From Political Fighters to Psychopathic Killers
How did the Middle East come to the point of an Army of psychopaths marching across the desert doing the scorched earth and mass murder with impunity? The story didn’t start with our involvement with Iraq the first time, or the second time. It didn’t start with Saddam’s rise to power nor did it start with the Arab/Israeli conflicts. Arguably, it started in the 1920s with the euphemistically named Arab Riots. These ‘riots’ were organized and financed by the el-Husseinis; a tribe of Arabs living in the region of what we now call Israel. The leading figure who emerged was the Haj Amin el-Husseini; who later became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He started by organizing small groups of Fedayeen as suicide cells; these morphed into a more developed regional organizations of terror cells and not necessarily for suicide attacks. These cells had two major targets; first and foremost, the Jews. Immigration by Jews from Europe had started relatively heavy early in the 20th Century. But for the most part the Jews and Arabs coexisted relatively well until the 1920s and the rise of the Mufti and his unabiding hatred of all things Jewish. Their second target were the British who had been in Palestine since the end of WWI. This is one thing both the Arabs and the Jews had in common at the time, hatred of British control of the region. There were bombings, attacks on villages and kibbutz’, but the fights were controlled and somewhat organized and had a purpose for both sides.
With the rise of Hitler and the beginning of the Third Reich, the Arab radicals; at that time, nearly all of whom were living in the Middle East, found a new ally. From the beginning, Hitler and the Mufti had a relationship based on common enemies and their unbending hatred of Jews. At the outbreak of WWII, the Mufti had fled to Germany; having declared his support of the German war effort. Hitler, Himmler and others met with him for the purpose of extending their “handling” Jewish situation to the Arab world. At first, Hitler told him Germany would not get involved with the German/Arab solution to the “Jewish problem” into the Middle East because “the time was not right”. This simply meant Hitler was a bit overextended with the war with two fronts. But he would remain friends with the Arabs and the Mufti and when the time was right, Germany would move on the Middle East and take care of their “Jewish problem”. The Mufti had his own way of helping out. He recruited some twenty thousand Muslims from the Slavic regions, at the time known as Yugoslavia, for no other reason than to kill Jews in that region furthering the cause of German Socialism and genocide. The radical Muslims had stepped over another line in brutality into genocide.
With the end of WWII, the Mufti was arrested by the French government. Frankly, they were not too excited to have him there, yet they refused to turn him over to the British, although he was a British citizen and charged with treason and war crimes for his work with NAZI Germany. Shortly after being imprisoned, the Muslim Brotherhood pulled him out of France; probably aided by the French themselves who didn’t want the proverbial headache. Within a short time, he was back in Palestine and back to encouraging the slaughter of Jews. Because of his NAZI ties, Husseini became a hero to the Arab states none of whom had any problems with terror attacks on the Jews. Then came May 15, 1947, the very day the British Mandate expired; the new Israel was invaded by the five Arab states and their massive armies. Against incredible and virtually impossible odds, the Arabs lost and modern Israel was born to the world. The Jew hatred became a way of life for Islam in general and an obsession of raw loathing by those who were the radical Islamists.
With the Mufti’s ties to the NAZIs, came the birth or rather the upward mobility of the Ba'ath Party; there was a quasi Ba'ath movement before WWII, but was coalesced after the war. This political party was secular in the beginning, but extremely nationalistic. The Ba'ath Party was also Socialist and it proudly described itself as such. The Party copied and designed itself after the German NAZIs by extraordinarily nationalistic Arabs. Very quickly, the Ba'athists took control of Syria and Iraq. And soon, these states became the most powerful and violent of all the Arab states; very militaristic. They became the prime movers of terror worldwide. And with the rise in the late 1960s of Saddam Hussein, Iraq was number one in the support of worldwide terror. Although, the Ba'athists were secular, they encouraged radical Islamists because they knew the violence these radicals could create. Saddam played on their hatred by acting like an Islamist himself, although; there has never been any indication of Saddam being overly religious. He was perfectly happy to finance, train and export terrorists worldwide for over 30 years.
The Muslim Brotherhood at the end of WWII were somewhat out of favor by the Arab states simply because they took the brunt of why the Arab armies lost the Israeli War of Independence. But they were never far gone, most of the 2 million members reorganized into smaller terror organizations, the largest being the PLO; led by the Mufti of Jerusalem’s nephew, Yasser Arafat. These organizations were all more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood was at that time; but later the Brotherhood became more like these groups with their violence. Throughout the 1950s and ‘60’s until the Six Day War, these smaller organizations were financed and trained by the Arab states. All the Arab states were doing this, but at that time, the big boy was Nasser’s Egypt. Nasser hated the new Israel and hated the Jews with an obsession. From about 1956 on to the Six Day War, his regime hunted down and killed or expelled all Jews from Egypt, although they were Egyptian citizens and many had been there for dozens of generations. Another quasi genocide and a further movement towards more brutality.
The Six Day War in 1966, showed the Arab states that Israel was here to stay and as a result of that war, terrorism became much more common. It was obvious with the massive loss by the Arab states in the Six Day War that a frontal war with Israel was not such a good idea. The terror organizations now had become even more violent and all the world saw this with the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics of a dozen Israeli athletes and coaches. There were many other not so published events, including many airplane hijackings. These became so bad, Israel became the foremost experts on airport security. There was a Mossad agent on every plane in the early days. These agents had become so professional that an agent could draw a .22 (small caliber) Berretta automatic, fire two shots and hammer a ten penny nail into a board at ten feet. The security at Israeli airports was and is so good, there have been virtually no terrorists pass through them in decades.
By the 1970s, the worldwide terror network had fused to the Ba'athists; led by Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Hafez al-Assad of Syria. These were the military trainers and financiers of most of the prominent political terror groups and the Islamists who were following the Wahhabi edicts of a Middle Eastern Caliphate. The Wahhabi version of Islam encouraged a literal interpretation of the Koran; pure violence related to their idea of Jihad and extreme hatred of all things Jewish. They had become very dangerous, but still were aware of how far they could go without dragging in the super powers in armed conflict. This changed with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The guerrilla fighters also known as the Mujahedeen; these fighters were very effective against the Soviets with U.S. and U.S. ally support. By the early 1990s, the Russians had left Afghanistan and the vacuum was filled by Pakistani ISI (Pakistan’s Intelligence Services) which had become riddled with Wahhabism throughout the 1980s. Their students, or as the literal translation of their “student” reads; the Taliban, took control of most of the southern regions of Afghanistan. These Taliban were and are Wahhabi Islamists; taking virtually only the pure violence literally from the Koran and using it as part of their daily lives. And they had no problem housing and training with the more influential Islamic terrorist group, notably the big one; al-Qaida.
During the Soviet/Afghanistan guerrilla war, many Islamists from all over the Middle East, Europe and even America, made their way into Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. We certainly did help them, even knowing their radicalism. It was in our best interest to do so, simply because we knew the massive financial and moral cost this war was to the Soviet Union. And after 10 years of war in Afghanistan and the arms race with the U.S., the idea of a Soviet Union collapsed, leaving the south of the old Soviet Union to make their own states and many of these were Islamic states. The new and smaller Russia became targets of Islamic terror very quickly through the 1990s and even to this day. The most outrageous and horrifying of these events was the attack on the school in the town of Breslan in the Russian Federation. 334 people died in this 3 day attack, most of them little kids; many were shot, knifed and even beheaded before the final assault by Russian authorities. Raw and purely evil violence with little or no moral doorways was becoming common in radical Islam. Many of these radicals had become devoid of any sort of conscience related to the murder of human beings.
This hatred culminated for us on the morning of September 11, 2001, with the triple airplane attacks here in the continental U.S. and the death of 3000+ Americans by the Taliban protected al-Qaida. Most of the world was horrified; on the East Bank and the Gaza Strip, there were celebrations in the streets. By this time, the Muslim world, except for a notable few, mostly here in the U.S., were becoming from apathetic to or complete supporters of the violence perpetrated by factions within their own religion. With 9/11, Breslan and others, radical Islam had stepped over a line to near psychotic behavior. And the Ba'athist in Syria and their counterparts hiding in plain sight after the take down of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, were still encouraging, training and supporting these ultra-radicals.
The Syrian civil war, the complete withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and the vacuum left behind brought us a new terror. And this one is organized and trained by Ba'athist officers from the old Iraq and fueled by the most radical Islamic terror organization ever in the history of that religion; The Islamic State and Imperialism known as ISIS. With 90 years and 5 generations of continuing terrorism and murder, radical Islam has become far beyond what was once a few grenades in an airport or a shootout at a hotel or even a bomb going off at an embassy. It stepped into what can only be called group psychopathic behavior; going beyond even the NAZIs of the 1930s, these monsters kill not for any other reason than the sheer pleasure of bloodletting in the most grotesque way. Along with filming their atrocities so as to proudly show the world their handiwork.
We can argue the semantics of why the Middle East is on fire today. Obviously it is extremely complicated and there are many different influences and reasons I haven’t mentioned here for why the Middle East is the way it is. But my reason for this piece is to show how a small group of people become so enamored with violence and conditioned to enjoy killing and maiming, they step into a level of group psychosis. ISIS is the most dangerous terror/political organization in modern history. They have the finances from the oil, the weapons from both Syria and Iraq (including WMDs) and the numbers of bodies to walk across the Middle East. And with ISIS having no moral stops to extreme violence, the devastation will be beyond what most of us can imagine. They will have their caliphate and when that happens, there will be a psychotic state with the real estate, the energy, the weapons and the will to export their brand of raw and unmitigated violence worldwide. Is another attack like 9/11 coming to our shores? You can bet the proverbial farm it is….and we had better be ready.