In the decade since the attacks of 9/11, the United States and its allies have portrayed terrorism as primarily al Qaeda-centric. This, in turn, has led, logically, to a search for the origin of the terrorism aimed at us. Thus, after 9/11, many American analysts wondered, “Why do they hate us?” One top State Department official, in February 2002, was even tasked with producing commercials to convince Muslims that, “they do not have to kill us to get our attention.”
The most common assumption is that the absence of a Palestinian state was the primary origin of terrorism. One top Pakistani, known as the “Father of the Taliban,” explained that the “atrocity of terrorism” would stop “once solutions to Palestine are found.” This is the widely held “grievance theory of terrorism.”
This theory has unfortunately blinded us to the real import of the terrorism facing the West. An accurate explanation of the origin for this terrorism has been available for some time. Over a decade ago, the legendary head of the Northern Alliance, Ahmad Shah Massoud, leader of the primary force that defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan, said: “Al Qaeda…was just one element in a ‘poisonous coalition’…that included Pakistani and Arab intelligence agencies; impoverished young students bused to their deaths as volunteer fighters from Pakistani religious schools; exiled Central Asian Islamic radicals; … and wealthy sheikhs and preachers who jetted in from the Persian Gulf.”
Behind the curtain about which the U.S. government currently obsesses (“al Qaeda and its affiliates”), stands a much wider poisonous coalition that includes states, state entities, defense and intelligence services and terror groups. We have seen them in operation just recently with the thousands of rocket and mortar attacks on Israel launched from Gaza and the Sinai. These attacks are part of a wider effort that seeks three things: the gradual destruction of Israel; the elimination of the United States as a regional and world power capable of defending the West; and the establishment of an Islamic, sharia law compliant, empire.
The Gaza attacks involved more than 1,500 rockets, more than all the rockets Germany launched at England during World War II. Investigations revealed that many of the rockets were manufactured in Iran, North Korea, and China – especially the longer range ones – and, in part, shipped to the Sudan, and then smuggled through Egypt and the Sinai into Gaza for the use of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The rocket attacks, however, had a wider purpose than just terrorizing Israel. At the same time as the attacks were taking place, the diversion was used by Iran, China and Russia to resupply Syria with weapons shipped over Iraqi airspace in Iranian cargo planes. Other planeloads carried replacements for Syrian army defectors with new soldiers from the Iranian IRGC, (the Revolutionary Guard Corps). Iraq assured us the planes were inspected to prohibit military cargo but failed to disclose the inspection occurred on the return trips from Damascus).
And in Egypt, the Morsi government thought the attacks would focus attention on the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict,” while it seized dictatorial power over the country’s military and judiciary.
The terror masters were thus attempting to achieve a number of objectives: protect the hateful regime in Syria, consolidate the power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and turn Israel into the aggressor by complaining about Tel Aviv’s retaliation to Hamas’ attacks.
But an unanticipated development occurred that exposed the conspiracy.
First, Hamas’ attacks did not provoke rash Israel action, even though the “international community” condemned what Israel did to defend itself in a knee-jerk fashion. China, Egypt, Russia, various Arab states, Iran, and even South Korea joined the chorus.
The remarkable performance by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system prevented a wider war from breaking out in the Middle East, giving another lie to the noxious contention that missile defense is but a shield that will be followed inevitably by the sword. And the shield foiled Hamas’ effort to harm Israel, even as weapons caches and key terrorist installations in Gaza were wiped out by Israeli strikes.
The shoot down of upwards of 90 percent of all the rockets and missiles targeted by Israel for intercept prevented an escalation of the war. (Rockets determined by the Iron Dome system to be headed for uninhabited areas were not engaged.) The Hamas attacks also only further cemented U.S. Congressional support for Iron Dome and other Israeli other missile defense deployments, the opposite of what the Tehran terror masters hoped to have achieved.
Second, shipments of rockets and missiles to Hamas by Iran, China and North Korea were exposed, as was the resupply of weapons to Syria, and the complicity of Russia and China in all of it.
Third, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi was caught red-handed looking like another Mubarak, unable to hide behind the smokescreen of a hoped for escalating conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Now this was only days after Morsi was extolled by the New York Times for his “peacekeeping” role in stopping the rocket attacks against Israel, which, of course, he facilitated in the first place.
This poisonous coalition of conspiracy – Egypt, North Korea, Iran, Syria, China, Russia and Sudan and their terror affiliates including Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad – were all “in on it,” as they say. Perhaps we can now concentrate on this real threat rather than the wishful thinking involved in seeing everything through the lens of a “peace process” animated by Palestinian grievances.
The extraordinary success of Iron Dome underscores the need for further missile defense deployments in the region, as well as further work to deploy the planned European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), which is designed to deal with the threat posed by Iranian short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Europe.
The “poisonous coalition” that Ahmad Shah Massoud warned us about is alive and well. It is at war with the United States, with Western liberty and freedom and, most determinedly, against Israel. Its tool is terrorism; its objective is our defeat.
Peter Huessy, JINSA Visiting Fellow, is president of GeoStrategic Analysis and the senior defense consultant at the Air Force Association.