Arafat’s Martyrs and Bush’s Terrorists

No obvious linkage appeared between President George W. Bush’s words in the Oval Office Thursday, January 10, and Yasser Arafat’s pronouncements in Ramallah.
After sending visiting foreign statesmen off with earnest assurances that he was making every effort to halt Palestinian terrorism, Arafat turned to his staff and said in Arabic: “One shahid (martyr) for Jerusalem is worth 70 martyrs anywhere else. Who said that?” Smiling broadly, he answered himself: “The Prophet”.
The Jihad Islami caught the message on the instant and announced its return to full-scale terror operations against Israel.
Bush was speaking at the other end of the world – and so it sounded. At the end of a week of wrangling between Washington and Jerusalem over the ownership and destination of the smuggled Karine-A arms cargo, the US president said “I think it’s very important for our administration to remain engaged with both parties. Obviously, I want to make sure that the evidence is definitive, but I am, like many, beginning to suspect that those arms were headed… to promote terror. I do believe that once the evidence is in…those responsible need to be held to account. On the other hand, I also believe that our country must stay engaged in the process.” He ended by repeating for the umpteenth time that Arafat must renounce terror and work hard to get to the peace table.
US secretary of state Colin Powell was a little more explicit when he said later: “Information we are receiving and developing on our own makes it clear that there is a linkage to the Palestinian Authority. I have not yet seen a direct link to Arafat.”
debkafile‘s Palestinian sources repeat that working hard for peace is nowhere on Arafat’s 2002 agenda, any more than it was in 2000 and 2001. The earnest face he turns to foreign diplomats is not the one he turns to his followers. Bush knows perfectly well whose hand is on the lever of Palestinian terror. On the other hand, it does not suit his administration’s book to let Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon finish him off. Confining him to Ramallah is enough for the moment. So the US president chooses his words carefully, while Arafat smiles to his followers and lets the Jihad Islami, which never accepted Arafat’s show of a ceasefire anyway, off the leash.
Washington, by quibbling over “evidence”, has again let Arafat get away with preparing for a sharply escalated war against Israel in broad daylight. Witness the Karine-A. On Wednesday, he also got away with his gunmen disarming the electronic fence protecting Israel’s Negev villages from Gaza-based Palestinian raiders. The breach was made under cover of the Palestinian attack on an army position on the Israeli side of the Gaza Strip frontier near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, in which four Israeli troops and two of the Palestinian terrorists were killed, both in Palestinian police uniforms.
At the same Oval Office news briefing, Bush also addressed Iran’s breach in America’s net for catching escaping al Qaeda fighters. DEBKA-Net-Weekly was the first publication to report on January 4, that al Qaeda fighters escaping from Afghanistan and Pakistan were reaching the Persian Gulf via south Teheran. This Iranian escape route has enabled the bulk of Osama bin Laden’s army to reach safety. Bush warned Iran, which gave the United States “positive signals” of cooperation early on, against allowing “al Qaeda murderers in their country”. He demanded they hand over any who have already slipped across the border. “Iran must be a contributor in the war against terror,” he stressed.
The US president warned the ayatollahs that the US-led coalition “will deal with them diplomatically, initially” if they try to destabilize Afghanistan. The reference was to Iran’s activation of Shiite groups in Afghanistan to subvert Hamid Karzai’s interim government in Kabul.
debkafile‘s Gulf experts reveal that Iran, though willing to cooperate with the United States in overthrowing the Taliban, sides with al Qaeda. Indeed one of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants is Imad Mughniyeh, the notorious superterrorist high on the US wanted list since his anti-American activities on behalf of the Hizballah in Beirut.
Mughniyeh is director of terrorist operations for Iran’s hard line spiritual leader Ali Khamenei. By sending him to work with bin Laden, Khamenei forged a prized operational link between Iran, the Hizballah and al Qaeda.
One recent product of this terror partnership is the Karine-Q arms ship, which was loaded with arms for the Palestinians at the Iranian resort island of Kish in the Persian Gulf. Mughniyeh is a live wire in Arafat’s exchanges with the Hizballah and Iran – which brings the Palestinian leader into al Qaeda’s ken.
This interlocking web of terrorist groups and operations aims by definition at defeating America’s campaign to stamp out terror, with roles both for the Palestinians and the Iranians. It is also directed against the United States per se.
Yet the Bush administration talks about engaging the Palestinians and diplomacy with Iran.
More and more Palestinian terror strikes are carried out by suicides who embrace “martyrdom” for the sake of the “jihad” against Israel.
debkafile‘s Islam experts elucidate a recurrent misapprehension of the true meaning of jihad. Muslim tradition doe not conceive of holy war as a senseless campaign of suicides against unbelievers. On the contrary, a believer is only bound to jihad if a breach in the enemy’s defenses makes it possible for him to fight and be victorious. In the absence of this breach, he is expressly forbidden to wage jihad. Engaging in hopeless battle is not deemed jihad. In fact it is prohibited.
In other words, an enemy showing weakness invites the Muslim to engage him in holy war. For Arafat and his following, Israel the enemy. Each time well-meaning mediators and peace-seeking Israelis initiate negotiations and concessions, Arafat instructs his followers to throw themselves into the breach formed in the enemy’s defenses in obedience to the Prophet’s injunction. Every new diplomatic initiative evokes a fresh round of Palestinian terror, as Anthony Zinni discovered most recently.
Both Arafat and the Iranian ayatollah will therefore take president Bush’s Oval Office cautious statements as a signal to continue their “jihad” – terror, in American and Israeli terms.
The Karine-A affair demonstrated that the next wave of terror against Israel is being cooked up by a rapidly developing al Qaeda offshoot, a coalition between Arafat, Hizballah, Iraq and Iran – all pulled together by an old enemy of America and Israel, Imad Mughniyeh.

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