Monday, 03 September 2007

The Real Terror Paymasters

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In 1972, the Kremlin decided to turn the whole Islamic world against Israel and the U.S. As KGB chairman Yuri Andropov told me, a billion adversaries could inflict far greater damage on America than could a few millions.

In the quote above, Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, head of the DIE, the KGB's little sister in communist Romania, reveals a conversation he had with chairman Andropov, the Soviet leader. "We needed to instill a Nazi-style hatred for the Jews throughout the Islamic world," Andropov told Pacepa, "and to turn this weapon of the emotions into a terrorist bloodbath against Israel and its main supporter, the United States. No one within the American/Zionist sphere of influence should any longer feel safe."

Gen. Pacepa, who defected to the United States in 1978, recounted this story in an August 24, 2006 article for National Review entitled "Russian Footprints." "According to Andropov," said Pacepa, "the Islamic world was a waiting petri dish in which we could nurture a virulent strain of America-hatred, grown from the bacterium of Marxist-Leninist thought. Islamic anti-Semitism ran deep. The Muslims had a taste for nationalism, jingoism, and victimology. Their illiterate, oppressed mobs could be whipped up to a fever pitch."

Gen. Pacepa explained how this was put into operation:

In the mid 1970s, the KGB ordered my service, the [Romanian] DIE --along with other East European sister services--to scour the country for trusted party activists belonging to various Islamic ethnic groups, train them in disinformation and terrorist operations, and infiltrate them into the countries of our "sphere of influence." Their task was to export a rabid, demented hatred for American Zionism by manipulating the ancestral abhorrence for Jews felt by the people in that part of the world. Before I left Romania for good, in 1978, my DIE had dispatched around 500 such undercover agents to Islamic countries. According to a rough estimate received from Moscow, by 1978 the whole Soviet-bloc intelligence community had sent some 4,000 such agents of influence into the Islamic world.

Likewise, Anatoliy Golitsyn, one of the most important KGB defectors to come to the West, noted in his 1995 book, The Perestroika Deception, "Under concealed Russian guidance, the Muslims of the former Soviet Union ... will seek to cooperate and ally themselves with Muslims in Iran and the Arab states while Russia maintains its open policy of cooperation and partnership with the West. In this way China openly and Russia secretly will jointly attempt to swing the balance of power in their favor in the highly strategic, oil-producing Arab/Iranian areas of the Middle East."

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A July 1997 article by Associated Press writer Anthony Shadid provides one measure of the impact of this Soviet KGB (and ongoing Russian FSB) strategy. The AP story, "Marxism Makes Way for Islam," profiles a number of influential Marxist-Muslim intellectuals. It begins with the observation that "on the bookshelf of Adel Hussein sits an odd collection for one of Egypt's leading Islamic thinkers." Titles like Socialist Integration, On Communism, and Planning in the U.S.S.R. by leading Marxists, notes Mr. Shadid, "speak more of class struggle than the hand of God."

Like a surprising number of others across the Arab and Muslim world, Adel Hussein "is a one-time Marxist and nonbeliever who has turned to Islam, part of a new intellectual generation reshaping the religion." "I benefited from Marx in both theory and practice," Hussein told Shadid, "but now, Islam is my starting point and my framework." That doesn't mean he's abandoned Marx, however. "Hussein, for instance, says his goals have not changed," Shadid reported. "But he now sees Islam, through its ability to persuade and to mobilize, as the best tool." In other words, Islam for Hussein is a means to an end, and the end is a Marxist world.

Adel Hussein, says AP's Shadid, is representative of a significant number of today's influential imams and mullahs. "In a jarring twist, they are the same thinkers who a generation ago drew the ire of religious Muslims because their Marxist disavowal of God was seen as the biggest threat to Islam," Shadid reported. "Today, they are often the public face of Islam — writing in leading Arabic newspapers, speaking at conferences and on television talk shows, enjoying the support of many younger, more political Muslims interested in their attempts to rethink Islam's relationship to democracy, minorities and the West."

Evidence for the existence of an ongoing Soviet/Russian strategic plan to foment and use Islamic extremism is very extensive and goes far to explain the inordinate hatred of Muslim fundamentalists for America and the West. Not only is al-Qaeda aligned with the Kremlin (see the related article "Behind Islamic Terror"), so are the other major "Islamist" terror groups including PLO/ al-Fatah, Hamas, and Hezbollah (see "Who's Who in Terrorism"). Of course, none of those groups would amount to much if not for the immense assistance they receive from Iran and Syria, regimes that were primary client-state terror sponsors for the Soviets and continue in that role for Russia under Putin.

Putin continues to build Iran's nuclear program and upgrade its long-range missile program, not to mention provide Ahmadinejad's regime with all of the conventional weapons that Tehran and its surrogate terrorists can use. Likewise for the longtime terrorist-sponsoring regime of Bashar al-Asad in Damascus. In January 2005, Putin welcomed President al-Asad to Moscow and forgave 73 percent of the $13.4 billion debt owed by Syria to Moscow. Then, a couple months later, he sold Strelet surface-to-air missiles to Asad and has been showering him with weapons.

Moscow Masterminds

In the 2005 action film Lord of War, Nicolas Cage plays Russian arms dealer Yuri Orlov, whose merchandise — guns, tanks, grenades, missiles, planes, bombs — spreads slaughter and genocide across Africa. The fictional Orlov is a portrayal of the real-life Viktor Bout, a "former" KGB officer who has built a global empire with his fleet of Soviet transport planes and helicopters and his unmatched access to a bottomless supply of Soviet armaments. It would be difficult to find a war, civil war, revolution, terrorist organization, dictatorship, coup, or attempted coup in Africa, the Middle East, or Central Asia over the past decade and a half that hasn't been fueled by Bout's deadly merchandise.

Viktor Bout was for years the main arms supplier for the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He subsequently became a major supplier to the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance. While operating a dizzying array of companies and shell companies out of Belgium and the United Arab Emirates, Bout has always maintained a home base and safe haven in Russia.

When the Belgian government issued an international arrest warrant for him in 2002, Bout fled to Moscow. "Asked if Bout was in the country when the arrest warrant was issued, the Russian foreign ministry said no, even though Bout was giving live radio interviews from studios in downtown Moscow," note Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun, authors of Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible. "The next day, officials grudgingly acknowledged he might be in Russia but said they had seen no evidence that he had committed any crime, and therefore could not act."

According to Farah and Braun and other investigative reporters, Viktor Bout more recently has been running arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon and the forces of the radical Islamic Courts Union in Somalia. Bout's status as a private entrepreneur provides protective deniability to his bosses in the Kremlin — including the top KGB/FSB man himself, Vladimir Putin — but it is obvious that they are supplying him and protecting him so he can continue stoking the fires of terror and revolution that they have sparked and fed for decades. Incredibly, Western governments that verbally condemn Bout's sinister blood trade are more than willing to do business with his companies. For instance, the U.S. Defense Department has paid Bout's air transport companies millions of dollars to fly supplies into U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As indispensable as Viktor Bout has been — and is — to the Kremlin's ongoing terror strategy, there are others who are even more important. One of the most important is Yevgeniy Primakov, the former KGB chief in charge of Middle East terrorism during the Cold War. Primakov has been at the pinnacle of Soviet politics for decades: Soviet Politburo member, former Russian Foreign Minister, head of the Russia Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and Russian prime minister. Now he is Putin's right-hand man as a "private citizen." As head of the Russia Chamber of Commerce, he continues his role directing Russia's client terror states and terrorist groups while on commercial visits throughout the Mideast.

In 2006, Primakov presided at the founding meeting of Russia's new forum for Muslim countries, the "Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group." The new group held its first session in Moscow on March 27-28, attended by delegates from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, and 12 additional Muslim states. Putin greeted the delegates. Significantly, the "statesman" who presided at the meeting was Primakov, a renowned Arabist who played a key role in formulating the Soviet Union's ties with the Muslim world during the cold-war era.

Jihadist Hatred for America

Is the ongoing Soviet/Russian propaganda and terror strategy really at the heart of the militant jihadist hatred directed at the United States? The overwhelming evidence would seem to answer resoundingly in the affirmative. After all, the jihadists should have good reason to view as enemies the regimes in Moscow, Beijing, and the Commonwealth of Independent States that have killed Muslims on a daily basis. In fact, the Soviet Union murdered over one million Muslim Afghans and made over five million of them refugees. Post-Soviet Russia brutally subjugated Muslim Chechnya, killing tens of thousands of civilians and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. The Soviet Union persecuted (and present-day Russia continues to persecute) tens of millions of Muslims in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan. The current openly communist government of Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan carried out the Adijan massacre of 2005, slaughtering as many as 5,000 Muslim civilians, with Moscow and Beijing both publicly voicing support for Karimov's action. Communist China has carried out a decades-long ruthless persecution of its Muslim Uighar minority.

Communist regimes have forbidden study of the Q'uran, publicly burned countless copies of this sacred text of Muslims, imprisoned and tortured Muslim believers, and beaten Muslim clerics and then paraded them in public humiliation. Contrast that with the Western countries, where Muslims are granted full political and economic rights, can worship freely, and can obtain a Q'uran at any library or local bookstore. Yes, the jihadists have used our military presence in Iraq to fan the flames of hatred against the United States, but how about the communists?

Do the jihadists hate America more than the non-Muslim communist states because we are uniquely decadent? It is true that Western post-Christian culture, especially as seen in popular fashions and through Hollywood's ubiquitous and depraved lens, is offensive to devout Muslims (as it is to devout Christians). But Russia is not pristine by comparison. Putin's Russia boasts one of the largest pornography industries in the world, featuring the most hard-core kiddie porn. Russia's mainstream media is much more salacious than its counterparts in the United States. Russia and the Muslim-populated (but non-Muslim-ruled) countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (C.I.S.) are also notorious for forced prostitution, gambling, and the production, consumption, and export of drugs and alcohol, all of which should earn them condemnation from the militant Muslim faithful. Instead, the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, al-Fatah, and other "Islamic fundamentalists," not only ignore the transgressions of their infidel sponsors in Russia and China and the cries of their persecuted Muslim brothers, but they regularly break bread with and publicly support the atheist persecutors of Islam.

We in the Christian West should not kid ourselves — as certain "liberals" would have us do — into accepting the false proposition that Islam is perfectly compatible with our social-political system. It is not. And we must not succumb to their arguments that we should accept new waves of Muslim immigrants. But neither should we allow ourselves to be further dragged into a military "clash of civilizations" (as we already are in Iraq and Afghanistan) by "Muslim" front men for our so-called allies in Moscow and Beijing.

In his October 11, 2001 news conference, President George W. Bush characterized the new global conflict as "a war against all those who seek to export terror, and a war against those governments that support or shelter them." Striking the same theme, but with greater specificity, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol declared in a July 21, 2006 article, "Radical Islam Takes On Democracy," that "our focus should be less on Hamas and Hezbollah, and more on their paymasters and real commanders — Syria and Iran."

But why stop with the middlemen? The real paymasters and commanders aren't in Damascus and Tehran; they're in Moscow and Beijing, as they have been for decades. These paymasters and commanders are also patient strategists. They will not try to engage us in head-on military conflict when they can more easily wear us down by leading us into many "quagmire" conflicts with their surrogates.

Related articles:

Behind Islamic Terror

Who's Who in Terrorism