SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC?????
[H.A.S.C. No. 10659]
TERRORISM AND THREATS TO U.S. INTERESTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
JULY 13, 2000
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
DUNCAN HUNTER, California
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
FLOYD D. SPENCE, ex officio, South Carolina
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
IKE SKELTON, ex officio, Missouri
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Robert S. Rangel, Staff Director
David Trachtenberg, Professional Staff Member
Lisa Wetzel, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, July 13, 2000, Terrorism and Threats to U.S. Interests in the Middle East
Thursday, July 13, 2000
THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2000
TERRORISM AND THREATS TO U.S. INTERESTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative from New Jersey, Chairman, Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism
Snyder, Hon. Vic, a Representative from Arkansas, Ranking Member, Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism
Kayyem, Juliette N., John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Former Commissioner, National Commission on Terrorism
Merari, Dr. Ariel, Senior Fellow, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Director, Political Violence Research Unit, Tel Aviv University
Perlmutter, Dr. Amos, Professor of Political Science, American University, Washington, D.C.
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Kayyem, Juliette N.
Merari, Dr. Ariel
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPerlmutter, Dr. Amos
Saxton, Hon. Jim
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted for the Record are pending.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Questions and Answers submitted for the Record.]
TERRORISM AND THREATS TO U.S. INTERESTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism,
Washington, DC, Thursday, July 13, 2000.
The Panel met, pursuant to call, at 10:10 a.m., in room 2212, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton (Chairman of the Panel) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW JERSEY, CHAIRMAN, SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
Mr. SAXTON. Good morning. The Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism meets in open session to receive testimony and discuss the present and future course of terrorism in the Middle East. This open hearing follows a closed briefing we received on Tuesday from the Intelligence Community exploring the same topic. It has been the Terrorism Panel's practice, in the interests of objectivity and gathering all the facts, to pair classified briefings and open briefings and open hearings on the same topic in the same week.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This way we garner the best that the classified world of intelligence has to offer and the best from independent scholars working in universities, think tanks, and other institutions. Comparing and contrasting the views of the Intelligence Community and independent scholars, learning areas of agreement and disagreement, is I think an excellent way of educating ourselves.
The functional and regional approach that the Terrorism Panel is taking in these hearings to study terrorism is also working well. It enables us to focus and explore in depth the subject matter. So far, we have had terrorism hearings on weapons of mass destruction and Latin America. Our plan is to continue having hearings on a region-by-region basis. For example, future hearings will look at terrorism in South Asia and Central Asia.
Eventually, Terrorism Panel hearings will have examined terrorist movements around the entire globe. Our objective is to understand both the unique and the particulars of terrorism in each region, as well as overall commonalities and trends in global terrorism that may be useful in helping us assess the threat in the future. So far, the Terrorism Panel has managed to sustain a very ambitious schedule of classified Intelligence Community briefings and open hearings.
Since our first hearing in late-May, we have done in weeks what a subcommittee or panel would normally require months to accomplish. Six full panel events in a little over a month is a lot of ground covered in a relatively short period of time. Let us hope that we can sustain this momentum. Today, we turn our attention to terrorism in the Middle East. To many scholars, and certainly in the most popular imagination, the Middle East is the central locus of modern terrorism.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
There are some good reasons for this thinking. Five of seven nations listed by the Department of State as sponsors of terrorism are located in the Middle East. Most of the U.S. casualties suffered from terrorist attacks have been inflicted by terror groups operating in the Middle East, and certainly Middle Eastern terrorist groups seem better than terrorists in other regions at getting themselves into international newspaper headlines.
For example, just recently, on July 5, terrorists tried hijacking an airliner in Jordan and terrorist threats led the U.S. State Department to cancel 4th of July celebrations in Amman. Middle Eastern terrorism also appears to be on the leading edge of the terrorist phenomenon. New trends in terrorism often seem to originate in the Middle East. International terrorism, for example, appears to have evolved from Middle Eastern terrorist groups who began focusing on a local or regional problem, but who expanded their goals and operations to the world stage.
Hezbollah, for example, is based in the Middle East, but has carried out serious attacks in South America. As a further example, the relatively new terrorist group, Al Qaida, headed by Usama Bin Ladin, may foreshadow a new trend toward relatively self-sufficient terrorist organizations that sustain themselves and operate independently of a state sponsor.
Finally, given the ongoing proliferation of missiles and weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, I think it would surprise no one if the world's first terrorists armed with a nuclear missile appeared there. But there are also benign trends in the Middle East that could mitigate or even profoundly alter the future terrorist threat. There are some signs that Middle Eastern governments are becoming less sympathetic and less tolerant of terrorism. This is good news.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Just recently, on July 3rd, the Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament called for greater cooperation among Muslim nations in the fight against terrorism. Reformist movements in Iran, and Israel's attempt to find a political solution to the problem of the Palestinians, could conceivably deprive key terrorist groups of the chief rationalizations for their existence. Even Libya, which in times past behaved as if its sponsorship of terrorism was a badge of honor, has been attempting to distance itself from the use of terrorism.
We have with us today a distinguished panel of independent experts to address terrorism in the Middle East. Dr. Ariel Merari from Harvard University is a leading scholar on the phenomenon of terrorist suicide attacks and the deterrence of terrorism in the Middle East context. Dr. Amos Perlmutter of American University has written and lectured extensively on security issues in the Middle East and the role of terrorism.
Ms. Juliette Kayyem from Harvard University is well known to all of us, and she has served on the National Commission on Terrorism and, in addition to other issues, I understand she will offer some important cautionary advice, that we should all heed, about avoiding stereotyping and being careful not to confuse the term terrorist with Arabs or Islam, a point that I have made over and over again myself.
So it is a well-balanced panel before us today, having a broad but complimentary expertise, prepared to discuss the psychology, the political and strategic goals and methods, and the particulars of specific terrorist movements. I want to thank all of you for being here and before we move forward, I would like to turn the microphone over to Mr. Snyder, the Ranking Member.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton can be found in the Appendix.]
STATEMENT OF HON. VIC SNYDER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM ARKANSAS, RANKING MEMBER, SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to the panel and questions.
Mr. SAXTON. Sir, you may begin. Thank you very much for being here. We appreciate it and we are anxious to hear your testimony.
STATEMENT OF DR. ARIEL MERARI, PH.D., SENIOR FELLOW, THE BELFER CENTER FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY AND DIRECTOR, POLITICAL VIOLENCE RESEARCH UNIT, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY
Dr. MERARI. Thank you very much, Your Honor. I really see it as a great honor to be here and speak to you today. In my testimony, I would like to focus on the phenomenon of suicide terrorism. Although, if you wish, I can later answer questions on other aspects of Middle Eastern terrorism as well. Suicide terrorism is of particular importance in my view because it has a very significant political and strategic results quite often.
We all remember the impact of suicide terrorist attacks on the Multinational Force in Lebanon in 198384. A series of suicide attacks by Islamic groups in that case resulted in the decision of the states that contributed their armed forces to the Multinational Force, namely, the United States, France and Italy, to decide to withdraw from that country and that was certainly a move that has far-reaching political and strategic consequences with regard to Lebanon and the Middle Eastern arena.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In Israel it was the late Prime Minister Rabin who termed suicide terrorist attacks a strategic problem and for a good reason as a series of suicide terrorist attacks carried out by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad resulted in a change of government in Israel and a slow down, almost a halt of the peace process, and I think this kind of development, political development, is a result of terrorism of this kind we can also see in the future.
It is very important, I think, that we understand what motivates people to carry out suicide terrorist attacks and how suicide terrorist attacks are being prepared. It is, I think, commonly believed by commentators and also by some academics that suicide terrorists are mainly motivated by religious ideology, religious belief. Many have claimed that people carry out suicide attacks because they are convinced that if they do so they will get a good place in Paradise.
However, not many studies, empirical studies, have been done on suicide terrorists, and as I have carried out studies, empirical studies, of suicide terrorists, I would like to share with you the main results, which are quite different from the common belief. First of all, I think to put it in a nutshell, suicide terrorism is an organizational phenomenon. This is most important to understand.
In the whole series of Lebanese suicide terrorist attacks and Palestinian suicide terrorist attacks or the suicide terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka or the Kurdish Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) suicide terrorist attacks, there was no single case in which an individual on his own prepared this attack and carried it out. In all cases, it was an organization that decided to use this tactic, found the person or persons to carry it out, trained them, and sent them on the mission at the time and place that the organization chose.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This is very important to understand. People don't carry out this kind of attack on their own whim, on their own decision, on their own logistical preparations. Organizations that have done so, and several organizations have used it as a more or less, I think, common tactic, have done so at times that they viewed as critical, crucial in terms of political agenda.
For instance, Hamas started carrying out terrorist attacks in Israel at the time that the peace process was launched. There may be one exception to that in Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers have carried out routinely more or less various suicide terrorist attacks. But in other cases the organizations involved resorted to this tactic when they thought that the time was critical, that they were at political strategic crossroads.
A second important point is that religious motivation is not a must for carrying out suicide terrorist attacks. A very, I think, convincing case in point is Lebanon. Everybody, or almost everybody, believes that in Lebanon suicide terrorist attacks have been carried out by Islamic organizations merely by Hezbollah. This is true to some extent.
However, the majority, almost two-thirds of the terrorist attack suicides, terrorist attacks in Lebanon, have been carried out by secular organizations, by Syrian organizations, primarily Syrian Bath, Lebanese Bath, the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party. They carried out the majority of the suicide terrorist attacks. Hezbollah has carried out only slightly more than one-third of the suicide terrorist attacks, but they were the first and therefore they got most of the notoriety for it.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In Sri Lanka the Tamil Tigers are Hindus and they don't act out of religious motivation. They are motivated by Nationalist sentiments. The Kurdish PKK, the Kurdish Labor Party, is a Marxist party. They are certainly not religious. And they have also carried out suicide terrorist attacks. Religiosity and religious motivation, and the belief in Paradise are not a must. Actually, in many cases terrorists have carried out suicide attacks out of Nationalist motivation or in the name at least of Nationalist motivation, patriotic motivation as they see it, or any other motivating force that is non-religious.
A third important point that I would like to emphasize is that in carrying out suicide attacks, an organization makes use of people who are willing to die to begin with. If you look at the process of recruiting and training used by various organizations that have resorted to suicide terrorist tactics. The common method is that the organization recruits people who are express a willingness to commit suicide. Usually they don't put it in these words. They don't say commit suicide, but die for the cause or a similar term or in the case of Palestinians, for instance, carry out an act of (INAUDIBLE) in Arabic, martyrdom.
The organization by its recruiting mechanisms, agents, association as is the case of Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, for instance, or in the neighborhood or in the college or just on the basis of personal friendship the organization identifies persons who express their willingness to carry out these kinds of attacks. Once the organization, people responsible in the organization, are convinced that the person is serious they put them usually in a training process that may last in most cases from weeks to months.
This training process involves two important elements. One element is strengthening the already existing willingness to die by giving that person additional reasons, strengthening his reasons, to die by giving him additional ideological stories such as national glory, hatred for the enemy, etc., etc. In this part of the training, religious motivation also comes to play if the organization is a religious one.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So for religious organizations in this phase of the training that consists of strengthening the motivation to carry out these acts of martyrdom or suicide, as you prefer to call it, the organizations involved usually don't call it suicide, but in this phase of training if the organization is religious the trainer also speaks about the religious justification for this kind of act, about Paradise, about the right or actually the need to carry out an act like that in the name of God, in the name of religion.
The other element, critical element, in this training process is the creation of a point of no return. This is very important because the wish to die is not stable. Nobody is 100% suicidal and still alive, of course so that a person may change his or her mind in the process. In the Palestinians case it is only his mind. Other organizations it is also ''her'' sometimes. In order to make sure that the person does not change his mind, the organization makes points of no return.
These are achieved by making the candidate to write last letters to his family, to his friends. The person, the candidate, is being videotaped saying farewell, and from that point on the person in the case of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the person is actually referred to in Arabic as al-shahid al-hai, which means the living martyr. The living martyr, meaning that he is already dead. He is only temporarily here with us.
Under such circumstances after this phase it is very, very hard for persons to change their mind. And actually there have been practically no case of mind changing by suicide candidates in the case of Palestinians, very, very few in the case of the Tamils, as much as a very few cases in the case of Lebanese organizations. Although this training process is not necessarily identical, the Tamil Tigers in the different system are working more in military type units.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In this sense, they are more similar to the Japanese to the preparation of the Japanese Kamikazes in the Second World War. The Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and the Lebanese organizations are underground organizations that they don't control their own territory and therefore they have to prepare their suicides in a more clandestine individual listing way rather than en masse as the Tamil Tigers do.
I would like to just conclude by a very brief statement concerning what can be done about the phenomenon which is rather important. I think experience shows that one can effectively defend selected potential targets against suicide attacks, such as government buildings, military installations. These can be effectively defended by relatively simple procedures.
In Lebanon, for instance, suicide attacks against Israeli targets dropped very, very significantly after 1986, actually after 1985, because measures adopted by the Israeli Defense Forces, IDF, proved effective in preventing most of the suicide attacks so that the rate of successful attacks dropped very, very significantly, which led the organizations involved in perpetrating these attacks to decide that they should stop because it is simply not bringing any results.
And they made it clear in their statements that this was the reason. So technical, procedural measures can be quite effective in preventing suicide bombing attacks on selected potential targets. However, it is very difficult to prevent suicide attacks against the public at large. If an organization is determined to carry out a suicide attack against a random public, this is very hard to prevent. Of course, the most important aspect in preventing attempts is intelligence. Intelligence is critical, of course.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And indeed Israel has been quite successful in preventing some attacks on the basis of good intelligence work. However, intelligence is not perfect. Not always it comes in time, not always it is available. Some of these organizations are rather clandestine, very hard to penetrate, and therefore, one cannot rely on intelligence as being an absolute preventive measure.
I would say that politically and strategically in trying to prevent suicide attacks it is very important to address the population which gives rise to the suicides and to the organizations. Take the Palestinian organizations as a case in point. Hamas is a popular organization. Hamas is very mindful of Palestinian public opinion. For a period in the early time of the Oslo process, peace process, Hamas refrained from carrying out spectacular attacks, including suicide attacks, for the express reason that they felt the Palestinian public would not support it, that it would be counter-productive for the organization.
Palestinian public opinion concerning suicide attacks has waxed and waned. The lowest level of support has been 20% in March, 1996, 20% of the Palestinian population in very reliable public opinion polls said that they supported attacks. It has risen since that time gradually. It is now somewhere about 40% support. Therefore, political and educational work on the public opinion of the suicide bombing organizations is very, very important.
Strategically and politically, I think this is the most important element. Most organizations that carry out these attacks are large popularly based and they are very, very mindful of their constituency's opinion. And I think this is politically the most important arena. Well, I will stop at this point, and of course I am willing to answer any questions that you may have. Thank you.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
[The prepared statement of Dr. Merari can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much. I must say that your testimony was very, very interesting. In the many years that I have been dealing with as a student this subject, I must say that I haven't heard words and the message that you have just delivered to us is very interesting and important. Thank you very much. We will have some questions. Dr. Perlmutter.
STATEMENT OF DR. AMOS PERLMUTTER, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. PERLMUTTER. Mr. Chairman, it is my pleasure and honor. And allow me to read because as a professor, I am sidetracked, so if I can read from my paper you can assure that I will be on time. I have been asked and I am going to discuss the general nature and structure of terrorism with an emphasis on the Middle East. It is an old phenomenon, in fact seven years ago the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences has written what 100 scholars have repeated without looking back and that is what they defined.
Terrorism is a term used to describe the method or theory behind the method whereby an organized group or party seeks to achieve its avowed aims chiefly through systematic use of violence. Terroristic attacks are directed against persons who as individuals, agents or representatives of authority interfere with the consummation of the objectives of such groups. Destruction of property and machinery or the devastation of land may in specific cases be regarded as additional forms of terroristic activities, constituting variations of agrarian, industrial, and economic terrorism as a supplement to a general program of political terrorism.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This definition, seventy years ago, is just as valuable with some amendments into new tactics and strategies of terrorist organizations. Terrorist movements are political organizations that employ terror and violence as a means to achieve specific goals. Modern terrorism is a byproduct and an instrument of modern radical nationalist movements. I say again radical because we are not talking about Islam, we are talking about radical Islam, radical terrorist groups, radical forces, sometimes in the majority, sometimes in the minority.
Terrorism and terrorist movements are employed to achieve radical gains that could not be achieved by diplomacy or traditional political bargaining. Some nationalist movements and states employ terrorism as an auxiliary instrument to maximize their political goals. Terrorism is used in different forms in different places, but for one principle, to destroy or to inflict serious injuries on a foreign power or an oppressive regime.
From the nineteenth century on, terrorism has been employed by agrarian radicals in Russia and Spain, by Lenin and his cohorts to seize power, and by Hitlerian methods to intimidate the opposition parties, Social Democratic, Liberals, Conservatives, and others. In the modern Middle East practically all Arab, Islamic, nationalist, and radical movements have employed in one form or another terrorism to achieve independence which is important for their purposes from colonial and foreign power.
You take, for instance, the case of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that was established in the 1920s and early 1930s. It was designed to harass and terrorize the British Suez Canal Company, its administratorsthe target was the administrators as well as the monarchy. While most nationalist movements in the Middle East were organized by political parties, terrorism as an instrument of nationalist movements in the Arab Middle East has been most pronounced.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
There were also Jewish terrorists that fought the British Mandatory, Etzel, Stern Gang Lehi, but they were marginal to the Zionist nationalist movements. We must distinguish between the military employment of nationalist movements and terrorist movements. The major goal of nationalist movements is to assume power after harassing colonial and foreign rule. But their political movements dominate their military organizations. Terrorist groups could have become the exclusive representation in the case of the Palestinian nationalist movement, as we have known from the days of Haj Amin al-Husseini to the days by which the terrorist group becomes the center of the organization.
The Palestinians are predominant today in all terrorist groups in the Middle East, in South Asia, and in the Persian Gulf. The present Islamic terrorism is based upon radical Islamic terrorism and on the whole is not sponsored by states. In fact, Islamic radical terrorist groups in Egypt are combating the Egyptian state, the Jordanian Islamic radicals are combating the monarchy, the Algerian radical Muslims are combating the Algerian state, and the Hamas Islamic radicals are combating the Palestinian Authority when they feel that it is necessary.
The next aspect is terrorism as an instrument of radical Arab states and movements. The radical Arab states in the Middle East, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Iran are authoritarian radical states that employ terrorism to achieve foreign policy goals. The targets of all are what they call imperialists or Zionists, however the major targets are the United States and Israel, there is no question about it, to these radical Arab states. The Arab equivalent for the term imperialism is called al-Istimar, the devil, al-Istikhrab, the destroyer.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In their ideology, which I will discuss later, radical states and movements, the United States is the devil incarnate and represents the target of all hatreds. Syria. Another type of terrorism is the state supported terrorism. With state supported terrorism there are different levels and roles in which the patron state either uses or aids or abates or provides asylum for terrorists. Syria is an excellent example. There are several types of terrorists that operate from Damascus. All are under the supervision of the Assad family, of the intelligence services, and the military services. They don't operate independently.
However, there are terrorists that are used as an instrument of Syrian foreign policy which are autonomous in the case of the Hezbollah. It is a social and political movement that has a life of its own, emphasis of its own, but it has been used both by Iran and Syria to a certain extent for its own purposes but it is an independent political and military organization. Other terrorists like Palestinians, Kurds, Afghans, and Chechens can be activated or silenced at the regime's pleasure.
Their offices are opened and closed at the whim of the regime. Another serious difference between Hezbollah and other terrorists is that the former are not trained or equipped by the Syrian regime, nor are they dependent on Syrian intelligence services budget. They depend upon the regime only for transporting weapons and monies from Iran for their own purposes. Iran, of course, is the revolutionary Shiite theocracy, and like the Soviet Union there are similarities in terms of goals.
It is a mission-oriented state. While Syria employs terrorists to enhance foreign policy, the Iranian regime has taken it upon itself the missionary role of recreating of mini theocracies or dependent groups in the Middle East. Iranian terrorism in the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon is more than an extension of Iranian foreign policy. Its support of terrorism is concomitant of its policies of conversion, the destruction of secular Arab and Muslim regimes in the Gulf and the Middle East, and the hope for the creation of Iranian hegemony in the Gulf. It is both a combination of nationalism and Shiites radicalism.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
What is the environment? Terrorist organizations and movements operate in an unstable political, social, and economic environment. Like a swarm of insects, they operate in the dust of economically deprived areas, where they control the population and emerge to cripple the regime with their poisonous sting. They come in different social forms, either as a protest movement, or an ideological movement.
Terrorism thrives, like cancer, in weak and unhealthy environments, and on the whole it is found in non-democratic, ineffective authoritarian, praetorian, and kleptocratic systems and states, and in state supported authoritarian regimes of Syria, Libya and Iraq. Their targets are often ''corrupt'' regimes, but there are also nationalist movements that are operated in democratic states, the Irish, the Walloons, the neo-Nazi skinheads in Germany, and the militias in the United States.
They produce various mutations with varying life spans. They come and go depending on the cohesiveness of their leadership. Many mutations do not survive. Their leaders are either assassinated by the regime's security services or through fratricide, or desertion and betrayal. Many terrorists are killed by their own brothers of their own organization for purposes of one section or faction or another. Most of the above involve violence and bloodshed. Islamic terrorism or radical Islam terrorism is advanced by penetrating into Islamic communities in the United States and Europe.
Under the cover of the so-called welfare organizations, they secure financial help, military training, and political power. In a very specific case, the CIA that trained Islamic radicals against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, is responsible for the more violent and vicious terrorists than in the Middle East and in South Asia. This is of course the Bin Ladin organization, which is a product of our training of these particular individuals in the war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I come to the last point, which is important, ideology and organization. There is so much talk about Islamic. In my view, the nature of the organization and ideology is flexible and not necessarily what scholars are analyzing and studying, what do they say, what do they think. Hamas yesterday were Marxist, today they are fundamentalists. All of them are Palestinian Arab nationalists. All are nationalists whether they use religion or Marxism as an instrument of mobilization of forces as an ideological structure.
Nevertheless, some Islamic radicals are not even familiar with the Koran. Many of them are graduates of European universities and Marxist organizations. They speak about Jihad. I don't think that they have any philosophical or intellectual knowledge, for instance, the Islamic forces in Egypt or in the Muslim brotherhood which is a (inaudible) Islamic radical group. So we should be wary about the idea of religion.
And in the Middle East religion and politics interchange, and therefore, it is not difficult to move from one sphere to another. I am not interested personally in what my professors and colleagues are studying, what do they really mean by that, is it Kant or Marx or Lenin or Mao. What counts in the end is what they do and these are forces of action, these are people of action. They are not intellectuals. Although most of the writers are scribblers, journalists, intellectuals. Most of them are Western trained and educated. Most of them are professionals, doctors, engineers, especially teachers. These are not your no backbone, anti-(inaudible) people. These are people who have been trained in American and European universities or in modern universities in the Middle East.
The scribblers that have written what I call the gobbly gook of the organization, and I have done on my computerI took about 20 different languages of organizations and found that I can myself tomorrow proclaim Marxist Islamic ideology group from all the mish-mash that I have read is the essence of the organization. Now it is not all of them. George Habash is a Marxist and a Palestinian.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The survival of the organizations depends upon clandestinity, security, and the threat from apostasy. The survival of the organization again depends on its ideological ability to persuade, to mobilize, and to sustain itself, and above all upon leadership. Leadership is fundamental and without leadership it cannot exist. One of the measures to penetrate these organizations is to play between the different fratricidal groups. Many of them recant, desert, are exiled, or self-exiled or move.
So in conclusion I would want to say that it is a universal phenomena. It is nothing new. Since the French Revolution, we have more and more of it. The Russia Revolution has enhanced the idea of terrorism. The purposes, organization, and ideology of terrorism are universal. Not in the sense that Marxism and Islam are truly different ideologies, but the exploitation of ideology is a major tactic for sustaining the organization. In one form or another, all terrorist movements are fratricidal, authoritarian, ruthless, and clandestine. There is no moderate group among them. It is an oxymoron.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Perlmutter can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Perlmutter, thank you very much for very articulate testimony. Ms. Kayyem.
STATEMENT OF JULIETTE N. KAYYEM, JOHN F. KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT, FORMER COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORISM
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. KAYYEM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for inviting me here today.
Mr. SAXTON. We are honored that you came.
Ms. KAYYEM. Thank you. It is humbling to be here at this table with Mr. Merari and Dr. Perlmutter. I want tosince it has been covered so well, I want to quickly just go over the nature of terrorism and then get to what that means for lawmakers and policy makers in terms of our current approach. I am a lawyer and used to be at the Department of Justice so that is how I came into the terrorism field. I am just going to quickly reiterate some of the things that, and some of the things, Mr. Chairman, that you opened with, the nature of terrorism in the Middle East is obviously changing as we see significant changes in both the state structure and the structure of terrorist organizations.
We have changes that are too early to call in Syria and Iran and Jordan certainly, new, young leadership that in terms of their state sponsorship of terrorism may change over time, and we have to be prepared for that and be open to it. As you said, it is a good thing. We have a lotthe untold story of terrorism in the Middle East is that we have a lot of friends in the Arab Middle East who are helping us as we saw in the Millennium crisis that occurred.
The second issue regarding now terrorist groups is the potential, as you stated, Mr. Chairman, or their desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction. I personally believe that the emphasis on it in the academy and in government probably belies the reality of it to a certain extent. It is still quite difficult to acquire and mass produce a weapon of mass destruction. It doesn't mean we should ignore the potential but it does mean that guns and fertilizer also go a very long way, and we should remember that in terms of our intelligence and preventive measures regarding terrorism.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
What I do think it means especially with groups in the Middle East and fanatical Islamic groups is that we also need to go a long way in terms of assuring that we, as a country that has access to biological and chemical agents, have a lot more controls regarding the use and dissemination of agents of mass destruction, weaponry that can be used for mass distribution. Finally, in terms of the terrorist structure, the changes that have been occurring within terrorist groups over the last 10 or 15 years are significant for us asfor policy makers and people who pass laws.
The structure of terrorist groups, as was stated by the two other witnesses, is fluid. It is constantly changing. It is, in my opinion in my work on the commission, probably less hierarchical than it used to be. The Internet is used. Country borders don't exist anymore now that you have the Internet and sort of free flow of people including this country, and so we have to remember that in terms of how are we thinking about the best way to protect ourselves and our interests and the Middle East peace process and our allies like Israel.
When you opened, Mr. Chairman, you did say I think that the Middle EastI think when most Americans think about terrorism they think about Arab terrorism. I think that the aftermath of what happened in Oklahoma City is a testament to that, that it wasn't just the news agencies but also people within the Department of Justice who were focusing their attention on the possibility that it was Islamic or Arab groups and there were a number of arrests in the wake of that before we caught Tim McVeigh.
I think that is unfortunate for a number of reasons, and as I stated in my written testimony, not only because it was wrong and an unfortunate racial profiling but I think to the extent that our counter terrorism efforts, as we deal with the Middle East, are taking for granted both the assistance that we could use or that we could galvanize from the Arab countries and from Arab American and Muslims within this country.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
For example, I mean in a very sort of efficacious way we have a problem with translation of intelligence that we get from terrorist groups in foreign countries. We just don't have enough people and every agency is going to tell you that, that there is information still sitting around from the Millennium. We need people who can translate that stuff into good English and to understandable English, and generally those people will come from countries from the Middle East.
I think that one of the problems with the divide that exists between Arab and Muslim communities and our law enforcement and national security communities is that neither group can sort of see common ground on certain issues, and I think that it is an important thing for me to say in terms of not just the fact that I am an Arab-American, but I do think that our effectiveness as people within the national security world and people who study terrorism is at a loss when we alienate certain communities.
Given that, I want to talk about three specific policy issues in light of the things that were testified today in the changing nature of both state sponsorship and foreign terrorist organizations, so first state sponsorship. As you know, our law provides for actually three categories of countries in relation to terrorism. We have the state sponsors of terrorism. Most of them are countries in the Middle East. We have the rest of the countries that are not a problem.
And then we have this third delineation what we tend to call purgatory called the ''not cooperating fully'' designation. Only one country has been put on the ''not cooperating fully'' designation, which is Afghanistan, for the reason that this government doesn't want to recognize and I think for legitimate reasons the Taliban is the governing body or the legitimate governing body within Afghanistan. I think the evidence shows, however, that in terms of state sponsorship we got a better case against Afghanistan than we certainly do against Cuba or North Korea or maybe even Syria these days.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
One of thein terms of the fluidity of state sponsorship and the terrorist organizations, I, as I recommend in my written testimony, think we have to have a much more fluid approach to state sponsorship of terrorism because we have created this sort of dual world only. You know, you are either a state sponsor and we are going to link you with Libya and Iran and Iraq or you are not. A lot of countries that harbor terrorists, that support terrorists, that let finances and money flow through them are sort of let off the hook.
I think that is wrong. I think that not cooperating fully is an appropriate designation. We recognize that there are countries that are not as close to Iran and let us say the Sudan and Afghanistan but certainly aren't like England or Israel in terms of their assistance on counter terrorism. I think that this government needs to take, given the changing nature of what is happening in the Arab states, a much more considerate approach to what countries will go on and what countries will go off and reconsider some of the countries that are on our state sponsors of terrorism.
They shouldn't be on for political reasons. They should be on because they do sponsor terrorism. I think reconsideration, for example, as stated by Dr. Perlmutter, of Libya might be appropriate at this stage or at least let these countries know what it will take to get them off the list and let other countries know that they are very close to getting on the ''not cooperating fully'' list. I think that we need a much more sort of as a legal matter and the implications that fall from the law much more fluid approach.
In terms of the foreign terrorist organizations and the sort of diversity that exists within foreign terrorist organizations, the changes that occur, the leadership changes and the Internet and everything, the way wethe way the United States approaches foreign terrorists and how we get at them beyond the intelligence side, I am talking about the law enforcement and legal side, is through what is a foreign terrorist organization listing. In 1996 this Congress passed this listing of organizations that would be called foreign terrorist organizations, FTOs.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
A lot flows from being called an FTO or having an affiliation with an FTO. You can't get into this country, for example, at our borders if you are a member. You can't give money to a foreign terrorist organization whether you know what terrorism it is involved in or whether you are giving to some charity that happens to be somewhere down the line run by or supported by an organization that this country has deemed as terrorist.
I think that there are a number of legitimate criticisms of the FTO designations, not all of them coming from people who are concerned with the potential for ethnic or political profiling within the list. The list is not comprehensive. It doesn't involveit doesn't include organizations like the real Irish Republican Army (IRA), which is responsible for deaths, and there is a lot of criticism on that end.
I think we can also criticize it or sort of seek a more fluid approach to foreign terrorist organizations because it is such a static listing. It only comes out two years. It can beyou can add groupsthe Secretary of State can add groups to the list over the course of the two years but that has never occurred except for with Usama Bin Ladin's organization after the Africa bombing. I think also given the nature of terrorist groups, splinter groups, the changing naming of groups, a two-year annual list is not going to cover the sort of threats that are occurring out there.
I think that furthermore we needif we want to stop, which we do want to stop money flowing to foreign terrorist organizations, as the Commission recommended and certainly as I believe, we need to take a much broader approach to funding for terrorism. I think the FTO listing probably focuses us too much on groups that we know of. We know Hamas. We know Hezbollah. Four years ago they weren't on the list. Two years ago they are. Hezbollah will probably be off in the next listing, my guess is.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We need an approach that will get at people who are giving money for terrorism and people who are supporting terrorist organizations. That would involve money launderingusing money laundering statutes, civil statutes, other criminal statutes, and we need to take a much more broader approach, not just using the Department of Justice but obviously the Department of Treasury, the information the CIA may have.
I think that the government, some of the testimony I have heard, is that the State Department has spentspends an inordinate amount of time compiling this list every two years. That time might be better spent in terms of sharing and compiling and unifying information about who is actually giving money to terrorism both in America and abroad so that we can stop the flow. So my theme is sort of fluidity in terms of the present laws that exist out there. I think a third important issue obviously is immigration.
Immigration here is much bigger thanthe problems with our borders is much greater than terrorism. I wouldn't even pretend to understand our immigration laws, but certainly when they involve terrorism and the threat of terrorists coming to our countries, we need to take a much closer look at what we are doing. The commission recommended a rather controversial, although I would say a repetitive recommendation. We recommended that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) automate the information it stores on people who come to this country to study from any country, not just Arab countries, from any country.
It was a proposal that this Congress passed four years ago but it received a lot of criticisms. I think that those criticisms probably have less to do with the law. Certainly automating information that is already required by law, you come into this country whether it is on a marriage license, a student visa or work visa, you have an obligation to retain that status. I don't think many people would disagree with that. I think the concern that we have heard or that we heard from a number of groups was the potential that this immigration policy could be used in a discriminatory fashion given the sort of general aura that terrorism is related to Arabs or Muslims.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I think that would be wrong. I think any evidence that it is applied in a discriminatory fashion should be considered by this Congress but I do think that it is important that we, not just this Committee, but sort of take a closer look at our borders and how we can insure that people coming into this country who we benefit from, no question about that in our schools and our environment, but also who retain their status.
Present immigration policy being used, and I will finish up with this, that has alienated not just the Arab community here but I will say in talking to the government officials in other countries including Jordan and Egypt, there are people being held here based on secret evidence. That is well known. They are all, I think all, Muslims or Arabs at this stage. They are being held here because of potential threats that they are violating national security and neither they nor their counsel can see it.
The evidence used against them, some of them have been held up to three years. My understanding is that there are only four people still being held by the INS in the Department of Justice. The impact that that has had, however, and let me just state as an aside, the Commission recommended that at least in terms of an effective and legitimate counter terrorism policy that at the very least we have people, what we call clear counsel, be permitted to see the evidence against them.
The impact this is having though on our allies in the Arab community is quite shocking when I talk to them. You are really only talking about four cases. It is not a big deal. But I think that the stereotyping and the effect of that process has sort of soured some relations with people who are our allies, and, you know, not just our allies but want to protect our interests and indeed Israel's interests. And so we should remember that in any sort of legislative process that is undertaken as we address this changing and yet historic threat. Thank you.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
[The prepared statement of Ms. Kayyem can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. SAXTON. Well, thank you very much, and we appreciate your testimony very much. Let me begin by posing a question to and ask each of you if you would briefly comment. It has been intimated by I guess each of you and from my background as well, we view problems related to terrorism from a perspective that would involve the use of terrorism for someone or some group of people who decided that they had an objective to use terror to influence others behavior.
And when we talk about terrorism, we often think of terrorism against the United States, terrorism against Israel, but you have all mentioned that the use of terror is common in other settings as well. I am reminded as I hear you speak of use of terror against Mubarak, the use of terror against the monarchy in Jordan, the use of terror perhaps against the Fahd family in Saudi Arabia. Would you comment on this general theme where terror is used against targets, if you will, or governments other than those we normally talk about involving Israel and the United States? That is, other venues, if you will.
Dr. MERARI. Am I to start? Okay. Well, surely, Your Honor, it is of course true that terrorism has been used and is being used against other countries other than Israel and the United States. Actually, the State Department's annual publication, Veterans of Global Terrorism, lists international terrorist attacks. They don't address in that publication domestic terrorism, only incidents that are in some way involving more than one country. Usually the perpetrators belong to one nationality and the victims to another.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But in these series of publications it can be easily seen that most attacks, most terrorist attacks, are not directed against the United States or Israel. I am not sure what is the current situation now. A decade ago I think for quite a while, about, I would say, two decades after 1968 when international terrorism started to rise attacks against American property or citizens comprised somewhere around 40% of all international terrorist attacks. I think currently the percentage is lower and the United States does not take as much of the heat in international terrorism.
But one has to remember, of course, that international terrorism, the one that the State Department is recording, comprises only a very small fraction of all global terrorism. Most terrorism is domestic and most terrorism is directed against local governments, domestic governments. For instance, in Latin America. In Colombia I am told there are about 1,200 kidnappings in the region, 1,200 kidnappings each year in Colombia.
Mr. SAXTON. What was the term you used? 1,200.
Dr. MERARI. Cases of kidnapping.
Mr. SAXTON. Kidnapping. I am sorry. Okay.
Dr. MERARI. About half of them are perpetrated by terrorist groups, by politically motivated terrorist groups. The others are just common criminal kidnappings. These are directed against the government of Colombia or foreign nationalists that work there because the organizations involved, Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Marxist organizations that conspire to change the government.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
A similar situation is, I think, in other countries. Even in Europe, western European, the old, well-known groups like the German Bader Mein Hof the French direct action group, the Belgian Combatant Communist sales, and so on. The presently active group in Greece, very shady group known as the November 17 Revolutionary Group, that has carried out attacks against Americans systematically over the years and recently against British targets.
They are not attackingthese groups are not attacking primarily the United States but they are after their own governments so I think this observation is quite correct.
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Perlmutter.
Dr. PERLMUTTER. As I said, old terrorist organizations are political but there are other ways which they can operate like economic terrorism, Internet. I mean we are totally dependent today now on the electronic media. And they can disrupt, interfere into the Pentagon, you know. They can go very far. They can screw up national security problems and what not.
Take, for instance, the rail system between New York City and Washington, D.C. You can discombobulate and create accidents. Whether there are economic and psychological and efforts, you know, to weaken or persuade people to think differently or to influence the political leaders, they are politically motivated except as Dr. Merari correctly said, you know, just gangster groups, you know, for purposes of soliciting monies and what not. But on the whole there could be no terrorism without a political purpose but they use subsidiary methods, you know.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
It doesn't matter. What matters is the target is political. Whether it is domestic or international, it certainly is clear that most are domestic but again domestic terrorism like foreign policy, as you know, has an external aspect as well. American foreign policy is based much on domestic issues. So, you know, terrorists, you know, their domestic purposes can be achieved by influencing or threatening or intimidating the international system.
Ms. KAYYEM. I think that is sort of especially true today in Iran. I think sort of the best example is that you have a promising reform movement that has no control over the national security forces, the more conservative forces, within Iran that is likely not only sponsoring terrorism outside of Iran but is likely the sort of strongest supporter of the assassinations we see going on of the major members of the press and the reform movement, so it is a hard distinction. I think Iran is sort of where we are seeing it happen right now.
Mr. SAXTON. Let me ask one more question and then we will go to Mr. Snyder. Let me just pose a statement and then you kind of react to it, if you will. This wasit was very interesting that a relatively small percentage of terrorist acts are carried out against those targets which we would consider the two primary targets, Israel and the United States. It is encouraging. Let me just ask. Let me pose this question.
During 1990 and 1991, we saw military activity take place in the Gulf and obviously the world was able to get up each morning and watch those activities on CNN and it convinced many of us that the military forces in the Middle East, at least at that time and probably still today, cannot competecannot be competitive with the western military forces and therefore those who have a political agenda and who might try to carry forth that political agenda using the tool that we referred to as conventional military force have to find another way to accomplish their business and to what extent does terrorism fill that void.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Dr. MERARI. Well, to a great extent I think actually terrorism has been termed long ago repeatedly so the weapon of the week. If I can paraphrase Klausowitz, the German strategic thinker, he said that war is the continuation of politics by other means and I think one can very truly describe terrorism as the continuation of war by other means, which also serves political rules, of course, like war.
I was surprised, I must say, that in the wake of the Gulf War in 1991, we haven't seen more terrorism than we actually did. We did see some, yes, but most of it was by just groups that sympathized with Iraq in various places around the world that didn't reallydid not really go much out of their way to carry out an act which was demonstrative basically to express their sympathy to Iraq.
Iraq itself did not carry out much terrorism surprisingly. They did some. They tried. I am not quite sure whether or notit is a bit speculative but there has been some nonconclusive evidence to support it. I am not quite sure whether or not there was some Iraqi involvement in the World Trade Center bombing. Some speculations have it that there was but other than that, not much.
The interesting question is why, I think, because one would expect more terrorism by Iraq in the wake of the Gulf War. It may be, I think, a deterrence. Iraqi fear of being caught red-handed in sponsoring a terrorist attack against the United States would undoubtedly call for a very severe retaliation. I cannot explain it otherwise. I brought with me here a paper, a draft of a paper, that I have written on retaliation against state sponsors of terrorism and I will leave it with the Committee, if I may.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
It kind of touches upon the complexities of retaliation against state sponsors of terrorism but in this particular case I think this has been the reason for the relative absence of terrorism after the Gulf War.
[The information referred to can be found in the Appendix.]
Mr. SAXTON. Dr. Perlmutter.
Dr. PERLMUTTER. You can see it in two ways. One of course, as I said in my statement, it would be an auxiliary aspect of state foreign policy, security policy, Iran uses it for mission purposes, and sometimes there could be regimes which are benign authority in regimes. Groups can act independently in order to by international terrorism to persuade the regime of their own fratricidal competitors of what the purpose is. There is something we didn't mention. It just came to my mind now, and I just throw it in because I hadn't thought of it totally.
The group that we are sponsoring to bring havoc to a regime of Saddam Hussein can be considered by Saddam Hussein as a terrorist group. We want to terrorize the regime, don't we? We want to weaken it whether by air or by internal infiltration because the Soviets used it considerably throughout their career not always successfully. So there could be what I call positive terrorism in the sense that the terrorism that is based by forces who would become more stable and law abiding to overthrow a regime which is brutal as Saddam Hussein. It just came to my mind as you asked me the question of not thinking about that particular aspect that we support too in many ways.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. KAYYEM. Just quickly on the issue that Dr. Merari was talking about. It isin five of the seven countries on the state sponsors of terrorism list there is no question they are developing weapons of mass destruction or sort of attempting to develop weapons of mass destruction. It is a puzzling question or a grateful one, I think, that how comehow have those not been acquired by terrorists or why is there still sort of a sharp line between the acquisition by the terrorists.
I personally believe that if we were to link a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) attack if there were to be one with government sponsorship, I think the knowledge of our violent and massive retaliation because the state keeps those stateseven state sponsored terrorism in line. If Libya or Iraq were toany evidence that they were in any way conspiring with any of these groups, so you get private groups who, you know, for all of their money and all of their Ph.Ds., not to denigrate the deaths that occurred in that case, but it was an unsuccessful case.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Snyder.
Mr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for you all being here. This has been a very interesting hour and a half. Dr., is it Kayyem?
Ms. KAYYEM. Yes. It is Ms. Kayyem.
Mr. SNYDER. Ms. Kayyem. Just one specific question. In your written statement you recommended that the FDO statute which I think was passed in 1996 be reviewed in five years. Do you mean five years from now or five years from 1996?
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. KAYYEM. Five years from the commission recommendation. The reason why that number, to be honest, was sort of picked out of a hat was I think it is still an early call. I mean, right, it has only been five years from that time of the statute or four and a half years. The statute would have existed for ten years. As a prosecution matter, the Department of Justice has only done one case, not a great record for four and a half years. I think there is a lot of reasons for that. I think money cases are hard period. Any lawyer willfollowing trails of money is hard.
In terms of the other criminal prosecutions that flow from the FTO designations, for example, someone who could be stopped at the border, not permitted in, expelled, or I guess present law calls it removed, from the country if they are a member of an FTO, to my knowledge, at least as a matter of public record, no one hasthat has never been utilized either.
I think group listingsI understand what animated the FTO listing and I think it may have a lot of beneficial political purposes but as a sort of effective law enforcement purpose if we look at it as how do we want to get these guys, how do we want to get the money, I think in my mind probably less so with other commissioners to be fair, but in my mind I think the jury is still out but I think it is worth reconsideration.
Mr. SNYDER. I wanted to ask, I think all of you today have made comments either here or in your written statements looking ahead to some prevention aspects. You talk about root causes and things, and I want to ask about that. Mr. Saxton and I have talked before about a meeting that some of us had with Prime Minister Barak last August in which he said that in his view that a successful peace agreement, which I think we are hopeful will come out of these meetings, is only the first step, that what he envisions would need to occur is looking ahead 30 or 40 years, a generation or two, where he could see Israel and Palestinians being like, he used the example of France and Germany today.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We don't worry about France and Germany resurrecting aggressive war tendencies towards each other because they are so economically dependent on each other and probably for some other reasons cultural dependence too. Tell me what should this Congress be doing, our Government be doing, to deal with things you referred to when you were talking about these organizations that thrive in the dust of economically deprived areas, I believe was your phrase.
You make reference that they thrive in areas of non-democratic areas. It seems to me that means we should do a better job perhaps as policy makers in supporting efforts to develop sound economic development around the world. Respond to that, if you would, as a panel. What should we be doing to deal with these root causes?
Dr. PERLMUTTER. First, I totally agree with you that there is generational change, and we know that this is very significant. Cohorts change, their minds. And there is a generational change. They no longer remember the age of colonialism and early conflicts. They are interested in economic development and interested in the Internet and what not. They certainly realize it has to come to terms with peace with Israel.
In terms of the very issue that I am talking about, it is quite clear first concerning the peace process, when there is an Israeli move in the peace process there is less terrorism but also economic. How do you deal with that? This is a very serious problem. The Palestinian authority has not become a democracy to say the least. And there are still pockets of poverty in Gaza. You just have to visit there and see that.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is very difficult. How do you impose by international law or international relations on a government to become more democratic and then, for instance, does the money really go for that purpose. We know from studies in Africa and other places that the money went to the pockets of the kleptocrats. And it is a very, very sensitive issue for which we have no permissive to bring the change. Certainly, peace is important. That is only one. The most important thing is change of government and change of government must be turned on domestic. It cannot deposit outside.
And that is going to linger on. There is no question about it because it is lingering on. Why do you think the Egyptianduring the small earthquake that took place in Egypt where did the people go? They went to the Mohammed Mustafa Hospital, which is owned by the Muslim Brotherhood and they didn't get any services from the Egyptian government.
The Egyptian government still doesn't give services to its poor and that is a serious business that has been there for a long time. I am more leery of intervention but I would put self restrictions if I could on foreign aid and certain policing of foreign aid to see that the money goes to the right places at least. That has not demonstrated itself yet in the Palestinian authority, and we are familiar with the cases of corruption and Arafat signs every check I think above $100,000 and so forth. He keeps all the finances himself.
Things are changing. I have no answer as a student of this area. I have no specific answer to the issue of poverty because it is a domestic issue and it is a political issue. In the democratic political system you have a middle class which is fundamental. In non-democratic political systems the middle class is weak and therefore the other forces which dominate societyand they are not interested in solving the problems of the poor.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. KAYYEM. I have nothing to add to that.
Dr. MERARI. Okay. We don't know enough abouttalking about in general, we don't know enough aboutterrorism is a phenomenon. There have been many studies and so on but we are still learning. I think, however, it is safe to say that terrorism is not a cause. Terrorism is an instrument. It is a form of struggle. It is an illegitimate form of struggle for sure. But it is just a form of struggle, and it is violence that appears where there are acute conflicts like all forms of violence and the acute conflicts may arise out of a variety of problems, political disagreements, economic hardships, religious motivations, what have you.
And we see indeed that terrorism appears against a backdrop of a variety of different conditions in various places around the globe. We cannot possibly address all these hardships that bring about the will of certain groups of people to engage in this illegitimate form of violence to correct what they see as grievances, to promote their interests. We cannot possibly address all these.
I would say that there are two ways, two general ways, to cope withyour question, sir, was very broad. Two general ways. One addresses the illegitimacy aspect of terrorism as a form of struggle and for that I think much has been done. Much more can be done in the line of sanctioning states that sponsor such groups, using the legal system, domestic legal systems to make sure that the people understand that they cannot resort to this form of conflict of improving their interests without paying a high cost, improving international cooperation and so on.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is just addressing the form of struggle, not the grievances. But you, sir, asked about addressing the root causes. I am afraid there is no general answer to that. I think that, yes, I agree with my colleagues here that in the Middle East in particular, and I understand that today the Middle East isn't the focus, economic hardships are very important as a backdrop for terrorism. In the Gaza Strip I think there is more than 30% unemployment.
Mr. SNYDER. The phrase pockets of poverty was used in Gaza when I was there years ago. I would say it is a big pocket.
Dr. MERARI. Yeah, I was a bit surprised by the term pockets actually. I mean it is one big pocket. It used to be 40%. I am told that now it is a bit less than that but it is certainly more than 30% unemployment in Gaza and about 16%, I think, in the West Bank, which is quite high. Now in Egypt too there is a very high rate of unemployment. Yes, there is some connection to so-called Afghani Connection between those Islamic militants that served in the Afghani war against the USSR.
But basically there is Islamic terrorism in Egypt not because of Bin Ladin's influence but because there are domestic, primarily economic problems in Egypt. Palestinian terrorism is a different story. It is not only based on economic difficulties but primarily on nationalist sentiments, hatred to Israel and so on but still there. The economic situation does indeed, in my view, influence the will of people to support Hamas exactly like Dr. Perlmutter's description.
Hamas attraction for the Palestinian population to a large extent is because they have been able to establish clinics in which they give free medical treatment, kindergartens. They distribute food and so on. Hezbollah's attraction for the Lebanese in South Lebanon is based on the same thing, community service. Now Hezbollah does it with donations. Donations are huge money flow from Iran variously estimated at between $60 million and $120 million a year. It is Iranian money that makes Hezbollah popular in South Lebanon to a large extent.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Hamas does it in other ways. Gets the money, some contributions here in the United States, some in the Gulf countries, but much of these organizations' popularity is linked to the economic situation in their countries and to these organizations', radical organizations, ability to provide community service to needy populations.
Dr. PERLMUTTER. I just wanted to add one thing aboutit is true that pockets of poverty, large and small, but the leaders of the terrorist organizations, western educated, middle class, etc., have a different fish to fry and they will mobilize wherever they can mobilize. If you resolve the economic problem you haven't resolved the nationalist aspect of terrorism.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank all of you for being here. Kayyem, is that how you say it?
Ms. KAYYEM. Ms. Kayyem.
Mr. TAYLOR. Ms. Kayyem, I have got to admit, I very much did not hear you say it but very much enjoyed reading your remarks. I happen to remember the Oklahoma City. I was fortunate enough to dodge the press that day but I do remember many of my colleagues, as you said, immediately jumping to the conclusion it must be Middle Eastern terrorists. We learned, unfortunately, that was not the case.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But with those prejudices in mind, I have got to admit that even ten years later a great deal of discomfort with the very unfortunate incident between the Vincennes and the Iranian air bus. And it was brought back to my attention last week, I believe, there was a special on one of the educational channels. I am curious what the long-term implications of that one incident are. Are you familiar when the cruiser shot down the Iranian air bus as they were engaged in a surface action against Iranian small boats?
What are the long-term, if any, implications of that? I am trying to think of this from the American point of view. Remember the Alamo. Remember the Maine. I justI am curious what the Middle Eastern reaction to that was because I could certainly imagine what the American reaction would be had the tables been turned.
Ms. KAYYEM. You talk to Arabs in the Middle East, not Arab-Americans or Muslim-Americans, that particular incident or any incident, it is clear and just given the conversation today that our terrorism is another man's freedom struggle and it certainly was true with the African National Congress (ANC). I mean that group under any definition of terrorism, it wouldyou know, Nelson Mandela was a terrorist under any political science definition. Nonetheless, obviously there was a tremendous amount of support for his actions.
I think within the Arab communities in the Middle East any retaliation in response to that, and I should be careful, but in terms of that specific incident or any incident is viewed as potentially a military action and not terrorism as the literature from the Middle East often views the bombing of the Marines in Beirut as that. That is notin our mind that is viewedin the United States that is viewed as an act of terrorism.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TAYLOR. If I am not mistaken, that was almost two weeks to the day.
Ms. KAYYEM. Yes. Yes.
Mr. TAYLOR. The shoot down occurred first and the bombing in the barracks was almost two weeks to the day afterwards.
Ms. KAYYEM. Yeah, I think that
Mr. TAYLOR. At the time, and again I am asking this from a historical perspective, at the time did the group that bombed the Marines, did they mention that as being in retaliation? I don't recall that.
Dr. MERARI. No.
Ms. KAYYEM. No.
Dr. MERARI. If I may intervene. The bombing of the Marine barracks, if I am not mistaken, was October 23, 1983. The downingthe suicide bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, 1983, October, 1983. The shooting down of the Iranian air bus by the Vincennes American cruiser I think it was, was in July, 1988.
Mr. TAYLOR. But if I am not mistaken within two weeks of the shooting down there was an incident somewhere
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Dr. PERLMUTTER. Lockerbie.
Dr. MERARI. No, no, no. Lockerbie was in
Dr. PERLMUTTER. Absolutely.
Dr. MERARI. December, the same year, December, 1988, and it is quite possible, sir.
Mr. TAYLOR. But did any group ever say this was done for that?
Dr. MERARI. No.
Ms. KAYYEM. No.
Mr. TAYLOR. I have never heard that.
Dr. MERARI. No, there were no claims, no real claims of responsibility for Lockerbie.
Mr. TAYLOR. Were there ever any reasonably solid evidence that could point to the fact that the Iranian air bus might have actually had hostile intentions?
Dr. MERARI. Yes.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. TAYLOR. There was.
Dr. MERARI. There wasIsraeli intelligence sources have maintainedin deference to American intelligence have from the start maintained that most likely perpetrators of the Lockerbie bombing, Pan Am 103, that is, over Lockerbie, on I think December 21, 1988, was done by Jibril's group, most likely, Jibril Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) General Command on Iranian invitation or Iranian contract, so to speak. There were indications that Jibril's persons, members of his organization, a cell of Jibril, which acted in Germany, were planning to bomb a series of airliners in mid-air.
These people were in contact, that is according to Israeli and German intelligence, were in contact also with Iranian agents. They were arrested. This Jibril group were arrested in Germany by the German indiscriminate German parlor of the FBI, in October, 1988, two months before Lockerbie. Their bomb maker, a guy by the name of Khreisat, admitted to the German authorities that he had made five bombs designed to explode onboard airliners in mid-flight.
However, the Germans only found four bombs. Khreisat himself, the bomb maker, was released shortly after his arrest for strange reasons. Some possible speculations, never proven in court, but still some I think intelligence officers believed that the fifth bomb exploded onboard Lockerbieonboard Pan Am 103.
Ms. KAYYEM. That is different than ourI mean obviously that is different than where our intelligence in at least the international case is. Viewing Israeli's intelligence perspective obviously focuses on Libya. I think, however, the interesting aspect of that case with Pan Am 103 is here you have two guys who if directed by the Libyan government to do what they did with Pan Am 103, and if found guilty by this court is probably going to sort of implicitly exonerate the Libyan government because we are going to put them behind bars.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I think that is one of the difficulties with in some ways the law enforcement approach which is our approach to terrorism. It is not clear if these guys are found guilty, if the two of them are found guilty, what then happens if there is evidence of state sponsorship.
Mr. TAYLOR. I phrased my question poorly so I will ask it again. Was there ever any evidence that the Iranian air bus had hostile intentions against the Vincennes? Since you are the experts, have you ever been aware of anything along those lines?
Dr. MERARI. No. It was a civilian airliner. However, I think the captain of the Vincennes bona fide believed that it was an enemy aircraft on an attack mission and he acted on his orders and real belief that this was the case. It was a terrible mistake, of course. But prior to that, American ships in the Gulf at the time were attackedhad been attacked by Iranian seacraft, and they were afraid of Iranian attack from the air as well.
It was a time of hostile activity soby the way, the Iranians did take a different type of revenge, I think, at least attempted to, after the shooting down of the Iranian air bus. Some months later, I don't remember now the exact date, but some months after the shooting down of the Iranian air bus the wife of the captain of the Vincennes had her car, her van, I think, booby trapped in San Diego, California and the general belief is that this was the act of Iranian agents in revenge.
Dr. PERLMUTTER. There is a point that should be made. The exacerbation of relationship between United States and Iran not only because of the hostages but remember we played a key role in supporting Iraq against Iran. In fact, we saved Iraq. So the Iraniansthese organizations can sometimes work on their own by believing that they will be perceived to do the job of the governments. Sometimes they are not necessarily loyal to one group or another but there is Iranian involvement, in my view, by the definition of the Iranian perception of the United States before the Gulf War.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I mean we have armed Saddam Hussein. We have created Saddam Hussein. We have saved Saddam Hussein in our intervention. That left an indelible mark in the Iranian mind as much as we remember the hostages. So I wouldn't just say that Iran is not directly or indirectly involved but nevertheless it was a mistake but not in my viewif I would be the judge I would say contextually it isn't because in view of what the Iranian hostilities are then I would not punish severely the particular captain.
Mr. TAYLOR. I was curious what the long-term implications were of that incident. I probably would have made the mistake the captain made.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Taylor. These buzzers that you hear are about a warning of a series of votes upcoming, and it will probably take us a half hour or more so I think what we will do is just thank you for being here this morning. This series of hearings that this panel is conducting are designed to help us as members of Congress understand the general subject of terrorism and the nature of the subject, and also to foster a public dialogue that interested members of the United States citizenry can view if they wish in order to help our society further understand this subject.
And you have made a significant contribution in that regard today and we thank you very much for being with us, and we look forward to working with you in the future. Thank you for being here. We appreciate it very much. The panel stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:40 a.m., the Panel was adjourned.]
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCA P P E N D I X
July 13, 2000
[This information is pending.]