Islamic Terrorism Targeting the United States

, September 29, 2001

Islamic terrorism has been an integral component of Mideast politics since the 7th century, 1,300 hundred years BEFORE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL.  Three of the initial four Caliphs - Umar, Uthman and Ali - were ousted through political assassinations, and each of the current Moslem leaders in the Mideast is facing the threat of Islamic terrorism, INDEPENDENT OF ISRAEL'S EXISTENCE OR ISRAEL'S POLICIES. 


ANTI-U.S. ISLAMIC TERRORISM HAS BEEN A BY-PRODUCT OF THE INTER AND INTRA-MUSLIM POLITICAL SYSTEM, which has employed violence, rather than political negotiation, as the preferred method for resolving conflicts.  Other than Turkey, all Mideast Islamic regimes have ascended to power - and have maintained power - through the bullet, rather than through the ballot, while abusing the human rights of their subjects. Eventually, they lose power through a more skillful use of violence by opponents.  Thus, regimes which exploit terrorism to subdue domestic opposition, tend to employ the same instrument against external opposition.  Moreover, no Moslem regime has been immune to domestic, or external, terrorism supported by at least one of its "fellow" Moslem regimes. For instance, Syria has harbored, trained or equipped the Popular Fronts for the Liberation of the Arabian Peninsula, Bahrain and Oman.  One should not separate domestic, from international, terrorism - two central and fundamental elements of inter-Muslim policies, also toward the United States.


In 1948, the U.S. was vilified by most Moslem regimes, IN SPITE OF WASHINGTON'S BRUTAL PRESSURE ON ISRAEL to postpone the declaration of its independence, and despite a U.S. arms embargo on the region (while Britain supplied weaponry to Iraq and Jordan).  In 1957, Egyptian President Nasser tightened his alliance with the USSR, ALTHOUGH IT WAS THE U.S. WHICH FORCED ISRAEL INTO A COMPLETE WITHDRAWAL FROM THE SINAI PENINSULA.  In 1998, the U.S. became the central target for Islamic terrorism (bombing the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania), WHILE PRESIDENT CLINTON DISPLAYED OVERT HOSTILITY TOWARD PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU and glowing warmth toward Arafat, the most frequent foreign visitor to the White House.    


NO U.S. PRESSURE ON ISRAEL WOULD SPARE WASHINGTON THE WRATH OF IRAQ, IRAN, SYRIA, LIBYA AND OTHER RADICAL MUSLIM REGIMES.  An inherent conflict has prevailed between U.S. values and interests and those of radical regimes.  They are determined to push the U.S. out of the Persian Gulf, the Mideast, the Indian Ocean and Africa.  Their territorial aspirations have suffered a severe setback by U.S. military, economic and diplomatic dominance in the region. For instance, U.S. military involvement denied Iran a historic victory over Iraq, and has slowed down the exportation of Iran's Islamic revolution.  The U.S. freed Kuwait from Iraqi occupation, and has prevented the conquest of Saudi Arabia and the small Gulf sheikhdoms by Iraq and Iran.  US military power projection in the Mideast and the Mediterranean has deterred Syrian belligerence and terrorism against Turkey and Jordan, and has minimized Libyan agitation in Africa and the Mideast.


NOTWITHSTANDING ISRAEL'S POLICIES, MOST MUSLIM REGIMES REJECT WESTERN DEMOCRACIES, CONSIDERING THE U.S. AS THE "GREAT SATAN," responsible for the collapse of the "Arab in Oil-Land Dreams." Free minds, free markets and freedom of religion - the trade marks of the U.S. - are regarded as a chief threat to the survival of most Muslim regimes, their policies, economy and values. In addition, anti-US sentiments have been nurtured by skillful Mideast despots, scapegoating the US in order to divert attention away from disruptive consequences of social, economic and political dislocation.  They believe that a defeat of the only Super Power, would free the Muslim Holy Land, Saudi Arabia, from the presence of the U.S. military next to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina.  They also assume that such a Muslim victory could resurrect Islamic grandeur.


In contrast to superficial observations, Israel’s existence or policies have not been the root cause of anti-US Islamic terrorism.  Rather, Israel has been depicted, by most Muslim regimes, and their controlled-media and clergy, as the loyal Mideast outpost of the "Great U.S. Satan."  The annihilation of the Jewish outpost has been perceived, by Mideast Muslims, as a step toward the ejection of "U.S. imperialism" from the region.