It’s been seven years since the horror of the World Trade Center destruction and the attack on the Pentagon.
As with the Holocaust, the by-word must be: Never Again. But words are cheap and vigilance is required. The people of the US — now, especially, with an election close at hand — must ask what is being done, and what must be done, to insure that there is never another Nine-Eleven.
One of the lessons of that horror has never been adequately learned and assimilated: The perpetrators of 9/11 were not poor, not lower class, not uneducated, not hopeless. They acted out of a radical ideology. Throwing money at terrorists does not moderate them.
Al-Qaeda certainly is not what it was seven years ago: It has been substantially weakened. But while it’s down, it is not yet out. We are being told that the message of Jihad still retains currency.
While counter-terrorism efforts have yielded successes, US intelligence officials say Al-Qaeda “remains the most serious terrorist threat to the United States.”
According to some reports, Al-Qaeda is seeking to attack inside US borders, but is finding it difficult because of the increase in vigilance. Thus it looks, instead, to hit in Europe.
There is concern in security circles about evolving techniques — such as increased use of the Internet, which spans local groups. The situation is actually far more complex now than it was seven years ago, because of these localized Al-Qaeda groups. Between January 2005 and April 2007, 40 organizations — located in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Europe, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt — announced formation and pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
Additionally, an enclave in tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan has been carved out as a sanctuary for Al-Qaeda leaders and Taliban fighters from Afghanistan (the guessing is that Bin Laden is there somewhere). This “safe haven” has permitted Al-Qaeda to “regain its equilibrium.”
Says a senior British anti-terrorism official:
“We don’t want to let complacency sink in. That is exactly when something can happen,. The threat hasn’t manifested itself in the West recently, but the picture looks a lot different if you are in Algiers or Islamabad.”
Another lesson not yet assimilated adequately: The presence of Israel and the fact that a Palestinian state has not been established have less than nothing to do with the larger Jihadist picture. All those who imagine that if only Israel would shrink back to the ’49 lines and give the Palestinians half of Jerusalem all would be well are very much mistaken. Most Muslims care not a whit about the establishment of a Palestinian state; in fact the Palestinians are broadly disliked.
The historical roots of Islamic extremism, and Jihadism, are deep, going back centuries, and the goal of a widespread caliphate to rule according Sharia’a (Islamic law) is hardly new. The much analyzed tensions between Sunnis and Shias derive from a conflict over which group would form the legitimate caliphate.
From The Jordan Times yesterday — cited by IMRA — is a piece discussing how furious with the Palestinians the Arab League is. Furious because the Palestinians are so busy fighting among themselves that they can’t get their act together. Arab League secretary general Amr Musa told a press conference Tuesday: “We are studying the measures to be taken in the face of the current Palestinian chaos.”
You know the saying that a good deed never goes unpunished?
For Ramadan, Israel is attempting to ease the passage of Palestinians through checkpoints. At the checkpoint at Hawara, outside of Nablus, where numerous terrorists have been nabbed, a humanitarian lane has been established for emergencies. An Arab woman ran through that lane and threw acid in the face of the soldier manning the post.
Each year it is traditional for the president of Israel to host leaders of the Arab-Israeli community during Ramadan. Present this year at President Shimon Peres’s dinner was Sheikh Abdallah Nimr Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement.
With regard to the “peace” negotiations, Darwish explained that, “The Palestinians can’t give up any more.”
This was fascinating for me, as I’m not aware of anything they have given up.