As global security experts and policy-makers continue to consider which nations are arming and aiding global terrorist groups, some
are increasingly suspicious of the Asian giant – the People’s Republic of China.
“If you look at the Chinese strategy book, ‘Unrestricted Warfare,’ they talk about using terrorism and drug dealing as means by which to defeat the United States,” Al Santoli, an Asian military and security expert as well as national security adviser to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., told WorldNetDaily.
Chinese leaders haven’t “come right out and said they were doing so, but they’ve talked about people like bin Laden as one of their heroes,” Santoli said. “You can see by their relationship with the Taliban that China is not averse to dealing with terrorists. Also, China is the primary military ally of Pakistan, a country that is the benefactor of the Taliban and bin Laden.”
Richard D. Fisher Jr., a senior fellow at The Jamestown Foundation, a non-partisan Russia and Asia think tank, agreed that “Unrestricted Warfare” was a tome well-respected by China’s military and political hierarchy.
“There are elements in the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) who admire the tactics of Osama bin Laden,” Fisher said, noting that the two Chinese army officers who wrote the strategy manual “were quite clear in their admiration for” the dissident Saudi-born terrorist leader.
That in and of itself isn’t proof that China aided and abetted al-Qaida’s terrorist efforts against the U.S., “but it does provide just cause for suspicion that China could seek to aid international terrorism as a means of indirectly attacking its enemies,” he said.
Some experts have seen a historical connection between Beijing and rising world terrorism.
In 1992, wrote author and international threat analysis expert Yossef Bodansky, “Beijing concluded that the optimal way to cope with the challenge was an all-out surge to evict the U.S. and Western influence from the region coveted by the PRC and its allies.”
“In March 1991, in the aftermath of the Gulf War, although apprehensive about growing challenges, the Islamists were determined to capitalize on the upheaval and rage to further their cause,” Bodansky – a former consultant to the State and Defense departments – said in his 1994 thesis, “The Rise of the Trans-Asian Axis: Is it the Basis of New Confrontation?”
When contacted this week to elaborate on that analysis, as well as discuss whether China is responsible for helping arm terrorist groups worldwide, Bodansky had no comment.
“I’m disinclined to discuss this China/Mideast issue at this time,” he told WND, because there is “too little evidence” to substantiate a connection.
Bodansky is also the author of the 1998 book, “Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America.”
“Fueled by Middle Eastern oil wealth and covertly armed by some of America’s closest allies, [bin Laden's] terror network is waging a brutal guerrilla war whose aim is nothing short of changing the course of history,” said a review of the book.
Beijing: Building alliances with terrorist states
Experts said China was well on its way to developing long-term military, economic and security relationships with known terrorist states.
Santoli said it was unclear if China was “real close” with Iraq – a nation that could be next in the U.S. war against terror-supporting countries. But he noted that Syria and Iran “were much closer” with China.
Fisher, meanwhile, said China had a well-grounded relationship with Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban.
“China was in the process of building a relationship with the Taliban. Official contacts had been under way for at least two years, and Chinese companies were preparing to do business” in Afghanistan, before the U.S. launched its war against terror, Fisher said.
“There are strong suggestions from a number of open reports that bin Laden and the Taliban moved along a relationship with China by giving China unexploded U.S. Tomahawk missiles used unsuccessfully against bin Laden in 1998,” he added.
“China has denied such reports and no U.S. source has publicly confirmed them. But given China’s intense interest in building its own Tomahawk-like cruise missiles, it seems plausible that China would have taken them,” Fisher continued.
As reported by WND, in his book “Seeds of Fire,” author Gordon Thomas contends that Beijing had an actual role in the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. He claims Beijing “was prepared to infuriate America and its allies in supporting bin Laden and the Taliban because Afghanistan fitted into China’s own long-term strategic plans.”
Experts say Beijing and Islamabad are close – and getting closer – despite some appearances that would seem to indicate Pakistan’s willingness to oppose Muslim extremists.
Santoli, for example, said Pakistan’s crackdown on al-Qaida warriors crossing from Afghanistan was “baloney.”
“There might be some people that have run afoul or some people that Pakistan doesn’t care about,” he said, but Islamabad “is letting the Taliban set up new political parties right inside Pakistan, near the border.”
Fisher agreed: “China can be assumed to have a close relationship with Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, which was the principal foreign ally of the Taliban and is known to harbor bin Laden sympathizers. If it so desired, China could readily use ISI contacts to the Taliban and bin Laden, though there are no open reports of this having happened.”
Indeed, global military, economic and security intelligence firm Stratfor.com reported Wednesday that Pakistan’s leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, will make a four-day trip to Beijing Dec. 20 in a bid to “strengthen ties with China … having received little in return from the United States after supporting the war on Afghanistan.”
“Strengthening ties with China will help [Musharraf] regain much of the public approval he lost after cooperating with the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan,” said the report. “China’s support also gives Pakistan leverage to balance the increasing U.S. support of rival India. For its part, Beijing will use the relationship to reassert itself internationally, after the anti-terrorism coalition left the communist country largely behind.”
Other terrorist-sponsoring nations are being wooed by Beijing as well.
“We should realize that the world is hostile toward us only for our commitment to Islam. After the fall of Marxism, Islam replaced it, and as long as Islam exists, U.S. hostility exists, and as long as U.S. hostility exists, the struggle exists,” said Iran’s Ahmad Khomeini during a 1991 conference devoted to formulating a long-term strategy to confront the influence of the U.S.
“It was in the context of this worldview that Tehran and its allies moved to significantly intensify their cooperation with” China, Bodansky said in his 1994 paper.
Regarding China’s own battle with Islamic extremists closer to home, “it’s not a straightforward issue,” Santoli warned.
“It’s like with drugs. China doesn’t want heavy drug addiction inside its own country, but Beijing is heavily involved with Burma and Pakistan, two nations whose primary income is derived from opium,” he said.
China “gave Afghanistan certain political support” such as its communication system, if not direct military aid, Santoli added, which makes Beijing “guilty by association” in terms of providing terror support.
“The Chinese aren’t stupid enough to give any direct link” of that assistance, Santoli said.
“All of this does not amount to a legal case against China but it does raise plenty of cause for concern that, indeed, China is capable of supporting international terrorist groups as a matter of state policy, or that China could emulate their tactics in wartime,” said Fisher.
Perhaps ironically, Beijing is also calling on the U.S. to turn over any Chinese nationals who may have been fighting with al-Qaida units.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said the Chinese fighters would be handled according to Chinese law, said analysts at WND content partner Geostrategy-Direct.com.
U.S. officials have informed Beijing of the involvement in Afghanistan of Chinese nationals, specifically Muslim Uighurs from western Xinjiang province that the Chinese have described as “East Turkistan terrorists,” the intelligence newsletter said.