Although politicians and so-called "Intelligence Experts" are the ones appearing on TV, discussing and relaying the news on the War or Terror, they are far from the ones who actually have anything to do with the war on terror. As in the past so it is today, the real planning in the war on terror goes on in covert ops-rooms by the real "Spooks" from the three letter agencies: CIA, MIA, ISI, MI-5, MI-6, GRU and the FSB, just to name a few of the major players.
The sad truth is that these spook agencies are in the large, responsible for the effectiveness' of the major Islamic terrorist groups. The tactical planning, the CQB skills and the weapon and explosive knowledge of these Islamic terrorists, are largely courtesy of the spook agencies.
I am not arguing that the spook agencies are directly responsible for the terrorist acts, carried out by these Islamic terror groups. But that with a bit of common sense and forward planning, they should have realized the future evils they where helping to create. Old wisdom say it all, "When you lie with dogs, you get fleas" translated into modern languages that even a mission-oriented spook should be able to understand, the old wisdom says "When you train terrorists, innocent civilians get killed"
Prior to and during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, the US spook agencies saw in their infinite wisdom the Mujahadeen, as a means to an end. The support of the Mujahadeen forces were initiated by the Carter administration, prior to the Soviet invasion and was increased by the Reagan administration. During both administrations, intelligence agents from the CIA and MIA went to Afghanistan by way of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, to make secret contributions in forms of funds, weapons and training to the Afghani resistance fighters.
The strategic plan was to stir up a rebellion against the Afghan government, which would result in the influx of Soviet troops. After the "Soviet Invasion" the purpose was to help the Afghani resistance fighting the Soviet forces. The objective of the plan was to ensure that the occupation would be very costly, for the Soviet army in funds and life's. This wisdom of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" was arguably not a new idea as it has been an ideology of warfare, from the dawn of time. Training and supporting your enemies enemy, was the big thing during the cold war, from Asia to Africa, from the Middle East to South America, is was the tactic favoured by the Super Powers, their allies and their foes.
However, the Intelligence agents were soon to discover that, the Afghanis where in general a untrustworthy ally, who would only follow a set plan as long as they did not have other plans on the sideline. Unfortunately, they always had plans on the side which had a tendency to become the most important plan, plans that at least most of the time came ahead of fighting the Russians. Inter-Tribal feuds where constantly flaring, this in turn led to an unstable situation where military and political alliances changed faster than a "prostitute" did sheets.
This is where the "spooks" came up with a solution which still haunts us today, they decided to direct the Pakistani ISI, to focus most of their training and supplies on the Arab Mujahadeen or jihadist's, who had more zeal for the fight against the Russians.
The Afghan warlords continued to receive the majority of the cash flowing from the spook agencies, but it was the radical Islamic Arabs that got the real training and in return they delivered. The mighty Red Army was forced to retreat in shame and defeat. Russia had met its Afghanistan, as Napoleon had met his Waterloo and the US had met its Vietnam; the spooks of the west had won the decade.
The Spooks success caused a stir in the Soviet "Empire of Evil", within a few years the Soviet Empire where defeated by stratagem and replaced by a "democratic" Russia. So one might say we owe the spooks congratulations on such a worthy contribution to human history. Had it not been for the minor fact, that the CIA/ISI trained Mujahadeen turned into the infamous terror groups, associated with Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda Group.
The Al Qaeda group has in its relatively short terrorist lifespan, turned into the "Olympic Champion" of terror. The Al Qaeda group has staged very few attacks compared to other known terrorist groups, however Al Qaeda has blown the scale when it comes to fatalities and injures caused by terrorist attacks. From January 1998 to December 2003, Al Qaeda only caused a measly 0,1% of all terrorist incidents, grotesquely though the 0,1% of attacks caused 29% of the fatalities and 22% of the injuries inflicted by all terrorist acts in the same time span!
One would think that Russia's experience in the Soviet-Afghan war, would have taught it that radical Islamic fighters are neither just the enemy of your enemy, but also your enemy. However the GRU (Russia's military intelligence unit) fell prey to the same short sightedness as the CIA did, in 1994 they trained and funded mercenaries to fight in Abkhazia, among them where a number of militant Islamic Chechens. The purpose of the clandestine operation were to destabilize the Abkhazian region, in order to weaken the Government of Georgia who sought total separation from Russia. Among those militants were Shamil Basayev, a name the Russians will never again forget although they are more than willing to forget that they trained him.
Shamil Basayev started his guerrilla/terrorist campaign in 1991, when he masterminded the hijacking of a passenger plane from the town of Mineralnye Vody, the plane was flown to Turkey where the hostages where freed. An agreement ensured the Chechens free passage back to Chechnya. Bolstered by his hijacking success Basayev started his guerrilla campaign, gaining combat experience by fighting in the regions many conflicts with the Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh, against the Georgians in Abkhazia and against the Russians in Chechnya. In between the fighting,Basayev received training in terrorist camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
However, Basayevs real terror campaign began with the 1995, attack at the Budennovsk militia headquarters which evolved into the hospital siege. Shamil Basayev appears to be the mastermind behind all of the major Chechen terrorist attacks, carried out since 1995. His network of guerrilla/terrorist groups has several names, the Abkhaz battalion, Sword of Islam, Movsar Barayev Gang and Riyadh-as-Saliheen, the latter being the most notorious group. Since 1995, the network has carried out at least 13 successful terrorist attacks which has caused ca. 949 fatalities and injured a minimum of 1147. This is an enormously high fatality and injury rate for a single terrorist network.
The Shamil Basayev terrorist network has proven itself far more efficient and deadly, than other well-known terrorist groups, such as FARC, HAMAS and ETA. Although the Shamil Basayev network has not yet reached the horrific scale of the Al Qaeda attacks, the future may prove to be different.
Osama Bin Laden and Shamil Basayev are both Islamic militants, who not only fight with a religious zeal but also with sound tactics, learned through training provided by the CIA and GRU. These tactics combined with actual combat experience, has made a mock of the best of both US and Russia's elite forces. It is a tragic irony that these two most infamous terrorists where in part created by the superpowers, who now find them as their fiercest enemies. Mockingly, both carry out their operations dressed in US military uniforms and using Russian assault rifles as their primary weapons.
Lately, the US has been releasing several enemy combatants from the Guantanamo prisoner camp, this has been done due to mounting international pressure, to either convict or release the prisoners, of the original 680 enemy combatants who were brought to Guantanamo, only 4 have been charged so far. However, the choice of which prisoners to release clearly remains with the CIA and MIA, who are in charge of the investigations and interrogations. As in the past so in the present, the three-letter agencies seems incapable of understanding the absolute commitment to jihad, by the Islamic militants.
Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane, a half Danish, half-Algerian enemy combatant who was caught on the Afghan Pakistani border, was recently released from the Guantanamo camp. He had no sooner arrived in Denmark before he publicly stated that the Danish government where a legitimate target of Islamic terrorism, due to the Danish involvement in the war in Iraq. Subsequently, he publicly stated that the US "can use [my promise not to engage in warfare] as toilet paper." He next stated that he intends to continue Jihad by joining the Chechen militants in their fight against the Russian military.
Abdullah Mahsud, a Pakistani enemy combatant caught in Afghanistan, were also recently released from the Guantanamo camp. As soon as he arrived in the Waziristan region in Pakistan, he immediately reconfirmed his commitment to Jihad and met with his former Taliban allies, he planned and carried out a kidnapping of two Chinese engineers. The subsequent attempt by the Pakistani Special Forces to free the hostages, resulted in the death of one of the hostages and five of the kidnappers. Abdullah Mahsud, however managed to escape and is wanted by the Pakistani forces, obviously for more than just neglecting to keep his promise,to the US of not "to engage in warfare", hopefully a promise to not engage in terrorism was also included in his release conditions.
The real problem with making agreements with Islamic militants is that they are devout Muslims, who have dedicated their life to Jihad which brings us to a problem, that the Israelis knows only to well. A Muslim does not have to honour his word, or even his signature as Muslims are permitted to lie to non-Muslims and break agreements with them, under the Koranic law of Hudaibiya.
The four examples of Osama Bin Laden, Shamil Basayev, Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane and Abdullah Mahsud should prove beyond doubt that, the consequences of dealing and negotiating with Islamic militants committed to Jihad, is not only foolish but also outright disastrous. For decades the Official stance by western Governments regarding terrorism, has been a firm strategy of "No negotiations with terrorists", a controversial strategy but clearly it is about time that someone explained to the Spook Agencies, that no negotiations also means no funds, weapons and training. They should also be reminded that the end does not justify the means.
When it comes to dealing with Islamic guerrillas and terrorists, the so-called counter intelligence operations undertaken during the last three decades, by the three-letter intelligence agencies have proven to be anything but intelligent, with hindsight these operations have proved to be absolutely "Counter Intelligent".
Dan Sommer is the author of the SD Agent, a Surveillance Detection Manual, he has been part of the process of designing, implementing and training a SD team for a European Embassy. His 17 years security career started in 1986 and he has active experience from military, security, close protection, counter assault team and surveillance detection operations. Since 1994 the author has been writing training material's for security companies and police departments. He has been instructing courses world-wide for security officers, bodyguards, police officers, counter assault teams and surveillance detection units. Dan currently acts as the International Director of the World Federation of Bodyguards and has a private business as a Security & Protection Consultant. His work can be viewed at his website http://www.DanSommer.Biz