Understanding the Global Terror Network


Make things
as simple as possible, but no simpler.” – Albert Einstein
spate of attacks by Islamic fundamentalist groups in recent days have shocked
us. These attacks shock us and cause immense sadness. How can anyone not
sympathize with the innocent victims and their families? They also fill us with
rage. How could such dastardly acts be committed, by whom and most importantly
how can such acts be stopped in future? However, it is important to resist the
urge to latch on to simplistic answers which a highly successful propaganda
machinery and ample bigotry which surrounds us, throw at us. Such answers play
into the hands of those who are actually responsible for such a state of

roots of this madness go back 60 to 70 years. In the post World War II era,
newly independent Arab States were filled with hope of a better, modern future
outside of colonial influence, in solidarity with other newly independent
countries and the non-aligned movement and based on a secular progressive
agenda. But this was a threat to US and Western powers and their goal of
control over oil as these Republics sought to nationalize oil production to use
the profits to benefit their own people and not Western corporations. Also, as
workers and socialist movements made inroads in to the Arab World, the US
looked for ways to curb the spread of socialism here. It was also a threat to
the Saudi Monarchy which saw the idea of Secular Republics as an existential
threat to itself. And hence an alliance was born between the Saudis and the
West which continues to this date to put an end to the “dangerous”
idea of Secular Republican Arab Nationalism by propagating an obscure virulent
form of Islamic fanaticism. This is one of the main pillars of US foreign
policy for the Middle East. The other pillar of US policy in the Middle East
has been its unrelenting support for Israel’s continuing occupation of
Palestinian territories in complete violation of international law and many United
Nations resolutions. The brutal siege of Gaza, arbitrary arrests and the
detention of thousands of Palestinians in West Bank and Israel without trials,
targeted assassinations and periodic full fledged wars including aerial bombing
referred to as “mowing the lawn” by Israeli officials show Israel’s total
contempt for international law and the US support for it.
earliest regime change manoeuvre in the Middle East was in Iran. The
democratically elected Govt of Mossadegh was toppled in 1953 by a CIA backed
coup. Mossadegh had sought to nationalize Iranian Oil. In his place, the hated
Shah Monarchy was put in place. Egypt’s President and one of the most prominent
voices of Arab Nationalism and Non-Aligned Movement, Nasser was sought to be
eliminated by the US by using the British “Islamist game” of supporting radical
Islamists in order to undermine popular secular governments and contain the
spread of socialist and communist movements. Robert Dreyfuss, author of “Devil’s
Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam
”, pointed
out that there was ample evidence tying the leadership of the Muslim
Brotherhood directly to the CIA:
then [1954], the group’s chief international organizer and best-known official
, the son-in-law of Hassan al-Banna (founder of Muslim
Brotherhood). Ramadan had come to the attention of both the CIA and MI-6, the
British intelligence service. In researching my book …I came across an unusual
photograph that showed Ramadan with President Eisenhower in the Oval Office. By
then, or soon after, Ramadan had likely been recruited as a CIA agent. Wall
Street Journal
reporter Ian Johnson has since documented the close
ties between Ramadan and various Western intelligence services … Johnson
writes: ‘By the end of the decade, the CIA was overtly backing Ramadan.’”
supported Ramadan as he took over a mosque in Munich, kicking out local Muslims
to build what would become one of the Brotherhood’s important centers. Both
Mahmud Abouhalima, the man convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and
Muhammad Atta, the man who flew the first plane into the World Trade Center on
9/11 2001 were linked to this very church in Munich.

In 1961, Ramadan created
the Islamic Center of Geneva, which would serve for decades as the base and
organizational headquarters for the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. This was only
the beginning for Said Ramadan. With Saudi Arabia’s funding and blessing he
started an organization called the World Muslim League in 1962. It still exists
today. It is funded and controlled by Saudi Arabia. It exports Wahhabism to all
the countries where it has a presence. One would see an amazing correlation
between places where WML has its offices (like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia,
Philippines, etc.) and places which are current hot-beds of Islamic fanaticism.
All this information is readily available in the public domain. However, Saudi
continues to be one of the closest allies of the US till date. The US has
effected regime change in country after country in the name of its War on
Terror. Yet it continues to ally, fund and arm Saudi Arabia.
Nasser’s death, Egypt was co-opted by the Americans by effectively giving its
military an annual bribe of $1 Billion since the 1970s.
Iranians overthrew the Shah Monarchy and established an Islamic Republic in
1979. This posed a challenge to both US and Saudi Arabia. The new Republic
needed to be punished for daring to topple the US puppet Shah regime. For the
paranoid Saudi Monarchy, the concept of an Islamic “Republic” called into
question their own raison d’être. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was then bankrolled by
the US-Saudi Alliance to start a war against Iran. He used chemical weapons
against the Iranians which resulted in more than 100,000 deaths. Declassified
documents [1] show that the Americans knew about these attacks but
still continued to support Saddam. Interestingly, Saddam was an American friend
when he used weapons of Mass destruction but became an enemy and Iraq was
invaded in 2003 when he didn’t possess any such weapons. Another interesting
part of this story is when Iran was getting attacked with chemical weapons,
their supreme leader – Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa that the use of such
weapons was un-Islamic and so Iran never retaliated with chemical warfare. So,
the “greatest democracy on earth” sanctioned the use of Chemical weapons
while a Muslim Mullah ruled out its use even as a defensive move.
provided the first major opportunity for large scale use of these Islamic
Terror Groups for regime change. The US poured in billions of dollars, training
and provided logistical support to the “Mujahideen” (Jihad Warriors) in
Afghanistan in a US-supported jihad against the Soviet Union. Saudi Arabia
exported its own disgruntled youth indoctrinated with Wahhabi fanaticism to
fight the Holy Wars in far off lands, the youth who may have otherwise challenged
the oppressive Saudi Monarchy at home. Among the “Holy Warriors” who left Saudi
Arabia to fight in Afghanistan was one Osama Bin Laden, one of the sons of the
wealthy Bin Laden family, intimately connected to the Saudi Monarchy.
Jimmy Carter’s National
Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted
the U.S. organized and supported Bin Laden and the
other originators of “Al Qaeda” in the 1970s
to fight the Soviets. 
Brzezinski told the
We know of their deep
belief in god – that they’re confident that their struggle will succeed. That
land over – there is yours – and you’ll go back to it some day, because your
fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes, your mosques, back again,
because your cause is right, and god is on your side.

British Foreign
Secretary, Robin Cook, wrote that Al Qaeda was unquestionably a product of
Western intelligence agencies.[3] Mr. Cook explained that Al Qaeda,
which literally means an abbreviation of “the database” in Arabic, was
originally the computer database of the thousands of Islamist extremists, who
were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis, in order to defeat the
Russians in Afghanistan.

The extent of American
indoctrination for the Jihad can be inferred from a Washington Post article in 2002.[4]
The United States spent
millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with
violent images and militant Islamic teachings ….
The primers, which were
filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and
mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum.
Even the Taliban used the American-produced books ….

the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US sought to project itself as
the sole superpower and redraw the map of the Arab World. In the late 90s,
before 9/11, a neo-conservative think tank – Project for the New American
Century (PNAC) issued a draft calling for regime changes in countries like
Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and other countries.[5] Many of the signatories
of this document went on to hold important positions in the Bush
Administration. Post 9/11, US used the ruse of “War against Terror” to effect
regime change in country after country. Destroying working states and funding
extreme elements like Al Qaeda in Libya, ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In this Regime
Change doctrine, the US and Saudi Arabia funded and armed extreme Islamist
groups to fight the regimes which were targeted to be changed and then to
control the countries which had been rendered stateless.
such regime change would completely destroy the country – its infrastructure,
state machinery and produce inhuman living conditions for vast majority of the
population in these countries. It is these soulless conditions, this
hopelessness which would provide fertile ground for recruiting the next set of
“Holy Warriors”.
Ambassador Joe Wilson wrote to Hillary Clinton in a confidential cable.[6]
My trip to Baghdad (September 6-11) has left me slack jawed. I have
struggled to find the correct historical analogy to describe a vibrant,
historically important Middle Eastern city being slowly bled to death. Berlin
and Dresden in World War II were devastated but they and their populations were
not subjected to seven years of occupation that included ethnic cleansing,
segregation of people by religious identity, and untold violence perpetrated
upon them by both military and private security services. I have not been to
Gaza but suspect that the dehumanizing effects are somewhat similar. The
occupation and especially the walling off of neighborhoods have destroyed the
very fabric of the urban society.
such conditions, with the state machinery destroyed post regime change, the
invading US backed Western forces would seek to regain control by funding the
worst, most extreme Islamic fundamentalist groups.

Secular Arab Republics had a contract with their own people. These regimes
would provide a basic living standard to its people through state support and
in return the people had no political rights. Over time this contract got
violated with oil price shocks, increasing neoliberalism and cronyism, the
state support decreased and people grew increasingly frustrated. Given the lack
of political and democratic rights there was no outlet to vent out this
frustration. In early 2011, a series of people’s revolts erupted across the
Arab world in what has come to be known as the Arab Spring. This set the stage
for the next set of US led Western interventions in the Arab World. US sought
to curb the revolts in Tunisia & Egypt. Saudi troops crushed the rebellion
in Bahrain. But these protests were used as a pretext to implement regime
change in countries such as Libya and Syria. For those interested, Vijay
Prashad’s excellent book “The Death of
the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution
” analyses the events
around and post Arab Spring in great detail.[7]
Blumenthal, close adviser to the Clintons and Hillary Clinton’s unofficial
intelligence gatherer, wrote a since declassified intelligence email to the
former US Secretary of State.[8] The email identified French
President Nicholas Sarkozy as leading the attack on Libya with five specific
purposes in mind: to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence in the region,
increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically, assert French military power, and
to prevent Gaddafi’s influence in what is considered “Francophone Africa.”
Further the email confirmed what has become a well-known theme of Western
supported insurgencies in the Middle East: the contradiction of special forces
training militias that are simultaneously suspected of links to Al Qaeda.
Blumenthal relates that “an extremely sensitive source” confirmed that British,
French, and Egyptian special operations units were training Libyan militants
along the Egyptian-Libyan border, as well as in Benghazi suburbs. Blumenthal
further voiced concern about the very militias these Western Special Forces
were training because of “radical/terrorist groups such as the Libyan
Fighting Groups and Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are infiltrating the
NLC and its military command.
and its neighbour Tunisia, with which Libya has a porous border, have since
become major recruiting grounds for ISIS. Many ISIS operatives move about
freely in Libya and through the porous border into neighbouring Tunisia.
the Gaddafi regime was toppled in Libya, the US set its eyes on toppling the
Assad regime in Syria. While the Obama talked about crossing of Red Lines as a
pretext for regime change, the real reason was to contain the old nemesis of US
and Saudi Arabia – Iran which ironically had got more powerful as its enemies
on the West (Saddam Hussein) and on the East (Taliban) were taken out by US
invasions. The Assad regime was close to Iran and toppling it was seen as a way
to contain Iran. Respected investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote of a
CIA “rat line”[9] of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the
Syrian rebels. A declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August
2012, effectively welcomed the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern
Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq.[10]
In stark contrast to western claims at the time, the document identified
Al-Qaida in Iraq (which became ISIS) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces
driving the insurgency in Syria” and stated that “western countries, the Gulf
states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of
eastern Syria. It is now well established that the US, Saudi and Qataris
funded, armed and provided logistical support to fanatical groups such as
Al-Nursa and Al-Qaida which went on to become the ISIS. NATO Ally, Turkey
opened its borders with Syria for Jihadists to fly in from Libya, Tunisia,
Chechnya and other parts of the world to Turkish airports like Mardin, cross
the border and join ISIS to fight the Syrian Govt. While ISIS oil flowed into
Turkey to be sold on the black market. The US and its allies turned a blind eye
as these groups committed horrific crimes against women and minorities &
religious “others” such as Shia Muslims, Yazidis, Alawites, Christians, etc.
Anyone who opposed them or didn’t live up to their most barbaric laws was fair
game for beheadings and cruellest punishments.
is only after the ISIS went “overboard” by publicly beheading Westerners,
threating Bagdad and announcing an Islamic Caliphate which would include all
Islamic countries including Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries that they
became the “bad guys” and US started attacking ISIS. Even then it was the
Russian entry into Syria in support of the Assad regime which forced the US to
finally get serious about hammering the ISIS.
discussion on the Global War on Terror would be incomplete without also
understanding its effects on the US domestically. This perpetual low intensity
war is great for US military-industrial complex which wields enormous amounts
of political power in the US. In a world where capitalism is facing an acute
shortage of demand globally, you can just funnel enormous amounts of people’s
money into Military, Defence, Security, IT and Reconstruction sectors. Its
public knowledge that US spends more on defence than next 10 or so countries
combined or that Halliburton (which had Vice President Dick Cheney on its
board) got no bid contracts for Iraq reconstruction projects. For most big name
IT companies US Military, Homeland Security, etc. are huge customers. Normally,
this money should go to people’s welfare. However, US healthcare is one of the
worst in developed world, Education standards are falling, road infrastructure
is not what it used to be. So, how do you justify this to your people, while
funnelling huge amounts of money to rich white folks on Wall Street? By keeping
them very scared about terrorism and through fanning the flames of Islamophobic

each terror attack, we see an outpouring of sympathy and messages of solidarity
with the victims. We also hear calls for Muslims to take “personal
responsibility” and for all Muslims to condemn the terror attacks, as if the
vast majority of Muslims have anything to do with the terror attacks. We hear
calls for reform movement within Islam. This is indicative of the rampant
Islamophobia in society and the complete success of the propaganda machinery of
US led Western Imperialism. Such calls are clearly misguided since they seek to
blame the victims rather than the real source of such Terror Networks. In such
a bleak world is there any reason for hope? Imperialism has now ravaged the
world for the last 500 years. Yet there also have been astonishing victories in
the fight against Imperialism. The post war period saw a wave of anti-colonial
struggles successfully overthrow colonial rule. Similarly, Latin America was in
the US stranglehold and a laboratory for Neoliberalism. In the 1970s, CIA
backed coups installed brutal military dictatorships in many Latin American
countries which oversaw violent elimination and mass killings of the civil
society and Left activists in those countries. And yet, Latin America has seen
a resurgent wave of Leftist Govts come to power in country after country which
have managed to take Latin America out of the US stranglehold. Clearly, given
its oil resources, the Middle East is especially precious to US led Western
Imperialism. However, the only way to fight these Imperialist Terror Networks
is for people the world over, including in the US and the West, to organize
people’s and workers’ movements which can provide hope to the people for a
better future. It is through these struggles for better living and working
conditions, a people’s unity can be built to tackle such powerful forces.
History has shown that only such people’s movement have been capable of taking
the fight and beating back Imperialism. I conclude with Rosa Luxemburg’s prophetic
words written 100 years back: “Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads,
either transition to Socialism or regression into Barbarism.”
Cook, Robin (8 July 2005). “The struggle against terrorism cannot be won
by military means” https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/jul/08/july7.development
Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway, “From U.S., the ABC’s of Jihad: Violent
Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts,” Washington Post,
March 23, 2002
PNAC, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces, and Resources
For a New Century” https://web.archive.org/web/20130817122719/http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf
Zaid Jilani, “Joe Wilson to Hillary Clinton in 2010: Baghdad “Has Been Bled to
Death” https://theintercept.com/2016/03/02/joe-wilson-to-hillary-clinton-in-2010-baghdad-has-been-bled-to-death/
Vijay Prashad, “The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution” http://mayday.leftword.com/book/the-death-of-the-nation-and-the-future-of-the-arab-revolution/9789380118369/
Brad Hoff, “Hillary Emails Reveal True Motive for Libya Intervention,” http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/01/06/new-hillary-emails-reveal-true-motive-for-libya-intervention/
Seymour M. Hersh, “The Red Line and the Rat Line”. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line