Egypt state TV blames Israel for Sinai bombings (& more on Mayor Livingstone)

July 27, 2005

* “Lets just get one thing out of the way. There is no justification for suicide bombing in Israel either... There is no justification for terrorism anywhere” – Tony Blair, addressing leading international media yesterday, in an implicit criticism of some journalists present and also of members of his own political party, including London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

* On the cover of the new edition of the British satirical magazine, Private Eye, there is a photo of Blair saying to Livingstone: “We must track down the evil mastermind behind the bombers,” to which Livingstone replies: “Yes, and invite them round for tea.”

* Leading (London) Evening Standard columnist today again blames Israel for Britain’s “shoot to kill policy”

-- This dispatch further explores the themes of international terrorism.

 

CONTENTS

1. Egyptian state TV: Israel to blame for Sharm El Sheikh bombings
2. Ukrainian political party: “London attacks were part of Zionist plan”
3. Ariel Sharon responds to Ken Livingstone
4. London Evening Standard columnist blames Israel
5. Killer of Van Gogh jailed for life
6. Israel criticizes Pope for failing to condemn terror attacks
7. “Egyptian film mocks peace with Israel” (AFP, July 25, 2005)
8. “Appeasing Terrorism Encourages More Attacks” (By Amir Taheri, Asharq Alawsat, July 22, 2005)
9. “Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq” (New York Times, July 22, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

EGYPTIAN TV BLAMES ISRAEL FOR SHARM EL SHEIKH BOMBINGS

Egyptian State television has repeatedly aired an interview blaming the deadly terrorist attack at Sharm el-Sheikh last weekend on Israel. Retired army general Fuad Allam, a commentator on Egyptian state television, said “I’m almost certain that Israel was also behind this attack because they want to undermine our government and deal a severe blow to our economy. The only ones who benefit from these attacks are the Israelis and the Americans.” These comments were re-aired several times on government-controlled Egyptian TV. Egypt is supposedly a moderate pro-American country.

AND SO DOES ISLAM ONLINE

Islam online, the website created by Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, who is described by London Mayor Ken Livingstone as a “leading progressive Muslim,” also questioned whether Sharm el-Sheikh bombs were caused by “Mossad hands”. They quote Hussein Rashid, the deputy chairman of the Egyptian Misr Al-Fatat party who wrote on the party’s web site: “It is as clear as day that Mossad is behind the Sharm blasts to terrify innocent people, wage war on the Arabs and spark confusion and sedition.”

AND SO DOES AL JAZEERA

On Al-Jazeera a “security expert,” Majdi Birnawi said: “I believe that Mossad or some other [Israeli] security organization carried out this attack.”

AND NEWSPAPER FEARS ISRAELI HELP MORE THAN BOMBERS

The London-based Palestinian-owned daily al-Quds al-Arabi said Israel’s offer to help Egypt fight terror was an even bigger blow than the terror attacks themselves. The newspaper said Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s offer to send forensic experts to Sharm el-Sheikh was a “curse.”

(Dispatches on this list earlier this year have detailed other similar conspiracy theories in the Arab world, such as “Mossad agents running ops inside the U.S”, “Israel killed Rafik Hariri” and “Arafat killed by Israeli high tech laser attack”. I also attach below an article from Agence France Presse on a new Egyptian film which shows the Egyptians uneasiness over peace with Israel agreed in 1979.)

UKRAINIAN POLITICAL PARTY: “LONDON ATTACKS WERE ZIONIST PLAN”

The newspaper of the Ukrainian Conservative Party, has published a statement saying the July 7 terror attacks in London “showed the presence in world politics of clandestine Zionist organizations,” which, “using common fears, wish to achieve their main goal, world domination.” The Ukrainian Conservative Party is a new party that will take part in its first Ukrainian elections next spring.

ARIEL SHARON RESPONDS TO KEN LIVINGSTONE

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has called London Mayor Ken Livingstone “ignorant” after Livingstone said during in an interview discussing the London bombings on Sky News TV last week that Likud and Hamas are “two sides of the same coin”. Livingstone, who seems to attack Israel at every opportunity and earlier this year said a Jewish reporter working at the (London) Evening Standard should be a “concentration camp guard,” also said that Israeli actions “border on crimes against humanity.” Sharon told Israel radio in response that “Hamas is a murderous terrorist organization, which has murdered and wounded thousands of Israelis. The comparison drawn by the mayor of London was grave and inappropriate. It indicates ignorance and a basic misunderstanding of reality.”

CALLS FOR LIVINGSTONE TO GO

During the 1980’s, Livingstone was described by The Sun newspaper as “the most odious man in Britain,” but he remains a hero to many British leftists and to many British Muslims.

An increasing number of British Jews, by contrast, are writing to Tony Redmond, the UK Local Government Ombudsman (enquiries@lgo.org.uk) demanding Livingstone be forced to resign for having brought the London Assembly and the mayor’s office into disrepute. Others have called for Livingstone to be prosecuted under race hate legislation for remarks he made last week about British Jews.

On July 20, in an interview on BBC Radio 4’s influential “Today” programme, and also at a press conference the day before, Livingstone made a series of remarks about the causes of terrorism in London. He said Israel had been “indiscriminately slaughtering men, women and children for decades” and, referring to the British suicide bombers in Tel Aviv in 2003, he said it “was wrong to brand a British Muslim boy a terrorist if he got involved in Palestinian violence against Israel”.

Livingstone went on to suggest that “Jewish boys in Britain” had contributed to this “slaughter” of Palestinians. These remarks have been interpreted by many as inciting British Muslims (a key electoral base for Livingstone) to participate in anti-Semitic attacks.

Last year, Livingstone publicly embraced Yusuf Qaradawi, who is also known for his anti-Semitic remarks and support for suicide bombing in Israel. At the time, homosexual groups were more vocal than the somewhat timid British Jewish leadership in attacking Livingstone. Qaradawi has advocated the death of homosexuals as well as Jews.

BLAIR ON ISRAEL TERROR

British prime minister Tony Blair gave his monthly press conference Tuesday. A particularly high number of leading journalists from around the globe attended, including ones from Al-Jazeera, The New York Times and The Boston Globe.

Pointedly addressing some of the journalists in the room, Blair went out of his way to say: “Lets just get one thing out of the way as well. There is no justification for suicide bombing in Israel either... There is no justification for terrorism anywhere. Period.”

Blair also said, “People mustn’t accept the idea that America is evil or Israel should not exist, as then it is a smaller step to extremism and terrorism.”

He answered another question by saying, “Suicide bombing is wrong in Israel, London, New York – anywhere. There is another way to make progress in the Middle East – stop the terrorism and get into negotiations.” “I’ve got every support for the mayor of London, but I disagree with him on this issue,” said the British prime minister.

UK FOREIGN SECRETARY STRAW ALSO CRITICIZES LONDON MAYOR

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also criticized Livingstone. Both are members of Blair’s ruling Labour Party. Straw said: “There can be no excuses for terrorism, none whatever. Terrorism is indiscriminate in its victims and in its political aims. It is against democracy and it is against life and on the issue of terrorism there is no case for relativism whatsoever... Mr. Livingstone’s remarks were as wrong as they were unacceptable. There is no and there can be no moral equivalence between a democratic party [the Likud] and its supporters, operating in a democracy that is Israel, and a terrorist organisation whose policy is the slaughter of innocent civilians. It was quite wrong for him to suggest this comparison.”

LONDON EVENING STANDARD COLUMNIST BLAMES ISRAEL

Today in the London Evening Standard, senior commentator Yasmin Alibhai-Brown writes under the headline “With this shoot-to-kill policy I’m terrified for my son’s life,” “Isn’t it comforting for Muslims to know that the shoot-to-kill trick was learned from Israeli marksmen.” She ends the piece by saying: “The policy must be withdrawn immediately ... London is not Gaza.”

I have already dealt with these libels in a dispatch earlier this week. Israel routinely disarms suicide bombers without harming them.

A subscriber to this email list says: It is interesting that she uses the word “trick” (rather than “tactic” or some other non-emotive word) implying craftiness or subterfuge. And why bring Israel into this issue at all? British police shot an innocent Brazilian.

Here is a letter from Inna Tysoe (of Sacramento, California) published today in The Guardian, making a similar point as my Jerusalem Post article (which incidentally has now been reprinted in a number of news outlets in Canada, the US and elsewhere):

Christopher Hack writes that “the special force[s] involved in the Stockwell killing received Israeli training” (Letters, July 25). Yet as the London police were shooting a man they had chased into the tube, Israeli police were arresting a bona fide suicide bomber. It seems that at least some of the lessons the London police picked up in Israel did not stay with them.

“HE WAS SO CALM AS HE KILLED HIM, IT LOOKED LIKE HE WAS OUT WALKING HIS DOG.”

[This is an update to dispatches on this subject last year.]

Mohammed Bouyeri, 27, was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. The court ruled it was a “terrorist” attack since it had caused “great fear and insecurity” in the Netherlands.

Bouyeri ambushed the filmmaker on an Amsterdam street last November, shot him repeatedly, stabbed him and slit his throat before thrusting his manifesto into his chest on the point of a knife. Some witnesses at the trial said he was so calm “it looked like he was out walking his dog.”

Bouyeri admitted to the killing and vowed to repeat the act if given the chance. He offered no defense during the trial, saying he only acknowledged Islamic law. Bouyeri said Van Gogh, who was a great-nephew of the famed 19th Century Dutch painter Vincent, had “insulted Islam.”

Bouyeri is the son of Moroccan immigrants but was raised and educated in the Netherlands. Before the murder, Bouyeri was said to have attended private prayer sessions with Syrian spiritual leader, Redouan al-Issar, who is now back in Damascus.

ISRAEL CRITICIZES POPE FOR FAILING TO CONDEMN TERROR ATTACKS

The Israeli Foreign Ministry yesterday summoned the Vatican envoy to Israel to express “Israel’s outrage that Pope Benedict XVI failed to condemn terror against Israelis.”

On Sunday the pontiff prayed for God to stop the terrorism this month in many countries, including Egypt, Britain, Turkey and Iraq, during his noontime blessing delivered from his Alpine retreat in Italy’s northwestern Valle d’Aosta region, where he is vacationing.

Benedict did not mention or condemn several terror attacks leading to the deaths of Israeli civilians this month, including the suicide attack at the Netanya shopping mall in which five Israelis (four of them female, including two 16-year-old girls), and the mortar attacks on the kibbutz in southern Israel that killed a young woman sitting on her porch shortly before she was to be married.

“The pope deliberately failed to condemn the terrible terror attacks that occurred in Israel last week,” an Israeli Foreign Ministry statement said.

“WHEN DENIAL CAN KILL”

Irshad Manji writes in the new issue of Time magazine: “While our spokesmen assure us that Islam is an innocent bystander in today’s terrorism, those who commit terrorist acts often tell us otherwise. For too long, we Muslims have been sticking fingers in our ears and chanting ‘Islam means peace’ to drown out the negative noise from our holy book. Far better to own up to it.”

“APPEASING TERRORISM ENCOURAGES MORE ATTACKS”

The final two articles below both deal with the obsession of many in the western media with claiming the Iraq war has brought terrorism to London. The highly regarded Iranian-born writer Amir Taheri, who has been a columnist at Asharq Alawsat since 1987, argues that “those who look for excuses for terrorism do so only to justify a policy of appeasement.”

The final article below is a rare example of the New York Times publishing a piece not blaming “lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian road map for worldwide terrorism.” Olivier Roy writes in the Times: “From the beginning, Al Qaeda’s fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.”

I attach three articles, with summaries first for those who don’t have time to read them in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

EGYPTIAN FILM MOCKS PEACE WITH ISRAEL

“Egyptian film mocks peace with Israel” (By AFP, Ynetnews, July 25, 2005)

A quarter century after the Camp David Accord, a film released this week in Cairo shows that Egyptians’ uneasiness over peace with Israel dies hard... The plot centers around an Egyptian businessman and womanizer who returns home after getting rich in the Gulf to find, to his horror, that Israel has opened an embassy in his building.

Popular slapstick comedian Adel Imam is petrified when he discovers the Star of David-adorned flag floating above the balcony nearest to his flat overlooking the Nile, not unlike the actual building that houses the Israeli embassy in Cairo’s Giza neighborhood -- a stone’s throw from the University of Cairo, which is a stronghold of anti-Israeli sentiment…

But Imam displays good old common sense and draws much laughter from the audience by poking fun at leftist rhetoric and at the so-called martyr manufacturers...

Director Sharif Arafeh insists he didn’t want the movie to give a particular answer to the Middle East conflict, but he steps out during the reception and television footage of a dead Palestinian child he got to know in the Gulf catches his eye, and the film ends with the hero leading a large protest against Israel’s repressive policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Imam, described as the “Arab Charlie Chaplin” by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for which he works as a goodwill ambassador, diplomatically chose not to comment on whether the 1979 peace deal between Israel and Egypt should translate into warmer ties.

By contrast, the Egyptian public and most critics seem to have understood the movie’s not-so-hidden message: Israelis should stay home and if there’s peace, then it should be cold...

 

APPEASING TERRORISM ENCOURAGES MORE ATTACKS

“Appeasing Terrorism Encourages More Attacks” (By Amir Taheri, Asharq Alawsat, July 22, 2005)

... One theory is that Britain’s participation in the liberation of Iraq helped Al Qaeda transform a bunch of ordinary Muslim youths into suicide-killers. This latter group’s analysis has now received a seal of respectability from a London think-tank on foreign affairs known as Chatham House.

... The reason why Chatham House prefers to focus on the British role in Iraq rather than in Afghanistan has nothing to do with reality. It has to do with what is politically fashionable and what is not.

In circles for which Chatham House caters it is fashionable to pretend that Afghanistan didn’t happen. It is hard to defend the Taliban with their obsession with burqaa and beard and their bombing of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Saddam Hussein, however, was supposed to be a secular and Socialist ruler who could claim some kinship with the “useful idiots” in the West. More importantly, from Chatham House’s point of view, the “international community”, meaning Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan, swallowed the liberation of Afghanistan but made loud noises against the liberation of Iraq.

Can Chatham House guarantee that if Britain withdrew from Iraq the Al Qaeda would not demand a similar withdrawal from Afghanistan?

And after withdrawal from Afghanistan, would Al Qaeda and its emulants sit back and savour their victory or would they ask for more retreats by Britain until they win the power to set its foreign policy agenda?

What the terrorists describe as the “Madrid ghazva” gave Al Qaeda its first major political victory in Europe because they managed to change a government that was especially hostile to them. The Madrid ghazva“, in part, inspired, the “London ghazva” which, if it produces another political victory for terrorism, would surely inspire many other attacks.

Those who look for excuses for terrorism do so only to justify a policy of appeasement.

Experience, however, shows that the appeaser becomes a more attractive target for the terrorists. The appeased terrorist concludes that, having won a battle, he should press for victory in his war against a weakened adversary. Appeasing terrorists was tried by President Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s, and made France the most-targeted Western country for a decade…

 

WHY DO THEY HATE US? NOT BECAUSE OF IRAQ

“Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq” (By Olivier Roy, The New York Times, July 22, 2005)

... Are the roots of Islamic terrorism in the Middle Eastern conflicts?

... First, let’s consider the chronology. The Americans went to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, not before. Mohamed Atta and the other pilots were not driven by Iraq or Afghanistan. Were they then driven by the plight of the Palestinians? It seems unlikely. After all, the attack was plotted well before the second intifada began in September 2000, at a time of relative optimism in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations...

From the beginning, Al Qaeda’s fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.

Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan - or they are Western-born converts to Islam. Why would a Pakistani or a Spaniard be more angry than an Afghan about American troops in Afghanistan? It is precisely because they do not care about Afghanistan as such, but see the United States involvement there as part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination.

What was true for the first generation of Al Qaeda is also relevant for the present generation: even if these young men are from Middle Eastern or South Asian families, they are for the most part Westernized Muslims living or even born in Europe who turn to radical Islam. Moreover, converts are to be found in almost every Qaeda cell: they did not turn fundamentalist because of Iraq, but because they felt excluded from Western society (this is especially true of the many converts from the Caribbean islands, both in Britain and France). “Born again” or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the ultraleftists of the 1970’s (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the “world proletariat” and “Revolution” without really caring about what would happen after...

... The Western-based Islamic terrorists are not the militant vanguard of the Muslim community; they are a lost generation, unmoored from traditional societies and cultures, frustrated by a Western society that does not meet their expectations. And their vision of a global ummah is both a mirror of and a form of revenge against the globalization that has made them what they are.

(Olivier Roy, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, is the author of “Globalized Islam.”)

 



FULL ARTICLES

EGYPTIAN FILM MOCKS PEACE WITH ISRAEL

Egyptian film mocks peace with Israel
‘Arab Charlie Chaplin’ shows 25 years of peace has done little to alter Egyptian attitudes towards Israel
By AFP
Ynetnews
July 25, 2005

www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3117849,00.html

A quarter century after the Camp David Accord, a film released this week in Cairo shows that Egyptians’ uneasiness over peace with Israel dies hard.

Sharif Arafeh’s “An Embassy in the Building” seeks to humorously depict the average Egyptian man’s rejection of normalization.

The plot centers around an Egyptian businessman and womanizer who returns home after getting rich in the Gulf to find, to his horror, that Israel has opened an embassy in his building.

Popular slapstick comedian Adel Imam is petrified when he discovers the Star of David-adorned flag floating above the balcony nearest to his flat overlooking the Nile, not unlike the actual building that houses the Israeli embassy in Cairo’s Giza neighborhood -- a stone’s throw from the University of Cairo, which is a stronghold of anti-Israeli sentiment.

But Imam is in for another surprise when he bumps into the Israeli ambassador, played by Lofti Labib, in the lift.

“An actor must play every role, even that of the nasty guy,” Labib told AFP.

From then on, Iman’s life turns into a living hell, as the prodigal son becomes an intruder in his own home.

He can no longer take his conquests home without being subjected to body searches and questioning.

The dazed and confused hero is preyed upon by Marxist intellectuals who overwhelm him with slogans and Islamist radicals who suggest he might want to have a go at being a suicide bomber.

But Imam displays good old common sense and draws much laughter from the audience by poking fun at leftist rhetoric and at the so-called martyr manufacturers.

He rebels and becomes the street’s living idol after he asks the judiciary to evict the embassy from his building.

One night, Imam takes home a gorgeous young woman who turns out to be an Israeli spy. Mossad agents barge into his bedroom and snap pictures.

Bamboozled, again, and now the victim of blackmail, he agrees to host a party for the Israeli ambassador.

Director Arafeh insists he didn’t want the movie to give a particular answer to the Middle East conflict, but he steps out during the reception and television footage of a dead Palestinian child he got to know in the Gulf catches his eye, and the film ends with the hero leading a large protest against Israel’s repressive policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Imam, described as the “Arab Charlie Chaplin” by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for which he works as a goodwill ambassador, diplomatically chose not to comment on whether the 1979 peace deal between Israel and Egypt should translate into warmer ties.

By contrast, the Egyptian public and most critics seem to have understood the movie’s not-so-hidden message: Israelis should stay home and if there’s peace, then it should be cold.

Refuting local press reports, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt said he did not intervene with local authorities to try and stop the movie from being broadcast.

“We see this as a form of artistic expression and thus see no reason to comment on it,” Yacov Setti, the embassy’s press adviser, told AFP.

Asked by AFP whether he would be ready to meet the Israeli ambassador, Labib answered with a flat no.

“I will wait until there is a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

 

APPEASING TERRORISM ENCOURAGES MORE ATTACKS

Appeasing Terrorism Encourages More Attacks
By Amir Taheri
Asharq Alawsat
July 22, 2005

aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=912

Why did terrorists bomb London on July 7th, killing at least 56 people?

The question is at the centre of a debate in Britain the outcome of which could define future British, and perhaps Western policy, in countering terrorism.

One theory is that Britain’s participation in the liberation of Iraq helped Al Qaeda transform a bunch of ordinary Muslim youths into suicide-killers.

This latter group’s analysis has now received a seal of respectability from a London think-tank on foreign affairs known as Chatham House.

That analysis, however, is strange for several reasons.

To start with it is not clear how Chatham House or anyone else could know to what extent the suicide-killers may or may not have been motivated by Britain’s role in Iraq. The two claims of responsibility for the terrorist operation cite a variety of reasons, making it clear that the attack on Britain was part of a broader campaign against the “infidel” West.

Then there is another problem. How could Islamist suicide-bombers be concerned only about Britain’s participation in the war in Iraq and not about its similar role in Afghanistan?

If the suicide-killers were Al Qaeda Islamists then they should be angrier about the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan which they regarded as the only genuinely “Islamic” government anywhere in the world, rather than the toppling of Saddam Hussein whom they saw as an atheist and a purely tactical ally. Also it was Afghanistan, not Iraq that had welcome Osama bin Laden and presented his gang with operational bases.

The reason why Chatham House prefers to focus on the British role in Iraq rather than in Afghanistan has nothing to do with reality. It has to do with what is politically fashionable and what is not.

In circles for which Chatham House caters it is fashionable to pretend that Afghanistan didn’t happen. It is hard to defend the Taliban with their obsession with burqaa and beard and their bombing of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Saddam Hussein, however, was supposed to be a secular and Socialist ruler who could claim some kinship with the “useful idiots” in the West. More importantly, from Chatham House’s point of view, the “international community”, meaning Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan, swallowed the liberation of Afghanistan but made loud noises against the liberation of Iraq.

Can Chatham House guarantee that if Britain withdrew from Iraq the Al Qaeda would not demand a similar withdrawal from Afghanistan?

And after withdrawal from Afghanistan, would Al Qaeda and its emulants sit back and savour their victory or would they ask for more retreats by Britain until they win the power to set its foreign policy agenda?

What the terrorists describe as the “Madrid ghazva” gave Al Qaeda its first major political victory in Europe because they managed to change a government that was especially hostile to them. The “Madrid ghazva”, in part, inspired, the “London ghazva” which, if it produces another political victory for terrorism, would surely inspire many other attacks.

Those who look for excuses for terrorism do so only to justify a policy of appeasement.

Experience, however, shows that the appeaser becomes a more attractive target for the terrorists. The appeased terrorist concludes that, having won a battle, he should press for victory in his war against a weakened adversary.

Appeasing terrorists was tried by President Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s, and made France the most-targeted Western country for a decade.

Mitterrand launched his appeasement weeks after becoming president in 1981. He released all the 31 convicted terrorists in French prisons and lifted the ban on pro-terrorist publications and illegal radio stations. He also abolished the State Security Court, set up to deal with terrorism, describing it as a Nazi-style outfit. He let the Basque terrorists of ETA use French territory as a base against Spain and allowed various Palestinian groups and The Irish Republican Army (IRA) to operate in Paris.

Mitterrand feted Yasser Arafat, then regarded as the godfather of terror, and traveled to Cyprus to court Libya’s dictator Muammar Kaddafi, the principal paymaster of international terror at the time. Mitterrand’s appeasement included the Khomeinist regime in Tehran and led to an exchange of ambassadors and high level contacts.

The French leader emphasised the ideological propinquity of his Socialist party with “other radical movements”, meaning terrorist groups that were also “striving for justice.” At one point Mitterrand even talked of the “common roots” of the French Revolution and the Khomeinist take-over in Iran.

In 1984 Mitterrand’s policy led him into vetoing an American plan for joint G-7 action against international terrorism. In a meeting with the then Vice President George W H Bush, who headed a special anti-terrorism unit created by President Ronald Reagan, Mitterrand argued that the only way to deal with the threat was to“ address the grievances” which were “often caused by Western policies.”

Not surprisingly terrorist of all denominations began to see France as a safe haven.

Abu Nidal and Carlos visited Paris for business and pleasure. Imad Mughniyeh, a Lebanese terrorist on the American “most wanted list” dropped in for shopping holidays. Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini sent his nephew, one Massoud Hendizadeh, to set up a terror headquarters in Paris. The Islamic Embassy in the French capital became the centre of operations for Europe. Later, when French police issued an arrest warrant for Vahid Gorji, the man who headed the Iranian terror headquarters in Paris, Mitterrand arranged for him to be put on the first flight to Tehran to escape prosecution.

Payback for Mitterrand’s policy started with the assassination of General Rene Audron, a senior member of the French Defence Ministry in 1985. A few months later Paris was hit by a series of bomb attacks, including on two major department stores in which 35 people were injured on Christmas eve.

In February 1986 a major shopping arcade and a hotel in Champs Elysees were bombed. The wave of attacks continued with the bombing of the Forum des Halles and the attempted blowing up of the Eiffel Tower.

By March 1986 France was the victim of a full-scale terror campaign, including a suicide operation in which two Arab terrorists were killed in the Champs Elysees. Attacks on the Paris metro, the Orly Airport, and shopping centres created a climate of fear. Dozens of other plots, including an attempt to derail a high-speed train, were nipped in the bud by the police.

Throughout the Mitterrand appeasement a total of 93 people were killed and more than 800 wounded in terrorist attacks in France. To these must be added 17 Iranian dissidents who were killed by hit-squads from Tehran.

But this was not all. Fifty-three French paratroopers were killed in a suicide attack in Beirut in 1983. Also in Beirut a pro-Syrian group assassinated France’s ambassador while a Khomeinist gang held the French ambassador in Tehran hostage for several days. A total of 37 French citizens were held as hostages in the Middle East, and two murdered in cold blood, by the same terror groups that Mitterrand had tried to appease.

France is not alone to have tried appeasement and failed. Algeria, Egypt, Germany, Saudi Arabia and, more recently Spain, have had similar experiences. The British should know that any appeasement of terrorists could put them in an even greater danger.

 

WHY DO THEY HATE US? NOT BECAUSE OF IRAQ

Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq
By Olivier Roy
The New York Times
July 22, 2005

www.nytimes.com/2005/07/22/opinion/22roy.html?

While yesterday’s explosions on London’s subway and bus lines were thankfully far less serious than those of two weeks ago, they will lead many to raise a troubling question: has Britain (and Spain as well) been “punished” by Al Qaeda for participating in the American-led military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan? While this is a reasonable line of thinking, it presupposes the answer to a broader and more pertinent question: Are the roots of Islamic terrorism in the Middle Eastern conflicts?

If the answer is yes, the solution is simple to formulate, although not to achieve: leave Afghanistan and Iraq, solve the Israel-Palestine conflict. But if the answer is no, as I suspect it is, we should look deeper into the radicalization of young, Westernized Muslims.

Conflicts in the Middle East have a tremendous impact on Muslim public opinion worldwide. In justifying its terrorist attacks by referring to Iraq, Al Qaeda is looking for popularity or at least legitimacy among Muslims. But many of the terrorist group’s statements, actions and non-actions indicate that this is largely propaganda, and that Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are hardly the motivating factors behind its global jihad.

First, let’s consider the chronology. The Americans went to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, not before. Mohamed Atta and the other pilots were not driven by Iraq or Afghanistan. Were they then driven by the plight of the Palestinians? It seems unlikely. After all, the attack was plotted well before the second intifada began in September 2000, at a time of relative optimism in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Another motivating factor, we are told, was the presence of “infidel” troops in Islam’s holy lands. Yes, Osama Bin Laden was reported to be upset when the Saudi royal family allowed Western troops into the kingdom before the Persian Gulf war. But Mr. bin Laden was by that time a veteran fighter committed to global jihad.

He and the other members of the first generation of Al Qaeda left the Middle East to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. Except for the smallish Egyptian faction led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, now Mr. bin Laden’s chief deputy, these militants were not involved in Middle Eastern politics. Abdullah Azzam, Mr. bin Laden’s mentor, gave up supporting the Palestinian Liberation Organization long before his death in 1989 because he felt that to fight for a localized political cause was to forsake the real jihad, which he felt should be international and religious in character.

From the beginning, Al Qaeda’s fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.

Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan - or they are Western-born converts to Islam. Why would a Pakistani or a Spaniard be more angry than an Afghan about American troops in Afghanistan? It is precisely because they do not care about Afghanistan as such, but see the United States involvement there as part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination.

What was true for the first generation of Al Qaeda is also relevant for the present generation: even if these young men are from Middle Eastern or South Asian families, they are for the most part Westernized Muslims living or even born in Europe who turn to radical Islam. Moreover, converts are to be found in almost every Qaeda cell: they did not turn fundamentalist because of Iraq, but because they felt excluded from Western society (this is especially true of the many converts from the Caribbean islands, both in Britain and France). “Born again” or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the ultraleftists of the 1970’s (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the “world proletariat” and “Revolution” without really caring about what would happen after.

It is also interesting to note that none of the Islamic terrorists captured so far had been active in any legitimate antiwar movements or even in organized political support for the people they claim to be fighting for. They don’t distribute leaflets or collect money for hospitals and schools. They do not have a rational strategy to push for the interests of the Iraqi or Palestinian people.

Even their calls for the withdrawal of the European troops from Iraq ring false. After all, the Spanish police have foiled terrorist attempts in Madrid even since the government withdrew its forces. Western-based radicals strike where they are living, not where they are instructed to or where it will have the greatest political effect on behalf of their nominal causes.

The Western-based Islamic terrorists are not the militant vanguard of the Muslim community; they are a lost generation, unmoored from traditional societies and cultures, frustrated by a Western society that does not meet their expectations. And their vision of a global ummah is both a mirror of and a form of revenge against the globalization that has made them what they are.

(Olivier Roy, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, is the author of “Globalized Islam.”)


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.