protective of Christian and Jewish
The "clash" will only be avoided if Islam
fundamentalist forces take over the Muslim world. At
present those regimes are still a minority, comprising only
ten per cent of the Islamic world's total population.
Countries such as Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt and Indonesia are
seeking to combine the best of the West and Muslim cultures
as a way to a better life.
Whittaker Chambers wrote that communism was a faith
and it was only as strong as the-failure of all other
faiths. Muslim fundamentalism is a strong faith, appealing
to the religious, not secular; to the soul, not the body.
Neither secular Western nor secular Muslim values can
compete with this faith. The U.S. being the strongest and
richest nation is not enough. What will be decisive is the
power of great ideas, both religious and secular that make
the U.S. a super power. Both the West and the Muslims have
profound differences in their cultural and historical
development and can learn from each other by studying the
reasons for the past failures and successes.
What is required to counter terrorism is cooperation
instead of confrontation or dedicating behaviors by force
upon others. History has taught us the club of powerful
countries has always been in existence with its spreading
worldwide policies. However, its membership is continuously
changing and it is incumbent upon the old members to give
way to the newcomers. So, the principles which were
established by the powerful ones will influence those less
powerful. It is incumbent that they take care of the ideas
they put forth and the resulting laws which govern all.
Those laws should be according to logic and ethical values
rather than a further extension of their political
Richard Nixon, former U.S. President depicted the
stage we are now in which sums up the potential for success:
The 20th century has been a period of conflict
between the West and the Muslim world. If we
work together we can make the 21st century not
just a time of peace in the Middle East and
the Persian Gulf, but a century in which,
beyond peace, two great civilizations will
enrich each other and the rest of the world--
not just by their arms and their wealth, but
by the eternal appeal of their ideals.20
Charley, Jean Paul. Islam and War.
Liqueur, Walter. 1987. Terrorism.
Mohamd Alsmak. 1994. Terrorism.
Nixon, Richard. 1994. Beyond Peace.
1. Walter Liqueur, Terrorism, pp. 266-295.
2. Jean Paul Charley, Islam and War.
4. Mohamd Alsmak, Terrorism, Dar Anfas, 1994, p. 67-100.
5. Richard Nixon, Beyond Peace, 1994, p. 1-155.
7. Liqueur, p. 266-295.
9. Moroccan Prime Minister, King Hassan, Islamic Summit,
11. Alsmak, p. 67-100.
13. Dr. Issam Aryan, Al Majalla, 1994.
14. Dr. Amro Abdul Samie, Al Majalla, 1994.
15. Dr. Mohammad Amara, Al Majalla, 1994.
16. Dr. Armo Adbul Salamie, Al Majalla, 1994.
17. Charley, Islam and War.
18. Nixon, p. 1-155.
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