In preparing this article, I struggled to find a defined definition of “terrorism”, whether in international law or in transnational law. International experts, including those of the UN, all failed to agree on a definition of “terrorism” — most agree that the definition is subjective at best, depending on which side of the “conflict” one is on.
The word “terrorism “ has its origin in Latin “ terrorisme” or great fear. Maximilien Robespierre, a leader in the French Revolution proclaimed in 1794 “terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible”.
However Title 22, Chapter 38 of the United States Code contains a definition of terrorism in its requirement that the Secretary of State to Congress submit annual country reports on terrorism every year. It reads,
“The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents”.
However, please allow me to add my attempt at defining terrorism. As “premeditated, politically, religiously, ethnically, and racially motivated acts of violence against civilians and noncombatant targets by states, national governments, and or sub-national groups or clandestine agents to include murder, targeted assassinations, kidnapping, coercion, unlawful imprisonment, destruction of private or public properties and causing utter fear and acts of violence as means of accomplishing private or national goals.
Of course the world focus these days on Muslims and Islam as the source of “international terrorism”, prompting the likes of the Rupert Murdoch the Israeli/American/British/Australian head of News Corps and Fox News to tweet…
“Maybe most Moslems peaceful, until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible” Rupert Murdoch 2:07 am 10 January 2015
Mr. Murdoch gave his edict/fatwa the all Muslims are responsible for the jihadists among them. However Mr. Murdoch failed to say at the same breath or tweet that all Christians and Jews should also be held responsible for the acts of “terrorism” committed by states like Israel, the US, France, England among others.
Jumping into the circus ring is non other than Bobby Jindal the Republican governor of Louisiana, who in a London speech few weeks before the Henry Jackson Society declared:
“A so-called religion that allows for and endorses killing those who oppose it is not a religion at all, it is terrorist movement….. Let’s be honest, Islam has a problem… Ok, it is their problem and they need to deal with it.”
Contrary to the American Zionist Jewish Islamophobia promoters and inciters of violence against Moslems and Islam, modern day terrorism in the Middle East did not start with Muslims or Arabs certainly it will not end up or come to end by Muslims or Arabs.
If we are to look at modern day terrorism in the Middle East we have to look at the very beginning, the years leading to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
The new European Zionist colonial settlers, in order to achieve the ethnic transfer and cleansing of Palestinians from Mandated Palestine undertook massive and systematic war of terror mainly against Arab populations, certainly against British Mandate soldiers.
Between 1936-1939 the Jewish terrorist group Irgun, Haganah among others, carried more than 60 terrorists attacks mainly against Arab civilians targeting public markets. There are some of the terrorists attacks committed by Mr. Robert Murdock own people.
A July 22, 1938 attack on a marketplace in Haifa killed 43. On July 25, 1938 Jewish terrorists attacked another market place in Jaffa killing 24. On February 27th, 1939, Jewish terrorists carried out multiple attacks on Arab markets, killing 33. June 19, 1939, saw the cold-blooded murder of 20, when Jewish terrorists loaded a donkey full of explosives and detonated the explosives, killing 20 people and the donkey at a marketplace in Haifa.
On December 12, 1947, Jewish terrorists group killed 20 with a barrel bomb at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, again killing other 20 on January 7, 1947 in bomb at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem. On February 18th, 1948, a bomb went off in a crowded market in Ramla, killing 123 and injuring 43. Of course no one should ever forget the massacre of 107-120 Arabs, who were killed by the Irgun and Lehi terrorists gangs at Deir Yassin between April 9-11 of 1948; neither should we forget the bombing of King David Hotel on July 22, 1946 killing 91 and injuring 46.
Mr. Murdoch should be reminded that Israel never stopped its terrorism and continued till today. I am sure he does not expect me or anyone else to blame the Jews for the terrorists acts of Israel, especially after the attacks on Gaza, where more than 5,000 were killed and 15,000 injured in two wars that destroyed one-third of Gaza.
We should not go too far. According to the logic of Mr. Murdoch, WWII showed the massive cruelty of “Christendom” when America and its allies carried out massive raids on German cities. One need to remember the bombing of Dresden 13-15 February 1945, when 722 heavy bombers of the RAF and 527 bombers of the US Army Air force dropped 3,900 tons of high explosive bombs and incendiary devices over the city, killing and burning alive between 22,700 to 25,000 Germans. Tens of millions died in WWII the majority were non-combatants.
Of course we need to shift to the East, where two nuclear bombs one uranium (Little Boy) and one plutonium (Fat Man) were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 6, and 9th 1945, killing and burning alive 90,000-166,000 in Hiroshima and 39,000-80,000 in Nagasaki immediately and within the next few months.
The Japanese “Shinto” were also heavily engaged in state terrorism killing and murdering tens of millions in Korea, in Manchuria, in China, in the Philippine and in the Pacific Islands.
Vietnam was no different. The US with orders from the Noble Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger ordered the carpet-bombing of Cambodia and Laos in the spring of 1969 killing tens of thousands. Between 1969-1975 an estimated 600,000 Khamer died as a result of the American “Incursion”. Of course Pol Pot (Buddhists) not to be outdone by the Americans killed and murdered over 2 millions in the killing fields of Cambodia bringing Buddhists to the ranks of “terrorists”.
Napalm and Agent Orange, where extensively used by the American Occupational Forces in Vietnam and also by the South Vietnamese army where thousands were burned to death and where tens of thousands (Americans and Vietnamese) died and suffered incurable cancer because of the extensive use of Agent Orange. Of course more than three million Vietnamese died and injured as a result of the US Occupation.
Of course I did not mean to forget America’s war on Latin and Central America where our “agents and partners” in the military killed and murdered over 350,000 during the “civil wars” that took place in the 70’s and 80s.
It seems “Christendom” does not farewell at all. Not in WWII or in WWI. Both Germany and the Allies made extensive use of chemical weapons including tear gas, mustard gas, phosgene and chlorine with Germany “firing 18,000 artillery shells containing liquid xylylbromide” at Russian positions near Rawka River during WWI.
France and Spain, and Italy did not fare well on the “terrorism score board”. Here I am not talking about the tens of millions killed as a result of colonialism and occupations of Latin America and Black Africa.
I am limiting my talk here only about North Africa where over one million Algerian died as a result of mass execution and massacres and of course full fledged wars on the indigenous population of Algeria by the French colonial army and settlers.
Morocco did not fare any better with Spain dropping chemical weapons on the Rif (North Morocco) to quell insurrections against the Spanish Occupation. Taking beheading to a higher level, France issued it postage stamp of 12 beheaded Moroccans around the City of Mekkness in 1922.
Well, Muslims also scored well on the “terrorism score board”. In Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Yemen, in Syria, in Palestine, in Libya among others where close to a million died in civil wars and sectarian violence.
Here we must give honorable mention to one and only one Mr. Saddam Hussein; America’s boy trained as a thug, died as a criminal at the same hands that brought him to power, the good old USA.
Mr. Saddam no doubt an “Arab nationalist” certainly not an “Islamists” who on the command of the Reagan White House decided to defends the honor of the “Arabs” by waging his war against the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran.
The US, Britain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Egypt, India, Luxembourg, Spain, China even Singapore all contributed to Saddam’s chemical war fare contributing material and know how.
Between 1983-1988 and during the Iran- Iraq war Saddam dropped 19,500 chemical bombs, 54,000 chemical artillery shells, 27,000 short range chemical rockets killing tens of thousands of Iranian soldiers in place like Faw, Panjwin, Hawizah Marsh, Um ar-Rasas, al-Basrah, Sumar and Mehan among others.
Well, America’s boy and darling felt immune from prosecution, decided to do the same with the Kurds, sending his MIG and Mirage fighters dropping chemical weapons on Kurdish Halabja on March 16, 1988 killing between 3,200- 5,000 and injuring 7,000-10,000.
Of course no one raised a finger or a voice, not Arab nationalists, not Muslim fundamentalists certainly not the Judeo-Christians Neocons.
It seems that “terrorism” is also a corner stone of Arab nationalists “secular” regimes with the Ba’athist Party taking the lead. Not only did it bring Iraq to its knees, but also it brought total destruction to Syria. In the last 3 years, over 300,000 Syrians died as a result of Bashar Liberation Army, using barrel bombs as standard menu of his “war on terror” killing his own people and destroying almost all Syrian cities. Barrel bombs were not the only items on the menu, chemical weapons were used extensively. The Syrian Opposition does not fare well on the “terrorism scale”. It too has its shares of committing acts of terror.
Oh we could not conclude without giving honorable mention to the Palestinians, mainly Hamas and Islamic Jihad. These two organizations also engaged in active acts of “terrorism” carrying out extensive suicide bombings of restaurants, shops and buses, of course against Jewish targets.
Between 1992-2002 Palestinian organizations mainly Hamas and Islamic Jihad, carried out a total of 107 separate suicide attacks killing over 500 Israelis.
Among the most infamous is the attack on the restaurant in Natanya that killed 30 on March 27, 2002. Also the attack on Rishon LeZion on May 7, 2002 that killed 15. Also the suicide bombing of the Hadera bus on April 13, 1994 that killed 5, and the suicide bombing of the Matzo restaurant on March 31, 2002 that killed 16.
Always leaving the best to the last. Iraq. No where has “terrorism’ made a name for itself than Iraq. Not only during the infamous reign of Saddam but during and after the criminal invasion and Occupation of Iraq by the Judeo-Christian Zionist Neocons of the United States.
Of course there were NO nuclear materials in Iraq, but baby Bush, promoted by his circle of criminal blood thirsty Neocons decided to finish Iraq. Destroy whatever is left of Iraq after its war with Iran, after its invasion of Kuwait, and after 8 years of killing sanctions. Destruction of Iraq was Bush/Cheney gift to Israel and the emerging “Islamists/Ba’athists” terrorists.
With intent to destroy Iraq, the Bush administration could not chose a more incompetent, more inept, more reckless if not stupid other than Ambassador Paul Bremer to really fu$k things up in Iraq. Paul Bremer as head of “provisional authority” in one year May 12, 2003-June 28, 2004 destroyed and ruined Iraq something that Saddam failed to do in 28 years of dictatorship.
With no historical, cultural or anthropological background or knowledge about Iraq, its mosaic of ancient culture and history and ethnic and religious diversity, Paul Bremer decide on ill advice and without even bothering to listen to some few “wise” aids decided to disband the army, the only “ power” that kept Iraq intact after all these years of Saddam iron hand rule. He also decided to disband the Ba’athist” Party criminal as it is, nevertheless it kept the bureaucracy of the state going and functioning.
Of course both Paul Bremer and the subsequent American administrator all failed to understand the complexity of the Iraqi society, the simmering feud between Sunnis and Shiites fueled by Saddam frequent attacks and killings of Shiites who always accused as agents of Iran. Of course no one can exonerate Iran ambition of ruling Iraq through proxy.
To bad for Iraq, too bad for both Sunnis and Shiites, Paul Bremer and subsequent American military and policy administrators did not benefit from any help especially from those Iraqis who came to “liberate” Iraq riding on top of American tanks.
With few exceptions, all were “sectarian” out to destroy Iraq from within, harvesting the seed of division planted by Saddam. The likes of Ahmed Chalabi, Eyad Alawi, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, Ibrahim al-Jaafari all should have taken charge and formed the kind of critical leadership Iraq needed at the time after all these years of devastating wars and dictatorship. Iraq and its people were badly in need of a leadership that can heal the wounds, reconcile years of divisions, political and social abuse, economic disfranchising of certain segment of society mainly Shiite and reuniting the country including Kurdistan. All Iraqi leaders post the American Occupation failed the test of leadership.
Nouri al- Malaki was worst of all. A die-hard “sectarian” he came to power with vengeance and meanness unmatched in modern history. During his 8 years tenure as Prime Minister Iraq was truly a failed country, a country divided along sectarian and ethnic lines. A country witnessing daily suicide bombings that spared no one, rich and poor, women and children, schools, hospitals, markets, restaurants, gas stations.
During his tenure sectarian violence took on a more sinister and danger level, all over Iraq, with both Sunnis and Shiites killing each other with impunity. It was Nouri al-Maliki that should take the blame and should be held responsible for the rise of the Daesh (ISIL) it was his policies and his disfranchisement of Sunnis and his failure to rebuild state institutions that gave Daesh reasons to exist. No one should ever forgive him for all the damage he did.
O course one could never understand the cruelty of those who killed and murder the Moaz al- Kasasbeh by “immolation”, an ancient practice where 50,000 people were executed as “witches” in Europe in the 15 and 18 centuries.
Here in the US, lynching, the practice of killing and hanging of Blacks was common practice in the South, where according to Tuskegee Institute recorded 3,446 cases of Blacks lunched with 1,297 Whites during the same period of late 18th century to 1960.
America does not do lynching any more; it sends its drones all over the world killing both “terrorists” and civilians alike. Since 2004 over 2,851 persons were killed in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia among others. Welcome to the world of “Terrorism Without Borders”.
Sami, a Palestinian-American and a US Army Veteran (66-68), recipient of the “soldier of the month award and leadership award from the 6th Army NCO Academy, is an international legal and business consultant with over 40 years of international experience, in construction, hospitality services, conservation, and defense, in the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. Sami is a holder of BA, MPA in Public and Environmental Affairs, Jurist Doctor from Indiana University. While at IU he was elected class president, student government president and chairman of the Indiana Students Association,
Active in peace movement as a co-author of the pre-amble for the One State for All of its people and voluntary service program SalamNation. A frequent contributor on national and international affairs. He resides in the United States.