Friday, January 11, 2013

Jerusalem Post

April 11, 1995, Jerusalem Post, Radical Filipino group linked to Mideast,
January 24, 1996, Jerusalem Post, Iranian terrorism in Asia, by Colin Rubinstein,
October 8, 1997, Seattle Times / Los Angeles Times, 3 Are Named To U.S. List Of Terror Groups,
October 17, 2001, Jerusalem Post, Mideast notes, Translations by Shira Gutgold,
November 15, 2001, Jerusalem Post, page 5, Philippines asks Israel, US, Britain for help in fighting abductions,
April 11, 2001, Jerusalem Post, page 8, Opinion, The new global threat, by Daniel Pipes,
September 25, 2001, Jerusalem Post, page 1, Bush freezes terrorists' US financial assets. US to ask foreign banks to follow suit, by Janine Zacharia,
September 25, 2001, Jerusalem Post, page 3, Anti-terror law worries Jewish activists, by Janine Zacharia,
March 3, 2002, Jerusalem Post, US eyes links between American extremists and foreign terror groups, by John Solomon,
October 14, 2002, Jerusalem Post, page 1, Expert: Al-Qaida was undeterred by US operation in Afghanistan, by David Rudge,
February 2, 2003, Jerusalem Post, Terror in Southeast Asia, by Colin Rubinstein,
May 15, 2003, Jerusalem Post, Al-Qaida looks to Saudi Arabia for refuge, by Dore Gold,
July 18, 2003, Jerusalem Post, Probe terrorist financing,
November 26, 2003, Jerusalem Post, page 14, Opinion, Do you believe in modernity?, by Daniel Pipes,
February 13, 2004, Jerusalem Post, page 1, Depending on the enemy, by Caroline B. Glick,
July 29, 2008, Jerusalem Post, page 13, Opinion, Why terror thrives,
February 19, 2010, States News Service, Israel Vies to Bring Mideast Jewish Refugees Into Talks -- Jerusalem Post, by Rachelle Kliger,

April 11, 1995, Jerusalem Post, Radical Filipino group linked to Mideast,

MANILA - Islamic rebels who raided a southern Philippine town belong to a radical network that extends from Afghanistan to the US, the government claims.

It also links the shadowy Abu Sayyaf group to organizations that have plotted subversion throughout the Mideast.

Corroborating all the claims about Abu Sayyaf, which killed 53 people in an attack on the town of Ipil last week, is impossible. But information suggests a Filipino connection to Middle East extremism.

Last December, for example, a defendant in a terrorist trial in Jordan said he traveled to the Philippines in 1991 to receive money to finance bombings and assassinations in Jordan.

The Philippines is becoming a center "for internationally oriented groups who want to die for Islam," said Rick Fisher, an analyst for the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.

Abu Sayyaf, organized around 1991 by Aburajak Abubakar Janjalani, once was regarded as a small group of young bandits who bombed, kidnapped and killed Christians in the southern Philippines.

But Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan said Abu Sayyaf - "Father of the Executioner" - has become the Philippine chapter of "Harakat al-Islamiya" ("Islamic Movement"), which he said was founded recently in Libya.

Harakat-e-Islami, the Dari language version of the same name, was one of the leading Moslem groups during the 1980-1989 war with the former Soviet Union. It lost its clout after splitting over religious differences.

Manila's view of Abu Sayyaf began to change after Jan. 6, when security guards responding to a fire in a Manila apartment found bomb equipment, American airline schedules and computer diskettes.

American investigators lifted fingerprints of Ramzi Yousef, alleged mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

After the raid, police announced they had uncovered a plot to kill Pope John Paul II, who visited Manila later in January, and to blow up American airliners over the Pacific.

The Federal Aviation Administration imposed stringent security still in effect for US-Pacific flights.

Evidence uncovered in the apartment led authorities to re-examine the Dec. 11 bombing of a Philippine Airlines jet during a flight from Cebu to Tokyo. The plane landed safely on Okinawa but one Japanese was killed.

The Associated Press had received an anonymous call claiming responsibility in the name of Abu Sayyaf, but police dismissed the claim then, saying the group lacked such technical expertise.

Last month, however, police charged Yousef with the bombing and called it a rehearsal for attacks on US flights.

Much of the government's information on Abu Sayyaf comes from two former leaders apprehended after the January raid - Abu Sayyaf co-founder Edwin Angeles and operations chief Jovenal Bruno.

Angeles told police that Abu Sayyaf recruits are routinely sent to Pakistan and Afghanistan for religious and military training. He also claimed Yousef had trained Abu Sayyaf members.

Based on information from the two, police raided a suburban Kalookan apartment on April 1, arrested six Arabs and found weapons, explosives and cassette tapes of sermons of Egyptian blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, on trial in New York for the 1993 bombing.

The sheik is the suspected spiritual leader of Egypt's most radical Moslem group, al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya.

The six denied any involvement in terrorism.

Copyright 1995 Jerusalem Post. All Rights Reserved

October 17, 2001, Jerusalem Post, Mideast notes, Translations by Shira Gutgold,

Abu Sayyaf beheads two

The Abu-Sayyaf Muslim rebel group holding 14 American and Filipino hostages beheaded two Christian farmers seized in the southern Philippine island of Basilan last week, the provincial police chief said.

The Abu-Sayyaf members, who are fleeing from military pursuit, entered an isolated farming district in Lantawan town, seized four Christian coconut farmers and later beheaded two of them. The other two escaped and informed police of the incident. The farmers had told the military of the guerrillas' last position and the army was trying to cut off the rebels.

The Abu Sayyaf group, a Muslim insurgent group believed to have links with Osama bin Laden, have a history of beheading Christians to divert military attention and scare people.

The Abu-Sayyaf group is still holding an American missionary couple, Martin and Gracia Burnham, as well as 12 Filipinos.

(Kuwait Times, Kuwait, October 14)

November 15, 2001, Jerusalem Post, page 5, Philippines asks Israel, US, Britain for help in fighting abductions

Thursday, November 15, 2001 -- MANILA - In a move to reassure businessmen worried about a rise in kidnappings, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said yesterday that she will ask the US, Britain, and Israel to train Philippine police to deal with abductions.

Addressing the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Arroyo said that during her visit to the US next week, she will discuss how the Federal Bureau of Investigation can "beef up their personnel here so they can help in joint operations with the Philippines on anti- kidnapping." She said she already has sought help from Hong Kong police and will seek assistance from Scotland Yard.

"Kidnapping in the Philippines is not a local or domestic industry. It is a transnational crime," she said, citing the arrests of foreigners allegedly engaged in kidnappings here.

Noting that many kidnap victims are wealthy Chinese- Filipinos, Arroyo said she has authorized local "self- defense units" in Manila's Chinatown to carry firearms and make citizen's arrests.

She said the Department of Interior and Local Government is waiting for a list of people from the ethnic Chinese community to be deputized to bear arms.

Arroyo said money has been appropriated to hire 1,300 officers in addition to 400 already recruited to beef up the police force in metropolitan Manila, where most of the kidnappings have occurred.

Gunmen wearing police and military uniforms seized the 14-year-old daughter of a prominent doctor as she was being driven to school early this week.

An anti-crime group says at least 202 people have been abducted in more than 90 kidnappings from January to September. An estimated 141.8 million pesos (about $2.6m.) in ransom has been paid, the group says.

Arroyo said the government is "very close to resolving the problem of the Abu Sayyaf," a Muslim extremist group holding an American couple and several Filipinos hostage on southern Basilan island. She did not elaborate.

During her US visit, Washington is expected to announce a package of military aid to boost the Philippine military operation against the Abu Sayyaf, which has been linked to the al-Qaida network of Osama bin Laden, the accused mastermind of the September 11 attacks in the US Admiral Dennis Blair, commander in chief of the US Pacific Command, visited southern Zamboanga city yesterday and met military commanders involved in the operation against the Abu Sayyaf on nearby Basilan.

The Abu Sayyaf claims it is fighting for an independent Islamic state, but the government regards it as a bandit gang.

April 11, 2001, Jerusalem Post, page 8, Opinion, The new global threat, by Daniel Pipes,

Wednesday, April 11, 2001 -- Last Friday, a 33-year-old Algerian Islamist (or fundamentalist Moslem) named Ahmed Ressam achieved the possibly unique distinction of being sentenced on the same day in two courtrooms in two countries for roughly the same crime.

Early in the day, a court in Paris convicted Ressam in absentia for belonging to a network of Islamist terrorists and sentenced him to five years in prison. Hours later, a court in Los Angeles convicted him for an act of terror for which he could be sentenced to 130 years in prison.

Ressam is hardly the only Islamist in trouble with the law. Some other prominent cases, all of which had major developments last week, include the following:

The Yemen government announced the arrest of three Islamists in Aden in connection with last October's bombing of the destroyer USS Cole that left 17 American sailors dead and 39 wounded. These arrests brought the total charged with that crime to 15.

The Jordanian military prosecutor named two Islamist suspects in a foiled plot to attack US and Israeli installations; 22 other persons had already been sentenced for this attempt, six of them to death.

A Turkish court sentenced an Islamist to death on charges of "attempting to change the constitutional order by use of arms" - i.e., overthrowing the government.

The Italian police arrested five Islamists from North Africa, all suspected of links to Osama bin Laden, and announced that it had thereby smashed the "nerve center" of an Islamist terrorist group intent on carrying out operations across Europe.

An Islamist of Algerian origin was detained by police in Berlin following raids across Germany that led to the discovery of firearms and bomb materials.

In New York, the prosecution rested its case against the four alleged perpetrators of the 1998 Kenya and Tanzania embassy bombings.

The news last week also reported on actual terrorism. In Algeria, on one day, Islamist rebels killed 12 people, including six government soldiers and five shepherds (the latter killed by having their throats slashed). The next day, the Islamists fired on a military convoy and over 30 of them were killed.

In Kashmir, the Indian police announced seven deaths on one day and 10 more two days later - just an average week in this Islamist insurgency.

In Bangladesh, the local Islamist party killed two men from another faction during a gun battle.

In the southern Philippines, the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group threatened to kill an American hostage (and send his head to the Filipino president) but let the deadline slip, hoping the hostage's American mother would pressure the government to call off military attacks against Abu Sayyaf. The ploy failed; instead, government troops killed three Islamists in its declared "all-out war" on the rebels.

Islamic extremists last week also resorted to violence in Nigeria, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Indonesia.

ISLAMIST terrorism has a worldwide reach. Eleven of the 29 groups deemed by the US Department of State to be "foreign terrorist organizations" are Islamist. Likewise, 14 of 21 groups outlawed by the British Home Office for links to terrorist activity abroad are Islamist.

Moreover, what once was the tool of rogue states is now a deeply rooted phenomenon, drawing most of its funding from ordinary Moslems. Stefano Dambruoso, an Italian magistrate who uncovered Islamist networks in his country, notes that "It may seem strange, but apart from proceeds from illegal activity such as drug trafficking, one of the main sources of income for the groups is contributions."

This means, Dambruoso explains, that "Islamic terrorism in Europe is a deeply rooted phenomenon that regenerates itself continuously." This far-reaching sponsorship adds greatly to the reach of Islamist violence.

A danger exists that Islamists will acquire weapons of mass destruction, with incalculably dangerous results. Indeed, Osama bin Laden may already possess enriched uranium, a vital component for exploding nuclear bombs.

Ironically, Moslem governments are far ahead of their non-Moslem counterparts in understanding the profound menace of radical action in the name of Islam.

Leaders in Tunisia, Turkey, and elsewhere have taken serious steps to combat this latter-day totalitarianism.

The time has come for Westerners also to understand that Islamism presents a truly global threat, and to devote the mental energy and material resources required to fight it.

September 25, 2001, Jerusalem Post, page 3, Anti-terror law worries Jewish activists, by Janine Zacharia,

Tuesday, September 25, 2001 -- WASHINGTON - A new anti-terrorism law proposed by the Bush administration gives wide authority to the president to reward countries that cooperate in the new US-led war on terrorism, including state sponsors of terrorism that have heretofore been banned from receiving US assistance and sanctioned because of their practices.

The broad language has given pause to some Jewish organizational leaders and pro-Israel advocates in particular, who fear that countries like Iran and Syria, with which the US has been talking about a possible anti- terrorism partnership, may benefit from an easing of US sanctions or even direct US assistance in return for only minimal action.

The proposed language of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 as sent to Congress by Attorney General John Ashcroft does not specify countries by name.

Section 505 - Assistance to Countries Co-Operating Against International Terrorism - "would give important new extraordinary authority for five years to the President to provide assistance or take other beneficial actions in favor of countries that support US efforts to fight international terrorism."

It would also "allow the President to provide anti- terrorism assistance to entities, as well as countries, without being subject to any restrictions."

Officials in the Jewish community were concerned that the type of assistance demanded was not clearly defined, and that some countries like Syria or Iran could benefit by providing intelligence on the al-Qaida network, for example, without eliminating domestic cells or abandoning state sponsorship of terrorism directed largely toward Israel.

One official with a Jewish American organization said he was concerned about "how far we're going to go to build this coalition. It's something to be concerned about."

A few days ago Bush unilaterally lifted sanctions on India and Pakistan, imposed after those countries conducted nuclear tests in 1998, as a reward for their cooperation so far.

Other sanctions could be dumped as well, as the administration zooms in on the terrorism problem and abandons others priorities.

The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 deals mostly with how to expand the authority of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor private communications and access personal information.

One new provision would enable US law enforcement officials to impose roving wire taps on suspects.

The act builds on a similar act passed five years ago.

(BOX) The Bush hit list

List of organizations to which US President George W. Bush's executive order on terrorism applies:

* Al Qaida/Islamic Army

* Abu Sayyaf Group

* Armed Islamic Group

* Harakat ul-Mujahidin

* Al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad)

* Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)

* Asbat al-Ansar

* Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC)

* Libyan Islamic Fighting Group

* Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI)

* Islamic Army of Aden

* Osama bin Laden

* Muhammad Atif (aka Subhi Abu Sitta, Abu Hafs Al Masri)

* Sayf al-Adl Shaykh Saiid (aka Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad)

* Abu Hafs the Mauritanian (aka Mahfouz Ould al-Walid, Khalid Al-Shanqiti)

* Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi

* Abu Zubaydah (aka Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, Tariq)

* Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi (aka, Abu Abdallah)

* Ayman al-Zawahri

* Thirwat Salah Shihata

* Tariq Anwar Al-Sayyid Ahmad (aka Fathi, Amr al- Fatih)

* Muhammad Salah (aka Nasr Fahmi Nasr Hasanayn)

* Makhtab Al-Khidamat/Al Kifah

* Wafa Humanitarian Organization

* Al Rashid Trust

* Mamoun Darkazanli Import-Export Co.

(Compare the above list with one from four years before:)

October 8, 1997, Seattle Times / Los Angeles Times, 3 Are Named To U.S. List Of Terror Groups,

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Madeleine Albright designated 30 foreign organizations as terrorist groups yesterday, triggering a law that freezes their financial assets in the United States, denies U.S. visas to their members and subjects Americans who give them money or weapons to 10 years in prison.

Included in the list of organizations is the Mujahedin Khalq, an anti-Iranian guerrilla group based in Iraq that maintains an office in Washington and has parlayed its anti-Tehran activities into substantial support on Capitol Hill. An administration official said inclusion of the group was intended as a goodwill gesture to Tehran.

Organizations listed for the first time include the Basque group ETA in Spain, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, Peru's Shining Path and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, Japan's Aum Shinrikyo and Red Army Faction, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the anti-Turk Kurdistan Workers' Party, Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and Egypt's Islamic Group.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently blocked the deportation of Palestinians accused of raising money for terrorist organizations, ruling that such activities are protected by First Amendment guarantees of free speech. The administration has appealed that decision.

Left off the list were the Irish Republican Army and the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia.


. Terrorist groups .

Foreign groups designated as terrorist organizations: . 1. Abu Nidal Organization (Palestinian) . 2. Abu Sayyaf Group (Filipino) . 3. Armed Islamic Group (Algerian) . 4. Aum Shinrikyo (Japanese) . 5. Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna (Spanish) . 6. Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine-Hawatmeh Faction. 7. Hamas (Palestinian) . 8. Harakat ul-Ansar (Pakistani) . 9. Hezbollah (Lebanese) . 10. Gama'a al-Islamiyya (Egyptian) . 11. Japanese Red Army . 12. Al-Jihad (Egyptian) . 13. Kach (Israeli) . 14. Kahane Chai (Israeli) . 15. Khmer Rouge (Cambodian) . 16. Kurdistan Workers Party . 17. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Sri Lankan) . 18. Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front Dissidents (Chilean) . 19. Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (Iranian) . 20. National Liberation Army (Colombian) . 21. Palestine Islamic Jihad-Shaqaqi Faction . 22. Palestine Liberation Front-Abu Abbas Faction . 23. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine . 24. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command . 25. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia . 26. Revolutionary Organization 17 November (Greek) . 27. Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (Turkish) . 28. Revolutionary People's Struggle (Greek) . 29. Shining Path (Peruvian) . 30. Tupac Amaru (Peruvian) .


March 3, 2002, Jerusalem Post, US eyes links between American extremists and foreign terror groups, by John Solomon,

Headline: US eyes links between American extremists and foreign terror groups Byline: JOHN SOLOMON, AP Edition; Daily Section: News Page: 04

Sunday, March 3, 2002 -- WASHINGTON - US authorities are monitoring a growing number of contacts between American extremists and foreign terrorist groups to make sure the two don't begin collaborating on attacks, government officials say.

The officials caution there is no evidence to date that American extremists have been collaborating on any specific operations with European, Mideast, or Asian terrorists.

But they said they have evidence that neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Black Muslim factions have reached out to foreign terrorists whose similar hatred for Israel and the US government might make them natural allies.

"On the international terrorism front, we see people here and overseas communicating mainly via the Internet and talking back and forth and communicating that way," Dale Watson, the FBI's assistant director for counterterrorism, said recently.

US concerns about collaboration follows evidence from Europe detailing how al-Qaida, the terror group headed by Osama bin Laden, and terrorists in the Middle East have been able to recruit like-minded citizens from France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, officials said.

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge is aware there are contacts between American extremists and foreigners and backs the FBI's stepped up efforts, a spokesman said Wednesday.

"It certainly is an area he is concerned about, and he is continuing to monitor these contacts," spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

The FBI is "going to investigate and follow any information that we have on any individuals or groups that may wish to cause harm to the United States, regardless of whether they are domestic or international, " he said.

For years, US authorities have monitored efforts by neo-Nazis to stay in touch with like-minded groups in Germany and Western Europe. The FBI says the contacts are expanding beyond that universe.

"We do see some interaction and communications between groups," Watson told the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month. "With the explosion of the Internet we certainly see white supremacist groups in contact with people in Europe, particularly in Germany."

"We see more and more of that. That is a real growth area, and we' ll see more of that," he told senators.

The FBI official also raised concerns that Americans and foreigners might be beginning to use code words to disguise communications. " There are a lot of indicators and key things we look at, as well as the intelligence community, about codes, et cetera," Watson said.

Officials and outside experts also are watching overtures by US extremists to befriend Arab and Asian groups such as Hizbullah in Lebanon, al- Qaida in the Mideast and Europe, or abu Sayyaf in the Philippines.

For instance, several anti-Israel Americans planned to meet in Lebanon last year for a major gathering of people who believe the World War II Holocaust did not occur. The Lebanese government forced the organizers, including a California group, to abandon the plans.

A smaller but similar gathering was held later last year in Amman, Jordan.

Such meetings allow Americans to befriend Arab extremists by focusing on a common hatred of Jews, one expert said.

"That kind of event is where you make those contacts where the serious players are coming together. And it was on the Arab's home turf," said Mark Potok, a spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center that tracks American extremist groups.

In the aftermath of September 11, some American white supremacists have written pieces aimed at Middle Eastern or Muslim audiences that blame the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on US politicians and Israel.

"The real reason we have suffered the terrorism of the WTC attack is shockingly simple," former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke wrote in one such piece. "Too many American politicians have treasonously betrayed the American people by blindly supporting the leading terrorist nation on earth: Israel." Duke's articles on his Web site are now translated into Arabic and have appeared in Mideast and Muslim publications since September 11.

A leading anti-Jewish advocate in Switzerland who has traveled to the United States was placed by on a US list of foreigners whose assets should be frozen for aiding bin Laden's terrorist network.

Albert Huber, a former Swiss journalist who converted to Islam, has been quoted in news stories as acknowledging he met at Islamic meetings with members of bin Laden's network and visited the US. But he denies ever aiding terrorism.

November 26, 2003, Jerusalem Post, page 14, Opinion, Do you believe in modernity?, by Daniel Pipes,

Wednesday, November 26, 2003 -- If militant Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution, as I often argue, how does one differentiate between these two forms of Islam? It's a tough question, especially as concerns Muslims who live in Western countries. To understand just how tough it is, consider the case of Abdurahman Alamoudi, a prominent American figure associated with 16 Muslim organizations.

FBI spokesman Bill Carter described one of those, the American Muslim Council, as "the most mainstream Muslim group in the United States." The Defense Department entrusted two of them (the Islamic Society of North America and the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Council) to vet Islamic chaplains for the armed forces. The State Department thought so highly of Alamoudi, it six times hired him and sent him on all-expenses-paid trips to majority-Muslim countries to carry what it called "a message of religious tolerance." Alamoudi's admirers have publicly hailed him as a "moderate," a "liberal Muslim," and someone known "for his charitable support of battered women and a free health clinic."

But this image of moderation collapsed recently when an Alamoudi-endorsed chaplain was arrested and charged with mishandling classified material; when Alamoudi himself was arrested on charges of illegal commerce with Libya; and when Alamoudi's Palm Pilot was found to contain contact information on seven men designated by the United States government as global terrorists.

Distinguishing between real and phony moderation, obviously, is not a job for amateurs like US government officials.

The best way to discern moderation is by delving into the record - public and private, Internet and print, domestic and foreign - of an individual or institution. Such research is most productive with intellectuals, activists and imams, all of whom have a paper trail. With others, who lack a public record, it is necessary to ask questions. These need to be specific, as vague inquiries ("Is Islam a religion of peace?" "Do you condemn terrorism?") have little value, depending as they do on definitions (of peace, terrorism).

USEFUL QUESTIONS might include:

* Violence: Do you condone or condemn the Palestinians, Chechens, and Kashmiris who give up their lives to kill enemy civilians? Will you condemn by name as terrorist groups such organizations as Abu Sayyaf, Al- Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Groupe Islamique Armee, Hamas, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and al-Qaida?

* Modernity: Should Muslim women have equal rights with men (for example, in inheritance shares or court testimony)? Is jihad, meaning a form of warfare, acceptable in today's world? Do you accept the validity of other religions? Do Muslims have anything to learn from the West?

* Secularism: Should non-Muslims enjoy completely equal civil rights with Muslims? May Muslims convert to other religions? May Muslim women marry non- Muslim men? Do you accept the laws of a majority non-Muslim government and unreservedly pledge allegiance to that government?

Should the state impose religious observance, such as banning food service during Ramadan? When Islamic customs conflict with secular laws (e.g., covering the face for drivers' license pictures), which should give way?

* Islamic pluralism: Are Sufis and Shi'ites fully legitimate Muslims? Do you see Muslims who disagree with you as having fallen into unbelief? Is takfir (condemning fellow Muslims with whom one has disagreements as unbelievers) an acceptable practice?

* Self-criticism: Do you accept the legitimacy of scholarly inquiry into the origins of Islam? Who was responsible for the 9/11 suicide hijackings?

* Defense against militant Islam: Do you accept enhanced security measures to fight militant Islam, even if this means extra scrutiny of yourself (for example, at airline security)? Do you agree that institutions accused of funding terrorism should be shut down, or do you see this a symptom of bias?

* Goals in the West: Do you accept that Western countries are majority-Christian and secular or do you seek to transform them into majority-Muslim countries ruled by Islamic law?

It is ideal if these questions are posed publicly - in the media or in front of an audience - thereby reducing the scope for dissimulation.

No single reply establishes a militant Islamic disposition (plenty of non-Muslim Europeans believe the Bush administration itself carried out the 9/11 attacks); and pretence is always a possibility, but these questions offer a good start to the vexing issue of separating enemy from friend.

February 13, 2004, Jerusalem Post, page 1, Depending on the enemy, by Caroline B. Glick,

Friday, February 13, 2004 -- Hamas has joined the big leagues. No longer can it be seen as a local terror group that concentrates its efforts on destroying Israel. According to testimony given last week to the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee by Lt. General Peter Pace, the deputy chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hamas has joined Hizbullah and Al-Qaida in the Triple Frontier Zone in Latin America where the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay converge. There the Islamic terror groups train recruits, gather intelligence on targets for attacks, launder money and sell drugs.

Hamas is usually viewed as a local phenomenon. When in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks President George W. Bush announced that the US war on terror would target "every terrorist group of global reach" it was generally assumed this meant Palestinian terror groups were off the target list.

These organizations were seen as distinct from groups such as Al-Qaida, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Abu Sayyaf or Ansar al Islam that attacked mainly non-Israeli targets. By so distinguishing Palestinian terror organizations the Americans have, to date, been able to view the terror war against Israel as categorically distinct from the world jihad against the US and other western countries.

This distinction never made much sense. The fact that Islamic charities such as the Holyland Foundation, which were shut down in the US in the aftermath of September 11, funded both Al Qaida and Hamas made it clear that separating their operations was at best a dubious enterprise. Consistent Palestinian public support for Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden - evidenced by opinion polls, the official PA media and public demonstrations - also gave the lie to the notion that the Palestinian terror war is in a class by itself.

But if in the past the distinction was difficult to justify, it became downright untenable in the wake of the murder of three US officials in Gaza last October. It is not simply that Palestinian terrorists targeted American officials. Nor is it just that the attack has been followed up by an official PA cover-up of the affair. The fact is that official PA media in the weeks preceding the attack conducted targeted incitement against the officials who were murdered.

As shown by Palestinian Media Watch, an independent organization which monitors the official PA media, on September 22, 2003, the PA daily Al Quds reported on the rejection by Palestinian NGOs of a USAID demand that they sign a commitment not to transfer USAID donations to terror groups or operatives. Further down on the same page of the paper was a USAID advertisement calling on Palestinians to apply for US government-funded scholarships to study at American universities. The US officials who were murdered three weeks later in Gaza had arrived in the area to interview Palestinian applicants for congressionally funded Fulbright scholarships.

This week US Ambassador Dan Kurtzer decried the PA show trial of four men it claims were behind the October attack.

The trial, which was conducted behind closed doors last Saturday, came in the wake of a US decision to offer a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the attack. Kurtzer said Monday that not only does the US consider the trial proceedings unacceptable; it also finds the charges inexplicable.

"We're not even sure that the charge sheet that has been put together reflects the gravity of the crime. The charges seem to implicate these individuals for involuntary manslaughter rather than what we would call first-degree murder," Kurtzer admonished.

US anger at the PA is well-founded. Kurtzer is known for his strong affinity with the Israeli peace camp. And yet, given the mountain of evidence of PA involvement in terrorism, he could not avoid concluding that "The road map failed because of terrorism. It failed because Palestinians had not only not done enough to stop terrorism and had not done enough to uproot the terrorist infrastructure, but in the wake of the terrorism directed against Israeli citizens, the Palestinians did nothing."

Even the EU is no longer finding it possible to ignore PA involvement in terrorism. At the beginning of the week the Berlin Morgenpost newspaper published the results of an investigation by the EU's fraud investigations unit OLAF into the misuse of EU funds by the PA. The investigation, which was prevented for years by the EU's external relations Commissioner Chris Patten, went forward only after EU parliamentarian Francois Zimmeray collected the signatures of 157 EU parliamentarians overriding Patten's authority. The investigators were in Israel two weeks ago to check IMF allegations that $1.1 billion dollars of the EU's aid to the PA was illegally diverted.

According to the Morgenpost, OLAF investigators found that Yasser Arafat has diverted a large portion of the EU's assistance to the Fatah's Aksa Martyrs Brigade terror cells and to other Palestinian officials.

And yet, in spite of the fact that Hamas is clearly operating on a global level and in spite of the fact that the PA has been exposed for what it is, the US, like the EU, refuses to recognize the Palestinian war against Israel as an integral part of the world terror war that the US is fighting against.

In the same speech on Monday, Kurtzer said of the security fence, "If Israel makes a decision that the security fence is an important adjunct to its security then the United States will support that. However, if decisions on the routing of the fence are taken for reasons that have less to do with security and more to do with politics then we will have problems with it."

The question is, why does the US still insist that Israel cannot take any actions that will break the deadlock in the Palestinian war? Why is it that the US will not back Israeli actions that would bring it a political and military victory against the PA?

The answer was made clear this week. Led by Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday the OPEC oil cartel announced that it was cutting back oil production by one million barrels a day starting in April and would immediately eliminate the 1.6 million barrels a day of excess production over its standing quotas. Reacting to the announcement, US Secretary of Treasury John Snow said that "higher energy prices act like a tax and are certainly not welcome."

In response to Snow's remarks, Reuters reported that the Saudi daily al-Riyadh shot back "saying that that the US has no right to warn OPEC against cutting oil output and accusing Washington of waging war on the cartel under the guise of protecting the global economy." Were the US to acknowledge that the Palestinian war against Israel is in fact an integral part of the global jihad against the West, it would find itself in open hostilities with Saudi Arabia which, with a quarter of the world's proven oil reserves, has the power to seriously damage the global economic recovery. And yet, the Saudis, who are the largest backers of Sunni terrorists like Al Qaida and Hamas, are in fact the enemy of the US.

America's dependence on foreign sources of oil has brought about the unprecedented situation where it is engaged in a world war against an enemy it is partly dependent on. Imagine what World War II would have looked like if Adolph Hitler had controlled the world steel markets.

And so it is that the US finds itself pursuing its current policy toward Israel and the Palestinians. The fact of the matter is that Israel is one of the US's staunchest and most valuable allies in the global war against terrorism. And yet, the US has expended great efforts to ensure that Israel brought none of its abilities to bear at least openly in the US war against terror to date.

While the US media is filled with reports about the overextension of US forces worldwide, the Bush administration not only makes no use of Israel's capabilities, but it places stringent limitations on Israel's ability to carry out operations in its own defense.

In the run-up to the November presidential elections, the Bush White House finds itself on the defensive for its actions in the war on terror. Perhaps America's reluctance to articulate clearly who its enemies and allies really are is one of the main reasons it is losing control of the debate on the war as a whole.

July 29, 2008, Jerusalem Post, page 13, Opinion, Why terror thrives,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 -- Someone set out to kill a lot of people on Sunday night in Istanbul, Turkey - and did. Two bombs were exploded, 10 minutes apart, along a pedestrian mall in a residential neighborhood. The first explosion attracted a crowd; the second, which could be heard a mile away, was intended to kill those drawn to the site of the first attack. Some 17 people lost their lives and over 150 were wounded. Turkish president Abdullah Gul said the attack showed "the ruthlessness of terrorism." Indeed it did.

Terrorism, meaning the systematic use of force against civilians to demoralize, intimidate or subjugate countries or peoples, has been a scourge of humanity from time immemorial. The assault against an El Al plane at Munich Airport on February 10, 1970 was not the first instance of a civilian airliner being targeted. That appalling distinction goes to a Puerto Rican communist who hijacked a US airliner to Havana in 1961. Cuba gave him asylum.

It was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, however, that trailblazed attacks on airliners with its September 7, 1970 hijacking of three planes "to call special attention to the Palestinian problem." Sure enough, the Palestinian cause has since became synonymous with anti-civilian warfare, from the Munich Olympics' massacre in September 1972 to the Arab fratricide inside Gaza this weekend. And the slaughter of innocents is now part of the Islamists' struggle against "infidels." What the Palestinians began in the early 1970s is now paying "dividends."

This past weekend, for instance, Muslim attackers killed 49 Hindu civilians in western India, in 17 separate attacks. The modus operandi, as in Turkey, was a small explosion followed by more bombs set off to kill rescue service personnel and bystanders.

Yesterday, at least 25 Shi'ite pilgrims were killed and 52 wounded when female suicide bombers (presumably Sunni Arabs) attacked a religious procession in Baghdad.

Terrorism is now so ubiquitous as to be unremarkable. And always, obscenely, the onslaughts are carried out "in the name of Allah."

TRAGICALLY, the international community has only itself to blame for making terrorism permissible as a tool of war - depending on who is blown up, and who is doing the blowing up.

This distinction was first articulated by the world's most coddled terrorist, Yasser Arafat, on November 13, 1974, when the PLO chief made his debut appearance at the UN General Assembly: "The difference between the revolutionary and the terrorist lies in the reason for which each fights," he asserted. "Whoever stands by a just cause and fights for liberation from invaders and colonialists cannot be called terrorist... The Palestinian people had to resort to armed struggle when they lost faith in the international community...." The family of nations responded with a standing ovation.

Although Arafat would make a number of tactical flip- flops on the use of violence against innocent civilians, he ultimately rejected gains he could have made at the negotiating table - at Camp David in 2000, for instance - in favor of unleashing the second intifada.

One can only fantasize about how much safer the world would be today had the UN, instead of legitimizing Arafat's terrorism, charged him with war crimes. Would disgruntled Muslims have established al-Qaida's global network - or Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, Al Shabaab in Somalia, or the Army of Muhammad in India - had the international community sent a different signal all those years ago? But not only did Arafat get a green light from the international community, the world has since helped nourish self- defeating Palestinian tendencies toward violence, intransigence and radicalism.

Seldom have the Palestinians been told to choose between violence and political accommodation. When the Quartet gave Hamas precisely that choice, the Palestinians stood their ground. Far from penalizing them, the world went wobbly - the most recent example of this being a UK parliamentary committee, headed by Labor MP Ann Clwyd, which wants to "dialogue" with Hamas and lift sanctions against Gaza's Islamo-fascist regime.

VIOLENCE may be endemic to mankind, yet the community of nations nevertheless managed to outlaw poison gas and criminalize genocide. Is it beyond people's capacity to, belatedly, define deliberate attacks against civilians as a crime against humanity? Wouldn't the world be a better place if terrorists found no sanctuary, no financial backing and no diplomatic cover - because, simply, no "reason" justified their actions?

January 24, 1996, Jerusalem Post, Iranian terrorism in Asia, by Colin Rubinstein,

IRAN'S global terrorist network has certainly not neglected the Asian region.

US intelligence sources believe that Iran or its proxies have established cells in Indonesia, India, Thailand and Malaysia.

In addition, there have been a number of recent reports that Iran has provided funds to the Japanese Red Army and that the Abu Sayyaf Moslem separatists in the Philippines have organisational links with Hizbullah.

This has been highlighted by a recent kidnapping of American hostages in the Southern Philippines, allegedly by the Abu Sayaff group.

Iran's reach into the area was illustrated by an attempt in March, 1994, to blow up the Israeli embassy in Bangkok using the same methods and equipment generally employed by Hizbullah.

The attack was halted by sheer luck following traffic accident and three Iranians were later arrested in connection with the attempted bombing.

The three were charged with lesser offences after the Iranian embassy publicly charged that they were innocent and their arrest was a "Zionist conspiracy." Nonetheless, one of the Iranian suspects, Hussein Shahrisritar, was brought to trial in Bangkok in July 1995.

Despite the warm relationship between the United Sates and Australia, this country has also pursued a different course from the containment policy Washington would like its allies to copy and in fact has developed a close working relationship with Iran.

Australia allows Iran a US$750 million line of credit - significantly larger than it provides to any other nation.

In August 1994, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade hosted a 15-man Iranian trade mission headed by Iranian Industry and Agriculture Minister Ali Kalantari.

Trade Minister senator Bob McMullan explains that Iran is a "priority market." Foreign Minister Senator Gareth Evans went further, declining even to acknowledge the strong evidence that Iran played a supportive role in terrorist attacks in Buenos Aires, London and Tel Aviv, through its support of for Hamas and Hizbullah.

Australia also plays host to a large number of tertiary students from Iran, far more than any other country in that part of the world. Most of them are on government scholarships.

The US$534 million Australian-Iranian trade relationship looks impressive and so far Iran has met all repayment requirements for its purchases.

But Iran's huge international debt of US$30 billion and the re-scheduling of over US$6 billion in debt payments with Japan, Germany and France make future repayments potentially very problematic.

Many international experts now believe Teheran will be unable to continue paying its foreign debts in the next few years.

Australia's intelligence service, ASIO, has repeatedly warned that members of Hizbullah may have infiltrated Australia.

The 1994 Australian Security Organization report, which expressed concern about the threat to Australia from radical Middle East terrorist groups. In the current situation, this almost certainly means Iran or its proxies. Similar concerns were again expressed about Hizbullah in early December 1995.

Australia and Japan, like Britain and France describe their policy as on of "constructive engagement" incorporating the hope that friendly communications will moderate Iran eventually.

Given the disappointing lack of results from such efforts in the past, there is little reason to hope that they will achieve anything more positive in the future.

The recent claim by Yasser Arafat's Gaza-based secret police that Iran is plotting to assasinate the PLO leader demonstrates the level of concern at Iranian efforts to frustrate the peace process. The claim was denied by the Iranian embassy in Rome.

Despite genuine interest on the part of many countries in Asia, including Australia, in containing terrorism and supporting Middle Eastern stability and the success of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, dubious commercial motives have underpinned their current engagement policies.

However, Washington's well-focused trade offensive against Iran may just lead to some serious rethinking throughout Asia and in Australia about the implications of continuing their close ties with Teheran.

September 25, 2001, Jerusalem Post, page 1, Bush freezes terrorists' US financial assets. US to ask foreign banks to follow suit, by Janine Zacharia,

Tuesday, September 25, 2001 -- WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush announced a broad executive order that immediately freezes US financial assets of - and prohibits US transactions with - 27 terrorist organizations, individuals, corporations, and non-profit organizations believed to be associated with Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network.

"This executive order means that United States banks that have assets of these groups or individuals must freeze their accounts," Bush said in a Rose Garden press conference yesterday. "And United States businesses are prohibited from doing business with them."

The order was signed late Saturday night, and the government electronically notified 5,000 American banks yesterday of its provisions.

"We have launched a strike on the financial foundation of the global terror network," Bush added.

The order has ramifications abroad as well. Foreign banks and financial institutions will be asked to freeze or block terrorists' ability to access funds in their accounts and will be asked to share information with the US about the accounts of specified individuals and organizations.

If they fail to do so, they will face stiff US sanctions - the financial equivalent of Bush's ultimatum to nations around the world that "you are either with us or against us" in the war on terrorism.

"We're putting banks and financial institutions around the world on notice... If they fail to help us by sharing information or freezing accounts, the Department of Treasury now has the authority to freeze their bank's assets and transactions in the Unites States," Bush said.

Many foreign banks have branches and assets in the US. Seeking cooperation of banks throughout the world is part of the administration's efforts to disable terrorist organizations and to boost the image of the war on terrorism as a worldwide battle, not solely a US one.

Bush described the list as the international financial equivalent of law enforcement's "Most Wanted" list. He said the list is just a start, and that it would be expanded as more information on terrorist fundraising is gathered.

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill is seeking the cooperation of his G-7 counterparts. The US plans to fan out its requests to other countries where terrorists have accounts, particularly in the Persian Gulf.

The Treasury is planning to send representatives to capitals there to stress the consequences such countries and their banks will face if they do not cooperate.

Bush said he does not anticipate many assets will be frozen in the US, as most of them are overseas. But terrorism experts estimate that roughly one-third of money funneled to militant Islamic organizations originates in the US.

"I think what the executive order suggests is the US government is getting serious about cracking down on the exporting of money to terrorist organizations," said Daniel Pipes, editor of Middle East Quarterly. "Laws have been on the books... Let's hope they now get serious about cracking down."

Many of those listed in the executive order are already classified as foreign terrorist organizations by the State Department, and it is illegal for them to receive money from Americans. But the prohibition has been only loosely enforced.

The US has never threatened to take sanctions against overseas banks that serve as conduits for terrorist cash.

Treasury Department General Counsel David Aufhauser told reporters: "In this case, this reaches anybody who's been used, anybody whose facilities are being used."

The list includes three "humanitarian" organizations - the Wafa Humanitarian Organization, Makhtab al Khidamat/al Kifah, and Al Rashid Trust.

Aufhauser said: "I will tell you there's convincing substantial credible evidence that they have been used and exploited by extreme Islamic factions."

Al Rashid Trust is a Karachi-based umbrella organization for Muslim charity groups from Pakistan and abroad, which says its mission is to distribute relief goods and food items inside Afghanistan.

Makhtab al Khidamat also appeared to be a welfare organization based in Pakistan, but details were not immediately available about it or the Wafa Humanitarian Organization.

Asked by reporters if the 27 listed entities and individuals were involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11 or are part of the worldwide terrorist network, Aufhauser said: "They certainly tie to the generic overall network. Beyond that I'm not going to say."

The list includes Osama bin Laden and his top deputy, Egyptian-born Ayman Zawahiri. Both are believed to be in Afghanistan.

Al-Qaida is listed, as are Islamic extremist groups tied to it, including the Phillipines-based Abu Sayyaf Group, the Algerian-based Armed Islamic Group, and the Pakistan-based Harakat ul-Mujahidin.

The administration is preparing a document that will show bin Laden is behind the terrorist attacks. Two versions - a public and a more detailed classified version - are in the works.

Yesterday Bush met with families of passengers on United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania. On Friday he will meet with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the White House.

October 14, 2002, Jerusalem Post, page 1, Expert: Al-Qaida was undeterred by US operation in Afghanistan, by David Rudge,

Monday, October 14, 2002 -- The devastating bomb attacks in Bali, following hard on the heels of the terror attack on the French oil tanker off Yemen and the shooting of two US marines in Kuwait, have raised the specter of an al-Qaida revival.

A New York Times article on Sunday quoted senior American officials as saying that the incidents in Kuwait and involving the tanker, coupled with recently broadcast audio tapes purportedly made by Osama bin Laden and his closest lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, signal the start of a new wave of terrorist operations and even a large-scale attack.

Dr. Shaul Shay, a research fellow at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center's International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism, however, believes the threat from al- Qaida and its allies and offshoots never went away, despite the US-led war against it and its Taliban host in Afghanistan.

"The recent attacks do not constitute an al-Qaida revival but a continuation of what bin Laden defined as global jihad," he said.

"Al-Qaida and its affiliated groups and organizations remained active after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. It was simply an illusion on the part of those who thought that the US strike on Afghanistan would solve the whole problem.

"There have been several al-Qaida attacks, including the deadly explosion outside the synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia, earlier this year. The only difference is that the operations of the past few weeks have closely followed one another and have been successful, from the point of view of the terrorists."

Shay noted that bin Laden's concept is to build a global network based on al-Qaida cells and local organizations, such as Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, the Jamaa Islamia movement which has cells in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, and the Armed Islamic Groups (GIA) in Algeria.

"In the eyes of bin Laden, this is a war between civilizations and cultures, primarily between his interpretation of Islam and Western culture, although in Kashmir we see Muslims fighting against Hindu culture and against predominantly Roman Catholic Christians in the Philippines," he said.

"Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, and it is the vision of al-Qaida and its radical affiliates to turn the country into an Islamic state in accordance with Sharia. This vision also applies to Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

"Muhammad Bakar Bashir, spiritual leader of Jamaa Islamia, for instance, has allegedly created terror cells in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. He resides in Indonesia and the government there has decided not to touch him, despite international pressure, although this stance may change in light of the Bali attacks."

Shay, who has written books on the Taliban and An Expected Surprise, regarding the September 11 attacks and what they portend, maintained that in the global context, al-Qaida and its affiliates are very much alive and more attempts to perpetrate attacks can be expected.

"There is also a possibility that the proposed US strike against the Iraqi regime of President Saddam Hussein might not be confined solely to that arena, in light of comments by al-Qaida leaders and the religious edict by Muslim leaders in Iraq calling for an all-out holy war by the forces of Islam against the US and its allies in retaliation for any US assault on Iraq," he added.

May 15, 2003, Jerusalem Post, Al-Qaida looks to Saudi Arabia for refuge, by Dore Gold,

Section: Middle East Page: 05

Thursday, May 15, 2003 -- The suicide bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that left more than 90 dead - including 7-10 US citizens - should not have come as a surprise. There has been increasing evidence that al-Qaida, which took credit for the attack, has viewed the Saudi kingdom as one of its main areas of refuge since the US victory against the Taliban in Afghanistan, for a number of reasons:

1. Historically, al-Qaida grew from Saudi roots. Its founder, Osama bin Laden, used Saudi charities as one of the primary conduits for its initial funding. A captured document from the Saudi-run International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), dated in 1989 and possessed by Bosnian Intelligence, documents how this funding route was established during meetings between IIRO and representatives of bin Laden. The IIRO office in the Philippines was run by Osama bin Laden's brother- in-law from 1986 to 1994 and funneled funds to the Abu Sayyaforganization; while the brother of bin Laden's deputy, al- Zawahiri, worked for IIRO in Albania.

2. This relationship lasted well into the late 1990s and beyond. A CIA document dated in 1996 noted that more than one-third of the Islamic non-governmental organizations then existing were involved in terrorist funding; the report, in fact, implicated officially-backed Saudi Arabian charities. The CIA report tied IIRO to al- Qaida and to Hamas, as well as to radical groups in Algeria and Egypt. A CIA interrogation of a captured al-Qaida operative as recently as 2002 demonstrated that another huge official Saudi charity, al-Haramain, was the primary conduit for funding al-Qaida in Southeast Asia.3 The State Department' s Office of Counterterrorism's outgoing director, Dick Gannon, claimed in late 1998: "We've got information about who's backing bin Laden and in a lot of cases it goes back to the [Saudi] royal family." Some radical Saudi princes backed al-Qaida out of identification with its anti-Western ideology, while other support came in the form of protection money to keep al-Qaida from attacking the royal family.

3. Parts of Saudi Arabia, particularly the mountainous southwestern area near the Yemeni border, are ideal hideouts for al-Qaida. These areas, similar to other al- Qaida sanctuaries along the Afghan-Pakistan border and the Iraq-Iran border (e.g., home of the Kurdish Ansar al- Islam), are extremely difficult to access. Nevertheless, a US Predator unmanned aircraft took out a private vehicle with Saudi license plates driven by a key al-Qaida operative in this area in November 2002. In fact, Yemeni authorities have reiterated in the Arab press that Saudi Arabia was emerging in 2002-2003 as a new al-Qaida center. In October 2000, al-Qaida sent a bomb-laden skiff from the Saudi port of Jizan that tore into the USS Cole in Aden. A number of significant al-Qaida suspects wanted by authorities in Germany and the US are known to have fled to Saudi Arabia to seek sanctuary.

4. Given years of anti-Western incitement in the Saudi religious educational system, Saudi Arabia is probably the most sympathetic location for al-Qaida members to hide. Indeed, in the 1990s Saudis had already become the largest national grouping in al-Qaida. Major figures in the Wahhabi clergy, such as Sheikh al-Ulwan or Sheikh al-Shuaibi, backed bin Laden. In October 2001, Saudi Arabia's internal intelligence agency ordered a confidential poll of Saudi men between the ages of 25 and 41, that demonstrated that 95 percent of respondents approved of Osama bin Laden's cause.

5. For months after the September 11 attacks, Saudi Arabia denied the existence of any al-Qaida cells in the kingdom. Saudi officials reported in June 2002 that some limited arrests and interrogations of al-Qaida members were made. The Saudis were more successful in finding a large cache of weapons and explosives in early May 2003, but those associated with the weapons were able to escape, and the organizational infrastructure of al-Qaida has not been dismantled. Given the sympathy for al-Qaida in some official circles and among members of the Saudi population, it is understandable that Saudi Arabia has been unable to implement a full-scale crackdown.

6. The US announcement in the aftermath of the Iraq War that US forces would be withdrawing from Saudi Arabia should have removed one of al-Qaida's primary grievances against Washington: the presence of American troops in the Islamic Holy Land. Nonetheless, the multiple bombing attack against Westerners in the kingdom took place. It could be that al-Qaida recognized that the US withdrawal would undercut their movement and weaken support for their cause. By appearing to force the US out of Saudi Arabia, under fire, al-Qaida could claim victory and build up support in the Middle East. In any case, al-Qaida is committed to war against the West and to its collapse as its primary objective, and not to a US pullout from Saudi Arabia alone.

7. Through successful diplomacy, and public relations, Saudi Arabia has managed to divert attention away from its role in harboring al- Qaida, presenting itself as a moderate force backing Middle East peace. For that reason, the war on terrorism, while addressing the threats emanating from Afghanistan and Iraq, has not been sufficiently focused on neutralizing the Saudi role.

It is imperative that the US and its Western allies prioritize their diplomatic efforts to demand that the Saudi Arabian government halt its financial support for terrorism - both direct and indirect - once and for all, whether to al-Qaida or to Hamas and other groups. (The US roadmap for Middle East peace, in fact, requires in the first phase that all Arab states discontinue support for Palestinian groups backing terrorism.) Moreover, Saudi security forces must dismantle the operational infrastructure of al-Qaida, as the Pakistanis and the Kurds have attempted to do in their own regions. For the war on terrorism to be won, the Saudi front can no longer be ignored

February 2, 2003, Jerusalem Post, Terror in Southeast Asia, by Colin Rubinstein,

Opinion Page: 06

Sunday, February 2, 2003 -- Bali has long been a favored holiday destination of Australians and other Westerners (and latterly, Israelis). The appalling terrorist attack on innocent holidaymakers last October - which cost almost 200 lives (including 88 Australians) - shattered this picture forever. With it came the realization that the Islamist death-cult ideology of al-Qaida that inspires the likes of Hamas and the September 11 hijackers has spread its tentacles throughout Southeast Asia.

The activities of al-Qaida in that region began to emerge in the wake of September 11. A succession of breakthroughs and arrests by intelligence agencies during 2002 have steadily uncovered an elaborate and highly dangerous network of al-Qaida-linked operatives known under the collective name of Jemaah Islamiya (JI).

A White Paper released on January 10 by Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs offers a detailed summation of JI's activities throughout Asia and the current level of the terrorist threat. Singapore says it has discovered close ties between JI - widely blamed for the Bali bombing - and established Islamic militant groups in the region.

The 50-page report revealed that the training of JI militants was carried out at the base of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a Philippines group, beginning in 1997. It also detailed alleged plots by JI to attack Western interests in Singapore in 2001 or 2002, importing Arab suicide bombers to carry out the attacks on US naval facilities, the Israeli embassy and the Australian and British high commissions.

As al-Qaida has extended its influence over the past several years, local militant Islamic groups have radicalized their ideology, methods and capabilities. They have also incorporated al-Qaida's ideology of global jihad against America and other "enemies of Islam" into their own domestic agendas.

These groups include: Kumpulan Militan Malaysia, which has already instigated a fatal hostage drama and aims to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state, the MILF and the Abu Sayyaf Group, which both demand an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines and have been engaged in violent struggle for most of the past decade, and, in southern Thailand, groups such as the New Pattani United Liberation Organization are also agitating for their own Islamic state.

The newest dimension to emerge from arrested JI members and their spiritual leader, Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, is that the various groups are increasingly inspired by the vision of a pan-Islamic state comprising Malaysia, Indonesia, the southern Philippines, Singapore and Brunei. Such an aspiration bears the hallmarks of al- Qaida-style indoctrination. It is also hardly surprising considering the well- established history of Southeast Asian radicals receiving comprehensive training in Afghanistan, beginning during the Mujahideen struggle against the Soviet Union and continuing through the Taliban/bin Laden era.

It is through this brotherhood of former Afghanistan/al-Qaida "alumni" that al-Qaida has gained a strong foothold in Southeast Asia. Among the many links, two of the September 11 hijackers stayed with Malaysian JI operative Yazid Sufaat in January 2000, while Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 19th hijacker, also visited Malaysia for meetings in September-October 2000.

Despite the dozens of arrests over the past 15 months, extensive interrogations and the jailing of key operatives Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi and Agus Dwikarna, security agencies in the region are far from confident that the JI network has been seriously damaged. Already the network has been shown to be far bigger than initially thought, and known JI operations chief Riduan Isamuddin (a.k.a. Hambali) is among the many missing links still at large.

WHILE SINGAPORE and the Philippines have vigorously led the regional pursuit of JI and al-Qaida activists, among their neighbors the task is complicated and compromised by political factors. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Indonesia's investigation of the Bali bombing.

Much of the difficulty stems from the fact that Muslim hard-liners have successfully branded the country's anti- terrorism drive as a campaign dictated by foreign countries, especially the United States and her allies, to destroy Islam.

This is demonstrated by defense lawyers who insist on calling themselves the Muslim Defense Team, despite calls by some moderate Muslim groups that they drop the Muslim tag.

One of the principal suspects in the Bali bombing, Imam Samudra, was able to travel safely to his home town and escape arrest for more than a month because some religious leaders in his home province gave him protection. Ali Gufron, alias Muklas, an alleged JI leader also enjoyed protection for a time.

In Makassar, Sulawesi, where three people were killed in a bomb blast on December 5, local religious leaders told police not to arrest leaders of a local Muslim militia group called Laskar Jundullah, strongly suspected of being behind the bombing, to avoid possible religious conflicts.

Leaders of both moderate Muslim organizations Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, with a combined membership of over 60 million, have thrown their support behind the government's anti-terrorism drive, but their offers of practical help in fighting terrorism have been widely ignored by President Megawati Sukarnoputri, who fears the Muslim hard-liners that see her presidency as illegitimate simply because she is a woman.

In Thailand, concerns about al-Qaida/JI infiltration in the Muslim- dominated south have been muddied by other agendas. Reports in Time magazine of the JI planning meetings having taken place in Thailand early in 2002 were greeted with denial and indignation in Thai political circles, where concerns about damage to the national image and the tourist industry (in the wake of precautionary travel advisories) override the festering Muslim rebellion in the south.

This culture of denial is illustrated by the lack of official agreement as to whether the Muslim secessionist groups in the south are genuine or criminal extortionist gangs using religion as a veil of legitimacy.

In the meantime, critics claim that loose visa and immigration controls, corrupt officials, a friendly environment and easy access to financial services and illegal arms have provided al-Qaida with a convenient safe haven. Thai intelligence about al-Qaida front companies and passport forging in Bangkok has not been decisively pursued, perhaps because these were not perceived as a direct threat to Thailand. Only now has a Joint National Intelligence Center been created to assimilate intelligence information from different agencies.

It is clear that even if the US and actively supportive countries in Southeast Asia succeed in capturing all key leaders of al-Qaida and the Jemaah Islamiya, pre- existing radical Islamist groups in the region will go on.

The genie of al-Qaida-style radicalism is well and truly out of the bottle; the unprecedented capabilities of its terror operations pose a grave risk for many years to come.

July 18, 2003, Jerusalem Post, Opinion, Probe terrorist financing,

Friday, July 18, 2003 -- As Washington is in a tizzy over President George W. Bush's supposed over-zealousness in taking on Saddam Hussein, the real scandal to watch is administration soft- pedaling toward Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday, former Israeli ambassador Dore Gold told a Congressional committee that over half of Hamas's current funding comes from Saudi Arabia, and that this proportion is on the rise.

The road map, which the Bush administration is struggling to save, requires in its first phase that Arab states crack down on the terrorists' sources of funding. The day before the June Aqaba summit, Bush met with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco at Sharm e-Sheikh. He proudly announced that, "The leaders here today have ... committed to practical actions to use all means to cut off assistance, including arms and financing, to any terror group and to aid the Palestinian Authority in their own fight against terror."

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, speaking for the Arab leaders, responded: "We will use all the power of the law to prevent support reaching illegal organizations, including terrorist groups." In effect, since the Arab leaders failed to advance the peace process in any way, such as announcing the return of the Egyptian and Jordanian ambassadors to Israel, the pledge to cut off funding was the sole visible accomplishment of the summit.

Since Riyadh and Casablanca were struck by terrorist attacks earlier this year, there may be a greater realization that tolerating the flow of support to anti- American and anti-Israeli terrorists was a Faustian bargain. According to The Washington Times's Arnaud de Borchgrave, following the Riyadh attack, Saudi intelligence admitted that 1,000 Saudi clerics were linked to or supportive of al-Qaida. De Borchgrave claims that these clerics have been "fired or banned from addressing worshipers after Friday prayers" and Crown Prince Abdullah has issued new regulations prohibiting any reference to jihad, or holy war, in radio and television broadcasts.

If this is true, it is certainly progress, but just the beginning of what must be done. As Gold pointed out in an interview on National Review Online, "Saudi support for terrorism is global. Its IIRO [International Islamic Relief Organization] charity has moved money to Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and to al-Qaida in East Africa." Regarding Hamas, Gold notes that Israel captured an IIRO document showing how $280, 000 was distributed to 14 Hamas charities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Indian authorities arrested an IIRO worker who was planning to attack US diplomatic posts there. IIRO has been active in Chechnya, the Balkans, and was the main conduit for funding al-Qaida in Southeast Asia as late as 2002, says Gold.

It is not clear why Bush's critics have latched on one sentence in a pre-war speech about Iraq, when the kid gloves toward the Saudis speak volumes. We are not among those who would leap to the conclusion that personal and political ties to the Saudi oil industry are solely to blame. Moreover, the Saudis have spread their money liberally within both Democratic and Republican administrations.

But even if the possibility of corrupt motives is set aside, it is a fair question whether the Bush administration has fully adapted the US relationship with Saudi Arabia to post 9/11 realities. The soft touch, such as inviting the Saudi crown prince to Bush's ranch at Crawford, seems only to have convinced the sheikhdom that the US will be satisfied with half measures and lip service.

The Saudis should be hearing a much harsher message from Washington. Since the war in Iraq, the US needs neither Saudi bases nor, to the same degree, Saudi oil. Furthermore, the medieval Saudi political system is an embarrassing contrast to the standard of democracy the US is trying to set for Iraqis and, to an unfortunately lesser extent, for Palestinians.

Saudi Arabia will increasingly become a test of whether the US is serious about its talk of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, or whether these ideals and the war against terrorism can bog down in an oily inertia. It is time for US officials to start talking more openly about what they know about the financing of terrorism - both the terrorists and the ideology that feeds them - coming from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. This is a subject that begs for the daylight that can be shed by congressional investigations, not why America launched a war it should be proud to have fought and won.

Bush Moves to Cut Terrorists' Support; Foreign Banks Urged to Help Freeze Assets of 27 Entities
The Washington Post; September 25, 2001

Pakistan charity on list; foreign banks alerted U.S. goes after assets of groups tied to terrorism
Chicago Sun-Times; September 25, 2001

Dry Up the Money Trail
The Washington Post; September 30, 2001

Portland Press Herald (Portland, ME); September 25, 2001

Bush Freezes Financial Assets of Terrorists
The Washington Times (Washington, DC); September 25, 2001

U.S. believes al-Qaida affiliate in Southeast Asia tied to Sept. 11 anniversary threats
AP Worldstream; October 1, 2002

Senior al-Qaida operative captured in Southeast Asia
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Senior al-Qaida operative captured in Southeast Asia Indonesian reportedly was recruiting pilots for suicide hijackings in U.S.
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Defense Minister says al-Qaida setting sights on Southeast Asia
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Albany Times Union (Albany, NY); October 28, 2002

February 19, 2010, States News Service, Israel Vies to Bring Mideast Jewish Refugees Into Talks -- Jerusalem Post, by Rachelle Kliger,

NEW YORK -- The following information was released by the World Jewish Congress (WJC):

Israeli lawmakers are seeking a law that will make compensation for Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries after 1948 an integral part of any future peace negotiations.

Lawmakers put together a bill demanding compensation on behalf of current Jewish Israeli citizens, who were expelled from Arab countries after Israel was established in 1948, leaving behind a significant amount of valuable property.

Originally submitted almost a year ago to the Knesset, the bill passed its first hearing two weeks ago. Now various interest groups are pushing the bill with the Knesset's 120 members before it is subjected to a second and third hearing next week.

The bill was sponsored by MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) and follows a resolution passed in the US House of Representatives in 2008, calling for refugee recognition to be extended to Jews and Christians similar to that extended to Palestinians in the course of Middle East peace talks.

"I think the term 'compensation' is too limited a term," former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler told The Media Line.

Cotler, a vocal advocate of the campaign, was one of several international representatives at the Knesset conference discussing the bill, organized by MK Nissim Ze'ev on Monday.

"We're not just speaking about financial compensation or indemnification," Cotler said. "We're talking about justice for Jews from Arab countries. This speaks to the question of, among other things, rectifying the justice and peace narrative of the last 62 years where the question of Jews from Arab countries has not been part of the narrative."

"There have been more than 160 UN resolutions on the matter of refugees," he continued. "All 160 dealt with Palestinian refugees only. I'm not saying they shouldn't address Palestinian refugees, but I'm saying there's no justice and no truth if it does not also address the plight of Jews seeking justice from Arab countries."

According to the international advocacy group, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), some 850,000 Jews were displaced from Arab countries after the State of Israel was established. These include Jews from Syria, Trans-Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

Speaker of the Knesset Rubi Rivlin (Likud Party) said the issue was an important counterweight to Palestinian claims for a right of return to homes from which they were expelled or had to leave in 1948, and which are now part of Israel.

"The Arab peace initiative, based on the Saudi initiative, has a clause that calls for a just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue," Rivlin said at the conference. "Israel is opposed to the right of return... we have to make an appeal today, to say that there is no room for bringing up the Palestinian right of return without the Jewish refugee issue being resolved. This has to be heard in the political discourse in Israel and in the international community."

Rep. Eliot Engel (D - NY), who supported the congressional resolution and attended Monday's conference, said there was hypocrisy in the way the international community dealt with the Palestinian refugee community.

"The Arabs today, as they have done for 50 years, use the Palestinian refugee population as political pawns," Engel said. "They want them to live in misery. They want them to suffer and then to blame the Jews. The fact of the matter is that the blame lies right at the foot of the Arab states, be it Saudi Arabia or Jordan or Egypt or any of those countries that have lots of petro-dollars and they don't even spend a shekel to help their refugees."

Monday's conference was marked by heated arguments from members of the audience, which included Jews who were expelled from Arab countries in the years following the establishment of the state.

Gila Naftali, an Egyptian born Jew who was expelled with her family in 1956 when she was eight years old, said there has been a systematic marginalization of eastern Jews. She was almost banished from the auditorium by security when she lashed out at MK Danny Ayalon that "You don't know what it's like to be kicked out of your country within 24 hours."

Ayalon, a proponent of the bill whose father left his belongings behind in Algeria to come to the fledgling country in 1948, shook Naftali's hand on his way out, in a gesture of reconciliation.

The government came under criticism from Jews expelled from Arab states, who feel these initiatives are too little and too late. Others have questioned how the compensation, if acquired, will be allocated.

"I don't just want compensation," Naftali later told The Media Line. "Everybody will get the compensation. I want money for this building that was in our family for four generations," she said, brandishing a sepia photograph of her former Cairo home.

Stanley Urman, executive director of JJAC said he was aware of these sentiments.

"I feel for their plight and their pain," he told The Media Line. "We, the Jewish people and the State of Israel, must take responsibility for not being successful enough in bringing this to the world's attention."

The fact that the US has already passed a resolution to this effect could serve to impact any future negotiations.

"They have sway," Urman said, in reference to the US brokers. "Whether they bring this up in a forceful manner is yet to be seen. The US is a member of the Quartet and all seminal Middle East issues are going through the Quartet, so the US certainly would be our voice at that table."

The Israeli bill stipulates that "The state of Israel will not sign, directly or by proxy, any agreement or treaty with a country or authority dealing with a political settlement in the Middle East without ensuring the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries according to the UN's refugee treaty."

"In any discussion where the Palestinian refugee issue is brought up in the framework of peace negotiations in the Middle East," it continues, "the Israeli government will bring up the issue of compensation for loss of property and giving equal status to Arab refugees who left their property after the state was established and to Jewish refugees from Arab countries."

Ze'ev stressed that Iran was also included in the bill, even though it was not defined as an Arab country.

Levana Zamir, chairman of the international organization of Egyptian Jews said she welcomed the initiative.

"Finally, after 62 years, the Knesset is accepting a law that recognizes our rights," she told The Media Line. "I'm just sad that my father didn't have the privilege of seeing this. He fought for this and after he passed away I took the matter into my hands. As Jews from Egypt we should be very happy because there's a peace agreement with Egypt, so once there's a law, we should start demanding money."

Zvi Gabai, who represents Jews from Iraq, said it was a shame this was not done sooner.

"In the meantime," he said, "the Palestinians and spin doctors have exploited the Palestinian refugee matter and presented it as though the Palestinian refugees were the only issue and that there were no Jewish refugees , without presenting two sides of the coin - that there were not only the Palestinians who suffered but also Jews from Arab countries who suffered and lost property, without bringing this matter to a decision, there will be no justice."

The Palestinian Return Centre, a London-based organization defending the rights of Palestinian refugees with the aim of resettling them in their original homes, said it was not far fetched to believe that Jews would get compensation, but stressed that it was wrong to draw parallels between the two refugee populations.

"The Jews who were kicked out of Arab countries have found a place to live," a spokesperson for the organization told The Media. "They have found luxury, work, good housing and a government. But the Palestinians have found nothing. They are not allowed to work in 70 professions in Lebanon. They're not allowed to travel. They don't have passports or basic freedoms and they're being bombed in Gaza's camps."

"There is no parallel in the suffering," the spokesperson continued. "The Palestinian suffered double what the Jews in the Arab countries suffered.... The [Arabs] have enough money and enough political will to solve the problem with Israel, but the problem is with Israel. If Israel is willing to conduct peace on the basis of giving rights to the Palestinians, I guess the Arabs would compensate the Jews, if that happened."

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