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Last week U.S. intelligence agencies received information that
terrorists were planning to bomb New York, Washington, D.C., and
Seattle. According to foreign intelligence sources, various terrorist
groups are on the move. Previously, on Dec. 14, U.S. officials
apprehended Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian, at a Canadian border crossing.
Officials say Ressam was attempting to transport explosives (or “bomb
parts”) past a border checkpoint near Seattle. Another Algerian,
identified as Mustafa Roubici, was arrested at a Vermont border
crossing. No actual explosives or weapons were found in the Vermont
case, but special dogs detected the odor of explosives and weapons in
the back seat and trunk of the vehicle.

It is believed that Ressam and Roubici belong to a terrorist
organization called the Armed Islamic Group, which has carried out
attacks in Algeria and France. It is said that the Armed Islamic Group
is connected with Osama bin Laden. According to U.S. officials, bin
Laden masterminded the Aug. 7, 1998 bombings at the U.S. embassies in
Kenya and Tanzania. In response to those bombings the United States
launched air strikes against targets in Sudan and Afghanistan, where bin
Laden operates business enterprises and has base camps (respectively).
Osama bin Laden now lives in Afghanistan, but Afghan officials claim he
is disarmed and poses no threat. This is doubtful,
however, since last week 13 terrorists were arrested in Jordan. They had
just come from Afghanistan where they undoubtedly met with bin Laden.

To better understand who bin Laden is, and how the present Islamic
terror network originated, it is important to start with the first
organizers of it. In the mid-1980s PLO leader Yasser Arafat — a client
of East European Communists — began employing Islamic terminology in
his speeches. Combining Leninist and Islamic phrases, Arafat spoke of
the Arab revolution and “the will of Allah” in a single breath. A man
utterly without religion, Arafat recognized the advantage in hijacking
sincere Islamic believers to the cause of Moscow-sponsored international
terror. Khalil al-Wazir, PLO military chief at the time, brought about a
secret alliance in Jordan between the Jordanian branch of the Muslim
Brotherhood and the Marxist Cells (a secret Communist organization
within Jordan). In fact, the PLO set up joint training camps for young
Communists and Muslims who would be sent to fight the Soviets in
Afghanistan.

Fight the Soviets in Afghanistan?

One has to learn to think deviously in order to understand the
politics of South Asia and the Middle East. The Kremlin’s allies in the
Middle East helped to build an all-Arab mujahideen fighting force. This
force was then sent to Pakistan for advanced training, then entered the
fighting in Afghanistan. This force included members of the Egyptian
Takfir wa-al-Hijra, the group responsible for assassinating President
Anwar Sadat. Accomplished under Islamic colors, the assassination of
Sadat was much desired by Moscow. After all, the courageous Arab leader
had kicked the Russians out of Egypt and made peace with Israel. If one
looks at the alliance between these early Islamic fanatics and the
Communists, one cannot help being amazed. Communism is pure atheism –
totally opposed to all religious belief; and yet, the Communists saw fit
to support, train and infiltrate the most fanatical Islamic groups.

The penetration and exploitation of radical Islam by Moscow is
nothing new. Those who have not studied the Afghan war, who do not know
Russian tactics up close, probably do not realize that the Kremlin
typically creates and controls its own opposition. In that way, enemies
can be maneuvered more easily into traps. Agents of influence can
thereby be promoted from the enemy ranks. In fact, the Russians played
the Afghan war not so much to destroy all Islamic forces in South Asia,
but to destroy the Islamic forces Moscow could not otherwise control
through agent networks and the lure of drug trafficking.

Russian involvement in radical Islam has a long history. On Nov. 20,
1979, the Grand Mosque in Mecca was seized by a highly trained unit of
1,500 men. This uprising was very dangerous, and posed a grave threat to
the Saudi monarchy. Most of the unit had been trained in two Soviet
client states, Libya and South Yemen. Their training instructors had
been East German Communists and Cubans. The unit that seized the Grand
Mosque was partly commanded by Communists, despite its overtly Islamic
pronouncements. In fact, Juhayman ibn-Muhammad ibn-Sayf al-Utaibi, who
led the rebellion at the Grand Mosque declared himself a “mahdi”
(messiah). After an initial firefight Juhayman delivered a sermon,
denouncing corruption and inciting militants throughout Saudi Arabia to
storm government buildings and bring the monarchy to an end. If the
Saudi monarchy had collapsed, the overt government would have been
Islamic and fundamentalist. But this government,
guided by East German and Cuban advisors, would have been under Moscow’s
thumb.

Although it is impossible to say with any certainty, the revolution
in Iran may have been led by Soviet agents. According to Yossef
Bodansky, author of a newly released book on Osama bin Laden, the Soviet
KGB actively supported the Iranian group that seized the U.S. Embassy
and took 63 Americans hostage in November 1979. Bodanksy is currently
the director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and
Unconventional Warfare. He is also director of research of the
International Strategic Studies Association. More than three months ago
Bodansky reported that Osama bin Laden may have acquired up to 20
suitcase nuclear bombs from Russia, smuggled to him by Chechen rebels.
Also according to Bodansky, bin Laden was looking to hire former Russian
spetsnaz commandos who knew how to operate suitcase nuclear bombs.

Is bin Laden preparing a nuclear strike against America?

There is no way an “independent” terrorist could freely acquire such
a large number of nuclear weapons and also secure the help of Russian
specialists without being in secret collusion with the Kremlin. Evidence
of bin Laden’s collusion with the Russians is only indirect, but
Bodansky tells
us that during the crisis in Somalia, when bin Laden was organizing the
armed forces that later killed 18 and wounded 78 American soldiers near
the Mogadishu airport, bin Laden had tapped former Afghan Communist
pilots to fly special re-supply missions into Somalia. You would think
that any
self-respecting Islamic fighter would not employ the services of
Russian-trained Communist pilots, men who flew supplies into DRA
(Democratic Republic of Afghanistan) bases during the Afghan war. But
bin Laden has a number of curious links to Moscow’s side of the Afghan
coin.

Osama bin Laden participated in a suspicious battle fought against
the DRA in 1989. It was the so-called battle of Jalalabad. In this
battle wave after wave of mujahideen were sent to their deaths against
Communist fortifications. Rob Shultheis, in his moving book, “Night
Letters: Inside Wartime Afghanistan,” was on the road from Jalalabad and
saw the trucks loaded with dead Afghan bodies. One vehicle passed him on
the road, and it was fully loaded with slaughtered Afghan commanders.

This disaster, of course, was arranged by Russian agents within the
mujahideen leadership. Agents like Gulbaddin Hekmatiyar, a notorious
mujahideen drug trafficker who, according to Bodanksy, spent much of the
war betraying Afghan resistance groups to the Soviets. Hekmatiyar was
nonetheless recognized by our stupid CIA as a genuine freedom fighter.
Given Bodanksy’s information, we know that bin Laden worked with
Hekmatiyar, who later became prime minister of Afghanistan. Drug
trafficking, of course, is Moscow’s main weapon of penetration and
subversion worldwide. Eventually Hekmatiyar’s cover was blown when a
Russian cargo plane was forced down near Kandahar. It was laden with 3.5
million rounds of ammunition — from Russia with love — for
Hekmatiyar’s troops. When he was driven from power by the Taliban,
Hekmatiyar fled north, toward the “former” Soviet frontier. This is the
sort of double game many in the mujahideen played during the Afghan war.

Is bin Laden a sincere believer in Allah?

If we look at Osama bin Laden’s early years, we do not find a
dedicated Muslim. His conversion happened suddenly, and curiously. In
his youth bin Laden liked to go to Beirut to drink and womanize. Was he
– a prominent Saudi youth — recruited by Soviet agents in Lebanon in
the 1970s?

There is no way of telling what bin Laden’s true allegiances are. The
terrorist world is a “wilderness of mirrors.” But as the United States
braces itself for a possible terrorist event, we should all be aware
that Moscow could be the ultimate behind-the-scenes mastermind. We have
to remember that Osama bin Laden was among those who blamed the
slaughter at Jalalabad on America. He did not think to blame Communist
agents within the mujahideen. He was connected to Hekmatiyar. He worked
with the Arab mujahideen which had suspicious connections to the radical
left. And, according to Bodansky, he has worked closely with the
Russian-trained Iraqi intelligence service. Given the diversionary and
strategic importance of terrorist attacks in setting up a nuclear first
strike by Russia, America’s vigilance must be many-sided when it comes
to the bin Laden terror threat.

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