September 11, 2001, was a watershed in the history of terrorism. Until September 11, fewer than 1,000 Americans were killed in terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad in over thirty years. Before this date, no one terrorist operation anywhere killed more than 500 people at one time. Since the first airliner hijackings in the late 1960s, analysts have asserted time and again that the primary purpose of terrorist attacks is to draw attention to a cause or a plight, not to kill people. In the words of one scholar, "terrorists want a lot of people watching and listening and not a lot of people dead." This can no longer be taken for granted. September 11 has ushered in a new era, in which the most devastating terrorism is not a way to convey a message—it is the message.
The U.S. response to September 11 is multifaceted. As it relates to the Middle East, it involves six main elements: 1) identifying the new nature of the terrorist threat; 2) direct U.S. action to defeat the terrorists and deny them resources; 3) close work with allies in Europe, the intermediate staging ground for September 11; 4) pressing friendly but reluctant Middle Eastern governments into full cooperation; 5) squeezing double-dealers who seek U.S. favor but still countenance terrorism in their midst; and 6) dealing strictly with states on the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism.
What sort of progress has the United States registered so far, in the pursuit of each objective? The answer: in some cases, a great deal; in others, very little.
I. Identifying the Threat
The purpose of the new terrorism is not to bring a political cause to the attention of the West. It is warfare meant to demoralize and defeat the West. In this respect, it differs from earlier Palestinian terrorism, the original prototype for modern terrorism. The familiar Palestinian alphabet-soup-groups—the PFLP, the DFLP, the PFLP-GC, et al.—still pose a terrorist threat, especially to Israel. But however abhorrent their tactics, they are still trying to convey a message, and they pose less of a threat to the international community than transnational Islamist extremism. This is the age of loosely affiliated networks of like-minded Islamist extremists like al-Qa'ida—the "base," which in 1998 adopted the banner name: "The World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders."
The enormity of September's synchronized suicide hijackings, the scale of destruction and loss, the killing for the sake of killing, reflects an agenda far broader than that of any previously known terrorist group. Many commentators, both in the Middle East and in the West, have asserted that the attacks of September 11 and their preludes, while barbaric and criminal, are a desperate response to U.S. policies in the Middle East, especially U.S. support for Israel. In fact, Islamist attacks against the United States gained momentum throughout the 1990s, even as the U.S.-driven "peace process" made headway. The attacks on U.S. forces in Somalia, so vividly portrayed in the film Black Hawk Down, were in part orchestrated by al-Qa'ida elements. The first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the Manila-based plot to blow up U.S. airliners in 1995, the bombing of the Khobar Towers military barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996, and the East Africa embassy bombings in 1998 indicate a determination to attack U.S. interests irrespective of the "peace process."In fact, threats to U.S. interests persisted throughout this period, which saw slow but steady progress in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.
What, then, drives this radical Islamist threat? The primary factor is an extremist variation of Islam that sees regimes throughout the region as corrupt, insufficiently Islamic, and/or controlled by the West—above all, the United States. When domestic Islamist groups were suppressed in states such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria, they broadened their targeting to include the United States, which they saw as the regimes' backer. Attacks are carried out as acts of defiance against perceived American arrogance, economic hegemony, and the supposedly corrupting impact of American culture on Islamic values and society.
Islamists have successfully played upon a deep-rooted persecution complex that embraces everything from the way Muslims are portrayed in Hollywood, to the conflicts in Kashmir, Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan, to the plight of Iraqis suffering under U.S.-led sanctions, to U.S. support for Israel. Adherents to this radical ideology especially abhor the presence of non-Muslims in the Islamic "holy land" of Arabia. By their standards, even Saudi Arabia is considered an infidel regime.
Identifying the root causes of terrorism is important, and long-term responses may reside in democratization, education, improving economic conditions, and resolving regional issues such as Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Kashmir, and the Indo-Pakistani conflict. In the meantime, however, the fact is that radical Islamist extremists are targeting the West. Even if this fact is not trumpeted by the United States, it informs all U.S. operational and political responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11, and to the multiple terrorist attacks attempted since then. Even the most cursory perusal of the names on the FBI's list of "Most Wanted Terrorists," or the executive order prohibiting transactions with suspected terrorists, demonstrates the point. The individuals, organizations, and groups targeting the United States are almost all Islamist extremists from the Middle East and South Asia.
II. Direct Action
The crux of the war on terrorism is direct U.S. action, as demonstrated in Afghanistan. In his address to the American people on September 20, 2001, President George W. Bush made the following demands on the Taliban: 1) deliver to U.S. authorities all the leaders of al-Qa'ida hiding in Afghanistan; 2) immediately and permanently close every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities; and 3) give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so the United States can make sure they are no longer operating. The president said that these demands were not open to negotiation or discussion, and if the Taliban did not hand over the terrorists, they would share in their fate.
This is precisely what happened after the Taliban's refusal to break their ties to international terrorism. The stated objectives of the subsequent U.S. operations were the removal of the Taliban from power, the dismantling of al-Qa'ida, and the arrest or killing of Usama bin Ladin. The first objective was achieved, the second has been partially achieved, and the third has so far eluded the United States.
But direct action is not only military. It is also legal. Senior U.S. officials have clearly articulated their intent to locate and apprehend senior Taliban and al-Qa'ida members and bring them to justice. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has affirmed that the United States wants custody of senior Taliban and al-Qa'ida members transferred from whoever arrests them. In his words, "We're here to get these people. That's why we came. Then, we're leaving." The United States seeks to try these people, and to this end, the president issued an order authorizing the use of military tribunals to try terrorists apprehended in the United States or abroad.
To assist in this effort, the FBI issued a list of the twenty-two most wanted terrorists. Citing the success of the FBI's "Most Wanted Fugitives" list, including the apprehension of international terrorists Mir Amal Kansi and Ramzi Yusuf, the United States described the creation of the "Most Wanted Terrorists" list as a law enforcement component of the multifaceted war on terrorism. The list was clearly drafted with an eye toward those individuals who have intentionally targeted Americans with terrorist attacks.
The twenty-two terrorists on the "Most Wanted Terrorists" list include bin Ladin and twelve other al-Qa'ida members involved in the 1998 African embassy bombings and other attacks; four Saudi Hizbullah members involved in the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996; one participant in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center; one participant in the Manila-based plot to bomb U.S. airliners in 1995; and three Lebanese Hizbullah members involved in the 1985 hijacking of TWA 847. The president described the individuals as "the first twenty-two" terrorists to be listed, specifying that others would surely be listed later. Among the al-Qa'ida terrorists on the list, all remain at large, except senior al-Qa'ida leader Muhammad 'Atif, presumed killed in U.S. bombing raids in Afghanistan.
Another powerful form of U.S. direct action, applied in tandem with traditional military and law enforcement techniques, is financial controls. The importance of blocking terrorist finances is proven. In 1999, former FBI director Louis Freeh told Congress that investigation into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing revealed that the attack would have been far more devastating had it not been for a shortage of funds. According to Ramzi Yusuf, the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 bombing and other attacks, the terrorists lacked the funds needed to construct as large a bomb as they had intended. In fact, the operation itself was mounted earlier than planned because the cell simply ran out of cash. And in the end, a key break in the case centered on the plotters' desire to reclaim the small deposit fee on the rental truck used to transport the bomb.
Since September 11, the Bush administration has issued a series of financial blocking lists that target terrorist groups, including terrorist organizations, front companies, and individuals. In total, as of May 3, 2002, the U.S. government and its partners have blocked the assets of some 210 individuals, organizations, and financial supporters of terrorism from around the world, including over $34 million in assets blocked in the United States and $82 million blocked abroad by international partners. On November 7, 2001, the Treasury Department froze the assets of sixty-two organizations and individuals associated with the al-Barakat and at-Taqwa financial networks. Federal agents raided these groups' offices in Minnesota, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Washington state. Commenting on the raids, President Bush stated that the two institutions provided fundraising, financial, communications, weapons-procurement, and shipping services for al-Qa'ida. A few months later, Juan C. Zarate, deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury Department, testified before Congress that "in 1997, it was reported that the $60 million collected annually for Hamas was moved to accounts with Bank at-Taqwa." At the ceremony announcing one set of financial blocking orders, the attorney general stated that the government intends to "use all tools available to us"—administrative tools, civil tools, and criminal prosecutions—"to find and uproot terrorist financial networks."
Intelligence has also been crucial to direct action and has been central to every facet of the war on terrorism. Intelligence continues to guide the war in Afghanistan, most notably in Operation Anaconda, launched to ferret out al-Qa'ida holdouts. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other officers are on the ground debriefing captured Taliban and al-Qa'ida members, liaising with the various Afghan factions and tribes, and guiding bombing and special forces operations targeting outlying pockets of resistance.
Covert operations are a sensitive and critical subset of the government's intelligence collection and military efforts. Examples include U.S. Rangers and other commandos deployed to southern Afghanistan in small numbers early on, and in greater numbers as the war developed. Such units actively hunted down Taliban and al-Qa'ida leaders and provided detailed targeting information to the Pentagon and Central Command headquarters in Tampa. Additionally, clandestine CIA forces were also deployed early on, to liaise with Northern Alliance and other anti-Taliban forces and interrogate and debrief captured Taliban and al-Qa'ida members.
Most significantly, however, intelligence is the fuel running the successful campaign to uncover al-Qa'ida cells throughout the world—in Europe, southeast Asia, Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. FBI, CIA, and other U.S. agencies, together with a vast array of friendly foreign services—and with sporadic information from some that are traditionally not so friendly—have made extraordinary advances toward dismantling the al-Qa'ida terrorist network. This kind of loosely affiliated terrorist network will never be totally destroyed, but the sophisticated, entrenched network that bin Ladin created over the last few years is being decimated.
The goal of eradicating bin Ladin's al-Qa'ida terrorist network and its Taliban hosts was stated clearly, and direct action has done much to accomplish it. But while the military goal of the war on terrorism is clear, the goals of the broader war on terrorism, beyond al-Qa'ida and the Taliban, remain ill defined. There is still confusion about who is a terrorist beyond al-Qa'ida (although Secretary O'Neill addressed this question, saying, "You can tell a terrorist by the acts they commit," such as "innocent people being killed on the street"). For some time, policymakers in Washington have been talking about phase two of the war, with a focus on Iraq. But the parameters and tactics of phase one-and-a-half, dealing with the rest of the terrorist groups, is still being debated.
III. Working with Allies
Not everything can be accomplished by unilateral U.S. action. The simple truth is that terrorism is an international phenomenon, and it is essential to persuade other nations, both traditional allies and others, to cooperate whenever possible. The objective has been to persuade other states to cooperate with the United States in law enforcement, financial controls, intelligence, covert action, and military operations.
The United States has preferred to call the cooperative network a coalition, rather than an alliance. (President George W. Bush has credited Secretary of State Colin Powell with "stitching together one of the greatest coalitions ever.") The difference is that a coalition, while less cohesive than an alliance, can include many more members with different interests—a crucial factor in battling a transnational enemy. Various U.S. officials have made it clear that there are many roles along the spectrum of cooperation to be played by coalition members in the war against terrorism, from lending diplomatic support, to arresting extremists, freezing terrorists' assets, intelligence sharing, and participating in the military offensive and/or the peacekeeping mission to follow.
But the coalition does have a core, and it is comprised of the traditional Western allies. This is not surprising. Aside from the fact that the logistical support for the September 11 attacks came from al-Qa'ida cells in Europe, the Western allies all understand they are vulnerable to terrorist attacks, from precisely the same sources.
In fact, several al-Qa'ida terrorist plots have already been foiled in Europe:
• On February 4, 2002, French authorities arrested four Algerians reportedly involved in plots to attack the Notre Dame cathedral in Strasbourg in December 2000 and other targets. One of those arrested is also suspected of providing logistical support to the suicide assassins who killed Afghan Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Mas'ud just days before September 11. In a 20-minute preoperational surveillance video filming the cathedral and the marketplace beneath it, the terrorists are heard saying: "This cathedral is God's enemy…. Here we see the enemies of God as they stroll about. You will go to hell, God willing." The five members of the Frankfurt cell associated with this plot are now on trial in Germany, and four others are in French custody. Abu Duha, the alleged mastermind of this operation and an accomplice in the concurrent millennium plot to bomb Los Angeles International airport, is detained in Britain.
• Between April and October 2001, a joint Italian-German investigation led to the arrest of four Tunisian al-Qa'ida operatives, including the suspected head of al-Qa'ida operations in Europe, Essid Sami Ben Khemais (also known as "the Saber"). The four men are charged with supplying false documents, breaking immigration laws, and criminal association with the intent to obtain and transport arms, explosives, and chemicals. Ben Khemais is also suspected of overseeing a plan to attack the U.S. embassy in Rome in January 2001.
• In November 2001, French-Algerian Djamel Beghal was arrested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and extradited to France. Beghal reportedly confessed under interrogation to being recruited by bin Ladin deputy Abu Zubaydah for a suicide mission against the U.S. embassy in Paris. Beghal also provided details on other al-Qa'ida cells in Europe. Another suspect in the plot, Kamel Daoudi, was extradited from Britain and is also being held in France.
• Another attack targeting Europe was foiled when Italian and German authorities uncovered an al-Qa'ida-associated plot, involving North African Islamic terrorists based in Britain and cells in Frankfurt and Milan. The group reportedly planned to release sarin gas into the European parliament building in Strasbourg, France, during a session of parliament in February 2001. The cells were reportedly directly funded by Usama bin Ladin and planned subsequent attacks against prominent buildings throughout Europe.
• In March 1998, the French domestic intelligence service, Directorate of Territorial Security (the French acronym is DST), together with intelligence and law enforcement agencies from a number of other European countries, broke up a radical Islamic extremist cell planning to bomb the World Cup soccer matches that summer in France.
In short, Europe faces precisely the same threat as the United States, against targets within Europe itself. Cooperation with Western allies comes naturally, and the terrorist infrastructure in Europe is the easiest for the coalition to disrupt, dismantle, or destroy.
IV. Leveraging Friends
In the Middle East, the role of U.S. diplomacy is particularly important, since not all of the governments in these regions feel directly threatened by Islamist terrorism to the same degree that Europeans feel threatened. Diplomacy is needed to reassure the Muslim world that the war on terrorism is not a war on Islam or a "clash of civilizations," and reach understandings or agreements on what each state will do, or in some cases, refrain from doing. The challenge is to find the right mixture of incentives and penalties that will induce cooperation.
Yemen provides a crucial test of this approach, especially as U.S. officials have established links between al-Qa'ida and the persons responsible for the October 12, 2000, bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. In December, President Bush and a host of other senior U.S. officials met with Yemeni president 'Ali 'Abdullah Salih in Washington. The meetings focused on a $400-million aid package intended to induce the Yemenis to become full-fledged members of the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism. Yemen has already agreed to a number of U.S. requests, including freezing some bank accounts and making a number of arrests. More significantly, Yemen acceded to U.S. requests and postponed the trial of six suspects in the Cole bombing to allow the FBI time to review all the evidence, interview witnesses directly, and follow up on leads outside the country. In light of the troubled U.S.-Yemeni relationship over the past year, primarily a result of Yemen's on-and-off cooperation in the investigation of the Cole bombing, this is a significant breakthrough.
U.S. officials are especially keen on identifying international terrorist connections stemming from the Cole bombing. For example, two of the September 11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, met a Yemeni national named Tawfiq bin 'Attash in Malaysia in January 2000. The meeting took place just after a failed attempt by bin 'Attash and others to blow up a U.S. warship, the USS Sullivans, in Aden harbor in 1999. Bin 'Attash is also suspected of playing a central role in the successful bombing of the USS Cole less than a year later.
On February 13, al-Qa'ida terrorist Samir Muhammad Ahmad al-Hada accidentally killed himself while trying to throw a grenade in the course of a police chase in San'a. His family is part of a major al-Qa'ida cell. One of Hada's brothers-in-law was Khalid al-Midhar, a hijacker on the airliner that crashed into the Pentagon, and who participated in the crucial al-Qa'ida planning meeting in Malaysia in January 2000 together with suspects involved in the Cole bombing. Another brother-in-law is Mustafa 'Abd al-Qadir 'Abid al-Ansari, one of the seventeen terrorists named in the February 11, 2002 FBI alert. His father, Ahmad al-Hada, ran an al-Qa'ida communications switchboard for bin Ladin. The family lived openly in San'a.
Additionally, the FBI announced that a Yemeni fugitive wanted by German and U.S. authorities, Ramzi bin ash-Shibh, was meant to be the fifth hijacker on flight 93, the flight that crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. U.S. investigators have drawn up a list of some thirty-nine Yemenis wanted for questioning about their association with al-Qa'ida. Yemeni foreign minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi has indicated his government's intention to cooperate fully in the effort to track down these suspects. By January 2002, Yemeni authorities had located two key al-Qa'ida suspects: Salim Suniyan al-Harithi, believed to be a top al-Qa'ida operative in Yemen, and Muhammad Hamdi al-Ahdal, a suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole. Yemeni authorities were said to have given them the option of negotiating their surrender before resorting to "stern action to arrest them." As of late April, Harithi had reportedly escaped to a "neighboring state" while Ahdal remains at large in Yemen. In light of the large presence of al-Qa'ida operatives in Yemen, San'a's lack of central control over rebellious tribal enclaves, and the increased cooperation Yemen has demonstrated since September 11, the Pentagon has decided to send several hundred troops to train and arm the Yemenis. Under its "arm and assist" program, the Defense Department hopes to enable Yemeni authorities to crack down on the significant terrorist presence in the country. It remains to be seen whether effective cooperation with Yemen can be instituted on this level.
Jordan is another country where al-Qa'ida's presence has been endemic. Over the past couple of years, Jordan has foiled several al-Qa'ida terrorist operations, including plans to bomb Western hotels, border crossings with Israel, and tourist attractions such as Petra and Jesus' baptismal site on the Jordan River. While Ahmad Rassam was trying to smuggle explosives into the United States from Canada in December 1999, Ra'id Hijazi—a former Boston cab driver—and other al-Qa'ida terrorists were plotting a series of attacks in Jordan. Since September 11, Jordan has also reportedly made a series of arrests, including al-Qa'ida operatives planning new attacks against hotels in Amman, Aqaba, and Petra.
Musa'ab Zarqawi, a Jordanian al-Qa'ida operational commander living in Iran, was convicted in absentia by a Jordanian court for his role in the millennium plots. German authorities believe he is the commander of an Islamic extremist terrorist group operating in Germany called at-Tawhid. Eight members of the group were arrested April 23, 2002, based on what the chief German prosecutor described as "indications this cell had begun to plan attacks in Germany."
Saudi cooperation is particularly important, because the Saudis have a less-than-stellar history of law enforcement cooperation with the FBI. Investigations into the 1995 Saudi Arabian National Guard barracks bombing and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing were frustrating experiences for FBI investigators, who were denied the opportunity to interview suspects apprehended in the cases. According to James Kallstrom, former FBI assistant director in charge of the New York office, "It's been common knowledge that we have not gotten much help from the Saudis." The focus this time is on the financing of terrorist groups by Saudi nationals. In November 2001, a senior U.S. delegation went to Saudi Arabia to solicit greater cooperation in tackling terrorist financing. Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill visited again three months later, agreeing quietly to broach concerns regarding specific "humanitarian" organizations with Saudi officials before putting them on U.S. terrorist lists. The new tactic fits the mold of traditional U.S.-Saudi diplomacy and quickly bore fruit: the United States and Saudi governments jointly froze the accounts of the Bosnian and Somali offices of the Saudi-based al-Haramayn Humanitarian Organization just days later. Since then, however, U.S. officials have expressed concern over Saudi footdragging on sharing information related to Islamic charities—including the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) and its parent organization, the Muslim World League—suspected of financing terrorist organizations.
The Middle Eastern clients of the United States will always have their own agendas, and winning their cooperation will never be easy. Many have a history of acquiescing in the support activities of terrorists. Since September 11, the United States has made progress in eroding the culture of indifference that pervades governing circles, but much more remains to be done.
V. Leaning on Double-Dealers
If the war on terrorism has an exposed flank, it is undoubtedly those regimes in the Middle East that extend one hand to the United States and the other to terrorists. It is to this category of regimes that the United States has directed the message that "you are with us or against us"—precisely because they play a double-game.
Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is the prime example of this duplicity, which has a long history in the annals of Palestinian nationalism and in the biography of Yasir Arafat. It is the firm belief of the Palestinian leadership, and nearly all of Palestinian opinion, that Hizbullah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and other groups, are not terrorists. They are national resistance organizations comprised of freedom fighters, regardless of the means they employ.
The United States has tried to force a choice on the Palestinian leadership. In September 2001, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, referring to Yasir Arafat asserted, "you cannot help us with al-Qa'ida and hug Hizbullah—that's not acceptable—or Hamas." President Bush, after the early December Hamas attacks in Jerusalem and Haifa, stated that,
Chairman Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must immediately find and arrest those responsible for these hideous murders. They must also act swiftly and decisively against the organizations that support them. Now more than ever, Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must demonstrate through their actions and not merely their words their commitment to fight terror.
In a Thanksgiving 2001 speech delivered to army troops, President Bush said:
We fight the terrorists, and we fight all of those who give them aid. America has a message for the nations of the world: If you harbor a terrorist, you are a terrorist. If you feed a terrorist or fund a terrorist, you are a terrorist, and you will be held accountable by the United States and our friends.
But while the principle has been unequivocal, the practice has not. Certainly the PA fails Secretary O'Neill's common sense test: it supports terrorism, both implicitly and with complicity, in which "innocent people are being killed on the street." However, other U.S. concerns have watered down the principle in the Palestinian case, leading the United States to mince words in statements on Arafat and the PA. There is a glaring gap between rhetoric and reality in U.S. policy in the Palestinian case.
Lebanon. Until al-Qa'ida based itself in Afghanistan, Lebanon was the most active source of terrorism directed against Americans, and it remains a hospitable base of operations for terrorist groups, old and new.
As for the new, al-Qa'ida terrorists reportedly have connections in nests of terrorism like the 'Ayn al-Hilwa Palestinian refugee camp, where sympathetic groups provide al-Qa'ida members with shelter and support. Links between the Lebanese 'Usbat al-Ansar and al-Qa'ida are well-established, and Ziyad Samir Jarrah, one of the nineteen al-Qa'ida hijackers, was Lebanese.
Lebanon is also host to other veteran terrorist organizations, both homegrown and Palestinian. Of particular concern is the fact that the Lebanese government has left the south of the country to the Iranian-backed Hizbullah. By failing to deploy its armed forces in the south after the Israeli withdrawal, Lebanon has provided Hizbullah with a de facto territory of its own. Providing a terrorist group with this kind of freedom of movement and territorial control is particularly egregious in light of the experience of al-Qa'ida in Afghanistan.
Lebanon allows Hizbullah to run a television station in Beirut, called al-Manar, whose primary purpose—according to its Arabic-language website—is to conduct psychological warfare against Israel. In fact, a variety of terrorist groups use the station to claim responsibility for terrorist attacks, often airing footage of the attacks and the "living wills" of suicide bombers after their deaths. Al-Manar constitutes the most overt terrorist use of the televised medium anywhere.
Hizbullah continues to operate beyond Lebanon, in support of its activities in Lebanon. A Hizbullah cell was broken up in July 2000 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The cell was smuggling contraband cigarettes in a fundraising scheme and sending the proceeds back to Lebanon. Spanish authorities revealed that police broke up a fraud ring in the Canary Islands that may have been tied to Hizbullah and the pro-Syrian Shi'ite Amal movement. The cell appears to have been involved in arms trafficking and financing for the two movements.
Hizbullah, in collusion with Iran and Palestinian groups, has also tried to infiltrate Jordan. Jordan's King Abdullah met with President Bush on February 1, 2002, and presented his hosts with evidence that Iran sponsored no fewer than seventeen attempts to launch rockets and mortars at Israeli targets from Jordan. This was, according to the king, an Iranian plot aimed at undermining the Jordanian regime and opening a new front against Israel. He reportedly said that detained Hizbullah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorists had admitted that Iranian instructors at Hizbullah camps in Lebanon's Biqa' Valley trained, armed, and funded them.
Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hizbullah, said that if Arab states are "unable to give weapons to the Palestinians, then [they should] turn a blind eye to those doing it." And that is what has happened. According to evidence that State Department spokesman Richard Boucher called "compelling," Hizbullah played a central role in the attempted smuggling mission of the Karine-A weapons boat seized by the Israeli navy. Hizbullah has sent its own operatives to attempt terrorism inside Israel, as in the case of Shihab Rada (Gerhard) Schumann, a convert to Islam arrested in Israel in January 2001, on a Hizbullah-directed terrorist mission. Hizbullah has also established links with terrorist groups in the West Bank, Gaza, and among Israeli Arabs. For example, Hizbullah operatives working with Force 17 in Gaza reportedly directed small arms and mortar attacks against Israeli civilians in Gaza. Similarly, a Hizbullah operative recruited a terrorist cell of Israeli Arabs from the Galilee village of Abu Snan. Israeli authorities uncovered the cell as it planned kidnapping operations targeting Israeli soldiers.
Finally, Hizbullah operations commander 'Imad Mughniyah, included on the FBI "Most Wanted Terrorists" list for his role in the 1985 hijacking of TWA 847, is known to travel regularly between Lebanon and Iran by way of Damascus. While Lebanon and Syria claim to have no knowledge of Mughniyah's whereabouts, intelligence sources indicate that his travels are an open secret.
To date, the United States government has avoided designating Lebanon a state sponsor of terrorism, covering Lebanon under Syria's designation. Given the growing role played by Lebanon as a hub for terrorism, this approach is becoming an anomaly that undermines the credibility of stated U.S. policy. Afghanistan, it should be recalled, was never designated a state sponsor, on a technicality: the United States did not recognize the Taliban government. This decision is now widely regarded as a pedantic mistake. The listing of Lebanon should not be ruled out a priori, and in present circumstances should be under active consideration.
VI. Confronting Sponsors
Confronting state sponsors begins with naming them, and the State Department does that, by maintaining a list of state sponsors of terrorism. While denizens of the list got there at different times and for different reasons, the Arab Middle East is carefully watching whether U.S. policy toward any of them has changed since September 11. The inclusion of Iran in President Bush's "axis of evil" speech did send a strong signal, which has already produced small but positive domestic developments within Iran. But in the Arab Middle East, it has been contradicted by the omission of Syria.
Syria is a charter member of the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism and is subject to relevant bilateral economic sanctions. Successive U.S. administrations have acted on the supposition that the way to end Syrian support for terrorism is via a Syrian-Israeli peace treaty. Since the failed Clinton-Asad summit of March 2000, neither goal—ending Syrian terrorism or pursuing Syrian-Israeli peace—has been a high priority for the United States.
In this policy vacuum, Syrian support for terrorism has grown. A review of Syrian activity, even post-September 11, provides compelling evidence that the Asad regime remains an active sponsor of international terrorism, operating on many fronts and through many organizations. Indeed, of the seven state sponsors on the State Department's list, Syria rivals Iran for the most frenetic activity in support of terrorism.
According to the State Department, seven of the twenty-eight terrorist groups cited in Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 receive some level of sponsorship and support from Syria, and a number of "Specially Designated Terrorists," such as senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzuk and PIJ leader Ramadan 'Abdullah Shallah, coordinate terrorist activities and reside in Damascus. From these headquarters, these groups and leaders incite, recruit, train, coordinate, and direct terrorism. Since September 11, no fewer than five organizations—Hamas, PIJ, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Hizbullah—have undertaken operations, from suicide bombings to assassinations, resulting in the deaths of dozens of civilians and an Israeli cabinet minister.
Syria is also a hub of weapons smuggling. In December, for example, Jordan's state security court opened the trial of three Islamists accused of smuggling weapons secured from Syria to the West Bank for attacks on Israelis. Two other defendants remain at large, including 'Abd al-Muti Abu Miliq, a Palestinian with Syrian travel documents who was sentenced to fifteen years with hard labor in absentia in the September 2000 trial of twenty-eight Islamists plotting terrorist attacks around the turn of the millennium. And recently, an Israeli court unsealed indictments against five Druze residents of the Golan who were caught smuggling claymore roadside bombs and hand grenades across the Israeli-Syrian border. The weapons, bearing operating instructions for achieving maximum casualties and damage to "people and vehicles," were to be delivered to the West Bank.
A senior CIA official is reported to have visited Damascus in October, where a meeting was held with Syrian intelligence officials to discuss the U.S. investigation of al-Qa'ida, and Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated that the Syrians "have said and done some things, and have cooperated with us recently." On November 23, the Syrian Human Rights Organization issued a communiqué revealing that a few weeks before, Syrian security forces in the town of Dayr az-Zur arrested four Syrians and an unspecified number of foreigners who were affiliated with bin Ladin.
But the Syrian connections of al-Qa'ida may go much deeper. German and U.S. authorities want a Syrian-born businessman, Ma'mun Darkazanli, for his role in the Hamburg al-Qa'ida cell that planned and provided logistical support for the September 11 attacks. Darkazanli reportedly controlled a Hamburg bank account linked to al-Qa'ida and was an associate of some of the hijackers. Another Syrian-born al-Qa'ida associate, 'Imad ad-Din Barakat Yarkas, was a key figure in the al-Qa'ida cell exposed in Spain. Two Syrians suspected of playing key roles in the al-Qa'ida financial network were also arrested in Spain. Additionally, Muhammad Atta, the ringleader of the hijacking plot, reportedly traveled to the Syrian city of Aleppo at least twice in the 1990s. It remains to be seen whether the Damascus regime will cooperate fully in unraveling al-Qa'ida connections to Syrians and Syria.
In the meantime, the United States continues to mix its signals toward Syria. The wording of President Bush's September 20 declaration—"From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime" (emphasis added)—implicitly offered state sponsors a virtual amnesty for previous actions, should they jettison the terrorist option and join fully in the campaign to stamp it out. This message was reinforced vis-à-vis the Syrian case when the United States did not oppose Syria's election to the world's elite security club, the United Nations Security Council, one week later.
Syria is the most blatant example of the failure of the United States to make the principle of "with us or against us" an operational one. As long as Syria maneuvers in the gray area where it feels most comfortable, other Arab regimes will reckon that they can do the same.
So Who's Winning?
In this overview of the war on terrorism in its first year, it is clear that there have been successes and failures. The United States has made impressive progress in identifying the threat, in routing the Taliban, and in rallying its allies in Europe. These victories, large and small, have reduced the likelihood of a repeat of September 11. The United States has also had some success in inducing Middle Eastern states to cooperate in its efforts to break up al-Qa'ida.
But terrorism has continued to flourish, precisely because the United States has not found a formula to induce cooperation by the recalcitrant regimes that have been the habitual hosts and fomenters of terrorism. In November, President Bush made this veiled threat:
In this world, there are good causes and bad causes, and we may disagree on where the line is drawn. Yet, there is no such thing as a good terrorist. No national aspiration, no remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent. Any government that rejects this principle, trying to pick and choose its terrorist friends, will know the consequences.
Alas, at this moment, not only do governments that pick and choose not know the consequences, the administration does not seem to know them either. This is the exposed flank in the war on terrorism, and it is precisely here that the remnants of al-Qa'ida are likely to regroup, alongside other terrorist groups. The lesson of September 11 is a variation of Murphy's law: anyplace where terrorism is tolerated, it will flourish. There are still too many such places on the map. The war on terrorism must target all individuals, organizations, groups, and states engaged in supporting or conducting acts of terrorism, including, but not limited to, al-Qa'ida.
To make sure that the other September shoe doesn't drop—on America—the emphasis in the next phase must shift to all terrorist groups, to designated state sponsors, such as Syria and Iran, and to sponsors not (yet) designated such as Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. This is not consistency for its own sake—rarely a virtue in a great power. It is consistency for the sake of the national and personal security of all Americans.
"The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it," wrote George Orwell. Americans should be wary of early declarations of victory. The United States has won several important battles since September 11. Perhaps the most decisive battles are yet to come.
Matthew A. Levitt, a former FBI counterterrorism intelligence analyst, is senior fellow in terrorism studies at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Ehud Waldoks and Seth Wikas assisted with this article.
 Bruce Hoffman, "Terrorism and Counterterrorism after September 11," U.S. Foreign Policy Agenda, U.S. Departmentof State, Nov. 14, 2001, at http://usinfo.state.gov/journals/itps/1101/ijpe/pj63hoffman.htm.
 Brian Michael Jenkins, "International Terrorism: A New Mode of Conflict," in David Carlton and Carlo Shaerf, eds., International Terrorism and World Security (London: Croom Helm, 1975), p. 15.
 Nevertheless, Palestinian groups are increasingly likely to attack Western targets if the international community increases its role on the ground. The PFLP, for example, placed an explosive device at the entrance to the British Council building in Gaza City on May 1, 2002. The claim of responsibility cited the British involvement in the civilian Anglo-American observer group overseeing the imprisonment of five PFLP terrorists responsible for the assassination of an Israeli minister and a senior PA official behind the Karine-A smuggling ship. The Evening Standard (London), May 2, 2002; Associated Press, May 4, 2002.
 The Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2001.
 President George Bush, address to Congress, Sept. 20, 2001, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8.html.
 Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Department of Defense news briefing, Nov. 30, 2001, at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Nov2001/t11302001_t1130sd.html.
 "Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War against Terrorism," presidential military order, Nov. 13, 2001, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011113-27.html.
 Remarks by President George Bush, Attorney General Richard Ashcroft, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and FBI director Robert Mueller, FBI headquarters, Oct. 10, 2001, at http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/speeches.
 FBI's "Most Wanted Terrorists" list, at http://www.fbi.gov/mostwant/terrorists/fugitives.htm.
 Remarks by President Bush, Oct. 10, 2001, at http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/speeches.
 Initial reports that Abu Anas al-Libi, wanted in connection with the East Africa embassy bombings, was captured in Libya proved erroneous. The man seized in Libya is another terrorist with a similar name. Al-Qa'ida leader Abu Zubayda, apprehended by U.S. agents in northern Pakistan on March 28, 2002, was not on the FBI list.
 FBI director Louis J. Freeh, statement before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies, Washington, D.C., Feb. 4, 1999, at http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress99/freehct2.htm.
 "U.S.-EU Designation of Terrorist Financiers Fact Sheet," U.S. Department of Treasury, at http://treas.gov/press/releases/po3070.htm.
 Juan C. Zarate, deputy assistant secretary for terrorism and violent crime, testimony before the House Financial Subcommittee Oversight and Investigations of U.S. Department of the Treasury, Feb. 12, 2002, at http://financialservices.house.gov/media/pdf/021202jz.pdf.
 Matthew Levitt, "Navigating the U.S. Government's Terrorist Lists," PolicyWatch, no. 585, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Washington, D.C., Nov. 30, 2001, at http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/watch/Policywatch/policywatch2001/585.htm.
 One CIA operative, Mike Spann, was killed in the Mazar-e-Sharif prison revolt just moments after interviewing Johnnie Walker Lindh. Lindh, an American who fought for the Taliban, is awaiting trial in Virginia on charges of conspiracy to kill nationals of the United States and for providing material support to the foreign terrorist organizations al-Qa'ida and Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM) as well as the Taliban. United States of America v. John Phillip Walker Lindh, Department of Justice, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria division, at http://www.justice.gov/ag/2ndindictment.htm.
 Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill, Dubai, Mar. 8, 2002, at http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/02031204.htm.
 "Department of Justice Shuts down Several Financial Networks Exploited by Terrorist Groups," Office of the Attorney General, Nov. 7, 2001, at http://www.usdoj.gov/ag/speeches/2001/agcrisisremarks11_07.htm.
 Donald Rumsfeld, remarks welcoming military representatives of counties in the worldwide coalition against terrorism, Mar. 11, 2002, at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Mar2002/t03112002_t0311co.html.
 Agence France-Presse, Feb. 10, 2002.
 The Washington Post, Apr. 15, 2002.
 Associated Press, Oct. 15, 2001.
 The Guardian (London), Oct. 2, 2001; and "Investigating Terror," CNN Presents, Oct. 20, 2001, transcript #102000CN.V79.
 Agence France-Presse, Sept. 29, 2001.
 Sunday Telegraph Daily Telegraph (London), Sept. 16, 2001.
 The Washington Post, Nov. 18, 2001.
 Ibid., Nov. 28, 2001
 Ibid., Nov. 15, 2001.
 Associated Press, Jan. 29, 2001.
 Associated Press, Jan. 29, 2001.
 Yemen Times, Apr. 22, 2002.
 The Guardian (London), Nov. 23, 2001.
 The New York Times, Apr. 26, 2002.
 Financial Times, Apr. 24, 2002.
 The Boston Globe, Mar. 3, 2002.
 Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill, remarks on new U.S.-Saudi Arabia terrorist financing designations, Mar. 11, 2002, at http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/po1086.htm.
 United Press International, Mar. 21, 2002.
 National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, press briefing, Nov. 8, 2001, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011108-4.html.
 Agence France-Presse, Dec. 2, 2001.
 President Bush, remarks to troops and families, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Nov. 21, 2001, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011121-3.html.
 USA Today, Feb. 4, 2002.
 Al-Manar's website at http://www.almanar.com.lb.
 FBI director Louis J. Freeh, statement before the Senate committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, and Select Committee on Intelligence, Washington, D.C., May 10, 2001, http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress01/freeh051001.htm.
 The Washington Post, Nov. 21, 2001.
 Secretary of State Colin Powell, testimony to House International Relations Committee, Feb. 6, 2002, at http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/intlrel/hfa77532.000/hfa77532_0f.htm; Ha'aretz, Feb. 5, 2002, Mar. 5, 2002.
 Lebanese Hizbullah television, Mar. 17, 2002, BBC Monitoring International Reports, Mar. 17, 2002.
 Richard Boucher, State Department regular briefing, Feb. 11, 2002, at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2002/7949.htm.
 Ha'aretz, Mar. 5, 2002.
 Reuters, Feb. 20, 2002.
 Associated Press, Nov. 29, 2000.
 Ray Takeyh, "Iran: Scared Straight?" PolicyWatch, no. 622, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, May 3, 2002, at http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/watch/Policywatch/policywatch2002/622.htm.
 Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000 (Washington: United States Department of State, Apr. 2001), at http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/pgtrpt/2000/.
 The Democratic Front was removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list with the publication of Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999 after a long period of inactivity and a public reconciliation with Arafat and the PA. In the wake of a series of attacks, including a suicide attack on August 25, 2001, the group clearly warrants being added to the list once again.
 Jordan Times, Dec. 25, 2001, Mar. 12, 2002.
 Ha'aretz, Jan. 9, 2002; "ISA Uncovers Golan Weapons Infiltration," press release, office of the Israeli prime minister, Jan. 9, 2002.
 The New York Times, Jan. 14, 2002; "Syria's Cooperation with the U.S. in Its War against Terrorism," arabicnews.com, Oct. 29, 2001, at http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/011029/2001102906.html.
 At http://www.menewsline.com/stories/2001/november/11_23_4.html.
 The Washington Post, Sept. 27, 2001.
 The New York Times, Nov. 20, 2001.
 The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 24, 2002.
 Bush, address to Congress, Sept. 20, 2001, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8.html.
 President George Bush, remarks to the United Nations General Assembly, Nov. 10, 2001, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/11/print/20011110-3.html.