The world confronts the International Islamists' Terror net work.
From a special correspondent
Never before has the world seen a cooperation, in the flied of espionage and intelligence services, between agencies, who until recently had been fighting each others 'cloak and dagger' style.
There is only one phrase, which brought some horrific realisation to those agencies and knocked some sense into their operations: ' Militant Islam.'
Following the US embassies' bombing in Africa, the State Department assessed that there is ''an imminent and continued threat to US citizens abroad,'' American counter-terrorism experts were dispatched to diplomatic missions abroad, to assess ''their vulnerability.''
The beginning of the realisation was in 1996, following the Hamas Palestinian Islamic terror group's bombs that devastated the centres of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem killing many innocent people that the Egyptians invited both Arabs and Israelis, and were joined by the Americans to shed some light on the phenomenon of Islamic terror. The Egyptians themselves have been on the receiving end of a systematic campaign of terror, with the notorious Osma bin Laden financing and supporting Egyptian terrorists.
Ironically, the Egyptians in the 1980's were encouraging their own militants to join the Mujahedine rush by providing logistics for those who wanted to fight the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. Like many western countries, the Egyptians were helping create a Farnknestein monster.
In the 1996 anti terrorism summit in Egypt, the Israelis tried to reason with their Arab neighbour that they are in the same boat fighting the same monster and that they were both target to the same terrorist network.
the Egyptians were pressurised by the Arabs and the Syrians, the Libyans and the Palestinians drowned the discussion and the conference in pedantic arguments about the definition of terrorism and who was a terrorist and who was a freedom fighter. The summit reaching nothing, and the Egyptians were soon to pay dearly for the Luxur attack killing Egyptians, British, Germans, Spaniard and Dutch tourists.
The Syrians and other Arab governments were playing politics and the danger was that, majority of Arab journalists who configure Arab public opinion, always applauded acts of terror when it was committed against Israel. The majority of Arab journalists are either working for Saudi owned or controlled news papers, or on the pay role, directly or indirectly of the Saudi ministry of information, or they themselves have strong Muslim convictions, have deliberately confused Arab public opinion by not naming Islam terrorists.
Arab TV networks like the London based MBC, for example never call Algerian terrorists by the name they themselves use to operate ( the Armed Islamic Group), and only call them -Algamaat al-Musalahha, ie the armed group, thus the viewers and readers never associate the Islamic terror group with the actual acts of terrorism.
Saudi papers and MBC as well as many influential publications bribed by Saud money, never call the Egyptian terror groups by their own name, although these groups sign with ' the Islamic Group', ' or A-Jihad al-Islami', when they send faxes claiming responsibility for their terrorism to Saudi owned news papers like Al-Hyat. Yet the Saudi papers and MBC call them ' the extremist groups; creating more confusion.
Throughout 1996 & 1997, western Intelligence, with the Help of the Egyptian intelligence, the Jordanian Mukhabarat and the Israeli Mossad, have tried desperately to contain the terror groups and cut their supply-lines; but neither many Arab authorities, nor Arab media would help; on the contrary they were hindering the operation since the terrorist 'were fighting Israel'. A notion which sadly, has coloured the way most Arabs now view the world(ie any one fighting Israel must be good !).
Even when Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader and founder of Hams, went on tour in the Arab countries early this year- after being granted travel documents by Mr Arafat to let the Sheikh receive some treatment in Cairo hospital-, he was given over $70 million ( dollar) for his organisation. Rich Gulf Arab states saw that as either doing their share, to fight Israel - the excuse was that Benyamin Netanyahu was committing state terrorism ( and some of Mr Netanyahu's actions Like the fiasco of trying to assassinate a Hamas activist in Amman, didn't help either). Or they wanted to undermine the leadership of Yasser Arafat in Gaza, as they still did not forget that Arafat embraced Saddam Hussein after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Even when the Saudis stripped bin laden of his citizenship, they still backed, financed and supported Taliban, just to spite Iran, to defeat the Shia in Afghanistan and, most important, to get a pipeline bringing the Caspian Sea oil through Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not through Iran. There is no evidence to suggest that the Saudies were serious about demanding that Taliban hand him over, or at least put an end to his activities.
At present and after the Bombing in Africa, which followed bin Laden's threats early this year, Western intelligence started pooling efforts to undermine the operational capabilities of Bin Laden who stands accused of masterminding the 7 August US embassy bombings in East Africa. The co-operation include the Russian and Turkish intelligence.
The US security agencies are on full alert expecting a backlash of Muslim anger following its 20 August cruise missile strikes on suspected terrorist bases in Sudan and Afghanistan.
Islamists killed an American national in an ambush in a Philippines province north of Manila, the local police said on 7 September.
An angry demonstration of over 5,000 was organised by the militant Movement for the Enforcement of Islam against the US in the Pakistan in September in Peshawar, which was the main base for the CIA led Mujahedine in attacks on Afghanistan in the 1980s. A militant leader, Maulana Sufi Mohamed, who teaches quranic studies and may of his disciples are now Taliban leaders
threatened to attack American property in Pakistan and kidnap Americans unless Washington apologises for the missile attacks.
Mullah Mohamed Hassan, the acting foreign minister for the Taliban militia was quoted by a news paper in A-Sharja in the United Arab Emirates on 22 September that Bin Laden had promised to refrain from taking any future militant action from Afghan territory. UAE is one of there countries ( Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) that recognise the Taliban.
Saudi Arabia announced on 22 September, on the eve of the Saudi National day, that it was expelling the Afghan charge d'affaires from the kingdom and recalling the Saudi representative from Kabul.
Although Saudi sources explain the downgrading of ties is as a ''direct result of the Taliban's harbouring of Bin Laden who has been an outspoken critic of the Saudi royal family,'' other diplomats suggest that was a direct pressure from the US. The Saudi announcement came just hours before US Secretary of State announced in New York that the United States wanted an end to the fighting in Afghanistan. And Mrs. Albright was preparing to come face to face with the Iranians in the group of eight meeting to solve the Iran Afghan crisis.
Prince Turki Al-Faisal, king Fahd's nephew who heads Saudi intelligence,
visited Afghanistan at the end of September.
As the effectiveness of military strikes is still in doubt, the CIA, the Mossad, the Egyptians have been pooling efforts and sharing information in a bid to identify Bin Laden's financial resources and international networks, as well as targeting the infrastructure of other Islamists.
FBI Director Louis Freeh testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on 3 September on Bin Laden's threat. The Committee asked Freeh to consider the legality of assassinating the Afghan-based Saudi dissident.
Reports were leaked to the press that the CIA had drawn up plans last year to capture Bin Laden and bring him to justice in the US for other alleged terrorist crimes against US citizens. But the plan was shelved because Bin Laden possessed large numbers of Stinger Missiles, which were given to him by, surprise surprise, the CIA in the 1980s.
Mamdouh Mahmud Salem, the man suspected by the US authorities of running Bin Laden's finances and procuring weapons for him, was arrested in Germany
On 16 September after arriving from Khartoum, he is facing charges in a court in Manhattan of plotting the Darresslam explosion.
Mr Salim, who entered Germany with a Sudanese passport, denies any connection with guerrilla activities though he acknowledges knowing Bin Laden. The German "Focus" magazine said that Salim was in Germany to sort out a financial network for Bin Laden. Salim said he was there to buy used cars. He said he was buying second hand cars to sell in Sudan
Two other suspected Bin Laden associates were charged on 17 September for their role in the embassy bombings. The US offered a US$2 million reward for the wanted man Haroun Fazil. A US$2 million reward is also on offer for information leading to the arrest of Bin Laden.
The Jordanians are also taking a tough line with the Islamists as 12 of their citizens and one Egyptian - who is a permanent resident of the Kingdom are facing long term imprisonment for taking part in bombing Jordan's private Modern American School and a car-parking in Amman the capital Amman. The group Harakt Al-Islah Wattahadi ''Reform and Challenge Movement group'', is reported to be linked to Hamas and the Egyptian Gamat Islamyah.
The ''Reform and Challenge'' movement as set up in 1994 among a close-knit group of youths attending mosque lessons in the working class Ruseifah area near Amman. They were active in directing former Afghan Mujahedine -linked to Bin laden- to Chechnyah during the fight against the Russian government in 1995. Money came from rich Arabs as well as wealthy Jordanians from Chechan origins. Their leader Majed Al-Hajebee along with two other members are being tried in absentia. Jordan has asked Interpol to track them down possibly in the US, Britain and the UAE. A CIA report suggested they were in Afghanistan, but the Jordanian Mukhabart suspect either Britain or one of the Gulf countries. An unconfirmed report saying that Mr Al-Hajebee and another one might have been travelling on Saudi passports; which were provided by the Saudis, on a CIA request, to former Arab Mujahedine in Afghanistan, after Pakistan threatened to ' dump them in the American embassy' in 1992.
Seven suspected Islamist extremists linked to Bin Laden were detained in London on 23 September. Most were said to be Egyptian, though at least one was a Saudi and another was Syrian. All were released for lack if evidence. Arab press accused Britain of submission to pressure from the United States
The CIA, supplied information on suspects and Islamic sympathisers in Africa, according to western diplomatic sources. Most of the Information came from the Egyptian Mukhabarat and the Israeli Mossad.
The Tanzanian police arrested two more suspects in connection with the US embassy bombing. In Uganda, where is there a strong Egyptian presence ( due to the Nile Agreement after own dam was built in 1949, and there is a hot pursuit of Islamic terrorist allegedly trained in Sudan,) the police have rounded up 18 people on tip offs from the CIA, but the mukhabart is understood to be the source of information. They were accused of planning attacks on America and western targets and diplomatic missions .
The Russians too are doing their bit, police in the former Soviet republic of Georgia have detained a Pakistani citizen for allegedly ''regularly watching'' the US Embassy there. All the central Republics, Russia, Turkey, and even China, with its own Muslim minority, are alarmed by the Taliban taking over almost 90 % of Afghanistan and replacing Iran as a source of exporting revolution in the region, or becoming safe haven for terrorist._