Ayman al-Zawahiri Message Analysis: A Lesson in History is Needed

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director
director@homelandsecurityus.com

28 July 2006: Yesterday, Ayman al Zawahiri issued a videotape message threatening the Israelis and the West in retaliation for Israel’s military response to Hezbollah’s terrorist actions from Lebanon. One could almost hear a collective gasp from intelligence analysts and journalists about the implications of Al-Zawahiri’s message, especially since top al Qaeda terrorist Osama bin Laden recently rattled his saber at the Shi’te Muslims in his last As Sahab sponsored message. Some even invoked the principal behind the old adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” as something newly applicable to yesterday’s message by al-Zawahiri.

That reference is utter nonsense and demonstrates the dangerously pervasive lack of knowledge of recent history by a wide group of people, from private intelligence analysts to members of our own government – those in charge of waging, and hopefully winning, the war against the objectives of Islamic terrorists.

For those people interested in “the bottom line,” here it is: Iran has been a state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, both directly and by proxy, for about the last 30 years. The terrorism taking place in the Middle East by Hezbollah and Hamas, at the hands of the Palestinians, is largely being brought to you courtesy of Iran. The Sunnis and the Shi’ites, despite their ideological differences (albeit those differences could not be articulated by the former Assistant Director for the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI), as well as the various Islamic terrorist organizations worldwide, have been operationally interactive in Islamic jihad against Israel and the West, essentially since their inception.

Tangible evidence, including the 1998 federal indictment and supporting documentation filed by the United States against Osama bin Laden, clearly shows that the Iranian backed terrorist group Hezbollah – a Shi’ite organization, and al Qaeda – a Sunni group, have had an ideological and operational relationship for well over the last ten years. Contained within the indictment is the claim that “al-Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.”

Apparently, too few have even bothered to READ the indictment against bin Laden. Also, according to unclassified U.S. intelligence reports, Imad Fayez MUGNIYAH (or MUGNIYEH), top Hezbollah terrorist chief, met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan in 1995, followed by a June, 1996, meeting between one of bin Laden’s senior aides and Mugniyeh during a meeting of terrorist leaders in Tehran hosted by Iran’s Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS). The intent] of those meetings was to coordinate an effective alliance against the United States and Israel. The most recent outcome and results of those meetings are currently being shown on the evening news.

Citing the above facts alone, any reasonably competent intelligence professional should be able to make a prima facie case that the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam have had an operational partnership with each other for at least the last decade.

We don’t need a microcosmic analysis of the message by al-Zawahiri to understand that Islamic jihad will continue until the objectives of Islamic fundamentalism are achieved. What we do need - quite desperately- is an immediate refresher course in history.