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           Democracy  and  Terrorism:  Current  Trends  in  Terrorism  and  
counterterrorism:  Application  of  Domestic  and  Israeli  Counterterrorism                      
                                                                                                                               A  Master  Thesis  
                                                                                                           Submitted  to  the  Faculty  
                                                                                                         American  Public  University  
                                                                                                                   Yehuda  J.  Lev  
                                                                                                     In  Partial  Fulfillment  of  the  
                                                                                                   Requirements  for  the  Degree  
                                                                                                                     Master  of  Arts  
                                                                                                                         July  2013  
                                                                                                 American  Public  University  
                                                                                                           Charles  Town,  WV  

The  initial  research  that  led  to  this  monograph  would  be  hard  to  imagine  without  
the  author’s  personal  life  and  career  experiences.  However,  while  what  had  
originally,  to  be  a  concise,  relatively  short  document,  became  impossibility  in  
light  of  the  writer’s  wish  to  truly  add  a  substantial  document  to  the  general  
academic  database  on  the  topic  of  democracy  and  counterterrorism.  
A  special  effort  has  been  made  to  use  as  much  credible,  balanced  and  up-­‐  to-­‐  date  
literature  as  possible  as  well  as  the  latest  other  media  publications.  Among  a  long  
list  of    intelligence  and  counterterrorism  writers,  experts  and  analysts,  it  was  the  
vast  contribution  of  Daniel  Byman,  Peter  l.  Bergen,  Boaz  Ganor,Audrey  Kurth  
Cronin,  Paul  R.  Pillar  and  Ami  Pedahzur  that  played  a  major  role  in  shaping  this  
Furthermore,  the  American  Public  and  Military  University  National  Security  and  
Counterterrorism  curriculum  and  its  professors,  especially  Brigadier  General  U.S.  
Army  (Retired)  Ronald  S.  Mangum  and  the  Director  of  National  Security  Program  
and  Military  Studies  Program,  Doctor  Edward  J.  Hagerty,  Ph.D.  played  an  
important  role  in  guiding  and  encouraging  the  author  through  the  shaping,  
creation  and  publication  attempts  of  this  work.  
July  2013.  

The  U.S.  has  so  far  failed  to  defeat  Islamist  terrorism.  Through  research  and  

comparative  analysis  of  related  literature,  this  work  suggests  that  there  are  

lessons  to  be  learned  from  Israel’s  counterterrorist  model  and  applied  to  the  U.S.  

model.  Most  of  such  lessons  focus  on  changes  to  the  effectiveness  of  the  U.S.  

intelligence  community  and  U.S.  public  resilience.    



CHAPTER                                      PAGE  

ACKNOWLEGEMENTS…………………………………………………………………………………      2  

I. ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………………..…………      3  

 II.                TABLE  OF  CONTENTS……………………………………………………………………    …      4  



III.                INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………………    9      

IV.                LITERATURE  REVIEW………………………………………………………………………  .11        


 PRACTICAL  AND  ACADEMIC  APPROACHES……………………….............................  43  


                         FOUNDATION  OF  DEMOCRACY  –  A  FALLACY  OR  ACTUAL  POSSIBILITY..44  

VI.          FIGHTING  TERRORISM  ON  A  NATIONAL  LEVEL……………………………………..52  


                     APPROACH  OF  THE  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY……………………………      57  

CHAPTER                                                    PAGE  




                           LIKELY  TO  OBTAIN  AND  USE  WMD?.................................................................          73  


                                                       PARADIGMS  TESTED…………………………………………………………    90  



                     A  BACKGROUND…………………………………………………………………………………..91  




XII.                THE  WMD  TERRORIST  THREAT  TO  ISRAEL……………………………………..103    

XIII.                THE  ISRAELI  COUNTERTERRORIST  APPARATUS…………………………….109  





CHAPTER                                    PAGE  

Targeted  Killings…………………………………………………………………………….  130  

Other  Israeli  Counterterrorism  Measures:  Defensive  and  Punitive  

Counterterrorism  Measures…………………………………………..........................    145  


  Israeli  Administrative  Counterterrorist  Measures…………………………….  .152  

Israel’s  Punitive  CT  Measures……………………………………………………………153  




APPLIED  TO  THE  STRUGGLE  WITH  AL  QAEDA?.........................................    .  159      

General  Lessons  from  Worldwide  Struggle  with  Terrorism……………….167  

International  Cooperation  in  the  CT  struggle……………………………………167  

Intelligence  and  Counterterrorism:  the  Nature  &  Quality  of  Intelligence  

Needed  to  Disrupt  Terrorism:  The  U.S.  and  Israeli  perspectives………..  171  


                           LETHAL  FORCE  IN  THE  U.S.  COUNTERTERRORISM:  MORAL,    

                           LEGAL  AND  EFFICACY  ISSUES…………………………………………………………    183  

XIX.            OTHER  U.S.  CT  MEASURES…………………………………………………………  ..            194  

                           Administrative:  The  Patriot  Act………………………………………………………..  194  


                         Torture  and  Indefinite  Detention……………………………………………………      195  

   CHAPTER                                PAGE            

                     Renditions  and  Extraordinary  Renditions…………………………………………...198  


XX.          LIMITATIONS  OF  THE  STUDY…………………………………………………………..  ...203  

XXI.        CONCLUSIONS  AND  RECOMMENDATIONS………………………………………..  .  204  

XXII.    METHODOLOGY:  RESEARCH  AND  ANALYSIS……………………………………...209  

XXIII.  REFERENCES………………………………………………………………………………….....212  




“The  worst  enemy  of  any  progress  is  a  closed  mind”  


The  current  American  model  of  combating  terrorism  in  its  various  forms  failed  

to  secure  the  American  people  against  future  terrorist  attack.  Moreover,  it  is  

incapable  of  granting  security  against  possible  weapons  of  mass  destruction  

(WMD)  attack  on  the  Homeland.  Despite  the  fact  that  no  currently  known  

security  means  can  assure  complete  fail-­‐safe  protection  -­‐  searching  for  new,  

additional  ways  to  weaken,  if  not  destroy  terrorism  -­‐  is  highly  indicated.  

Certain  nations  and  governments  are  open  to  changes  even  in  well  accepted,  

often  proven  effective,  existing  counterterrorist  measures.  America  has  made  its  

initial  step  towards  modernization  of  its  counterterrorism  paradigm,  after  the  

end  of  the  cold  war.  In  a  recent  book,  Find  Fix  Finish:  Inside  the  

Counterterrorism  Campaigns  that  Killed  Bin  Laden  and  Devastated  Al-­‐Qaeda,  

writers  Peritz  and  Rosenbach  launch  a  probe  into  the  development  of  the  U.S.  

counterterrorism  strategy.  This  process  began  with  the  transition  from  slow,  

hesitant,  irresolute  responses,  (e.g.  Beirut  1983,  Somalia  1993,  Tanzania  and  

Kenya  1998,  USS  Cole  2000  etc.)  into  a  more  mature  strategy,  which  currently  

focuses  on  the  problem  of  “fixing”  i.e.  pinpointing  the  exact  location  of  the  

terrorist  target;  and  thus  –  the  “intelligence  heart”  of  the  problem.  

“  The  fundamental  assumption  of  the  Cold  War  –  that  neither  side  
wanted  to  risk  annihilation  –  was  null  and  void,  since  the  terrorists  
were  willing  to  martyr  themselves…the  find-­‐fix-­‐  finish  doctrine  [of  
the  cold  war  as  seen  in  Korea  or  Vietnam]  had  to  evolve  as  well…  
the  finishing  is  relatively  easy.  In  this  world  it’s  the  finding  that’s  
the  hardest-­‐to-­‐do  function,  it’s  the  intelligence  thing”  (Peritz  and  
Rosenbach  2012,  5).  
Intelligence,   remains   the   heart   of   the   U.S.   counterinsurgency/counterterrorism  

capability   problem,   in   the   short   and   middle   term.   Arguably,   in   the   far   future  

terrorism   will   be   dealt   with   through   soft   power,   or   smart   power,   reaching   out  

for   the   “hearts   and   minds”   of   the   population,   in   the   midst   of   which,   terrorists  

thrive.   Both,   the   United   States   and   Israel   are   two   closely   allied   democracies  

sharing  the  threat  of  terrorism.  This  paper  discusses  various  measures  and  tools  

used   by   the   United   States   and   Israel   in   their   struggle   against   terrorism   in  

general,   suicide   terrorism,   and   the   WMD   threat   from   transnational   terrorists.  

Can   lessons   from   the   long   Israeli   counterterrorist   campaign   be   applied   to   the  

American  counterterrorism  strategy?  Some  claim  that  the  American  political  and  

social  system  is  completely  incompatible  with  the  Israeli  one.  This  writer  begs  to  




Main  research  question  and  hypothesis,  in  the  context  of  literature  review  

The  state  of  Israel  is  an  example  of  a  vibrant  and  thriving  democracy,  flourishing,  

despite  a  perpetual  state  of  emergency  and  the  constant  need  to  protect  its  

citizens  from  Palestinian  terrorist  attacks.  Israel  has  been  engaged  in  

counterterrorist  struggle,  for  over  sixty-­‐four  years,  of  its  existence.  There  is  no  

other  state  in  the  world  that  combated  terrorism  on  a  daily  basis,  for  as  long  as  

Israel.    However,  this  alone  is  not  a  guarantee  that  the  Israeli  counterterrorism  

model  is  better  than  other  state  CT  models.  Some  claim  that  Israel  “feels”  like  a  

police  state.  This  inconsolably  contrasts  with  the  American  democratic  

principles.  Such  misconception  stems  from  the  fact  that  Israeli  security  deeply  

penetrates  many  walks  of  the  daily  life,  of  its  citizens,  and  it  overtly  infringes  on  

certain  civil  rights  that  may  be  held  as  “sacred”  by  some.  It  is  important  to  

understand,  that  for  the  average  Israeli  citizen,  who  served/s  in  the  IDF,  

protected  the  very  homeland  of  his  ancestors  and  himself  -­‐  terrorist  threat  is  a  

daily  thing;  theoretically,  never  further  than  a  minute,  or  a  few  yards  away.  

Israelis  do  not  feel  threatened  by  the  fact  that  “there  are  many  armed  people  

everywhere,”  and  that  the  General  Security  Services    (GSS  aka  Shabak  or  Shin  

Bet)  theoretically  can  and  very  often  are  monitoring,  tracking  or  arresting  

security  suspects.  This  is  why  they  exist.  This  writer  suggests  that  the  Israeli  

perception  can  be  summarized  in  the  following:  “  If  I  have  done  nothing  wrong,  

why  should  I  be  afraid  of  the  police?  Or,  why  should  I  fear  the  GSS/FBI  

eavesdropping  on  me;  or  reading  my  e-­‐mails,  if  I  have  nothing  to  hide?”  This  is  

the  small  price  the  vast  majority  of  Israelis  willingly  pay  for  their  security.    Any  

suggestion  that  Israel  “feels  like  a  police  state”  is  misinformed,  possibly  

stemming  from  biases  and  mass  media  distortions  -­‐  rather  than  from  a  true,  in-­‐

depth  “  Israeli  experience.  Could  the  U.S.  possibly  open  up  to  consider  possible  

application  of  hard-­‐learned  lessons,  from  the  Israeli  counterterrorism  

experience?  Indeed,  the  situations  of  the  U.S.  and  Israel  versus  terrorism  are  not  

alike.  Agreeably,  the  day-­‐to-­‐day  threat  to  the  U.S.  Homeland  is  lesser  than  the  

daily  terrorist  threat  to  Israel  and  Israelis.  Terrorist  attacks  were  never  a  part  of  

everyday  American  life.  However,  both  countries  face  the  ultimate  threats  of  

suicide  and  WMD  terrorism.  Arguably,  most  of  America’s  struggle  with  terrorism  

is  overseas,  in  far  away  lands,  such  as  Afghanistan,  Pakistan,  Somalia,  Saudi  

Arabia  or  Yemen;  while  most  of  the  daily  Israeli  counterterrorist  struggle  takes  

place  takes  place  within  miles  from  Jerusalem,  Haifa  or  Tel  Aviv  and  very  often,  

also  inside  Israel’s  sovereign  territory.  Accordingly,  the  intelligence  

undertakings,  and  the  problems  of  “fixing”  the  location  of  the  targets,  faced  by  

the  two  countries  are  often  different.  There  is  also  a  major  difference  in  the  size  

of  both  countries,  and  the  cohesiveness  and  cultural  homogeneity  of  their  

societies;  not  to  forget  the  uniqueness  of  each  of  the  two  respective  societies  in  

terms  of  historical  experience.  This  writer  hypothesizes  that  while  it  is  indeed,  

impossible  to  apply  all  the  Israeli  counterterrorism  experiences  to  the  U.S.  

situation  and  counterterrorism  needs,  there  are  some  valuable  Israeli  lessons  

that  can,  and  should  be  applied  to  the  American  CT  strategy.  Accordingly,  the  

purpose  of  this  work  is  to  seek  and  analyze  literature  pointing  to  possible  

beneficial  lessons,  that  can  be  gleaned  by  studying  the  Israeli  counterterrorism  

model  -­‐  and  applying  the  relevant  concepts  to  the  American  counterterrorism  

strategy  in  order  to  augment  it.    

In  2006,  Larsen  and  Pravecek  have  posited,  in  their  Comparative  U.S.-­‐  Israeli  

Homeland  Security  research  that,  

“  Despite  the  benefits  that  may  accrue  from  adopting  some  of  these  
lessons,   the   United   States   is   unlikely   to   adopt   many   of   them.  
Differences   in   country   size,   culture,   attitudes   toward   security,  
historical   experiences,   and   bureaucratic   design   contribute   to   the  
propensity  of  the  United  States  to  continue  developing  a  homeland  
security  strategy  with  the  least  impact  on  individual  civil  liberties  
and  its  population’s  accustomed  way  of  life”  (Larsen  and  Pravecek  
2006,  XiV).      
Consuella  Pockett,  (2005)  preceded  the  above-­‐mentioned  study  in  her  own,  

pointing  with  some  degree  of  protectiveness  over  American  achievements,    to  

some  applicable  lessons  from  the  Israeli  Homeland  Front  experience.    She  


“   There   are   certain   lessons   the   United   States   can   learn   from  
Israel’s   35-­‐year   battle   against   terrorism.   We   must   not   forget  
however  that…many  of  Israel’s  security  initiatives  are  simply  not  
practical   or   feasible   for   implementation   within   the   United  
States…Furthermore,   the   Home   Front   Command   is   a   well  
established   organization   that   has   been   in   existence   for   nearly   12  
years,   while   the   Department   of   Homeland   Security   is   a   relatively  
new   organization…The   fact   that   the   Home   Front   Command   [in  
Israel]  is  much  more  established  organization  than  the  U.S.  DHS  
explains  the  vast  progress  it  has  made…”  (Pockett  2005,  2).    
 Although  major  differences  exist  between  any  two  democracies,  their  respective  

political   and   legal   systems,   cultures   and   life   styles;   this   should   hardly   be   a  

sufficient   reason   to   wave   their   respective   counterterrorism   lessons   aside   as  



Review   of   literature   regarding   American   and   Israeli   approaches   to  

information  sharing  

Although   the   sharing   of   terrorism-­‐related   information   within   the   U.S.  

intelligence  community  has  supposedly  improved,  there  is  still  a  lot  to  be  desired.  

In  2010,  Mark  Hoseneball,  writing  for  the  Daily  Beast  posited,    

“  More  than  nine  years  after  9/11,  America’s  intelligence  sharing  system  

continues  to  be  impeded  by  legal  and  technical  difficulties.  As  a  result,  important  

intelligence  reports  may  be  slow  to  reach  those  officials  who  could  to  take  action  

on  them”(Hoseneball  2010).  Moreover,  Anthony  Quiggin  states,    

“  At  present,  no  indication  exists  that  the  US  government  will  solve  
its  intelligence  and  internal  information-­‐sharing  problems  in  the  
foreseeable  future.  At  the  same  time  the  DHS  model  of  a  
centralized  bureaucracy  trying  to  control  all  aspects  of  an  issue  
does  not  appear  to  be  functioning  well,  at  least  on  the  information  
sharing  level.”  (Quiggin  2007,  142).  
Arguably,  the  same  can  be  posited  regarding  the  law  enforcement  cooperation,  

its  intelligence  sharing  and  collaboration.  Yet,  the  Israeli  intelligence-­‐sharing  

example  seems  different.  Indeed,  the  Israeli  intelligence  community  has  had  it  

share  of  turf  wars,  “stove–piping,”  and  other  information  sharing  problems,  in  

spite  of  its  relatively  small  size.  However,  after  the  Israeli  2006  relative  debacle  

in  Lebanon,  the  Israeli  IC  has  regrouped  by  way  of  shrinking  the  bureaucracy  

involved  in  the  intelligence  sharing  process.    

“  The  IDF  and  police  were  brought  inside  Shin  Bet’s  command  
center  to  ensure  that  they  had  access  to  all  information.  Local  
commanders  could  reach  out  directly  to  Shin  Bet  [the  Israeli  
General  Security  Service  or  GGS]  regional  leaders,  decentralizing  

information  sharing…The  situation  is  hardly  perfect…Yet  by  the  
standards  of  U.S.  intelligence,  where  coordination  is  more  
cumbersome,  Israel’s  sharing  of  information  is  impressive”    
(Byman  2011,  343).  
Interestingly,  only  five  years  earlier,  the  Israelis  thought  that  following  the  9/11  

tragedy,  the  “stove-­‐piping”  issues  of  the  U.S.  intelligence  community  were  solved,  

and  suggested  learning  from  the  U.S.  new  approach,  as  described  by  Ami  

Pedahzur  (2007)  in  his  book  The  Israeli  Secret  Services  and  the  Struggle  Against  


[The  Israelis  thought  that]“…  instead  of  implementing  

organizational  reforms  that  will  end  up  in  new  series  of  struggles  
between  various  agencies,  the  agent  model  that  is  employed  in  the  
United  States  should  be  adopted,  with  certain  adjustments.  The  
idea  is  to  establish  a  main  headquarters  for  the  struggle  against  
terrorism  that  will  serve  as  a  hub  of  a  network  that  will  send  out  
its  arms  to  each  and  every  one  of  the  various  intelligence  
thwarting  forces…Representatives  of  all  the  forces  in  charge  of  
coping  with  terrorism  will  be  stationed  full-­‐time  at  the  
headquarters.  Their  job  will  be  real  time  coordination…”(Pedahzur  
2007,  146-­‐147).  
 Review  of  literature  regarding  the  challenge  to  U.S.  national  security  from  

terrorist  acquisition  of  WMD.  

This   work   extensively   addresses   also   the   issue   of   nuclear   terrorism,   and   the  

additional   challenges   stemming   from   the   possible   connection   between   suicide  

terrorism   and   WMD.   While   not   the   main   purpose   of   this   paper,   this   writer  

additionally   observes   that   there   seem   to   be   a   strong   link   between   suicide  

terrorism  and  the  threat  faced  by  both,  the  American  and  the  Israeli  people.  The  

United   States   is   currently   engaged   in   a   race   against   time,   with   terrorist   groups  

like   al-­‐Qaeda,   which   pursue   a   two-­‐decade-­‐long   quest   to   obtain   WMD   and   use  

them   against   the   U.S.   Homeland.     Although   little   was   written   about   al-­‐Qaeda’s  

intentions  to  destroy  Israel,  the  threat  has  been  expressed  in  its  fatwas,  as  well  

as   in   Iranian   official   declarations.   Al-­‐Qaeda,   has   literally,   committed   to   killing  

millions  of  Americans,  while  using  nuclear  or  biological  weapons.  It  is  of  further  

concern   that   the   U.S.   might   loose   this   race,   lest   it   will   accommodate   some  

adjustments  to  its  perception  of  civil,  humanitarian  and  moral  rights,  and  unless  

it   adapts   new/adjusted   set   of   laws   and   rules-­‐of–engagement   vs.   al   Qaeda,   and  

like   terrorist   groups.   These   ‘adjusted’   rules   must   enable   America’s   only   real,  

short-­‐term,   line   of   offensive-­‐defense:   the   Intelligence   Community   and   the  

Military   -­‐   to   act   with   minimal   constraints.   Uri   Fisher,   in   his   article   on   the   realism  

in  the  options  of  deterring  terrorism,  suggests,  

 “   The   U.S.   must   ask   whether   it   wants   to   be   a   nation   that   is  

associated   with   targeted   killings,   assassinations,   and   threatening  
families   of   terrorists   to   establish   deterrence….   Concern   over   the  
cost   of   compromising   our   ideals   undoubtedly   undermines   efforts  
to   make   our   enemies   believe   we   are   willing   to   punish   them   no  
matter   at   what   expense.   To   effectively   deter   terrorists   the   U.S.   will  
have   to   accept   the   price   that   comes   with   violating   some   human  
rights,   responding   with   overwhelming   force,   alienating   certain  
allies,  and  even  eliminating  those  assets  and  people  that  terrorists  
may  hold  dear”  (Fisher  2007,  15).    

Are  only  suicide  terrorists  linked  to  a  potential  WMD  attack  on  the  U.S.,  or  is  such  

an  attack  likely  to  be  conducted  by  non-­‐suicide  terrorists  as  well?  It  is  another  

secondary,  hypothetical  suggestion,  that  it  takes  an  international  group  like  al-­‐  

Qaeda,  which  has  access  to  extensive  funds,  contacts  with  Transnational  

Organized  Crime  (Rollins,  Wyler  and  Rosen  2010),  and  which  employs  the  

‘services’  of  suicide  terrorists  –  to  carry  out  a  major  WMD  attack  on  the  

Homeland  (The  White  House  2011).  However,  it  can  be  argued  that  a  local  group  

can  execute  a  lesser  attack,  one  involving  chemical  or  radiological,  crude  

weapon.  This,  in  fact,  is  well  established  in  Graham  Allison’s  book,  Nuclear  

Terrorism:  the  Ultimate  Preventable  Catastrophe  (2004).  Allison  outlines  several  

scenarios  of  nuclear  bomb  construction  arguably,  with  relative  ease.  However,  in  

truth,  such  is  not  the  case.  Far  more  worrisome  is  Allison’s  precise  description  of  

some  of  the  “ready  to  go,”  small  enough  for  a  suitcase  or  a  backpack  tactical  

nuclear  weapons,  with  a  yield  of  from  0.25  KT  and  higher,  found  in  the  Russian  

and  U.S.  nuclear  arsenals.  (Allison  2004,  46-­‐49).  

There  is  no  current  information  on  other  nations’  possession  of  such,  tactical,  

nuclear  weapons.  (This  is  however,  arguably,  a  relatively  easy  feat  to  achieve  

such  capability  by  a  nuclear-­‐weapons  state  actor).  It  is  in  this  context,  that  the  

issue  of  suicide  terrorism  is  addressed  in  this  work.  


Review  of  literature  regarding  the  SUICIDE  element  of  current  terrorism  

   Current  international  terrorism  is  strongly  characterized  by  its  suicide  terrorism  

element.  Suicide  terrorism,  just  like  any  other  type  of  terrorism,  despite  its  

particular,  indiscriminate  bestiality  and  the  carnage  it  brings  -­‐  still  has  its  

advocates;  moreover,  it  still  justifies  the  old  adage  “  one’s  man  terrorist  is  

another  man’s  freedom  fighter.”  Unfortunately,  terrorists  are  (usually)  not  

insane;  or  lone,  unsupported  “wolfs.”  Certain  groups  and  individuals,  within  the  

general,  Muslim  population  support  al-­‐Qaeda  and  its  affiliates.  Robert  Pape,  and  

K.  Feldman,  in  their  book  Cutting  the  Fuse:  The  Explosion  of  Global  Suicide  

Terrorism  &  How  to  Stop  It    (2010),  posit,  

 “Understanding  that  transnational  suicide  terrorism  is  a  rare  

phenomenon  largely  associated  with  the  progressive  radicalization  
of  specific  types  of  groups  of  individuals  with  multiple  national  
loyalties  under  extremely  unusual  circumstances  has  important  
implications“(Pape  2010,  82).      

Walter  Laqueur,  in  his  book,  No  End  to  War:  Terrorism  in  the  Twenty  First  

Century,  (2003),  and  in  various  shorter  essays,  reiterates  that  terrorism  by  

default,  has  always  had  its  antagonists,  as  well  as  its  supporters  and  it  comes  in  

various  shapes  and  forms.  “  No  all-­‐  embracing  definition  [of  terrorism]  will  ever  

be  found  for  the  simple  reason  that  there  is  not  one  terrorism,  but  there  have  

been  many  terrorisms,  greatly  differing  in  time  and  space,  in  motivation,  and  in  

manifestation  and  aims”(Laqueur  2007).    

Most  probably,  the  1972  Munich  Olympic  Games  Massacre  signaled  a  new  

terrorist  era  of  indiscriminate,  international  terrorism  targeting  whole  societies.  

It  was  one  step  behind  suicide  terrorism.  

“  The  enduring  image  of  the  1972  Olympic  Games  remains  a  

terrorist  in  a  ski  mask,  instead  of  an  exhilarating  athletic  
performance…  Terrorism  became  more  prominent  in  the  world’s  
consciousness…because  terrorists  continued  to  choose  targets  for  
their  symbolic  value  and  for  maximum  media  coverage.  …[At  first]  
they  did  not  want  a  lot  of  people  dead  –  but  they  did  want  a  lot  of  
people  watching.”  (Responding  to  Terrorism:  Challenges  for  
Democracy  2003).  
 Currently,  the  term  ‘terrorism’  signifies  a  deliberate  and  systematic  use  of  

violence  against  civilian  populations  during  political  conflicts,  executed  by  either  

state  or  non-­‐state  actors,  aiming  at  terrifying  whole  populations  and  thus  

creating  coercive  pressure  to  change  political  decisions  of  governments  to  fit  

terrorist  goals.    

 Between  1968  and  2006  there  were  at  least  24,930  terrorist  incidents  

worldwide  (MIPT  Terrorism  Knowledge  Base  n.d.).  These  incidents  took  place  in  

at  least  146  out  of  196  currently  existing  countries.  Moreover,  suicide  terrorism  

became  prevalent,  with  Americans  becoming  one  of  its  main  targets.  Between  

1980-­‐  2003  there  were  about  350  suicide  terrorist  attacks  around  the  world  -­‐  of  

which  fewer  than  15%  could  be  considered  as  directed  against  Americans.  

However,  during  a  six-­‐year  period  from  2004  to  2009,  there  were  1,833  suicide  

attacks  –  of  which  92%  targeted  Americans  and  America  (Pape  2010,  2).  While  

many  instinctively  point  to  September  11,  2001  as  a  “game  changer,”  suicide  

terrorism,  can  be  argued  as  used  often  throughout  history;  the  Sicarii  zealots;  the  

Hashashin,  or  the  Kamikaze  pilots,  embarked  on  missions  knowing  that  their  

chances  to  survive  were  nil.  Arguably,  suicide  terrorism  cannot  be  deterred  by  

threat  of  retaliation  against  the  attackers.  Suicide  terrorism  thus  is  the  ultimate  

fanatic  expression  of  terrorism,  and  thus  most  likely  to  be  linked  to  WMD,  as  an  

ultimately  destructive  and  lethal  terrorist  tool.  President  Obama  in  his  2010  and  

2011  NSS  contends  that  the  ultimate  threat  to  the  U.S.  is      

“…presented  by  weapons  of  mass  destruction  (WMD)  is  

immediate,  persistent,  growing,  and  evolving.  The  recently  
updated  National  Security  Strategy  (NSS)  underscores  this  by  
stating    “…  there  is  no  greater  threat  to  the  American  People  than  
weapons  of  mass  destruction,  particularly  the  danger  posed  by  
pursuit  of  nuclear  weapons  by  violent  extremists  and  their  
proliferation  to  additional  states.”  (DTRA  Procurement,  Defense-­‐
Wide  2011,  4).  

Review  of  literature  regarding  Al-­Qaeda’s  WMD  threat  to  attack  the  United  

States  and  its  allies  

In  1998  al  Qaeda  leader  Osama  bin  Laden,  declared  that  acquiring  and  using  

weapons  of  mass  destruction  (WMD)  was  his  Islamic  duty  -­‐-­‐  an  integral  part  of  

his  jihad.  Systematically,  over  the  course  of  two  decades,  he  dispatched  his  top  

lieutenants  to  attempt  the  purchase  or  development  of  nuclear  and  biochemical  

WMD.  He  has  never  given  up  this  goal.  Indeed,  in  a  2007  video  he  repeated  his  

promise  to  use  massive  weapons  to  destroy  the  global  status  quo;  destroy  the  

capitalist  hegemony  and  help  create  an  Islamic  caliphate.  (Mowatt-­‐Larssen  

2010).  Following  9/11,  in  2002,  an  al-­‐Qaida  spokesman  Abu  Gheith  wrote:      

We  have  not  reached  parity  with  them.  We  have  the  right  to  kill  4  
million  Americans  –  2  million  of  them  children  –  and  to  exile  twice  
as  many  and  wound  and  cripple  hundreds  of  thousands.  
Furthermore,  it  is  our  right  to  fight  them  with  chemical  and  
biological  weapons,  so  as  to  afflict  them  with  the  fatal  maladies  
that  afflicted  the  Muslims  because  of  the  [Americans’]  chemical  
and  biological  weapons  “  (Abu  Gheith  2002).  
This  threat  did  not  diminish;  actually,  it  may  have  escalated:  

 “  The  probability  that  the  U.S.  will  be  hit  with  a  weapons  of  mass  
destruction  attack  at  some  point  is  100  percent,  Dr,  Vahid  Majidi,  
the  FBI’s  assistant  director  in  charge  of  the  FBI’s  Weapons  of  Mass  
Destruction  Directorate,  tells  …It  would  most  likely  employ  
chemical,  biological,  or  radiological  weapons  rather  than  a  nuclear  
one”  (Kessler  2011).  
 This  issue  is  still  widely  disputed.  Proponents  of  the  theory  that  a  WMD  terrorist  

strike  is  imminent  are  often  seen  as  “alarmist”  and  at  the  same  time  those  who  

contend  the  opposite,  are  often  perceived  as  naïve.  Although  deterrence,  as  a  

strategic  concept  is  mostly  inapplicable  to  countering  terrorism  -­‐  this  suggestion  

too,  is  debated.  International  terrorists  have  no  land,  no  nation  to  defend  and  

they  are  willing  to  sacrifice  their  own  lives  to  advance  their  goals.  However,  

Ayman  al-­‐Zawahiri  in  Knights  Under  the  Prophet’s  Banner  (2001),  emphasized  

the  importance  of  a  land-­‐base/s;  a  safe  haven/s,  to  be  used  as  an  “address”  to  

attract  international  volunteers,  to  conduct  their  training,  and  as  a  base  to  stage  

attacks  from.  Furthermore,  the  terrorism  expert  Daniel  Byman  posits  that,  

 “Al  Qaeda’s  own  thinkers  stress  the  importance  of  maintaining  a  

haven  and  seems  to  have  little  faith  in  decentralized,  bottom-­‐up  
efforts…Ayman  al-­‐Zawahiri  contended  even  as  his  movement  was  
being  expelled  from  Afghanistan  that,  “the  Mujahid  [fighter  for  the  
faith]  Islamic  movement  will  not  triumph  against  the  world  
coalition  unless  it  possesses  a  Islamist  base  in  the  heart  of  the  
Islamic  world  “  (Byman  2011,  3).    

Moreover,  the  analyst  Stewart  Patrick,  in  his  book,  Weak  Links:  Fragile  States,  

Global  Threats  and  International  Security,  posits:      

“…for  financial  or  political  reasons,  a  nuclear-­‐armed  rogue  state  

might  provide  nuclear  technology  –  or  even  weapon  –  to  other  
pariah  regimes  or  terrorist  groups  with  fewer  qualms  about  using  
one.  And  even  if  they  did  not  intentionally  do  so,  as  former  U.S.  
senator…Sam  Nunn  has  pointed  out,  “  The  more  countries  that  
have  this  fissile  material,  the  more  likely  the  risk  of  diversion  or  
theft  of  fissile  material  becomes”  (Patrick  2011,  110).  
 Patrick  adds,    

“  Probably  the  greatest  WMD  threat  involving  nonstate  actor  

comes  from  al-­‐Qaeda…A  July  2007  U.S.  National  Intelligence  
Estimate  stated  that  al-­‐Qaeda  “will  continue  to  try  to  acquire  and  
employ  chemical,  biological,  radiological,  or  nuclear  material  in  
attacks,  and  would  not  hesitate  using  them.      Other  nonstate  actors,  
such  as  organized  criminals  or  militant  groups,  could  also  attempt  
to  acquire  WMD  materials  for  political  leverage,  or  to  sell  them  to  
rogue  states  or  terrorist  groups”  (Patrick  2011,  111).    

And  yet,  it  is  Stewart  Patrick,  who  also  negates  some  of  the  proliferation  fears:    

“  On  the  whole,  however,  concerns  that  weak  states  –  particularly  

the  weakest  states  –  will  acquire  or  transfer  WMD  are  probably  
overblown.  Poor  countries  generally  do  not  have  the  financial  
resources  or  human  capital  to  develop  or  purchase  the  technology  
and  equipment  needed  to  produce  a  nuclear  weapon…The  
exception  that  proves  the  rule  is  North  Korea,  a  totalitarian  regime  
willing  to  starve  its  population  in  order  to  pursue  nuclear,  
biological  and  chemical  weapons…the  greatest  proliferation  
threat…may  come  from  a  handful  of  relatively  strong  
states…primarily  Syria,  Russia,  Iran,  India,  China  and  Egypt  –  all  
have  civilian  nuclear  programs  as  well  as  well  known  or  suspected  
WMD  stockpiles”  (Patrick  2011,  117).  
Currently,  there  is  no  overtly  known  source,  state  or  otherwise  agent,  ready  and  

willing  to  supply  terrorists  with  WMD;  particularly  with  the  most  devastating  

nuclear  and  biological  devices.  However,  the  instability  and  the  questionable  

security  of  such  weapon’s  sources  in  countries  like  Russia,  Pakistan,  N.  Korea,  

Iran,  Egypt  or  Syria,  along  with  the  remote  possibility  of  such  weapons  being  

“shared”  with  terrorist  group,  by  a  rouge  state  (e.g.  N.  Korea  or  Iran),  can  not  be  

overlooked.  This  threat  is  reiterated  in  view  of  the  current,  (February  12,  2013)  

third  N.  Korean  successful  nuclear  test,  the  continuous  N.  Korean  threat-­‐  

escalation  (towards  S.  Korea  and  the  U.S.)  and  the  Iran  –  N.  Korea  collaboration  

on  the  nuclear  issue.    

“Indeed,  Iran's  nuclear  weapons  program  bears  many  striking  

similarities  to  the  research  being  undertaken  in  North  Korea.  The  
delivery  system  for  Iran's  nuclear  device  is  an  advanced  form  of  
the  Soviet-­‐era  Scud  missile  –  just  like  the  North  Koreans.  And  
Iranian  scientists  are  working  on  a  project  similar  to  the  North  
Koreans  which  would  enable  them  to  attach  a  nuclear  device  
comprising  enriched  uranium  to  the  missiles…the  fact  that  North  
Korea  has  been  able  to  detonate  three  nuclear  devices  with  
relative  impunity  will  only  serve  to  encourage  Iran  that,  when  the  
time  comes,  it  will  be  able  to  test  a  device  of  its  own  without  any  
unwelcome  interference  from  the  West”  (Coughlin  2013).

Review  of  literature  regarding  the  concepts  of  Deterrence  and  Punishment  

in  the  context  of  counterterrorism  

     It  seems  logical  to  suggest  that  rogue  states,  and  unstable  states  with  civilian  

nuclear  capability,  may  become  a  likely  source  of  WMD  materials  acquired  by  

terrorists.  On  the  other  hand,  it  is  just  as  logical  to  argue,  that  no  ‘sane’  state-­‐

actor,  rouge  as  it  may  be,  would  agree  to  relinquish  the  control  it  has  over  WMD  

or  their  precursors  and  share  such  weapon  with  a  terrorist  group,  which  is  

virtually  uncontrollable  –  and  thus  expose  itself  to  international  punishment,  or  

even  a  massive  retaliation  by  the  target  country.    With  that  in  mind,  on  February  

6,  2013  the  governments  of  U.S.,  U.K.  and  France  released  a  Joint  Statement  on  

Nuclear  Terrorism  in  which  they  undertake  “to  share  the  collective  

responsibility  to  inform  and  strengthen  international  measures  designed  to  

secure  sensitive  information,  technology  or  nuclear  material  from  access  by  

terrorists,  and  to  develop  emergency  response  measures”  (The  White  House  


The  U.S.  needs  to  develop  a  better  ability  to  identify  the  origins  of  possibly  

illegally  obtained  WMD,  and  to  be  able  to  attribute  illegal  WMD  transfer  by  a  

state  to  a  terrorist  group.  However,  even  if  that  is  achieved,  it  will  remain  

difficult  to  prove  that  such  transfer  was  done  with  the  consent  of  a  specific  

government,  and  not  by  some  rogue,  non-­‐state  element  within  that  state.  Some  

posit  that  the  U.S.,  in  order  to  preserve  its  deterrence  must  be  ready  to  retaliate,  

on  the  basis  of  even  limited  and  imperfect  information  about  the  origins  of  the  

WMD,  or  the  precursors  needed  to  build  it.    

A  punishment  should  be  in  place  also  for  negligence  and  carelessness  in  this  


.”  The  U.S.  must  clearly  communicate  its  willingness  to  severely  

punish  those  states  that,  because  of  mismanagement  of  CBRN,  risk  
loss  or  theft  of  critical  materials  from  their  storage  facilities.  Such  a  
policy  stance  would  be  extremely  contentious  and  may  damage  the  
relationship  of  the  U.S.  have  with  a  number  of  states.  However,  
until  CBRN  attribution  becomes  certain  to  establish  a  meaningful  
deterrent  mechanism  against  states  that  knowingly  transfer  
sensitive  materials  the  U.S.  must  also  threaten  those  states  that  do  
not  adequately  secure  their  CBRN  materials”  (Fisher  2007,  8).    
Philip  Geelhood  in  his  2009  thesis  suggests  a  more  cautious  approach  to  the  

culpability  of  a  state  actor:    

“  The  analysis  of  deterrence  theory…indicates  that  an  inviolable  

redline  should  be  broadly  established  to  deter  the  purposeful  
transfer  of  nuclear  materials  or  weapons  to  terrorists;  this  line  
should  only  be  shifted  to  include  unintentional  transfer  [by]  only  
those  few  adversarial  states  that  possess  nuclear  weapons  or  
fissile  materials  that  may  potentially  sponsor  terrorist  groups,  and  
with  whom  the  real  potential  for  security  cooperation  is  
nonexistent…”  (Geelhood  2009,  72-­‐73).    
Regarding  the  effectiveness  of  deterrence  against  suicide  terrorism,  

Graham  Allison,  in  his  book  Nuclear  Terrorism:  the  Ultimate  Preventable  

Catastrophe  states,  

“…the  ground  troops  of  Islamist  terrorism  are  unaffected  by  a  fear  
of  death,  making  deterrence  inoperable  as  strategy.  Even  if  Osama  
bin  Laden  and  his  deputies  wish  to  stay  alive  to  carry  on  jihad,  they  
operate  in  the  dark  alleys  and  caves  of  the  world,  without  a  home  
base  against  which  the  United  States  could  retaliate.”  (2004,  130).  
 This  statement  somewhat  flawed.  It  would  be  wrong  to  assume  that  all  

terrorists,  even  suicide  terrorists  “  have  nothing  to  loose,”  in  spite  of  their  

declared  willingness  to  die  for  their  cause.  Terrorists  are  after  all,  human  beings  

with  their  circles  of  family  and  friends.  Their  families  occasionally  have  valuable  

personal  assets  and  cherish  their  personal  lives;  which  they  stand  to  lose,  as  part  

of  punishment  inflicted  on  terrorists  or  as  unfortunate  and  tragic  “collateral  

damage.”  As  in  the  case  of  bin  Laden  or  Ayman  al  Zawahiri  and  others,  it  would  

be  wrong  to  think  that  al  Zawahiri  did  not  grieve  over  his  wife  and  son,  killed  in  

one  of  the  allied  airstrikes  targeting  him.  Indeed,  some  of  the  ‘ground  troops’  of  

al  Qaeda  may  fit  the  title  “desperados;”  this  however  is  almost  never  the  case  of  

top  al-­‐Qaeda’s  leadership.  They  want  to  remain  alive  and  to  continue  sending  

others  to  do  the  “holy”  work.  Thus,  there  may  be  some  degree  of  deterrence  

affecting  terrorists,  after  all.  However,  the  loss  of  one’s  loved  ones  can  also  serve  

as  motivation  for  even  more  stubborn  terrorism.  For  some  individuals,  suggests  

the  analyst  Ami  Pedahzur  in  his  book  Suicide  Terrorism,  (2005)  -­‐  the  “crisis,”  

some  individuals  were,  for  example,  subjected  to,  e.g.  the  loss  of  a  loved  one/s,  

could  well  be  one  of  the  precipitating  factors  motivating  predisposed  potential  

individuals,  (terrorist  or  not),  to  become  suicide  terrorist,  in  their  quest  for  

revenge.  (Pedahzur  2005,  125).    

                   The  fact  that  all  international  terrorist  groups  are  led  by  leaders  that  

usually  does  not  entertain  the  idea  of  self-­‐emulation,  leads  to  an  early  

speculation,  that  most  suicide  terrorist  attacks  cannot  be  attributed  only  to  the  

suicide  bombers  alone;  in  the  vast  majority  of  the  cases,  the  planning,  the  

mobilization,  the  training  and  the  indoctrination,  that  leads  the  suicide  bomber  

to  self-­‐emulation  –  are  done  by  some  level  of  group  leadership.  (Pedahzur  2005,  

170-­‐181).  In  that  respect,  it  may  be  posited  that,  that  in  all  likelihood,  a  group  led  

by  a  surviving  leader  may  become  the  culprit  behind  a  prospective  WMD  attack  

(especially,  a  nuclear  or  biological  attack),  whereas  the  chances  of  survival  for  

the  actual  person/s  who  sets  and  detonates  the  device  -­‐  are  very  small.  The  

leadership  of  his  group  is  usually,  remote  from  the  attack,  and  survives.  In  the  

example  of  9/11,  the  19  terrorists  were  a  select  group,  trained  by  a  high  echelon  

of  al-­‐Qaeda  -­‐  which  indeed  survived.    

Graham  Allison  (2004),  bases  his  theory  of  “ultimate  preventive  catastrophe”  

not  on  deterrence,  but  on  massive  preventive  measures,  which  he  summarizes  

as  the  “Seven  Yeses”  [seven  major  undertakings  we  must  do].  Interestingly,  the  

U.S.  government,  whether  it  read  Allison’s  book  or  not,  is  in  fact  very  much  

engaged  in  following  much  of  Allison’s  recommendations.  The  sad  fact  remains,  

that  some  of  the  key  issues  are  not  addressed  well  enough.  

• Making  the  prevention  of  nuclear  terrorism  an  absolute  national  

priority.  (U.S.  government  does  just  that).  
• Fighting  a  strategically  focused  war  on  terrorism.  (We  do  just  that).  
• Conducting  a  humble  foreign  policy.  (U.S.  does  poorly).  
• Building  a  global  alliance  against  nuclear  terrorism.  (U.S.  observes  very  
slow  progress).  
• Creating  the  intelligence  capabilities  required  for  success  in  the  war  on  
nuclear  terrorism.  (The  U.S.  must  improve  sharing  and  HUMINT  
• Dealing  with  dirty  bombs.  (America  should  improve  detection  

• Constructing  a  multilayered  defense.  (The  United  States  needs  massive  
improvement  in  this  area).  
(Allison  2004,  199-­‐201).  

Review  of  literature  regarding  the  use  of  targeted  killings:  efficacy  and  

legal  issues.  

Daniel  Byman  in  his  2009  article  expresses  his  opinion  on  the  topic  of  targeted  

killings  for  the  Brooking  Institute.  He  posits,    

Killing  terrorists  is  difficult,  is  often  ineffective,  and  can  easily  
backfire.  Yet  it  is  one  of  United  States’  few  options  for  managing  
the  threat  posed  by  al  Qaeda…U.S.  drone  attacks  in  Pakistan  has  
killed  dozens  of  lower  –ranking  and  at  least  10-­‐mid  and  high-­‐
ranking  leaders  from  al  Qaeda  and  the  Taliban”(Byman  2009).  
 Interestingly,  in  2006  Byman  wrote  an  article  with  an  near-­‐  identical  title,  in  

which  he  carefully  outlined  the  risks,  as  exemplified  by  the  Bush  administration’s  

abolishing  of  many,  long-­‐standing  U.S.  limits  on  punitive  and  preventive  actions  

and  the  need  for  authorization  of  special  measures,  (including  secret  prisons;  

domestic  surveillance  without  court  authorization;  holding  of  enemy  combatants  

and  their  rendition  to  third  countries  for  interrogation).  All  of  which  caused  

international  outcry,  and  have  caused  many  Americans  to  question  the  

legitimacy  of  their  government’s  CT  policy.      

In  2005  Jerry  Smith  evaluates  in  his  thesis,  the  effectiveness  of  Israel’s  

counterterrorism  strategy.  He  derives  some  interesting  insights:    

“  When  a  suicide  attack  occurs,  the  Israeli  citizens  want  action  to  
be  taken…the  Israeli  government  sees  [the  targeted  killing]  as  an  
opportunity  to  solve  two  problems  at  the  same  time.  They  can  take  
out  the  senior  key  figure  of  the  terrorist  organization  responsible  
for  the  attack,  while  also  giving  the  victim’s  families  some  sense  of  
justice”  (Smith  2005,  57).    

 Diane  Leigh  Maye  contrasts  this  point  of  view  in  her  2006  thesis  on  the  same  

topic.  Leigh  Maye  evaluates  seven  Israeli  “  actions  aimed  at  countering  

“Palestinian  resistance.”  By  addressing  Palestinian  terrorists  as  resistance,  Leigh  

Maye  is  rendering  Palestinian  terrorism,  certain  “legitimacy”  as  combatants  of  a  

guerrilla  war.  In  a  highly  biased,  but  interesting  paper,  she  focuses  on  “targeted  

assassinations”  (as  contrasted  with  “killings”);  home  demolitions;  collective  

punishment;  border  controls;  administrative  detention;  controls  on  terrorist  

financing,  and  technological  advances.  (Leigh  Mae,  2006,  V).  Maye  correctly  

posits  that  Israel’s  policy  of  targeted  killings  has  come  under  severe  scrutiny  by  

Human  Rights  Watch  and  Amnesty  International;  she  also  correctly  assesses  the  

poor  efficacy  of  targeted  killings  as    “root  problem  solution”  in  the  long  run:                    

“  The  assassinations  have  not  thwarted  number  of  attacks…nor  do  they  have  

history  of  ending  the  terrorist  organization’s  existence.  To  the  contrary,  the  

attacks  may  have  provoked  an  even  stronger  response…”  (Leigh  Maye  2006,  39).  

However,  Smith  contends:    

“  International  law  prohibits  assassinations…[however]  terrorists  

are  considered  to  be  “common  enemies  of  humankind”…Many  
times  after  a  leader  is  removed  there  tends  to  be  
internal…struggle…furthermore,  group  will  tend  to  spend  more  
time  and  resources  to  stay  alive…the  Israeli  policy  of  targeting  
“ticking-­‐bomb  terrorists  does  not  deserve  the  kind  of  
condemnation  it  is  receiving…”  (Smith  2005,  35).    

Moreover,  Byman  highlights  the  Israeli  practice  of  targeted  killings  and  

emphasizes  Israel’s  General  Secret  Service’s  and  the  IDF’s  uniquely  transparent  

approach  and  nationwide-­‐garnered  support,  towards  these  unfortunate,  yet  

sometimes,  absolutely  necessary  kinetic  operations.  (Byman  2006,  108-­‐111).  

                                                         The  United  States  is  a  firm,  unrelenting,  believer  in  democracy.  

Democracies  vary,  among  other  things  -­‐  in  their  respective  perception  of  their  

citizen’s  rights  as  humans  and  as  citizens;  as  well  as  in  their  perception  of  the  

“human  rights”  of  terrorists.  Most  current  counterterrorism  measures,  used  by  

Israel,  (e.g.  blowing  up  houses  of  terrorists;  the  security  barrier;  enhanced  

interrogation;  targeted  killings  etc.)  are  occasionally  contested  not  only  by  the  

terrorists  themselves  and  the  Arab  countries;  but  also  by  the  Israeli  legal  system  

and  by  Israel’s  otherwise  closest  allies,  including  the  United  States.  Furthermore,  

Israel’s  CT  practices  are  severely  scrutinized  also  by  segments  of  the  Israeli  

population.  Naturally,  one  of  the  most  contested  methods  is  “targeted  killings”  of  

terrorists.  Arguably,  this  method  would  probably,  be  less  contested  than  it  is,  if  

the  actual  casualties  of  these  strikes  would  have  been  terrorists  only.  The  so-­‐

called  “collateral  damage”  is  severely  criticized.  However,  the  vast  majority  of  

Israelis  support  the  hard  line  of  their  government.  Had  the  American  people  

shared  Israel’s  experience  of  daily  suicide  bombings,  they  too,  might  have  

decided,  that    “better  red  than  dead”;  meaning:  if  the  current  system  is  incapable  

of  defending  me  –  it’s  time  to  re-­‐evaluate,  and  possibly  change  it,  using  whatever  

measures  needed  to  assure  survival.  Alas,  the  world  is  not  perfect,  and  the  U.S.  

population  and  other  allied  populations  include  people  that  often  see  targeted  

killings  and  especially  targeted  killings  of  Americans-­‐turned-­‐terrorists,  as  

questionable,  or  even  outright  illegal  under  the  5th  Amendment  to  the  

Constitution  of  the  U.S.  and  under  International  Law.  

The  near-­‐total  opaqueness  of  the  application  of  drone  strikes,  by  the  CIA,  does  

not  help  the  case  for  killings  without  “due  process”.  Many  free  press  articles  

cover  the  debate  over  this  and  other  CT  issues.  David  Brooks  writing  recently  in  

the  New  York  Times  suggested,    

“  [Machiavelli]  puts  too  much  faith  in  the  self-­‐constraint  of  his  
leaders.  Machiavelli  tells  us  that  men  are  venal  self-­‐deceivers,  but  
then  he  gives  his  Prince  [aka  Obama]  permission  to  do  all  these  
monstrous  things,  trusting  him  not  to  get  carried  away  or  turn  in  a  
monster  himself.  Our  founders  were  more  careful.  Our  founders  
understood  that  leaders  are  as  venal  and  untrustworthy  as  
anybody  else.  They  abhorred  concentrated  power,  and  they  set  up  
checks  and  balances  to  disperse  it.  Our  drone  policy  should  take  
account  of  our  founders’  superior  realism.  Drone  strikes  are  easy,  
hidden  and  abstract.  There  should  be  some  independent  judicial  
panel  to  review  the  kill  lists.  There  should  be  an  independent  panel  
of  former  military  and  intelligence  officers  issuing  reports  on  the  
program’s  efficacy.”(Brooks,  David.  2013).      

It  is  interesting  to  recall  Francis  Fukuyama’s  End  of  History  in  that  context.  In  

2008  Fukuyama  suggested,  in  an  interview  to  the  Daily  Beast,  an  “upgrade”  to  his  

1992  original  thoughts,  

 ”…  Democracy  is  built  around  institutions  that  are  quite  difficult  to  
put  into  place,  especially  the  rule  of  law…I  did  not  imagine  back  in  
1992  [that]  the  U.S.  could  become  so  controversial  and  damaging  to  
the  prospect  of  democracy…there  needs  to  be  a  re-­emphasis  on  the  
use  of  American  soft  power”  (Fukuyama  In  Philips  2008).      
Contrary  to  the  thoughts  of  Fukuyama  is  afore  mentioned  Daniel  Byman’s  

suggestion  in  his  2011  article,    

“  The  aggressive  U.S.  drone  campaign  in  Pakistan  has  played  an  
important  role  in  weakening  al-­‐Qaeda  and  should  be  continued.  
The  Drone  campaign  will  not  end  al  Qaeda  presence  in  Pakistan,  
but  it  does  keep  the  organization  on  the  run  and  reduces  its  
operational  effectiveness.”  (Byman  2011).  
On  this  very  topic  of  targeted  killings,  Richard  Murpy  and  Afsheen  John  Radsan,  

wrote  their  legal  analysis  and  assessment,  of  Due  Process  and  Targeted  Killing  of  

Terrorists.  There,  on  page  405  they  state,    

“…under  Boumediene,  [Boumediene  vs.  Bush]  the  executive  has  a  

due  process  obligation  to  develop  fair,  rational  procedures  for  its  

use  of  targeted  killing  no  matter  whom  it  might  be  targeting  
anywhere  in  the  world.  To  implement  this  duty,  the  executive  
should,  following  the  lead  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  Israel  (among  
others),  require  an  independent,  intra-­‐executive  investigation  of  
any  targeted  killing  by  the  CIA.  These  investigations  should  be  as  
public  as  is  reasonably  consistent  with  national  security.  Even  in  
war  on  terror,  due  process  demands  at  least  this  level  of  
accountability  for  the  power  to  kill  suspected  terrorists”  (Murpy  &  
Radsan  2009,  405).  
 Yet  another  legal  opinion,  by  David  Kretzmer,  suggests  that  unless  realistic  

standards  of  conduct  for  states  involved  in  armed  conflicts  with  terrorist  groups  

exist,  these  states  actions  may  be  no  better  -­‐  than  the  actions  of  the  terrorists  

themselves,  when  they  resort  to  targeted  killings  (both  acting  in  “an  

environment  infected  by  lawlessness”).  However,  Kretzmer  adds  that  whatever  

the  lawlessness  rules  may  be,  they  are  better  than  none.  (Kretzmer  2005).  With  

due  respect  to  Kretzmer,  this  statement  is  contradictory  and  confusing.  In  yet  

another  legal  opinion  by  Kristen  Eichensehr,  published  in  the  Yale  Law  Journal,  

she  criticizes  the  Israeli  Supreme  Court,  asserting  that  the  Israeli  Supreme  Court,  

in  its  first  ruling  on  the  issue  of  targeted  killings,  has  weakened  the  international  

law’s  protection  to  all  civilians,  by  extending  the  meaning  of  “direct  

participation”  of  terrorists  in  terrorism:    

“  terrorists  are  civilians  under  the  law  of  armed  conflict  and  thus  
are  lawfully  subject  to  attack  only  when  the  directly  participate  in  
hostilities.  But  the  court  also  expanded  the  traditional  definition  of  
“direct  participation”…By  disregarding  the  “direct  participation”  
requirements’  important  evidentiary  function,  the  court  weakened  
the  protection  that  international  law  affords  to  all  civilians,  not  just  
to  terrorists”  (Eichensehr,  2007).      

To  summarize,  the  morals,  humanity  and  the  legal  posture,  of  targeted  killing  is  

highly  disputed,  as  is  its  efficacy.  However,  while  the  whole  array  of  

counterterrorist  current  tools  is  badly  flawed,  it  is,  arguably,  the  best  we  have  –  

in  the  short  term.  

When  thinking  about  more  distant  future,  something  that  strategists  should  and  

must  do,  new  elements,  still  in  their  early  stages  of  development,  such  as  the  

application  of  soft  power,  smart  power,  state  building,  democratic  institutions  

creation,  etc.,  should  be  considered  with  much  more  vigor  than  has  been  thus  far.  

Review  of  literature  regarding  preparedness.  Can  we  outlive  a  WMD  


On  the  American  home  front,  while  the  older  American  generations  still  recall  

the  “fallout  shelters”  and  the  nuclear  attack  drills  of  the  Cold  War  era  -­‐  for  

younger  generations,  this  is  (arguably,  prematurely)  only  nostalgia.  Graham  

Allison,  is  totally  convinced  that  nuclear  terrorism  is  inevitable  even  today,  

despite  all  the  efforts  to  mitigate  it.  If  such  threat  indeed  materializes,  it  will  be  a  

real  catastrophe.  The  U.S.  will  arguably,  survive  a  single  nuclear  blast.  However  

horrible,  such  calamity  will  not  topple  the  United  States.    

“  …Not  even  close.  It  would  be  a  devastating,  world-­‐changing  

event,  but  the  United  States  would  live  to  fight  another  day.  
However,  the  country  should  have  a  plan  on  how  to  soften  the  
blow,  respond,  and  ultimately  recover  from  an  attack”(Frost  
In  view  of  the  current  nature  of  international  terrorism,  there  is  a  strong  and  

renewed  need  for  educating  the  American  public  about  the  new    “real  world”  of  

terrorist  threats:  

 “Very  little,  if  any,  anti-­‐terrorism  training  is  conducted  in  U.S.  
schools  or  the  population  at  large.  In  Israel,  on  the  other  hand,  
there  is  a  much  greater  focus  on  the  citizen’s  responsibility  to  

prepare  for,  and  respond,  should  a  terror  attack  or  natural  disaster  
occur…the  complementary  Israeli  programs  include  Israel’s  
layered  response…”  (Larsen  and  Pravecek  2006,  xii).      
It  stands  to  plain  logic  that  effectively  drilling  the  population  in  various  

contingencies,  (chemical,  radiological,  thermonuclear  and  biological),  creating  a  

better  preparedness  of  the  homeland  for  dealing  with  conventional  and  other  

terrorist  attack/s,  and  better  preparing  the  U.S.  emergency  medical  services  for  

just  such  contingencies    -­‐  all  these  are  measures  should  be  led  by  the  US  

government,  but  executed  mostly  by  state  and  local  agencies.  Current    U.S.  

regulations  indeed  provide  for  significant  federal  intervention,  yet  the  

bureaucracy  involved  is  still  hindering  the  executive  federal  capability.    As  we  

have  seen  so  far,  we  were  absolutely  unprepared  for  9/11,  but  much  worse,  

years  later  -­‐    we  were  still    unprepared  to  deal  with  a  “mere”  hurricane.  As  Katie  

Frost  observes,    

“  The  United  States  has  spent  billions  working  to  prevent  the  
catastrophe  of  a  nuclear  terror  attack  but  has  done  little  to  prepare  
for  it…The  creation  of  the  DHS…left  many  onlookers  scratching  
their  heads,  unaware  of  who  held  authority…The  lethargic  
response  to  Hurricane  Katrina  in  2005  highlighted  the  flaws  in  
FEMA’s  national  infrastructure  and  its  capability  to  assist  a  
devastated  community.  There  is  little  evidence  of  substantive  
improvement  since  then…Assuming  national  assistance  doesn’t  
arrive  in  force  for  at  least  two  days,  the  lion’s  share  of  initial  
response  will  land  on  the  shoulders  of  state  and  local  responders”  
(Frost  2012).    
Moreover,  in  spite  of  New  York  City,  being  perhaps  the  most  prepared  

municipality  in  the  nation  it  is  still  “woefully  unprepared  for  nuclear  terrorism.”  

Frost  continues:    

“  A  featured  strategic  goal  [of  the]  DHS  is  developing  a  “culture  of  
preparedness,”  yet  …nothing  focuses  on  the  education  and  
knowledge  of  the  public…We  need  commercials,  billboards,  and  
vast  expansion  of  the  Citizen  Corps  program…Preparedness  

programs  should  also  be  incorporated  into  high  school  curricula…”  
(Frost  2012).    
For  the  Israelis  preparedness  is  a  way  of  life.  This  is  an  integral  part  of  coping  

with  terrorism,  as  well  as  with  the  inherent  wish  of  Arabs  and  Muslims  to  

annihilate  the  Jewish  state.  It  is  an  existential  question.  Israel  does  not  have  any  

significant  “strategic  depth,  “to  depend  on.  Israel  is  no  larger  than  New  Jersey.    

During  the  1991,  U.S.  invasion  of  Iraq,  the  Israelis  had  a  taste  of  the  true  meaning  

of  the  “whole  country”  being  under  the  Iraqi  Scud  attacks.  The  HAGA  (i.e.  

HAGANA  EZRAHIT  aka  Civil  Defense)  which  being  an  offshoot  of  the  IDF,  and    in  

charge  of  Civil  Defense,  was  quickly  revised,  augmented  and  renamed  the  Home  

Front  Command,  (HFC  aka  Pikud  Ha’oref).  HFC  became  an  integral  Command  

within  the  IDF.  In  a  strategic  foresight  of  things  to  come,  the  HFC  efficiently  

distributed  millions  of  gas  masks  and  atropine  self-­‐injectors,  along  with  massive,  

national  education  effort  that  prepared  every  Israeli  residence,  and  every  single  

Israeli  individual  of  all  ages,  to  the  eventuality  of  the  feared  WMD  attack.  (In  

1991  the  focus  was  on  chemical  WMD).  Although  Larsen  and  Pravecek  also  posit  


“  Israel  is  also  way  ahead  of  the  United  Sates  in  its  practice  of  
sharing  information  between  bureaucratic  organizations…and  in  
requesting  and  sharing  responsibility  for  civil  defense.  The  
Mossad,  Shin  Bet,  and  the  local  police  units  share  a  common  
intelligence  pool,  and  work  together  closely  when  
necessary”(2006,  86-­‐87),    
such  was  not  the  case,  at  the  time  when  Larsen  and  Pravecek’s  work  was  

published.  2006  arguably,  signifies  the  beginning  of  the  welcome  change  

described  above  (the  actual  GSS  reform  initiative  began  in  the  1990s).  It  was  not  

for  some  time  that  the  fruits  of  the  changes  started  to  be  felt.  

It  may  be  a  constructive  idea  to  consider  some  of  the  above-­‐mentioned  current  

Israeli  practices,  through  the  eyes  of  the  American  needs,  and  adapt  what  is  


Both,   the   United   States   and   Israel   are   forced   to   use   extraordinary   measures   to  

deal   with   their   respective   terrorism   problems.   Despite   the   fact   that   Americans  

do   not   feel   the   day-­‐to-­‐day   terrorist   threat,   as   the   Israelis   feel   it   -­‐   the   civil  

populations  of  both  countries  are  in  danger.  The  threat  shared  by  the  Israelis,  is  

not   only   personal,   but   also   national   and   existential.   In   some   ways,   younger  

Americans  are  luckier  than  Israelis,  because  they  seem  to  lack  the  tragic  element  

of   imagination   required   to   perceive   the   nature   of   an   existential   threat.   Certain  

elements   of   that   perception   may   have   been   was   lost   with   the   end   of   the   Cold  

War.  The  tragic  events  of  September  11,  2001  shook  the  American  public  to  the  

core,   but   like   Pearl   Harbor,   they   did   not   create   a   realistic   existential   threat.   In  

truth,  arguably,  the  threat  to  the  United  States  is  not  existential.    Many  claim  that  

President  Obama’s  reiteration  of  the  nuclear  and  other  WMD  threats  to  America  

is   overblown,   as   a   result   of   the   “heritage”   of   the   previous   administration’s   V.P.  

Cheney  stating  in  February  2009:    

“…that  such  [  true  WMD]  an  attack  was  “high  probability”…In  other  
words,  if  there  were  an  attack  on  the  United  States  that  killed  many  
tens   of   thousands,   it   would   be   the   Obama   administration’s   fault,  
since   in   Cheney’s   telling,   it   was   the   Bush   administration’s   extralegal  
policies   that   kept   America   safe   after   9/11,   including   safe   from  
terrorists   wielding   weapons   of   mass   destruction”   (Bergen   2011,  

Even   if   America   were   to   be   attacked   by   a   terrorist   nuclear   device,   this   would   not  

threaten  the  very  existence  of  the  United  States.  An  existential  threat  to  the  U.S.  

can  come  only  from  a  massive  nuclear  threat  from  a  major  nuclear  power;  such  

threat   is   currently,   arguably,   unrealistic.   One   of   the   challenges   of   this   paper   is,  

the   understanding   of   the   extreme   asymmetry   and   contrast,   between   the  

convictions/intentions   of   al-­‐Qaeda-­‐core’s   leadership   -­‐   and   the   super-­‐

humanitarian   convictions   of   some   good   folks   everywhere;   who   are   convinced  

that  no  matter  how  terrible  the  terrorist’s  deeds  and  intentions  are  –  they  should  

still  be  treated  in  a  humanitarian  way,  afforded  a  fair  trial  and  a  due  process.  As  

we   recall,   while   according   to   the   Bible,   the   Ten   Commandments   tell   us   “Thou  

Shalt   Not   Kill,”   (Exodus   20:13),   under   certain   circumstances,   when   a   foe  

attempts  to  kill  you  –  you  have  the  legal  right  to  kill  him  first  in  self-­‐defense.  

(“The  one  who  is  going  to  kill  you  shall  be  killed  before  he  succeed").  

This   understanding   underscores   the   spirit   in   which   terrorist   threats   should   be  

treated.  This  is  the  underlying  attitude,  around  which  a  consistent,  coherent  CT  

strategy/tactic  should  be  built  and  applied.    

On   October   16,   2003   Donald   Rumsfeld,   then   the   Secretary   of   Defense,   addressed  

a  letter  to  the  top  echelon  of  the  U.S.  counterterrorism  administration.    He  asks:  

 “Are   we   winning   or   losing   the   Global   War   on   Terror?   Is   DoD  

changing   fast   enough   to   deal   with   the   new   21st   century   security  
environment?...We   have   mixed   results   with   Al   Qaida…Have   we  
fashioned   the   right   mix   of   rewards,   amnesty,   protection   and  
confidence  in  the  US?  Does  DoD  need  to  think  through  new  ways  to  
organize,   train,   equip   and   focus   to   deal   with   the   global   war   on  
terror?   Today,   we   lack   metrics   to   know   if   we   are   winning   or  
losing…Are   we   capturing,   killing   or   deterring   and   dissuading   more  
terrorists   every   day   than   the   madrassas   and   radical   clerics   are  
recruiting,  training  and  deploying  against  us?”  (Rumsfeld  2003).    
In  2012,  Audrey  Kurth  Cronin,  suggests  the  following  reply:    

“   Ten   years   into   a   trillion   dollar   effort   to   answer   the   attacks   of  

September   11,   2001,   it   is   difficult   to   tell   whether   U.S.  
counterterrorism   is   achieving   its   intended   effects…experts   still  
debate   whether   or   not   the   United   States   is   winning   the   fight  
against  al  Qaeda”(Kurth  Cronin,  2012,  1).    

And   yet   Cronin   also   admits   that     “…al-­‐Qaeda   repels   rather   than  
attracts…only   two   percent   of   Muslims   in   Lebanon,   five   percent   in  
Turkey,   and   15   percent   in   Jordan   support   al   Qaeda…ratings   for  
Osama   bin   Laden   [before   his   death]   had   dropped   off   a   cliff:   in  
Jordan   they   went   from   56   percent   in   2003   to   13   percent   in   2011  
and   in   Pakistan   from   52   percent   in   2005   to   18   percent   in   2011”  
(Pew  Global  Attitudes  Project  2011  In  Kurth  Cronin  2011,  11).  
It  seems  that  some  major  shift  in  the  United  States  CT  strategy  is  required.  This  is  

a   change   that   goes   way   beyond   whatever   wisdom   can   be   arguably,   gleaned   from  

the   application   of   lessons   learned   from   another   country   fighting   terrorism,   like  

Israel.  Arguably,  al  Qaeda’s  major  vulnerability,  as  self-­‐admitted,  by  this  group’s  

current   commander,   Ayman   al   Zawahiri   in   his   2005   letter   to   Abu   Musab   el  

Zarqawi   urging   the   latest   to   prepare   to   the   U.S.   withdrawal   by   refraining   from  

further  alienation  of  the  Iraqi  masses,  (a  mistake  exemplified  in  Taliban’s  deeds  

in  Afghanistan)  –  is  its  difficulty  to  continue  mobilizing  popular  support.  The  lack  

of  public  support  was  and  is  a  fact  far  from  lost  on  the  al  Qaeda  core  leadership.  

“   While   bin   Laden   has   enjoyed   a   certain   amount   of   personal  

popularity   in   much   of   the   Muslim   world,   that   has   not   been  
translated   into   mass   support   for   al_qaeda   in   the   manner   that  
Hezbollah  enjoys  such  support  in  Lebanon.  That  is  not  surprising  –  
there   are   no   Al   Qaeda   social   welfare   services   or   schools.   An   al-­‐
Qaeda   hospital   is   a   grim   oxymoron.   Even   al-­‐Qaeda’s   leaders   are  
aware  of  the  problem  of  their  lack  of  mass  support”  
 (Bergen  2011,  301).  The  alluded-­‐to  shift  is  a  philosophical  and  a  pragmatic  one.  

The  United  States  relates  to  its  counterterrorist  struggle  in  the  context  of  global  

counterinsurgency,   instead   of   fighting   al   Qaeda   and   its   affiliates   in   a   more  

simplistic   counterterrorist   context.   Current   US   model   as   seen   in   Afghanistan,  

Pakistan,   Middle   East,   Africa   and   South   Asia   tends   to   attribute   a   measure   of  

“legitimacy”  to  al  Qaeda’s  struggle,  by  portraying  it  more  as  insurgents,  than  the  

plain  terrorists  they  really  are.  Moreover,  counterinsurgency  campaign  is  much  

more  costly,  and  in  this  case  disproportionate:  “  At  a  time  when  there  were  more  

than   100,000   troops   in   Afghanistan,   the   total   number   of   al-­‐Qaeda   operatives  

in…Pakistan   was   …’more   than   300’…and   the   number   in   Afghanistan   was,  

according   to   Leon   Panetta…’50-­‐100,   maybe   less.’   The   imbalance   is  

obvious”(Kurth  Cronin  2012,  19).  Thus  the  response  to  al-­‐Qaeda  and  its  affiliates  

should   arguably   be,   more   along   the   lines   of   the   Israeli   response   to   Palestinian  

terrorism;   however,   avoiding   the   inconsistency   exemplified   in   the   Israeli   CT  

model   of   “action/reaction.”   Some   experts   claim   that   al   Qaeda   is   declining;   we  

should   thus   allow   it   to   continue   to   decline   and   avoid   invigorating   it   through  

exaggerated   media   coverage   and   highlight   their   mistakes.   Furthermore,   the  

method  of  polarization  of  the  internal  disputes  and  arguments,  within  the  group  

and  between  it  affiliates,  should  be  fostered,  through  a  clever  manipulation  of  the  

existing   differences   within   the   Islamist   movement   regarding   their   various  

differences  (e.g.  attitudes  towards  killing  of  innocents,  the  application  of  Shari’a  

law,  who  is  a  real  Jihadist  and  who  should  be  labeled  as  apostate  or  infidel  etc.).  

As  wisely  put  by  Cronin,    

“   For   a   decade,   the   United   States   has   struggled   to   find   a   counter  

narrative   in   the   fight   against   al   Qaeda,   a   way   to   shore   up  
moderates   without   tainting   them…Our   role   should   be   to   avoid  
directly   interfering,   even   as   we   support   the   emergence   of  
pluralistic   forces   that   could   represent   a   counter-­‐mobilizing   force  
that   inspires   millions   of   young   Arabs…Now   Americans   must  
reverse   the   widespread   impression   that   the   only   change   they  
support  is  change  they  effect,  and  shrink  the  tendency  to  be  so  self-­‐
centered  as  to  miss  an  historical  paradigm  that  may  be  delivering  
the  best  answer  to  al-­‐Qaida  imaginable”  (Kurth  Cronin  2011,  23).  

It  is  with  this  nagging  question  in  mind  enter  this  paper.  


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                                               WHAT  TO  EXPECT?  PRACTICAL  AND    
                                                 ACADEMIC  APPROACHES  

V.  Fighting  International  Terrorism  Effectively  Without  Giving  up  on  the    
         very  Foundation  of  Democracy  –  a  Fallacy  or  an  Actual  Possibility?  
Current  U.S.  experience  in  Iraq,  Eurasia,  South  Asia,  Africa  and  the  Middle  East  

attest  to  multiple  challenges  regarding  the  effective  confrontation  of  

international  terrorist  groups.  Transnational  groups  like  al-­‐Qaeda  are  few,  but  

more  localized  terrorist  groups  that  share  al-­‐Qaeda’s  convictions  and  are  loosely  

connected  with  this  amorphous  group  -­‐  seem  to  pop  up  recently  like  mushrooms  

after  a  rain,  in  many  places  in  the  world.  Following  9/11,  the  notion  was  that  

although  the  US  embarked  on  a  world-­‐wide  anti-­‐terrorism  campaign,  the  focus  of  

this  struggle  was  at  first  Afghanistan  and  many  thought  that  a  successful  

elimination  of  al-­‐Qaeda  in  Afghanistan  will  deal  a  death  blow  to  world’s  fanatic  

Islamism.  However,  such  was  not  the  case.  While  the  U.S.  and  its  allies  have  been  

stubbornly  fighting  al-­‐Qaeda  core  in  Afghanistan,  this  terrorist  entity’s  

philosophy  obviously  resonated  well  with  the  emotions  of  large  segments  of  

Muslim  populations  around  the  world.  Moreover,  the  U.S.  counterterrorist  

strategy  identifies  many  Islamist  terrorist  groups  as  “part  or  affiliate  of  al-­‐  

Qaeda.”  This  approach  is  arguably,  wrong.  The  onset  of  this  perception  can  be  

traced  back  to  2001-­‐2002,  when  America  took  its  fight  not  only  to  al  Qaeda  core  

in  Pakistan,  but  also  to  the  Taliban,  which  indeed  supported  al  Qaeda  but  was  

never  a  part  of  it.  In  fact,  while  US  troops  fought  the  Taliban,  al-­‐Qaeda  core  

cleverly  retreated  into  the  high  Tora  Bora  Mountains  and  caves  and  the  U.S.  

command  repeatedly  declined  intelligence  (CIA’s)  suggestions  to  follow  and  

“finish”  them;  thus  completely  decimating  al  Qaeda.  (Bergen  2011,  70-­‐75).  

Although  many  Muslim  terrorist  groups  retained  their  independence  from  al-­‐

Qaeda,  they  are  strongly  influenced  by  al-­‐Qaeda’s  religious  and  political  views  

and  many  of  them  became  al-­‐Qaeda’s  ‘affiliates’,  spreading  the  Islamist  terrorism  

throughout  the  world.  Moreover,  directly  al-­‐Qaeda-­‐sponsored  groups  flourished  

as  well  and  seem  to  be  the  constant  focus  of  current  counterterrorist  efforts.  

Some  of  the  more  active  ones  are  for  example,  Lashkar-­‐e-­‐taiba  and  Tehrik-­‐i-­‐

taliban  in  Pakistan,  the  Afghan  Taliban;  the  Jemaa  Islamiyah  in  Thailand,  

Singapore  and  the  Phillipines;  the  Al  –  Shabaab  in  Somalia,  AQI  –  in  Iraq;  AQIAP  –

in  Arabia  and  others.  Like  the  mythological  Medusa,  or  like  cancer  Islamist  

fanaticism  keeps  spreading.  One  of  the  challenges  of  this  paper  is  to  come  up  

with  suggestions  how  to  better  confront  the  U.S  terrorist  challenge.  

On  at  least  two  occasions,  both  as  Director  of  the  C.I.A.  and  as  Secretary  of  

Defense,  Leon  Panetta  belittled  the  presence  of  al-­‐Qaeda’s  combatants  in  

Afghanistan,  stating  in  2010,  that  there  were  only  about  50-­‐100  or  so  al-­‐Qaeda  

fighters  left  in  Afghanistan.  (Huffington  Post  2010).  More  recently,  in  September  

2012,  Mr.  Panetta  said  that:  “  he  views  rogue  Afghan  troops  and  police  turning  

their  guns  on  allied  forces  attacks  as  the  ‘last  gasp’  of  a  Taliban  insurgency  

[historically,  but  possibly  wrongly,  linked  with  al-­‐Qaeda  –  and  perceived  as  “one  

and  the  same”]  that  has  not  been  able  to  regain  lost  ground  “  (Telegraph  2012).  

Just  shortly  later,  in  January  2013,  David  Wood,  Reporting  for  the  Huffington  

Post,  asked  Secretary  Panetta,  how  the  administration  could  justify  continued  

U.S.  involvement  in  the  war  against  the  Taliban  in  Afghanistan,  in  view  of  the  

facts  that  after  spending  $641  billion;  2,162  dead  Americans,  and  18,188  

wounded  -­‐  the  Pentagon  reports  that  this  insurgency,  that  was  supposed  to  have  

been  beaten  -­‐  is  still  active  and  resilient;  the  Afghan  government  is  still  corrupt;  

and  the  Afghan  security  forces  are  still  unable  to  fight  “their  own”  war.  Panetta  

responded:  “  We  have  poured  a  lot  of  blood  and  treasure  into  this  war…  We  have  

made  a  lot  of  progress…  and  we’re  not  gonna  walk  backward.”  (Huffington  Post  

2013).  However,  strong  words  alone  do  not  win  wars,  and  the  fact  remains  that  

according  to  the  Pentagon,  despite  hard  fighting  by  U.S.,  Allied  and  Afghan  forces,  

“  the  insurgency  has  nevertheless  retained  its  capability  to  carry  out  attacks  at  

almost  the  same  level  as  last  year.”  (Huffington  Post  2013).    In  an  excellent  

article,  the  terrorism  expert  Audrey  Kurth  Cronin  suggests  in  2012,  that  the  U.S,  

should  separate  its  struggle  against  al  Qaeda  from  its  fighting  other  terrorist  

groups.  Al  Qaeda’s  presence  in  Afghanistan  and  Pakistan  has  been  indeed  

severely  decimated,  but  the  numbers  of  the  allied  forces  facing  al  Qaeda  do  not  

add  up,  and  they  point  to  a  gross  disproportion  in  the  US  involvement  in  Eurasia.  

If  indeed  the  number  of  al  Qaeda  Pakistan  was  in  2010  reportedly,  “somewhat  

more  than  300”  (Leiter  2010),  and  the  number  of  al-­‐Qaeda  Afghanistan,  is  as  

stated  above  50-­‐100,  why  was  the  size  of  the  American  and  allied  forces  in  

Afghanistan  close  to  100,000  (in  2010)?  It  seems  clear  that  the  US  NSS  views  all  

Islamists  as  al  Qaeda,  which  is  wrong.  By  doing  so  the  U.S.  is  playing  into  the  

hands  of  al  Qaeda  by  portraying  it  as  a  massive  movement,  at  a  time  that  it  is  in  

fact,  already  small  and  arguably,  continuously  losing  ground.  Moreover,  the  US  

all-­‐inclusive  strategy  attributes  certain  degree  of  “legitimacy”  to  al  Qaeda  and  its  

affiliates  by  treating  it  more  as  an  insurgency  and  thus,  like  a  form  of  “legitimate  

guerrilla  warfare”  struggling  for  self  determination.  

 “Terrorism…i.e.  the  deliberate  targeting  of  civilians  by  nonstate  

actors  for  symbolic  political  effects  is  never  legitimate…Al  Qaeda’s  
terrorism  is  causing  a  backlash  that  is  killing  the  group  and,  while  
no  one  wants  innocent  people  to  be  targeted,  the  United  States  is  
foolish  to  interfere  with  that  backlash…framing  al  Qaeda  as  a  
“global  insurgency”  is  a  mistake…[it  is}  a  formula  for  national  

bankruptcy,  strategic  irrelevance,  and  loss  of  American  primacy”  
Kurth  Cronin  2012).  
Currently,  America  and  its  allies  are  faced  with  Islamist  terrorism  all  over  the  

Middle  East,  South  Asia,  and  North  Africa,  in  the  Sahel  and  in  the  African  Horn.  

The  latest  development  being  NATO’s  involvement  in  Libya,  France  and  U.S.  

involvement  in  Algeria,  Mali,  Nigeria,  as  well  as  continued  activity  in  Somalia,  

Zimbabwe,  Kenya,  Ethiopia,  Yemen  and  Sudan.  At  the  same  time,  we  can’t  omit  

the  ominous  developments  in  Syria;  the  persistent  instability  in  Pakistan;  the  

“green-­‐on-­‐green”  Afghan  military  attacks  against  the  US  and  allied  forces.  Nor  

can  continuous  terrorism  in  Iraq,  the  state  sponsored  terrorism  by  Hezbollah,  

the  Iranian  nuclear  threat,  and  the  terrorist  activity  of  the  Hamas  and  other  

Palestinian  factions  be  ignored.  One  may  ask:  is  this  an  Arab  Spring,  or  rather  the  

radical  Islamist  one?  

Where  has  the  United  States  and  the  West  gone  wrong?    For  one  thing,  it  has  

gone  wrong  by  failing  to  follow  its  own  NSS,  that  attempted  to  separate  the  

former  administration’s  “war  on  terror”  from  the  current  “war  against  al-­‐Qaida  

and  its  affiliates”.  While  the  Obama  administration,  in  its  wish  to  diminish  the  

scope  of  the  struggle  from  a  “worldly”  one,  to  one  more  focused  on  al  Qaeda  -­‐  it  

in  fact  did  little  more  than  change  the  struggle’s  name.  Indeed,  the  war  in  Iraq  

came  to  an  official  end  and  American  troops  were  mostly  withdrawn;  yet  it  is  too  

early  to  claim  a  final  victory  in  view  of  the  ongoing  subversive  activity  there  

(Markey  and  Kareem  2013).  Moreover,  Obama’s  declaration  regarding  the  

planned  pull  out  from  Afghanistan  by  2014  and  the  current  commitment  to  

withdraw  34,000  US  troops  there  by  early  2014,  was  met  with  a  lot  of  

skepticism.  This  skepticism  is  the  result  of  wrong  American  framing  of  the  war  

against  al  Qaeda,  and  the  war  with  the  Taliban  as  one.  Such  approach  has  little  to  

do  with  advancing  real  American  interests.  In  fact,  it  delays  the  US  

disengagement  from  its  longest  war  yet.    

“  In  Afghanistan,  for  example,  formerly  disparate  forces  have  

aligned  against  the  United  States  (the  Haqqani  network,  numerous  
Taliban  factions,  drug  lords,  war  lords,  and  so  forth),  neighboring  
Pakistan  is  providing  sanctuary  and  to  some  degree  supporting  
them,  we  are  saddled  with  propping  up  a  government  in  Kabul  that  
lacks  legitimacy,  and  our  aims  have  grown  so  dramatically  since  
2001  that  it  is  difficult  to  see  how  our  aims  will  be  able  to  achieve  
them…The  operation  in  Afghanistan  should  never  have  been  about  
protecting  civilians  and  holding  territory,  but  about  eliminating  
the  possibility  of  al  Qaeda  attacking  the  United  States  again”  
(Kurth  Cronin  2012,  19).  

 Democracies  indeed  face  severe  dilemmas  when  confronting  terrorist  violence.  

As  the  world  has  learned,  massive  or  even  moderate,  military  intervention  often  

alienates  the  population  and  paves  the  path  for  increased  terrorist  support.  It  

also  damages  the  legitimacy  of  existing  governments,  their  police  and  security  

forces,  their  judiciary  and  thus  –  the  rule  of  law  -­‐  as  we’ve  seen  in  Pakistan,  

Somalia,  Yemen,  Nigeria,  Zimbabwe,  and  recently  in  Libya,  Algeria  and  Mali.  The  

inability  of  a  certain  regimes  to  exercise  their  authority  over  part,  or  all  of  their  

sovereign  territory,  provides  new  “safe  haven”  opportunities  to  transnational  

terrorism  and  transnational  organized  crime.  In  this  respect,  the  democratic  

world  faces  two  challenges.  First,  the  current  counterterrorist  paradigm  of  

‘fighting  fire  with  fire,’  may  seem  almost  contrary  to  the  concept  of  democracy,  

and  thus  –  contradictory  to  the  upholding  of  democratic  fundaments  and  

principles,  such  as  humanitarian  behavior,  high  moral  standards,  ensuring  civil  

rights,  preserving  a  system  of  checks  and  balances  and  the  rule  of  law.  Second,  

democracy,  unlike  the  amorphous  notion  of  say,  ‘establishment’,  is  a  more  

concrete  concept.  We  have  erred  before  and  we  are  probably  erring  currently  by  

attempting  to  “impose”  democracy  upon  countries,  regimes  and  peoples  that  are  

not  yet  ripe  to  understand  and  absorb  the  depth  of  the  meaning  of  democracy.  

Have  we  created  a  real  democracy  in  Iraq?  It  seems  that  at  the  very  best,  Iraq  

may  serve  as  a  “laboratory”  for  ideas  about  how  to  wring  stability  out  of  chaos  –  

which  is  arguably,  the  number  one  policy  challenge  of  the  twenty-­‐first  century.  Is  

it  even  remotely  possible,  that  Iraq,  of  all  places,  might  offer  some  new  ideas  

about  how  situations  of  widespread  anarchy  can  be  combated?  Some  claim,  “it  is  

the  beehive  that  produces  the  honey.”  However,  if  this  analogy  is  used  for  the  

outcome  in  Iraq,  it  seems  that  Iraq  is  a  nested  by  hornets,  yellow  jackets  and  

wasps,  rather  than  bees.  

”…[Iraq]  was  the  case  that  despite  a  continuing  plague  of  suicide  
bombings,  significant  sections  of  the  country  were  slowly  
recovering  from  large-­‐scale  violence,  as  well  as  from  the  effects  of  
decades  of  brutal  dictatorship?  The  very  U.S.  military  that  had  
helped  to  bring  about  anarchy  in  Iraq  was  now  worth  studying  as  a  
way  to  end  it,  both  here  and  elsewhere  in  the  Third  World”(Kaplan  
Democracies  come  in  many  forms  and  sizes.  There  are  no  two  identical  

democracies;  and  yet,  many  share  the  principles  of  certain  set  of  freedoms,  a  

government  freely  elected  of  the  people,  by  the  people  and  for  the  people  and  the  

rule  of  law.  Some  regimes,  in  spite  of  names  like  “the  democratic  republic  of  X”  

etc.,  are  not  truly  democratic.  The  fact  that  some  Middle  Eastern  and  African  

states  are  autocracies,  does  not  attest  to  their  being  exactly    “  bad,  “  but  rather  

suggest  that  their  constituents,  (many  of  whom  were  until  not  too  long  ago  ruled,  

by  capitalistic,  colonial  powers),  are  not  yet  ready  to  accept  and  assimilate  

democratic  principles.  Unfortunately,  often-­‐ruthless  autocrats,  currently  rule  

some  of  these  countries,  while  other  countries  and  territories  are  in  effect,  ruled  

by  de-­‐facto  terrorists  (e.g.  Hezbollah  in  Lebanon,  Hamas  in  Gaza,  etc.).  Timur  

Kuran  in  his  book,  The  Long  Convergence:  How  Islamic  Law  Held  Back  the  Middle  

East,  suggests  that  Islam’s  economic  restrictions  and  not  Islam’s  cultural  

restrictions,  held  back  the  progress  in  countries  where  Islam  was  the  main  

religion.  He  claims,  “  if  the  region’s  autocratic  regimes  were  magically  to  fall,  the  

development  of  strong  private  sectors  and  civil  societies  could  take  decades”  

(Kuran  2011,  281-­‐283).  Interestingly,  back  in  2001  the  Freedom  House  stated,  

“…the  gap  in  freedom  has  only  widened  over  the  last  twenty  years.  While  every  

region  of  the  world  has  registered  significant  gains  for  democracy  and  freedom,  

the  countries  of  the  Islamic  world  have  experienced  a  significant  increase  in  

repression”  (New  Study  Details  2001).    

 A  decade  later    the  Arab  Spring  arrived.  In  its  2013  report  the  Freedom  House  

stated  that,    

“  Worst  of  the  Worst…Nine  [countries]  have  been  given  the  

survey’s  lowest  possible  rating  of  7  both  political  rights  and  civil  
liberties:  Eritrea,  Equatorial  Guinea,  North  Korea,  Saudi  Arabia,  
Somalia,  Sudan,  Syria,  Turkmenistan,  and  Uzbekistan.  Two  
territories,  Tibet  and  Western  Sahara  were  also  ranked  among  the  
worst  of  the  worst…In  [Middle  East  and  North  Africa]…a  region  
notable  for  sectarian  polarization,  civil  strife,  and  repressive  
autocracies,  freedom  scored  some  grudging  but  nonetheless  
impressive  gains  in  2012.  Gains:  Tunisia…Libya  and  Egypt…moved  
from  Not  Free  to  Partly  Free.  Declines:  Syria  suffered  by  far  the  
worst  repercussions  from  the  Arab  Spring.  Declines  were  also  seen  
in  Bahrain,  Iraq,  Jordan,  Kuwait,  Lebanon,  Oman,  and  the  United  
Arab  Emirates”  (Freedom  in  the  World  2013).  

Overall,  the  current  outcome  seems  a  little  more  positive  than  a  decade  ago;  thus  

we  are  indeed  facing  a  slow  process.    After  all,  it  took  France  over  eighty  bloody  

years  to  come  out  of  the  French  revolution  and  gradually  implement  democratic  

principles,  which  gradually  spread  through  the  world.  The  American  Civil  War  

which  lasted  only  5  years,  was  in  many  ways  an  industrial  war,  not  only  a  war  

about  civil  freedom  -­‐  and  its  end  did  not  signify  an  automatic  transition  to  ‘true  

democracy,’  despite  of  the  fact  that  much  of  the  French  “original”  ideas  were  

already  born  and  ready  to  adopt.  If  an  important  single  lesson  should  be  learned  

from  the  US  attempt  to  ”impose”  democracy  upon  Iraq,  it  probably  is  that  it  does  

not  work  well  in  the  long  term.  

“…even  if  the  brave  demonstrators  in  Tunisia  or  Egypt  or  
elsewhere  do  succeed  in  permanently  overthrowing  their  
dictators,  their  prospects  for  lasting  freedom  have  nothing  to  do  
with  rhetorical  support  from  Washington,  but  depend  rather  on  
whether  those  countries  have  the  broader  political  and  economic  
infrastructure  necessary  to  sustain  democracy.  If  our  experience  in  
Iraq  and  Afghanistan  have  taught  us  anything  it  is  that  the  removal  
of  tyranny  alone  is  insufficient  to  create  stable  democracy”  
(Calabresi  2011).  
As  currently  seen  in  both  Egypt  and  Tunisia  the  slogans  “freedom”  and  

“democracy”  are  still  contested  there  on  a  daily  basis,  while  the  situation  in  Iraq  

is  grave  and  the  forecast  is  arguably,  pessimistic.  

A  volatile  and  contradictory  mixture  of  self-­‐interests  and  unrealistic  democratic  

ideals  often  propels  the  United  States  grand  strategy  for  national  security.  This  is  

arguably,  the  reason  behind  the  fact  that  so  far,  “soft  power”  was  used  limitedly  

and  its  track  record  is  far  from  exciting.  Iraq,  Afghanistan  and  Pakistan  are  still  at  

the  very  best  week,  failing  or  failed  countries,  torn  by  ethnic,  religious,  social  and  

financial  cleavages.    

Current  day  terrorism  in  its  transnational  variety,  may  be  the  result  of  activity  on  

the  part  of  a  movement,  a  loose  network  or  even  a  common  idea,  whether  

secular,  religious  or  nationalist/political  in  nature.  Be  the  case  as  it  may,  the  

repeated  attempts  to  eliminate  terrorism  by  military  means  alone  continuously  

prove  to  be  faulty.  Is  it  possible  that  this  has  been  due  to  the  lack  of  consistency  

and  inability  to  see  the  suppressive  military  option  all  the  way  through?  Israel,  

for  example,  has  been  fighting  Palestinian  terrorism  mostly  through  military  

offensive/defensive  means  for  over  65  years,  and  the  end  of  the  Israeli  -­‐  

Palestinian  conflict  is  still  uncontainable.  The  anti-­‐Israeli  terrorism  continues.  

The  Basque  separatist  movement  in  Spain  (ETA),  born  in  the  1950s  officially  

announced  its  readiness  to  disband  only  in  November  2012.  

It  was  however,  not  the  result  of  a  successful  military  suppression;  nor  was  a  

military  success  the  reason  for  the  near-­‐termination  of  the  IRA  activity  in  

Ireland.  For  all  we  know,  the  IRA  resurfaced  again,  after  the  official  2006  IRA’s  

“turning  its  back  on  violence.”  Even  in  June  2012,  a  day  before  Queen  Elizabeth  II  

shook  hands  with  a  former  commander  of  the  IRA,  the  Belfast  police  fought  

youths  throwing  Molotov  cocktails  as  part  of  the  newly  rising  tensions  there.  

(IRA  2012).  It  should  have  been  clear,  especially  in  the  aftermath  of  the  

Afghanistan  and  Iraq  wars  that  military  intervention  alone,  however  massive  

and  potent,  will  not  only  fail  to  eliminate  terrorism  against  Americans  and  

America;  it  also  acts  as  a  catalyzing  agent  in  building  distrust,  hatred,  and  

grievance  to  anything  perceived  as  self-­‐centered,  Western  or  American.    

VI.  Fighting  Terrorism  on  a  National  Level.  

There  is  a  major  difference  between  fighting  terrorism  on  the  national  level  and  

fighting  terrorism  internationally.  The  terrorist  threat  to  U.S.  is  somewhat  hard  

to  compare  with  the  terrorist  threat  to  Israel.  While  the  US  has  to  fight  both  

homegrown  and  foreign  terrorists,  Israel  is  relatively  safer  from  homegrown  

terrorism,  and  its  “foreign  terrorism  brand”  is  right  next-­‐door,  making  

counterterrorism  much  more  “localized”  than  America’s  global  perception  of  a  

global  war  on  terrorism  (GWOT).  Hamas,  Hezbollah  and  other  Palestinian  

factions,  pose  mostly,  a  localized  threat  and  in  spite  of  Hezbollah’s  and  Hamas’  

proliferation  in  the  international  community,  this  does  not  make  the  existential  

threat  to  Israel  larger.  It  does  however,  magnify  the  overall  threat  to  the  United  

States,  both  globally  and  internally,  due  to  America’s  globally  widespread  

interests  and  its  democratically  inherent  openness  to  Hezbollah  and  Hamas  

sleeper  cells  to  be  created  and  activated,  within  the  American  Homeland.  

On  the  national  level,  terrorism  is  typically  fought  by  a  three-­‐prong  approach:  

1).  Using  the  judicial  model,  according  to  which  terrorism  is  viewed  as  a  crime.  

2)  Frequent  application  of  the  military  model,  which  responds  to  terrorism  as  an  

act  of  insurgency  and  revolt  against  the  authority  of  the  state.    

 3).  An  attempt  to  erode  the  support  base  of  terrorists,  through  successful  

resolution  of  the  grievances  that  led  to  the  conflict  in  the  first  place.  All  three  

counterterrorist  measures  have  been  used  by  the  U.K.  in  Ireland;  by  Spain  in  the  

case  of  the  ETA  and  in  Sri  Lanka,  in  its  dealings  with  the  Tamil  Tigers  (LTTE).    

It  may  be  argued  that  Israel  as  well,  used  and  still  uses  all  three  approaches,  but  

a  coherent  pattern,  and  the  strategy  of  such  use,  if  present,  is  lost  on  this  writer.  

Terrorists  easily  target  democracies  because  of  their  relatively  open  political  

systems.  By  contrast,  North  Korea’s  ultra-­‐suppressive  regime  probably  does  not  

experience  any  acts  of  terrorism,  because  the  police-­‐state  regime  is  so  

suppressive  that  no  insurgency  is  realistically  possible.  The  same  is  arguably,  

happening  in  less  suppressive  systems  in  Saudi  Arabia,  Qatar  or  Iran.  Another  

example  of  “successful”  suppression  of  terrorism  on  a  state  level  is  the  case  of  

the  Tamil  Tigers  (LTTE)  in  Sri  Lanka.  The  Sri  Lankan  government’s  system  has  

evolved  from  liberal  into  an  suppressive  one,  due  to  the  inability  of  an  open  

political  system  to  cope  with  massive  terrorist  attacks,  that  took  the  form  of  

political  assassinations  (of  political  leaders),  political  kidnappings,  attacks  on  the  

military  and  indiscriminate  killing  of  non-­‐combatants  by  suicide  terrorists.  

However,  as  a  trade-­‐off,  the  open  political  system,  evolved  to  a  highly  

suppressive  one,  often  described  as  brutally  disregarding  human  rights,  acting  

with  complete  impunity  towards  its  military’s  involvement  in  political  

assassinations  and  disappearances.  (Denyer,  2012).    

 Sri  Lanka  has  obviously  chosen  to  sacrifice  its  civil  liberties,  as  the  only  way  to  

effectively  deal  with  the  LTTE,  which  has  been  until  2009  possibly,  the  most  

sophisticated  and  ruthless  nationalist/separatist  terrorist  group.  As  we  have  

seen  in  the  case  of  the  LTTE,  suppression  of  human  rights,  if  chosen,  as  an  

acceptable  CT  approach  can  be  effective,  yet  the  cost  of  such  success  may  be  too  

high  and  may  in  fact  lead  to  the  erosion,  or  even  dismantling  of  democratic  

structures.  An  argument  can  be  made,  that  such  is  the  case  of  the  U.S.A  and  its  

2001  Patriot  Act,  which  has  somewhat  infringed  on  rights  and  civil  liberties  of  

the  American  people,  in  a  manner  unprecedented  since  the  Civil  War.  The  

judicial  rulings  allowing  the  FBI  to  demand,  without  a  specific  warrant,  judicial  

oversight  or  public  review,  information  from  Internet  services  providers,  are  an  

example  of  such  an  infringement.  In  truth,  the  Patriot  Act  of  2001  is  not  

realistically  endangering  the  American  democracy  in  any  way  because  the  U.S.  

population  as  well  as  its  legislature  are  acutely  aware  of  the  current  situation  

and  monitor  the  situation  constantly.  

In  Russia  too,  critics  claimed  that  the  government’s  harsh  and  suppressive  

response  to  Chechen  Islamist  terrorism,  hurt  Russia’s  relatively  new  democratic  

institutions.  Indeed  the  measures  taken  by  the  Russian  government  following  the  

Beslan  school  tragedy  (2004)  included  a  revision  of  Russia’s  territorial  

administration.  Currently,  democracies  forego  a  “sobering”  process,  as  a  result  of  

a  better  understanding  that  confronting  current  Islamist,  religious  and  

nationalist  fanaticism,  is  different  from  other  forms  of  terrorism.  Democracies  

must  develop  a  unique  understanding  that  Islamist  international  terrorism  

requires  specific  adaptation  and  a  specifically  tailored  set  of  defensive  measures.  

The  U.K.  in  2001,  shortly  after  9/11,  passed  the  Anti-­‐Terrorism  Crime  and  

Security  Act,  leading  to  the  creation  of  an  extra-­‐judicial  option  allowing  for  

indefinite  detention  without  trial  of  non-­‐British  nationals  suspected  of  linkage  to  

terrorism.  In  order  to  avoid  criticism  based  on  singling  those  affected  by  the  new  

act,  the  Act  was  revised  in  2005,  to  include  all  Britons  as  well  as  foreigners.  (MI-­‐5  

Legal  Framework  2012).  As  expected,  this  provision  was  harshly  criticized  and  

seen  as  opposed  to  the  British  1998  Human  Rights  Act  and  as  incompatible  with  

the  European  Convention  on  Human  Rights.  The  eventual  compromise  suggested  

that  terrorism  cases  would  be  thus  treated  and  investigated  as  criminal  acts;  a  

“solution”  adapted  partially,  also  by  the  U.S.  legal  system.  However,  the  U.S.  has  

yet  to  solve  this  legal  issue  further,  since  it  still  indefinitely  holds  certain  

suspected  individuals  against  which  there  is  not  enough  unclassified  criminal  

evidence  (i.e.  when  open  trial  might  endanger  intelligence  sources  or  unique  

methods)  –  indefinitely  (i.e.  Guantanamo  DF).  In  the  same  vein,  the  very  concept  

of  democratic  application  of  counterterrorism  contradicts  itself,  because  it  

suggests  applying  noble,  moral  and  humanitarian  rules,  to  a  war  against  a  sub-­‐

state  adversary  that  fights  in  asymmetric  way,  projecting  its  deepest  disrespect  

and  disregard  to  democratic  morals  and  norms.  

The  same  question  rises  when  a  given  democracy  is  expected  to  provide  

humanitarian,  economic  or  military  aid  to  underdeveloped  countries.  

The  so-­‐called  ‘developed  world’  is  tasked  with  helping  other,  underdeveloped  or  

all  together,  failed  states.    The  flow  of  humanitarian  aid  to  the  needy  countries  is  

at  times  obstructed  due  to  these  countries  involuntarily  serving  as  safe  havens  to  

terrorist  groups.  Such  is  the  case  of  Yemen,  Somalia,  Zimbabwe,  Niger,  Mali,  

Pakistan,  Egypt,  Malaysia,  the  FSU  republics  and  currently  –  Syria,  among  others.  

The  U.S.  attempts  to  deal  with  this  issue  by  making  the  recipients  of  USAID  sign  

on  agreements  conforming  to  anti-­‐terrorist  conditions.  In  many  cases  a  major  

chunk  of  the  help  to  weak  nations  is  in  the  form  of  military  aid,  which  aims  at  

stabilization  of  local  regimes  and  their  respective  security  forces.  It  is  

unfortunate,  yet  arguably  unavoidable,  that  large  part  of  an  aid  given  to  a  

country  in  need  -­‐  is  military  in  nature,  because  such  “aid”  does  little  for  the  

immediate  relief  of  poverty  and  disease,  needed  so  badly  by  local  populations.  At  

times,  Western  help  is  deliberately  given  to  countries,  which  were  previously  

observed  as  repressive  (e.g.  Pakistan,  Egypt  or  Indonesia).    

In  an  attempt  to  prevent  certain  countries  from  falling  into  the  hands  of  fanatic  

Islamists,  democracies,  are  at  times  forced  to  choose  what  is  perceived  as  the  

“lesser  evil,”  by  supporting  undemocratic,  suppressive,  autocratic  leaders,  as  

long  as  they  help  the  West  to  obstruct  terrorism.  (Large  2005).  

 Uganda  is  one  of  the  countries  that  currently  have  a  “Western  outlook”  

regarding  counterterrorism.  New  Ugandan  CT  legislature  uses  a  definition  of  

terrorism  so  broad,  that  it  may  be  used  even  to  prosecute  members  of  local  trade  

unions  involved  in  an  illegal  strike  or  other  form  of  peaceful,  civil  disobedience.  

(Statement  by  Honorable…  2011).    But  not  all  countries,  even  among  the  new  

and  developing  ones,  are  ready  to  endorse  and  accept  new  counterterrorism  

legislations,  at  a  heavy  price  to  their  civil  rights.  For  example,  in  2003,  in  

Mauritius  the  president  and  his  deputy,  resigned  after  the  Prevention  of  

Terrorism  Special  Measures  Regulations  have  been  affirmed  and  applied.  In  

another  example,  Kenya  withdrew  similar  legislation  after  strong  public  

opposition.  It  enacted  such  legislation  only  in  2012  after  a  long  and  stubborn  

political  struggle.  (Kibaki  signs  historic  anti-­‐terrorism…  2012).    A  survey  of  

Caribbean,  African  and  Asian  nations  regarding  anti  terrorism  legislation  

conducted  in  2004,  states  that:  “for  many,  the  fight  against  terrorism  in  the  

Commonwealth  has  meant  that  justification  has  been  found  to  further  limit  their  

existing  freedoms”  (in  Large  2005).  The  unwillingness  of  certain  new  countries  

to  adopt  anti-­‐terrorism  legislature  has  been  often  harshly  criticized  by  U.S.  and  

the  West  and  in  some  cases,  resulted  in  strained  diplomatic  relations.    

VII.  Combating  Transnational  Terrorism:  the  Collaborative  Approach  of  the    

             International  Community.  

International  cooperation  in  counterterrorism  is  conducted  on  both  regional  and    

fully-­‐flagged  international  level.    Such  cooperation  is  based  on  formation  of  

regional  and  international  organizations.  Thus,  the  UN  is  the  umbrella  for  

international  organizations,  while  regional  organizations  such  as  the  EU,  the  

African  Union,  the  Organization  of  American  States  (OAS),  NATO,  or  the  

Association  of  Southeast  Asian  Nations  (ASEAN)    -­‐  act  mostly  on  the  regional  

level.  The  complexity  of  coordinating  counterterrorist  policies  and  activities  

among  such  diverse  agents  can  be  disheartening,  yet  ultimately,  it  means  

collaboration  and  cooperation  in  the  gathering  of  intelligence;  its  analysis  and  

dissemination;  law  enforcement  cooperation  through  the  Interpol  and  direct  

international  cooperation;  conduct  of  joint  interdiction  operations;  cargo  

security  and  inspections;  cooperation  in  the  fields  of  port  and  aviation  safety;  

cyber  security;  terrorist  movement  monitoring;  telecommunications  monitoring;  

financial  oversight  of  suspicious/criminal  banking  activity,  as  well  as  joint  

military  maneuvers  and  exercises.  Moreover,  in  certain  cases,  like  Afghanistan,  

Iraq,  Libya  or  Somalia  and  Mali  –  the  international  cooperation  includes  war  


The  counterterrorist  international  activity  is  closely  scrutinized  by  various  

Human  Rights  organizations.  At  times,  “seasoned  democracies”  like  the  United  

States,  the  U.K.,  France  or  Israel,  choose  to  pursue  a  certain  counterterrorist  

tactic,  which  does  not  follow  the  strict  international  rules  of  war  because  the  

Geneva  Conventions  does  not  directly  apply  to  terrorism.    One  must  keep  in  

mind  that  the  Geneva  conventions  were  created  and  evolved  following  WWI  and  

WWII.    The  legal  status  of  International  Law  is  very  challenging  when  applied  to  

international  terrorism.  The  struggle  with  international  terrorism,  which  has  no  

sovereign  nation-­‐state-­‐base  willing  to  take  the  responsibility  and  the  

punishment  for  their  deeds,  is  very  problematic.  Due  to  many  “gray  areas,  new  

nation  states  often  seek  to  follow  in  the  path  of  the  older  democracies,  which  

serve  as  a  model.  This  may  initiate  a  problem:  “If  an  established  democratic  

power  utilizes  military  tribunals  in  non-­‐war  settings,  claims  ‘exception’  from  the  

Geneva  conventions  or  international  law,  or  advocates  ‘targeted  assassination’  or  

the  use  of  torture,  this  sets  a  precedent  and  an  example  for  others.”  (Large  2005).  

While  this  example  may  be  currently  pointing  to  American  behavior,  it  certainly  

is  not  an  American-­‐alone  attribute.  However,  while  for  example,  Israel,  a  vibrant  

democracy,  also  resorts  to  targeted  killings  of  terrorists  -­‐  Israel  is  considered  “an  

odd  one:”  it  is  not  a  party  to  the  NPT,  and  occasionally  uses  “questionable”  

interrogation  techniques,  and  other  undemocratic,  CT  measures.  However,  there  

is  little  doubt  that  new  state-­‐actors  are  more  strongly  influenced  by  the  

American  model,  than  by  the  Israeli  one.  It  is  much  easier  to  ignore  the  Israeli  

deeds  and  example,  but  much  harder  to  disregard  the  American  role  model.  

Moreover,  since  9/11  democratic  reforms  are  no  longer  a  prerequisite  for  

becoming  a  member  of  the  international  community.  In  fact,  the  U.S  and  its  allies  

cynically  support  autocratic  regimes.  Autocracies  such  as  Saudi  Arabia,  the  Gulf  

Arab  Emirates,  Yemen,  Columbia  and  others  are  reinforced  not  based  on  the  

virtue  of  their  humanitarian  or  civil  practices,  but  rather  as  long  as  they  

participate  in  international  counterterrorist  efforts.  Less-­‐than-­‐democratic  

nations,  for  example  Russia,  or  some  of  the  FSU  republics,  are  not  only  “not  real  

democratic”  models;  they  are  often  outright  contrary  to  the  very  essence  of  

democracy.  It  seems  that  currently  the  concept  of  democracy  is  increasingly  

challenged  as  the  best,  most  effective  and  just  form  of  governance,  at  least  as  far  

as  fighting  terrorism  is  concerned.  

 Following  well  over  a  decade  of  intense  fighting  al-­‐Qaeda  and  its  affiliates  by  the  

U.S.  and  its  allies,  including  the  indigenous  Afghan  forces,  and  likewise  attempts  

in  Iraq,  suggest  that  al-­‐Qaeda  may  have  been  temporarily  threatened  and  

suppressed  -­‐  but  it  was  by  no  means  eliminated.  On  the  contrary,  al-­‐Qaeda  and  

affiliate  resurgence  seems  obvious  in  Afghanistan,  Pakistan,  Iraq,  and  other  

locations  in  the  Middle  East  and  Africa.  In  fact,  supporters  of  al-­‐Qaeda  are  often  

described  as  freedom  fighters,  rising  against  the  U.S  and  the  Middle  Eastern  

suppressive  autocracies,  which  were  and  still  are  supported,  by  the  U.S.-­‐led  

“hypocritical  West.”  That  is  the  West,  that  while  supporting  autocracies  in  the  

Middle  East  attacked  the  Taliban  in  the  name  of  democratic  values.  (Wright  

2006,  237-­‐8;  416-­‐17).    On  November  12,  2012  the  Organization  for  Security  and  

Cooperation  In  Europe  (OSCE)  convened  in  Vienna.  Its  57  member  states,  

represented  by  more  than  180  counterterrorism  officials,  law  enforcement  

officers,  the  judiciary,  and  civil  society  experts  met  in  order  to  “examine  good  

practices  on  upholding  the  rule  of  law  in  preventing  and  combating  terrorism  

through  an  improved,  adequate  criminalization  of  terrorist  offences,  and  

establishing  effective  criminal  procedures.  While,  such  events,  and  their  outcome  

are  of  great  value,  it  is  important  to  keep  in  mind  that  due  to  the  legislative  and  

constitutional  differences  among  the  large  number  of  new  and  old  states,  

effective  outcomes  are  likely  to  be  partial  and  slow  to  take  hold.  Ann  Witkowsky,  

Acting  Principal  Deputy  Coordinator  of  the  Bureau  of  Counterterrorism,  in  the  

U.S.  Department  of  State  stated  on  that  occasion,    

“  The  international  community  has  made  great  strides  over  the  

past  decade  in  tactical  counter-­‐terrorism  –  taking  individual  
terrorists  off  the  streets,  disrupting  cells,  and  thwarting  
conspiracies,  but  to  be  effective  over  the  long  term,  our  national  
and  collective  efforts  must  also  focus  on  strategic  
counterterrorism”  (Strong  Rule  of  Law  2012).    
This  statement  underscores  the  fundamental  weakness  of  current  international  

stance  on  fighting  international/  transnational  terrorism.  Since  different  states  

apply  different  laws  to  combating  terrorism,  current  day  terrorists,  exploit  the  

borderless  EU,  the  corruption  in  Russia  and  other  FSU  republics,  the  weakness  of  

the  new  African  ‘democracies’,  the  porous  African  borders  and  can  move  rather  

unhindered,  almost  anywhere.  There  is  a  fundamental  lack  of  common  strategic  

approach,  uniform  laws  and  law  enforcement  procedures.  This  obstacle  can  be  

surely  understood  in  view  of  the  existing  weakness  even  on  the  tactical  level,  

where  the  laws  and  procedures  of  each  country  come  into  play.  How  can  a  

strategic  approach,  unifying  all  countries  under  counterterrorism  legal  banner  

be  achieved  when  the  interests  of  different  state  actors  are  so  varied  and  often  

contradictory?  Is  there  a  way  other  than  the  state  actor’s  military,  law  

enforcement,  and  the  judiciary,  to  realistically  further  approach  

counterterrorism?  A  French  representative  to  the  above  mentioned  convention,  

the  Judge,  Jean-­‐Paul  Laborde,  in  his  address  suggested,  

“  All  of  us  recognize  that  focusing  entirely  on  militaristic,  police  and  harsh  law  

enforcement  measures  will  in  the  long  run  weaken  what  we  need  most  in  the  

fight  against  terrorism  –  the  support  of  the  people”  (Strong  Rule  of  Law  2012).  

This  is  arguably,  a  flawed  perception.  It  may  take  the  population  years  to  “adjust”  

to  living  with  a  constant  threat  of  terrorism,  yet  if  people  are  educated  about  

terrorism  and  accordingly  more  vigilant  and  prepared,  they  will  not  necessarily  

weaken.    There  should  be  an  international  new  trend  of  building  national  and  

international  resiliency  to  terrorism.  

 “…resilience  is  a  key  attribute  in  being  prepared  to  deal  with  crisis  
and  adversity  whether  it  comes  in  the  form  of  attack,  a  disaster,  or  
a  combat  situation,  and  to  recover  in  its  aftermath.  Resilience  is  a  
skill  that  can  be  improved  both  for  individuals  and  communities,  
through  building  confidence,  efficacy,  problem  solving  skills,  and  
social  connectedness”  (Kindt  2006,  31).  
 The  case  of  the  U.K.  people  during  WWII  Nazi  Blitzkrieg  can  serve  as  a  good  

example.  Moreover,  Israel  too,  with  its  65  years  of  continuous  “living  with  

terrorism”  can  attest  to  the  resilience  of  its  civil  populace  under  continuous  

terrorist  threat.  Furthermore,  during  the  1950s  and  the  1960s,  the  American  

population  learned  to  live  with  a  constant  threat  of  a  nuclear  annihilation.  It  

learned  and  assimilated  some  tools  and  behaviors  that  may  be  ridiculed  today,  

for  their  efficacy  in  the  event  of  a  nuclear  attack;  nevertheless,  these  skills  and  

tools  helped  the  American  people  build  their  resilience  and  to  persevere  under  

the  stress  of  a  nuclear  threat.  Each  situation,  each  threat,  nuclear,  biological  or  

else,  demands  a  focused,  continuous  effort  to  build,  or  to  restore  the  resilience  of  

former  decades  and  update  and  upgrade  it,  according  to  the  characteristics  of  

current  threats.  

VIII.  Examining  the  efficacy  of  terrorism  as  a  political  tool  

Terrorism,  in  all  its  current  presentations  is  designed  to  terrify  the  civilian  

population  and  create  enormous  pressure  on  governments.  Pressure  so  severe,  

that  the  respective  government  cannot  deal  with  and  either  give-­‐in  to  the  

terrorist  demands  -­‐  or  collapse.  The  assertion  that  terrorism  is  a  “weapon  of  the  

weak,”  is  only  correct  in  the  context  of  comparison  between  the  robust  military,  

bureaucratic  and  economical  power  and  the  limited  combatant  ability  of  

terrorist  groups.  There  are  many  theories  attempting  to  explain  the  motivation  

of  terrorists,  as  well  as  theories  attempting  to  define  the  best  tools  to  eliminate  


 It is fairly uncontroversial that it is the state that establishes the opportunities

for violence within society. In the same vein, some suggest that,

“…the state is efficient at killing and unrestrained states are far

more deadly than the most destructive oppositional groups. The
trick as states try to build capacity in low capacity places like
Afghanistan and Iraq is to build a state capable enough to reduce
violence but restrained enough to refrain from wide-scale

repression.”…Building rule of law, and strong and responsive
institutions are the answer to reducing violence” (Young 2012).

” It possibly resonates well with some, but it is arguably, like asking, “to eat

the cake, and still have it.”  

 In  most  cases  of  current  terrorism,  the  terrorists  do  not  necessarily  end  up  

winning  and  attaining  their  goals;  or  at  least  they  do  not  gain  a  decisive,  final  

victory  over  the  state.  It  may  seem  hard  to  negate  the  claim  that  blowing  up  the  

Madrid  train  in  2004,  the  London  subway  in  2005,  or  the  Beslan  2004  massacre  

in  Russia,  not  even  to  mention  9/11,  were  “successful”  terrorist  acts.  It  is  

however,  imperative  to  switch  at  least  temporarily,  from  the  tactical  perspective  

and  to  observe  much  wider  array  of  terrorist  attacks  throughout  the  world,  from  

a  different  point  of  view.  No  matter  which  terrorist  group  we  are  dealing  with,  

they  all  have  their  ultimate  goals,  which  usually  are  the  destabilization  of  an  

existing  regime/system,  its  collapse  and  its  replacement  by  an  alternative  system  

sought  as  appropriate  by  the  terrorists.  Analysis  of  terrorist  groups  and  their  

ultimate  aims,  methods  and  successes  reveal  that  groups  are  more  often  than  

not,  self-­‐destructive  and  generally  ineffective  in  the  long  run.  Instinctively,  one  

would  assume  that  terrorist  decision-­‐making  process  follows  the  strategic  

model;  but  that  is  not  necessarily  so.  Abrahms  (2008,  88-­‐93),  suggests  several  

tendencies  of  terrorist  groups  and  organizations  that  contradict  strategic  


1. Terrorists  do  not  achieve  their  declared  political  goals  by  attacking  

civilians.  Attacking  civilians  makes  governments  more  resolute  and  

stubborn  in  their  struggle  with  terrorists.  

2. While  terrorism  may  be  thought  as  ‘last  resort’  –  terrorists  never  use  

terrorism  as  such.  (There  are  however,  escalations  in  the  forms  of  

terrorism).  Terrorists  very  infrequently  seize  opportunities  to  renounce  

their  violence  and  become  parties  to  peaceful  solutions.  Typically,  

terrorists  reflexively  reject  government  proposals  to  compromise,  even  if  

these  offer  significant  concessions  towards  their  formal  political  goals.  

3. Certain  terrorist  attacks,  such  as  kidnappings  or  bombings  and  suicide  

bombings,  are  often  carried  initially  by  anonymous  perpetrators,  which  

preclude  the  target  countries  from  even  suggesting  political  concessions.  

There  is  no  one  to  talk  to.  (E.g.  the  September  11,  2001  attacks  were  not  

initially  claimed  by  bin-­‐Laden).  

4. Even  when  faced  with  continuous  failures  to  achieve  their  goals,  or  even  if      

their  claims  have  been  resolved  (e.g.  the  LTTE  in  Sri  Lanka  1998,  2001)  

terrorist      organizations  often  resist  disbanding.  

5. Terrorists  can  be  much  more  effective  if  they  would  have  strategically  

planned  their  actions.  

6. Terrorist  organizations,  according  the  strategic  model,  should  disband  

when  it  becomes  clear  that  they  fail  to  advance  their  political  goal,  yet  

they  sometimes  persevere  for  decades.  This  is  possible,  because  terrorist  

goals  are  very  often  “flexible.”  Goals  that  change  with  the  passage  of  time,  

while  the  organizations  remain.  Such  for  example,  is  the  case  of  al-­‐Qaeda  

and  its  mujahedeen,  who  first  fought  the  Soviets,  in  Afghanistan  and  than  

switched  their  target  to  the  U.S.  (after  the  Soviet  demise  and  withdrawal).  

However,  their  ultimate  goal  was  updated/adapted  according  to  the  

change  of  target.  Only  during  the  1990s  al-­‐Qaeda  developed  the  idea  of  

replacing  the  West  with  a  caliphate  etc.  

These  “trends”  are  puzzling,  and  challenge  the  strategic  model  of  terrorist  

organizations.  These  puzzles  undermine  several  core  assumptions:  

1)  That  terrorists  are  motivated  by  rather  stable  political  goals.    

2)  That  they  logically  weigh  the  expected  outcomes  of  their  actions.    

3)  That  they  opt  to  use  terrorism,  because  of  its  perceived  political  effectiveness.    

Since  psychiatric  studies  ruled  out  the  possibility  that  terrorists  are  insane,  it  

implies  that  maybe  their  official  statement  of  their  goals,  does  not  reflect  their  

number  one  objective.  What  is  the  terrorist  number  one  objective  then?  

Abrahms  (2008,  94)  suggests  an  alternative  explanation  for  terrorist  bonding  in  

groups  and  organizations,  by  introducing  the  ‘natural  system  model’:  “  There  is  

comparatively  “strong  theoretical  and  empirical  evidence”  that  people  become  

terrorists  not  to  achieve  their  organization’s  declared  political  agenda,  but  to  

develop  strong  affective  ties  with  other  terrorist  members.”  Does  this  make  

terrorist  stronger?  Does  it  make  terrorists  more  effective?    Maybe  so,  but  

according  to  Abrahms,  only  if  we  fail  to  apply  all  our  most  common  strategies  to  

each  terrorism  case:  

1)  Punitive  strategies  and  a  strict  no-­‐concessions  paradigm  (mostly  favored  by  

state  leaders).  

2)  The  belief  that  terrorism  can  be  defused  through  political  accommodation,  

and  the  envigorating  of  the  fire  under  a  stalled  peace  processes  (if  such  is  


3)  Using  the  model  of  state  building  and  democracy  promotion.    

   The  socio/psychological  natural  system  model  should  be  given  a  serious  

consideration.  Several  of  the  concluding  counterterrorist  suggestions  established  

by  Abrahms  and  others,  should  clearly  be  further  studied,  and  arguably,  

implemented;  not  in  place  of  the  previously  mentioned  three  common  

approaches,  but  rather  along  with  them.  A  greater  investment  in  the  absorption  

of  dislocated  populations,  such  as  “the  angry  Muslims  of  Europe”  or  the  Muslim  

communities  in  the  United  States  -­‐  is  necessary.  Democratic  societies  must  

improve  their  records  of  fighting  bigotry  and  xenophobia.  However,  no  

appeasement  is  suggested;  instead  -­‐  intelligence  penetration  of  Muslim  

communities  and  terrorist  organizations  is  a  must.  Patient  cultivation  of  double  

agents  and  insertion  of  undercover  operatives  into  such  communities  and  group  

is  very  risky,  but  cannot  be  ruled  out.  Further  cultivation  of  HUMINT  in  general,  

is  the  way  to  proceed.    This  does  not  mean  dropping  the  other  strategic  tools,  but  

rather  accommodating  all  available  tools  and  using  them  more  wisely.  

                   Some  studies  attempt  to  prove  that  terrorism  tend  to  be  almost  completely  

ineffective.  In  2008,  a  study  conducted  on  648  terrorist  groups  between  1968-­‐

2006  in  the  RAND-­‐MIPT  Terrorism  Incident  Database,  showed  that  only  about  

4%  obtained  their  strategic  goals.  This  study  also  found  that  “all  terrorist  groups  

eventually  end.”  Most  of  the  groups  in  the  sample  studied,  ended  by  joining  the  

political  process.  Military  force  has  rarely  been  the  primary  reason  behind  a  

terrorist  group’s  end.  (Jones  &  Lubicki  2008).  Interestingly,  religious  groups  

proved  to  be  much  more  resilient  than  others.  However,  none  of  the  religious  

groups  that  ended  has  achieved  a  victory  since  1968.  Furthermore,  In  2008  Max  

Abrams  concluded  that  when  terrorist  attacks  are  combined  with  indiscriminate  

force  (as  in  suicide  terrorism),  bargaining  result  is  not  likely;  the  pain  suffered  

by  the  population  significantly  decreases  government’s  readiness  for  


 “  …since  the  first  intifada,  Palestinian  violence  has  created  

pressure  on  Israel  to  change    the  status  quo.  Paradoxically,  
terrorism  has  simultaneously  convinced  Israelis  that  Palestinians  
are  not  committed  to  a  two-­‐state-­‐solution,  which  has  eroded  
support  for  making  territorial  concessions…”(Abrams  2008,  75).  
And  yet,  Audrey  Kurth  Cronin  does  not  see  the  Palestinians  (for  example)  as  

necessarily  incompetent  actors.  Even  if  terrorist  do  not  reach  for  the  most  

catastrophic  weapons  (WMD)  –  a  terrorist  attack  may,  in  her  opinion,  

dramatically  change  the  policy  or  perception  of  a  major  state  actor.  Moreover,  

terrorism  might  prompt  a  negative  “domino  effect”  leading  to  regional  war,  and  

even  a  nuclear  war.  (Kurth  Cronin  2009,  166).  For  example,  if  al-­‐Qaeda  or  its  

affiliate,  were  to  obtain  access  to  a  Pakistani  or  Russian  nuclear  missile  and  

successfully  targets  the  U.S.  or  an  European  ally,  or  Israel,  this  may  cause  a  

retaliation  against  the  source  country  of  the  nuclear  device  and  thus  cascade  

down  to  a  more  extensive  nuclear  war.  While  this  is  a  very  remote  possibility,  we  

should  never  completely  rule  it  out.  Kurth  Cronin  persuasively  advocates  her  

seven  possible  terrorist  group’s  termination  modes:  decapitation,  negotiated  

settlement,  achievement  of  aims,  implosion  of  the  group,  forceful  suppression,  

tactical  reorientation,  and  finally,  as  she  precipitates  al-­‐Qaeda’s  end,  she  

suggests,  that  it  might  fully  transform  into  an  insurgency.  Kurth  Cronin  sees  little  

hope  for  al  Qaeda’s  end,  resulting  from  decapitation,  (as  indeed  seen  today,  after  

bin  Laden’s  demise).  The  prospective  killing  of  al  Zawahiri,  is  not  necessarily  a  

wise  move.  (He  is  an  unpopular  successor  to  bin  Laden  and  we  may  even  benefit  

from  him  remaining  as  a  leader).  Further  decimation  of  al-­‐Qaeda  by  Special  

Forces  and  drone  strikes  is  believed  by  many  to  be  ineffective  as  well;  and  may  

possibly  enhance  Al-­‐Qaida’s  mobilization  capability.  However,  a  possible  group-­‐

implosion  or  “Transitioning  out  of  terrorism  and  toward  criminality  or  full  

insurgency  is  the  final,  worrisome  precedent  for  al  Qaeda”  (Kurth  Cronin  2009,  

191).  While  the  alluded,  possible  transfer  into  a  criminal  entity  may  be  

questionable,  there  are  stubborn  claims  of  al  Qaeda  mingling  with  TOC  in  West  

Africa,  in  the  Sahel,  in  the  Tri  Border  Area  of  South  America  (TBA),  as  well  as  

profiting  from  Taliban’s  involvement  in  Afghan  drug  trade.  (Ehrenfeld  2011;  see  

also  Shanty  2006  and  Bronstein  2010).  While  al  Qaeda  core  is  sometimes  

claimed  to  be  uninvolved  in  direct  profiting  from  criminal  activities,  its  more  

remote  tentacles,  especially  in  Latin  America,  and  Africa,  as  well  as  its  indirect  

affiliates,  are  indeed  heavily  involved  in  transnational  criminal  activity  (Roth,  

Douglas  and  Wille  2004?).  

The  variety  of  contrasting  opinions  expressed  by  respected  scholars  and  analysts  

can  be  confusing.  It  seems  that  Audrey  Kurth  Cronin,  Max  Abrahms,  Rebert  Pape  

and  many  others,  based  their  opinions  regarding  the  actual  efficacy  of  terrorism,  

on  large  and  convincing  databases.  While  some  scholars  suggest  that  terrorism  is  

an  inefficient  coercive  tool,  others  think  otherwise.  Contrary  and  clashing  views  

in  the  academia  are  common.  Yet  at  times,  such  contrasts  are  the  result  of  

analyzing  the  issue  at  hand,  from  a  very  specific  perspective,  rather  from  

different  factual  data.  If  the  issue  is  viewed  from  a  different  point  of  view  the  

outcome  may  be  different.  For  example,  although  the  PLO  (during  the  first  

intifada,  1987-­‐1993)  did  not  score  politically  against  the  Israelis,  the  PLO’s  

failure  made  way  for  the  rise  of  the  religious  Islamism  in  the  form  of  Hamas  and  

other  radical  Islamist  factions,  which  perpetuate  terrorism  until  this  very  day.  

Furthermore,  terrorism,  as  a  punitive  action  against  the  state,  may  not  be  as  

ineffective  as  it  may  seem;  as    can  be  seen  in  the  approach  to  the  effectiveness  of  

suicide  terrorism  by  Robert  Pape.  Unlike  Abrahms,  Pape  suggested  in  2005,  that  

of  the  thirteen  suicide  terrorist  campaigns  that  were  completed  during  1980-­‐

2003  period,  seven  correlated  with  significant  policy  changes  by  the  target  

government.  Such  for  example,  is  the  case  of  Hezbollah  attacks  against  the  US  

military  in  1983  (Beirut  Embassy  and  Marine  Barracks  attacks);  the  Hezbollah  

attacks  against  Israeli  military  and  GSS  headquarters  and  military  HQ  in  Lebanon  

(Tyre)  in  1983-­‐1982  respectively;  Hamas  attacks  in  Israel  in  1994,  and  in  1994-­‐

95;  or  the  Sri  Lankan  government  entering  sovereignty  negotiations  with  the  

Tamil  Tigers  (LTTE),  in  1993  and  again  in  2001.  (Pape  2005,  64-­‐76).    

And  yet,  as  Pape  further  clarifies,  terrorist  ‘victories’  are  limited  to  a  rather  

tactical  scope:  

 “  suicide  terrorism  can  coerce  states  to  abandon  limited  or  modest  
goals,  for  example,  by  withdrawing  from  territory  of  low  strategic  
importance,  or,  as  in  Israel’s  case  in  1994  and  1995,  by  temporary  
and  partial  withdrawal  from  a  more  important  area.  However,  
suicide  terrorism  is  unlikely  to  cause  targets  to  abandon  goals  
central  to  their  wealth  or  security  “  (Pape  2005,  75).  
In  his  2010  Book  Cutting  the  Fuse,  Pape  further  expands  on  the  reasons  behind  

suicide  terrorism,  which  are  not  to  be  separated  from  terrorism  in  general.  In  

several  examples  involving  the  U.S.  robust  military  presence  in  the  Gulf,  in  

Afghanistan,  Iraq  and  Lebanon,  he  successfully  proves  that  the  U.S.  occupation  is    

more  significant  contributor  to  Islamist  terrorist  attacks  than  Islam  as  a  religion  

alone.  (Pape  2010,  329).  To  be  sure,  Pape  makes  his  case  not  only  based  on  the  

American  “imperial”  experience;  he  asserts  that  his  data  base  includes,  for  the  

first  time,  complete  and  exact  data  of  terrorist  attacks  between  the  years  1980-­‐  

2009,  (Pape  2010,  7).  Pape’s  statistic  data  suggests  that  since  2004  the  world  has  

witnessed  a  substantial  growth  in  suicide  terrorist  attacks,  nearly  500%  more  

than  all  the  years  from  1980-­‐2003.  (Pape  2010,  9).  Among  his  more  prominent,  

non-­‐American  examples,  are  the  Israeli-­‐Palestinian  conflict  (analysis  of  

Hezbollah  and  Hamas)  and  the  struggle  of  the  LTTE  in  Sri  Lanka.  Some  of  his  

main  conclusions  are:  

• Over  95%  of  all  suicide  attacks  are  a  response  to  foreign  occupation.  

• Transnational  terrorists  like  al-­‐Qaeda  are  motivated  by  foreign  


• Suicide  terrorism  poses  the  greatest  threat  to  the  United  States  and  its  

allies  today:  

 “…While  it  is  true  that  chemical,  biological  and  nuclear  weapons  
are  more  destructive  than  airplanes  hitting  buildings,  it  is  the  
potential  marriage  of  any  mass  casualty  technology  with  suicide  
operations  that  most  increases  the  danger  of  an  attack  –  since  
having  individual  terrorists  guide  these  weapons  greatly  increases  
the  odds  of  success.”  (Pape  2010,  330).  
• In  order  to  curb  terrorism  in  general  and  suicide  terrorism  in  particular,  

the  U.S.  and  its  allies  and  particularly  Israel,  should  try  to  reduce  their  

reliance  on  foreign  occupation,  as  a  main  strategy  ensuring  national  


• Terminating  military  intervention  in  the  struggle  with  terrorism  

completely  is  impossible;  especially  when  attempting  to  obtain  short  

term,  tactical  goals.    

                                     To  elaborate  more  on  the  topic  of  the  effectiveness  of  terrorist  

groups,  a  wide  range  of  studies  suggests  that  the  increase  in  the  violence  

of  terrorist  acts  and  the  growing  pain  to  the  target  public  -­‐  the  lesser  is  

terrorist’s  coercive  effectiveness.  There  is  a  tendency  to  view  terrorist  

more  discriminate  attacks,  singling  military  personnel  or  other  

government  officials  -­‐  as  guerrilla  attacks,  which  gives  the  terrorists  

certain  “legitimacy.”  Overall,  studies  show  that  acts  of  terrorism  in  

general,  create  more  support  for  right-­‐winged  political  leadership  in  the  

target  countries.  Although  Israel  is  an  obvious  choice  to  prove  this  

statement,  such  trends  are  not  unique  to  Israel.  In  a  study  published  in  

2011  by  Christophe  Chowanietz,  he  analyzes  the  reaction  of  mainstream  

political  parties  to  acts  of  terrorism.  This  is  a  statistical  analysis  of  181  

terrorist  incidents  in  five  countries  (Germany,  Spain,  France,  U.K.  and  

U.S.),  over  the  period  1990-­‐2006.  The  overall  results  point  to  the  

conclusion  that  as  terrorist  attacks  happen  repetitively,  they  are  more  

likely  to  cause  more  criticism.  The  attack’s  magnitude,  in  terms  of  

casualties  and  damage,  will  also  cause  intensive  rallying  around  the  flag.  

As  previously  stated,  the  public  of  a  country  attacked  by  terrorists  is  

unlikely  to  support  concessions  to  the  terrorists  and  is  likely  to  support  

harsh  measures  to  be  taken  by  the  government  in  retaliation.  In  the  case  

of  Israel  for  example,  terrorist  attacks  cause  the  public  to  increasingly  

believe  that  the  Palestinians  are  not  really  motivated  by  a  relatively  

modest  goal  of  a  two-­‐state  solution  and  they  rather  seek  to  harm  Israelis  

no  matter  what.    

“  I  was  ready  to  divide  the  land  but  they  are  not…because  they  say  
‘either  them  or  us,’  I  say  ‘us’…as  long  as  the  other  side  
[Palestinians]  is  not  ready  to  recognize  our  right  to  exist  as  a  
nation  state  of  the  Jewish  people,  I  am  not  ready  to  forego  a  
millimeter.  I  am  not  even  willing  to  talk  about  territory.  After  land-­‐
for-­‐peace  [the  Oslo  accords  of  1993]  became  land–for-­‐terror  and  

land-­‐for-­‐rockets,  I  am  no  longer  willing  to  bury  my  head  in  the  
sand”  (Leibler  2012).    
In  a  much  similar  way,  the  Chechen  terrorism  in  Russia  convinced  the  Russian  

population  that  the  Chechens  will  harm  the  Russians    no  matter  what,  on  top  of  

any  separatist  demand  they  may  have  (Abrahms  2011,  591).  It  is  thus  puzzling  

why  terrorists,  in  view  of  the  poor  fruits  for  their  toils,  are  still  perpetrating  

terrorist  acts.  For  one  thing,  terrorists  not  necessarily  read  terrorism  related  

studies;  moreover,  while  not  insane,  they  may  very  well  be  wrongly  convinced  

that  their  efforts  will  eventually  yield  the  desired  results.  Interestingly,  al-­‐Qaeda,  

the  Hezbollah  and  the  Hamas,  all  relate  to  three  prominent  victories  to  prove  

their  way  correct:  the  U.S.  and  French  pull  out  from  Lebanon  after  the  1983  

suicide  attack;  the  Soviet  withdrawal  from  Afghanistan  in  1989,  and  the  U.S.  pull  

out  from  Somalia  in  1994.  All  three  cases  in  question  portray  what  is  better  

perceived  as  guerrilla  warfare,  than  terrorism.    Another  important  explanation  

for  the  perpetuation  of  terrorist  acts,  is  the  fact  that,    

“  Whereas  terrorist  acts  generally  fail  to  promote  government  

concessions,  the  violence  against  civilians  can  perpetuate  the  
terrorist  group  [life]  by  attracting  media  attention,  spoiling  peace  
processes,  and  boosting  membership,  morale,  cohesion,  and  
external  support.”  (Abrahms  2011,  592).      
Eventually,  no  matter  how  one  looks  upon  the  terrorist  phenomenon,  there  is  no  

realistic  way  to  totally  discredit  its  effectiveness.  This  however  is  a  far  cry  from  

declaring  terrorism  effective.  Thus,  each  case  of  terrorism,  each  terrorist  group  

must  be  studied  within  the  context  of  the  root  reasons  for  its  creation,  the  

society  within  which  it  operates,  its  targets  and  its  declared  goals.  

Moreover,  in  spite  of  the  constant  gradual  decimation  of  al  Qaeda,  it  is  by  far  the  

most  resilient  and  pervasive  international  terrorist  movement.  Al-­‐Qaeda  is  

arguably,  the  hardest  terrorist  idea  to  find,  to  contain,  to  fix  and  to  defeat,  

because  of  its  global  scope  and  outreach.  

Unlike  the  case  of  Israel  and  the  Palestinian  conflict,  however  distant  may  the  

Israeli-­‐Palestinian  peace  settlement  be  –  it  is  still  closer  than  the  ultimate  defeat  

of  al  Qaeda,  which  will  arguably,  keep  on  evolving  and  morphing  for  many  years  

to  come.  

IX.  Terrorism  and  WMD:  are  terrorists  likely  to  obtain  and  use  WMD?  

Once  convincing  arguments  have  been  made  regarding  the  efficacy  of  terrorism,  

and  how  to  deal  with  it  the  best  we  can,  in  its  “conventional”  form,  the  likelihood  

of  a  terrorist  incident  involving  the  use  of  weapons  of  mass  destruction  (WMD)  

must  be  assessed.    

For  the  purpose  of  this  paper  the  definition  of  WMD  will  include  the  CBRN  

weapons  only  and  will  explicitly  exclude  conventional  explosives.  

Based  on  the  previous  part  of  this  paper,  some  may  conclude  that  if  al  Qaeda  

follows  the  Strategic  Model  and  indeed  fights  to  obtain  political,  nationalist  

and/or  religious  goals  –  it  is  very  likely  to  continue  the  terrorist  campaigns  of  its  

choosing.  As  can  be  deduced  from  current  affairs,  while  al-­‐Qaeda  core  has  been  

heavily  depleted,  it  is  not  dead,  not  as  an  idea  nor  as  an  actual  group.  

 In  fact,  no  matter  what  is  the  actual  motivation  behind  the  perpetuation  of  

terrorist  activity,  this  activity  is  certain  to  continue  in  the  foreseeable  future.  

Although  suggested  by  many,  perhaps  the  most  eloquent  positing  of  this  truism  

is  that  of  Walter  Laqueur’s:    

“  Even  in  the  unlikely  case  that  all  global  conflicts  will  be  
resolved…this  will  not  necessarily  be  the  end  of  terrorism…there  
are  bound  to  be  ups  and  downs  as  far  as  the  frequency  and  the  
political  impact  of  terrorism  is  concerned.  But  there  is  a  huge  
reservoir  of  aggression,  and  for  this  reason  terrorism  will  be  with  
us  as  far  as  one  can  look  ahead.”  (Laqueur  2003,  231).    

No  popular  claim  suggesting  the  demise  of  terrorism  in  general  and  suicide  

terrorism  in  particular,  can  be  pointed  to.  Furthermore,  as  Pape  has  posited  

before,  “…it  is  the  potential  marriage  of  any  mass  casualty  technology  with  

suicide  operations  that  most  increases  the  danger  of  an  attack  …”  (Pape  2010,  

330).  It  is  common  logic,  that  although  terrorists  mostly  fail  to  achieve  their  

ultimate  goals,  terrorist  violence  as  a  coercive  tool  works  at  least  to  a  certain  

degree.  Moreover,  although  a  mute  question,  at  this  point  –  it  remains  to  be  seen,  

whether  the  coercive  power  of  terrorism  will  be  enhanced  should  terrorist  

combatants  obtain  effective  weapons  of  mass  destruction  (WMD).    

Although  the  United  States  would  most  probably,  survive  a  single,  major  WMD  

terrorist  attack,  (even  a  nuclear  one),  the  results  of  such  an  attack  would  be  hard  

to  imagine.  

While  many  analysts  project  that  terrorist  WMD  attack  on  the  U.S.  and/or  its  

allies  is  a  fait  accompli,  this  assessment  should  be  revisited  from  the  viewpoint  of  

pure  logic,  scientific  data  and  the  existing  intelligence.    As  currently  as  the  end  of  

2012,  some  analysts  like  the  Pentagon’s  outgoing  counsel  general;  Jeb  Johnson  

was  quoted  as  saying  to  the  Oxford  Union:  

 “there  will  come  a  tipping  point…at  which  so  many  of  the  leaders  
and  operatives  of  al  Qaeda  and  its  affiliates  have  been  killed  or  
captured  such  that  al  Qaeda  as  we  know  it…has  been  effectively  
destroyed…At  that  point…our  efforts  should  no  longer  be  
considered  an  armed  conflict”  (Zakaria  2012).  

However,  it  remains  questionable,  whether  the  al  Qaeda  ideology  could  be  

defeated  so  soon,  the  answer  to  this  question  is  not  as  logically  forthcoming  as  it  

may  seem.  While  curbing  our  military  offensive  may  indeed  be  logical  from  the  

economic  perspective,  we  must  keep  in  mind  that  all  al-­‐Qaeda  needs  in  order  to  

resurrect,  is  a  single,  successful,  high-­‐magnitude  attack.  Such  attack  is  possible,  

and  arguably,  forthcoming.    

Suicide  terrorism  is  not  often  affiliated  with  anything  even  remotely  close  to  

insanity.  Ariel  Merari  states  in  his  book,  Driven  to  Death  that,  “…personal  reason  

for  committing  suicide  cannot  be  found  in  the  case  of  most  suicide  bomber  

nowadays”  (Merari  2010,  13,  221-­‐222).  Merari  also  makes  a  clear  distinction  

between  personal  suicide  (which  stems  from  personal,  intolerable  emotional  

pain),  and  a  terrorist-­‐group-­‐related  suicide  bombing;  whereas  the  suicide  

bombing  is  seen  by  the  community  and  by  the  perpetrator,  mostly  as  an  altruistic  

deed.  (although  it  carries  some  personal  “benefits”).  Thus,  if  we  disregard  for  the  

purpose  of  this  paper,  the  unlikely  possibility  that  a  terrorist  WMD  attack  will  be  

perpetrated  by  some  “crazy  professor  lone  wolf”  -­‐  we  are  dealing  with  

individuals,  which  either  may  perpetrate  such  an  attack  in  order  to  further  their  

political,  nationalist  and  religious  goals;  or  do  so,  for  less  logical  reason  of  

gaining  the  ‘best  media  coverage’,  more  supporters  and  new  volunteers,  

recognition  and  funding  for  their  group  etc.,  as  well  as  their,  afore  mentioned,  

social  need  for  ’camaraderie.’  The  most  likely  reason  is  some  form  an  

“amalgamated”  version  of  all  reasons  mentioned.  Arguably,  it  would  be  

impossible  to  get  a  better  media  coverage,  and  world  attention  -­‐  than  al-­‐Qaeda  

got  through  the  September  11,  2001  ‘conventional’  attacks.  It  seems  that  the  

repetition  of  a  similar-­‐sized  attack  would  be  satisfactory.  Yet  some  analysts  

believe  that  terrorists  feel  that  escalation  is  a  must.    Laqueur  for  one,  suggests  

that,  “  It  is  only  a  question  of  time  until  radiological,  chemical,  or  biological  

weapons  will  be  used  more  or  less  systematically  by  terrorist  groups;  the  first  

steps  in  this  direction  have  been  made”(Laqueur  2003,  226).  We  have  learned  

from  such  “first  steps,”  mentioned  above  by  Laqueur,  that  seemingly,  the  realistic  

chances  of  terrorists  actually  building  an  effective  weapon  of  mass  destruction,  

from  scratch  are  very  small,  due  to  the  technical  &  scientific  complexity  and  the  

hardships  involved  in  obtaining  the  nuclear/biological  or  chemical  and/or  

radiological  materials.    

In  the  period  between  1993-­‐  1995  the  Japanese  Aum  Shinrikyo  terrorist  group  

which  was  formidably  organized,  very  well  funded;  possessed  several  real  estate  

properties  (used  for  conducting  WMD  related  biological  and  chemical  

experiments);  as  well  as  medical  doctors,  chemists  and  biologists  -­‐  failed  to  

successfully  disperse  the  sarin  nerve  agent  (of  which  they  successfully  produced  

tons  of),  which  is  an  easier  task  than  dealing  with,  the  manufacturing  and  the  

deployment  of  a  stable  biological  or  nuclear  weapon.  (Fletcher  2012).    Aum  

Shinrikyo  was  a  religious  cult,  without  realistic  nationalist  grievances.  However,  

it  wanted  to  put  an  end  to  the  word,  in  the  form  they  new.  (Aum  Shinrikyo  Closer  

Look  n.d.).    

Al  Qaeda’s  leadership  has  much  more  realistic  goals,  both  political  and  religious.  

As  expressed  in  bin  Laden’s  1998  fatwa  [judgment/ruling]:    

“…On  that  basis,  and  in  compliance  with  God's  order,  we  issue  the  
following  fatwa  to  all  Muslims  
The  ruling  to  kill  the  Americans  and  their  allies  -­‐-­‐  civilians  and  
military  -­‐-­‐  is  an  individual  duty  for  every  Muslim  who  can  do  it  in  
any  country  in  which  it  is  possible  to  do  it,  in  order  to  liberate  the  

al-­‐Aqsa  Mosque  and  the  holy  mosque  [Mecca]  from  their  grip,  and  
in  order  for  their  armies  to  move  out  of  all  the  lands  of  Islam,  
defeated  and  unable  to  threaten  any  Muslim.  This  is  in  accordance  
with  the  words  of  Almighty  God,  "and  fight  the  pagans  all  together  
as  they  fight  you  all  together,"  and  "fight  them  until  there  is  no  
more  tumult  or  oppression,  and  there  prevail  justice  and  faith  in  
God…We  -­‐-­‐  with  God's  help  -­‐-­‐  call  on  every  Muslim  who  believes  in  
God  and  wishes  to  be  rewarded  to  comply  with  God's  order  to  kill  
the  Americans  and  plunder  their  money  wherever  and  whenever  
they  find  it.  We  also  call  on  Muslim  ulema,  leaders,  youths,  and  
soldiers  to  launch  the  raid  on  Satan's  U.S.  troops  and  the  devil's  
supporters  allying  with  them,  …”  (bin-­‐Laden  1998).    
While  the  1998  fatwa  is  very  specific  about  who  to  kill  and  why,  it  does  not  

explore  bin  Laden’s  intimate  thoughts  as  to  how  to  bring  total  destruction  on  the  

“Crusaders  and  Jews”.  In  fact,  bin  Laden’s  strategy’s  was  well  linked  to  the  

concept  of  a  “War  of  a  Thousand  Cuts.”  It  seem  clear  that  knowing  that  he  did  not  

have  the  ‘ultimate  weapon  of  destruction,’  bin  Laden  linked  his  terrorist  

campaign  directly  to  causing  immense  economic  harm,  so  well  exemplified  in  

9/11.  “  It  is  certain,  that  Sept.  11  was  intended  to  create  a  serious  economic  

setback  for  the  U.S.    

“According  to  [the  Americans’]  own  admissions  [said  bin  Laden  on  
Al  Jazeera  interview  in  Nov.  2001]”the  share  of  the  losses  on  the  
Wall  Street  market  reached  16%  they  said  this  number  is  a  record.  
The  gross  amount  that  is  traded  in  that  market  reaches  
$4trillion;so  if  we  multiply  16%  with  $4  trillion  to  find  out  the  loss  
that  affected  the  stocks,  it  reaches  $640  billion  of  losses”  
(Gartenstein  Ross  2011).  
Bin  Laden  new  that  this  description  falls  short  of  the  actual  full  damage,  incurred  

through  adding  up  the  building  and  construction  losses,  lost  productivity  etc.,  

reaching  the  figure  of  $1  trillion;  an  estimate,  believed  to  be  overall  accurate.  In  

an  October  2004  video,  Osama  made  clear  that  al-­‐Qaeda  sought  to  involve  

America  and  its  allies  in  economically  draining  wars,  not  only  on  American  soil,  

but  also  all  over  America’s  allied  Muslim  world.  (Gartenstein-­‐Ross  2011).  

Furthermore,  following  the  major  crisis  of  the  U.S.  economy  in  2008,  America  

became  so  economically  weak,  that  since  then,  al-­‐Qaeda  and  its  affiliates  may  be  

perceived  as  indeed  pursuing  the  ‘thousand  cuts,’  bleeding  America  to  


“  To  bring  America  down  we  do  not  need  a  big  strike…In  such  an  
environment  of  security  phobia  that  is  sweeping  America,  it  is  
more  feasible  to  stage  smaller  attacks  that  involve  less  players  and  
less  time  to  launch  and  thus  we  may  circumvent  the  security  
barriers  America  worked  so  hard  to  erect.”  (AQIAP  to  INSPIRE  in  
Gartenstein-­‐Ross  2011).    

However,  that  was  not  bin-­‐Laden’s  only  plan.  Al-­‐Qaeda  has  attempted  to  

manufacture  weaponized  chemical  agent  in  Afghanistan  in  the  1990’s  and  

unsuccessfully  used  chlorine  gas  in  Iraq,  under  the  tutelage  of  Abu  Musab  al-­‐

Zarqawi.    Al-­‐Qaeda’s  core  leadership  arguably  never  officially  supported  

Zarqawi’s  attempt.  Although  occasionally,  training  its  volunteers  in  Afghanistan  

in  the  use  of  chemical  agents,  bin-­‐Laden  kept  on  asserting  that  acquiring  of  more  

potent  WMD  is  an  Islamic  duty,  and  offered  a  number  of  explanations  for  the  

rationale  of  using  such  weapons  as  means  to  “escalate  the  killing  and  fighting  

against  you  (Americans),  ”  …on  grounds  of  destroying  an  international  

conspiracy  to  control  the  world…”  (Mowatt  Larssen  2010).  Bin-­‐Laden’s  threats  

were  not  empty  ones:  he  signaled  a  very  specific  reason  for  using  WMD  in  al-­‐

Qaeda’s  quest  to  destroy  the  global  status  quo,  and  thus  to  create  optimal  

conditions  for  the  overthrowing  of  the  autocratic  regimes  of  the  Middle  East.  Bin  

Laden’s  argument  was  that  although  Islam  outlaws  weapons  of  mass  destruction,  

they  are  justifiable  as  means  to  counter  the  American  hegemony.  In  order  to  

destroy  America  and  the  West,  bin-­‐Laden  advocated  the  ultimate  WMD  (and  thus  

the  nuclear  and  the  biological  ones),  that  can  cause  real  mass  casualty  and  not  

“secondary,”  small  size  attacks,  through  the  use  of  chemical  or  radiological  

weapons.    "If  Osama  bin  Laden  and  his  lieutenants  had  been  interested  in  .  .  .  

small-­‐scale  attacks,  there  is  little  doubt  they  could  have  done  so  now…"  (Mowatt-­‐  

Larssen  2010).  

Al-­‐Qaeda  spent  at  least  a  decade  attempting  to  steal,  buy  or  construct  improvised  

nuclear  device  (IND)  and  possibly,  to  also  obtain  or  create  from  scratch  –  

biological  weapons.  

There  are  claims  that  al–Qaeda  indeed  attempted  to  develop  a  weaponized  

anthrax  weapon,  a  project  supposedly,  supervised  personally,  by  al-­‐Zawahiri.  

(Joscelyn  2008).    

Although  in  2011,  some  cracks  appeared  in  the  FBI  case  against  the  late  Bruce  

Ivin  (Markon  2011),  these  cracks,  never  pointed  to  al-­‐Qaeda  as  the  culprit  behind  

the  anthrax  letters  case  of  2001.  At  worst,  this  case  may  remain  ‘unsolved.’  

Nevertheless,  the  United  States  started  ramping  up  its  bioterrorism  strategy  in  

2009,  with  President  Obama’s  overt  acknowledgement  that  the  damage  from  a  

massive  terrorist  biological  attack  is  on  par  with  a  nuclear  attack:  

 “  When  it  comes  to  the  proliferation  of  bio  weapons  and  the  risk  of  
an  attack,  the  world  community  faces  a  greater  threat  based  on  a  
new  calculus.  President  Obama  fully  recognizes  that  a  major  
biological  weapons  attack  on  one  of  the  world’s  major  cities  could  
cause  as  much  death  and  economic  and  psychological  damage  as  a  
nuclear  attack.”  (Tauscher  2009).    
The  Reagan’s  and  Bush  Sr.  administrations  were  already  deeply  involved  in  the  

issue  of  biological  weapons,  vis  a  vis  Soviet  Union’s  Gorbachev,  as  part  of  the  

Cold  War.  (Hoffman  2009,  306,  350,  366-­‐367).  

 Yet,  there  arguably  must  have  been  some  obviously  highly  classified  

information,  that  led  Hillary  Clinton,  while  speaking  before  the  Review  

Conference  Of  Biological  and  Toxin  Weapons  in  Geneva,  on  December  7,  2011,  to  


“ In 2001, we found evidence in Afghanistan that al-Qaida was

seeking the ability to conduct bioweapons attacks. And less than a year
ago, [2011], al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula made a call to arms for
– and I quote – “brothers with degrees in microbiology or chemistry to
develop a weapon of mass destruction.”(Clinton 2011).

Furthermore:  crude,  yet  effective  weapons,  may  be  produced,  with  little  means  

and  effort,  even  by  less  than    “scientists”  and  these  weapons  may  effectively  

sicken  many.  Many  pathogens  are  daily  used  in  legitimate  biological  research,  

and  thus  may  be  deviated  to  serve  dual  purposes.  At  times,  a  legitimate  research  

aimed  at  saving  lives,  may  also  be  used  to  manufacture  deadly  diseases.  

Moreover,  the  detection  tools  developed  so  far  are  very  slow  and  inadequate.  

PHYSorg  advised  in  January  2013,  that  new,  faster  and  improved  equipment  has  

recently  surfaced.  (PHYSorg  2013).  Additional  information  about  some  advances  

in  the  field  of  bio  detection  has  been  posted  also  on  other  websites  (New  Bio-­‐

Detection  2013).  

Regarding the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological

and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1975, Secretary of State, H. Clinton

suggested that despite the fact that countries that have never joined the

Convention no longer claim that acquiring biological weapons is their

legitimate goal - the international community must improve its domestic and

international capabilities of bio - detection and response-time. “We need

public health systems that can quickly diagnose outbreaks…and mobilize the

right medical resources and personnel. By making any one country more

secure, we make the international community more secure at the same time”

(Clinton 2011).

In truth, the microbiological and biological engineering knowledge and

technology are already spread all over the world. There is no stopping this

Genie. It is utterly up to the individual state actors to safeguard the

microbiological knowhow.

Theoretically, each country, as well as terrorist group, ‘can take their pick’ of

any bacteria or virus strands, since these exists freely in the nature and they

can hire scientist/s to “improve” their ‘bug of choice’ through genetic

engineering. However, in order to successfully weaponize bacteria or virus,

the major problem is to stabilize the bio agent and make it viable for an

extended period of time; then find a tested and successful way to deliver the

bio agent to the target. Since, once the out of the bottle, the results of a bio

attack are at best a well-educated guess and the disease spores can spread

uncontrollably, there is always a probability of a “blowback” (the disease

causing the sickening of the population of the aggressor as well). For that

reason, although a well equipped laboratory can produce the spores of choice,

the only effective way to protect oneself from a biological attack, is by having a

pre-emptive intelligence, and protection capability. Such capability not only

discloses the potential perpetrator, but also the bacteria/virus involved and

thus allows for faster identification of existent contamination and a

simultaneous inoculation of the population against it (in case of a viral attack

e.g. smallpox), or distribution of appropriate antibiotics to fight mass bacterial

infection (e.g. anthrax, plague etc.). In fact, the potential horrors of biological

warfare, mortality and economically wise, can be even more troubling than a

localized, limited yield nuclear attack (such as Hiroshima’s). With the

development of biological warfare, this type of ‘weaponry’ by default, became

the “weak man’s nuclear bomb” and it indeed questions the actual deterrence

of the nuclear powers. A pre-emptive, (or retaliatory) bio attack, may take

some time (hours, days or weeks) to recognize (due to bacteria’s/virus’s

incubation period), and may be very difficult to attribute to any specific

aggressor. Since in the case of Islamist fanaticism we are often faced with

suicide terrorism, it is easy to imagine a suicide “bomber” or several

“bombers” infected with a certain very contagious and lethal disease (or a

combination of deadly bacteria and viruses), boarding planes destined for the

U.S. or any allied country and all they have to do is shake hand, sneeze, or,

…just breathe…(Hoffman 2009).

While  there  is  no  good,  fact-­‐based,  answer  to  the  question,  why  

terrorists  and  especially  al-­‐Qaeda,  have  so  far  failed  to  realize  their  WMD  

threats;  there  is  a  good  possibility  that  such  efforts  were  timely  thwarted  and  

kept  classified  in  the  archives  of  the  intelligence  community.  On  the  other  hand,  

it  is  possible  that  while  a  less  threatening  WMD    (chemical  or  radiological)  could  

have  been  obtained  by  al-­‐Qaeda,  it  might  have  been  perceived  as  ‘not  effective  

enough,’  and  was  thus  shunned  by  the  group.  This  suggestion  is  contested  in  

view  of  the  U.S.  1998  strike  on  the  Sudanese  ‘  pharmacological’  facility  of  Shifa.  

“  The  U.S.  Department  of  State  released  a  concise  official  rationale  

for  the  bombing  of  Shifa:  The  facilities  the  U.S.  attacked  on  August  
20,  1998  were  central  to  the  bin  Ladin  network’s  ability  to  conduct  
acts  of  terror  around  the  world.  ...the  U.S.  has  reliable  intelligence  
that  the  bin  Ladin  network  has  been  actively  
seeking  to  acquire  weapons  of  mass  destruction–including  
chemical  weapons–for  use  against  United  States  interests.  
Therefore,  the  U.S.  also  attacked  one  facility  in  Sudan  associated  
with  chemical  weapons  and  the  bin  Ladin  network.  This  facility  is  
located  within  a  secured  chemical  plant  in  the  northeast  
Khartoum  area.  U.S.  intelligence  over  the  past  few  months  has  
indicated  that  the  bin  Ladin  network  has  been  actively  seeking  to  

acquire  chemical  weapons  for  use  against  United  States  interests.  
Bin  Ladin  has  extensive  ties  to  the  Sudanese  Government  and  its  
industrial  sector.  The  U.S.  is  confident  this  Sudanese  Government-­‐
controlled  facility  is  involved  in  the  production  of  chemical  
weapons  agents”  (Barletta  1998,  117).  

 Some  of  the  other  common  explanations  for  absence  of  WMD  terrorist  attacks  in  

the  U.S.  are:  

• The  protective  measures,  hastily  erected  by  the  DHS  and  the  government,  

prevented  the  repetition  of  attacks.  (This  reasoning  was  favored  by  the  

Bush  administration).  In  view  of  the  failure  of  FEMA  during  Katrina  crisis  

of  2002,  the  above  suggestion  about  the  efficacy  of  the  U.S.  preparedness  

is  hard  to  take  seriously.  

• Tightening  of  immigration  procedures  prevented  another  9/11.  While  

almost  certainly  the  improved  border  security  turned  away,  or  nailed  few  

suspicious  characters  or  prospective  terrorists,  it  certainly  did  but  little  to  

deal  with  the  homegrown  brand.  Moreover,  it  is  probable  that  al-­‐Qaeda’s  

leadership  has  foreseen  such  U.S.  steps  and  possibly  started  to  rely  more  

on  non-­‐Arabs,  with  foreign,  European  or  Asian  passports.    

More  than  300  million  (!)  people  are  legally  admitted  into  the  U.S.  every  

year.  Arguably,  at  least  a  few  of  them  are  Middle  Eastern.  

“  If  terrorists  haven’t  filtered  into  the  country  in  potentially  

damaging  numbers,  this  can’t  be  because  of  U.S.  border  security.  It  
must  be  because  they  aren’t  trying  very  hard  or  because  they  are  
far  less  dedicated,  diabolical,  and  competent  than  the  common  
image  would  suggest  “(Mueller  2006,  117).  
• Terrorists  are  very  patiently  lying  down,  and  patiently  waiting  for  “the  

right  moment.”  While  it  may  take  a  long  time  to  plan  an  attack,  the  length  

of  this  “time-­‐out”  is  relative.  The  preparation  of  9/11  took  only  about  two  

years.  They  did  not  allow  years  upon  years  to  lapse  between  the  next  

operations  and  Madrid,  for  example,  took  less  than  six  months  to  plan  and  

execute.  In  view  of  the  fact  that  the  Iraq  invasion,  served  as  a  harsh  

provocation  -­‐    one  would  expect  an  attack  in  the  U.S.  soon  after  2003.  Yet,  

“  In  May  2003…al-­‐Zawahiri,  promised  attacks  in  Saudi  Arabia,  Kuwait,  

Qatar,  Bahrain,  Egypt,  Yemen  and  Jordan  and  shortly  thereafter,  Osama  

himself  cited  Italy,  Japan,  Australia,  and  the  United  States  as  targets.  “  

(Mueller  2006,  179).  Only  three  years  later,  some  of  the  Middle  Eastern,  

countries  mentioned  in  the  threats  (not  all,  despite  a  direct  threat)  were  


The  history  of  biological  threats,  as  stated  before,  goes  back  to  the  Cold  War.  

However,  back  then  they  were  not  linked  to  terrorism.  In  2003,  the  U.S.  

government,  after  weighing  the  intelligence  regarding  al-­‐Qaeda  and  WMD,  issued  

a  warning,  that  there  was  a  high  probability  of  an  al-­‐Qaeda  WMD  attack  in  the  

next  two  years.  (Mowatt-­‐Larssen  2010).  In  view  of  the  disclosures  regarding  the  

possibility  that  the  Bush  administration’s  intentions  to  invade  Iraq,  relied  on”  

inadequate  intelligence,”  the  whole  WMD  scare  “may”  have  been  a  

disinformation  at  best.  However,  administrations  have  changed,  and  political  

convictions  of  the  present  administration  remained  convinced  in  the  seriousness  

and  merit  of  al-­‐Qaeda’s  WMD  threat.  President  Obama  reiterated  this  threat  

(with  a  specific  focus  on  nuclear  attack)  as  the  biggest  threat  to  the  existence  of  

the  U.S.  in  his  2010  and  2011  National  Security  Strategy.  Moreover,  the  

magnitude  of  the  terrorist  WMD  threat  is  reiterated  also  by  the  fact  that  it  is  

repeatedly  stated  in  other  major  documents  reflecting  this  Administration’s  


“  The  Danger  of  nuclear  terrorism  is  the  greatest  threat  to  global  security.  

Terrorist  organizations,  including  al-­‐Qaida,  have  engaged  in  efforts  to  develop  

and  acquire  weapons  of  mass  destruction  (WMD)  –  and  if  successful,  they  are  

likely  to  use  them.”  (NSC  2011,  8).  

In  the  same  document,  President  Obama  also  repeats  that  the  major  threat  to  the  

United  States  continues  to  be  from  al-­‐Qaeda  and  its  affiliates,  and  that  while  bin-­‐

Laden’s  demise  marked  “  the  most  important  strategic  milestone”  in  the  

American  efforts  to  defeat  al-­‐Qaida,  “…al-­‐Qaida  continues  to  pose  a  direct  and  

significant  threat  to  the  United  States”  (NSC  2011,  3).  

The  presidential  reiteration  of  the  nuclear  and  other  WMD  threats,  points  out  to  

an  extremely  high  level  of  the  presidential  confidence  in  the  quality  of  the  

intelligence  at  his  disposal.  While  different  analysts  may  suggest  bias  or  

alarmism,  it  seems  that  the  administration  is  indeed  convinced  that  the  threat  is  

very  real  and  possibly  imminent.  For  the  sake  of  addressing  this  issue  in  a  

balanced  way,  additional  points  of  view  will  be  addressed.  

As  President  Obama  posited,  bin-­‐Laden’s  demise,  is  certainly  not  the  end  of  al-­‐

Qaida  and  its  affiliates.  Moreover,  the  theoretical  WMD  threat  to  the  United  

States  is  not  totally  limited  to  al  Qaeda,  as  the  threat’s  source.  However  unlikely,  

other  groups,  allegedly  unaffiliated  with  al  Qaeda,  may  surprise  us  all  with  a  new  

threat  and  new  capabilities.  One  potentially  significant,  threat  in  this  respect,  is  

the  threat  from  Hezbollah.  Already  back  in  the  1990s,  the  world  faced  a  diffusion  

of  suicide  terrorism  a  tactic:  

“  …despite  the  profound  theological  differences  between  the  

Salafist/jihadist  views  of  Al  Qaeda  and  the  Shiite  Hezbollah,  Bin  
Laden  sent  his  operatives  to  talk  to  the  Hezbollah  leadership.  They  

came  back  with  what  were  effectively  operational  blueprints  for  
how  to  plan  and  execute  suicide  attacks,  especially  against  hard  
targets  like  embassies.  The  East  African  embassy  attacks  resulted  
in  part  from  this  example  of  diffusion.  In  the  1980s  Hezbollah  was  
really  thought  of  as  an  innovator…The  subsequent  history  of  
suicide  terrorism  is  best  thought  about  as  a  diffusion  process”  
(Horowitz  2008).  

Islamist  fanaticism  is  likely  to  thrive  also  because  for  a  decade,  while  bin  Laden  

eluded  the  U.S.,  he  very  likely  became  a  ‘model  martyr’  and  an  example  to  follow.  

Current  events  in  the  Middle  East,  the  African  Horn,  the  Sahel  and  North  Africa,  

as  well  as  current  developments  in  Eurasia  and  South  Asia,  all  point  out  to  the  

fact  that  bin  Laden’s  philosophy  is  still  well  entrenched  in  the  hearts  of  many  

followers,  all  around  the  world.  All  the  social,  political  and  religious  forces  that  

triggered  the  Islamist  terrorist  threat  are  still  in  place.  Moreover,  bin-­‐Laden’s  

death,  or  even  a  complete  destruction  of  al-­‐Qaeda  (if  it  were  to  happen),  are  very  

unlikely  to  significantly  undercut  fanaticism  and  terrorism  and  only  time  will  

tell,  if  the  U.S.  and  its  allies  will  prevail  in  the  face  of  the  continuing  radical  

Islamist  threat  (Cordesman  2011).  We  now  know,  that  bin-­‐Laden’s  death  indeed  

did  not  cause  any  al-­‐Qaeda  implosion,  but  we  are  still  wondering  as  to  what  will  

happen  next.  In  his  excellent  book,  The  Longest  War,  Peter  Bergen  dedicates  a  lot  

of  serious  thought  and  ink  to  the  severity  of  al  Qaeda’s  WMD  attack  threat.  

Bergen  suggests  that  in  attacking  America  on  September  11,  2001  bin-­‐Laden  

expected  a  cascade  effect  that  will  bring  about  something  like  Samuel  

Huntington’s  Clash  of  Civilizations.  But  that  did  not  happen.  (Bergen  2011,  92).  

It  seems  that  his  call  for  a  holy  war  was  not  accepted  by  the  Muslim  masses.  

While  anti  American  demonstrations  were  held  in  several  major  Muslim  cities  

like  Jakarta  and  Karachi,  these  demonstrations  were  not  really  massive  and  

impressive.  Moreover,  the  vast  majority  of  the  Muslim  governments  reacted  by  

supporting  the  fight  against,  nor  for,  al-­‐Qaeda.  “  Bin-­‐Laden’s  grand  project  of  

transforming  the  Muslim  world  into  a  militant  caliphate  has  been  a  resounding  

failure”  (Bergen  2011,  93).  Moreover,  9/11  caused  the  occupation  of  additional  

Arab  lands  by  the  United  States  and  at  the  same  time,  the  Middle  Eastern  

autocracies  became  even  stronger  than  before.  While  the  Bush  administration  

became  alarmist,  regarding  the  possibility  of  a  future  al  Qaeda  attacks  on  the  U.S.  

–  the  administration  was  not  alone  in  sharing  such  frightening  image  of  the  

future.  Bergen  suggests,  that  for  years  after  9/11,  surveys  by  foreign  Policy  

magazine  of  about  one  hundred  of  the  country’s  top  foreign  policy  experts,  

showed  that  about  one  quarter  of  them  consistently  believed  that  a  very  large-­‐

scale  attack  by  al-­‐Qaeda  was  likely  within  months,  while  some  two  thirds  

expected  such  attack  within  five  years.  (97).  Even  years  later,  in  December  2008,  

the  congressionally  authorized  Commission  on  the  Prevention  of  Weapons  of  

Mass  Destruction  Proliferation  and  Terrorism  concluded  in  its  report:    

“…it  is  more  likely  than  not  that  a  weapon  of  mass  destruction  will  
be  used  in  a  terrorist  attack  somewhere  in  the  world  by  the  end  of  
2013.  The  Commission  further  believes  that  terrorists  are  more  
likely  to  be  able  to  obtain  and  use  a  biological  weapon  than  a  
nuclear  weapon”  (World  at  Risk  2008,  XV).  
On  November  8,  2001  bin-­‐Laden  supposedly  said  to  a  Pakistani  journalist  Hamid  

Mir  who  interviewed  him,  that  if  the  United  states  were  to  use  nuclear  weapon  

against  al-­‐Qaeda,  al-­‐Qaeda  would  possibly  retaliate  with  chemical  and  nuclear  

weapons  of  its  own.    Mir  also  claimed  that  al-­‐Qaeda  has  nuclear  weapon  and  

keeps  it  as  a  deterrent  (Mir  2001).  While  it  is  true  that  bin-­‐Laden  possibly  

entertained  the  idea  of  obtaining  a  nuclear  weapon,  and  according  to  Peter  

Bergen,  he  turned  to  a  retired  Pakistani  nuclear  scientist  Dr.  Sultan  Bashiruddin,  

shortly  before  the  9/11  attacks  (Bergen  2011,  215-­‐217)  -­‐  the  two  meetings  

between  bin-­‐Laden  and  the  nuclear  scientists  lead  to  nothing,  but  with  the  arrest  

and  the  interrogation  of  John  Walker  Lindh,  the  CIA  learned  that  allegedly,  “  the  

second  wave  of  the  9/11  would  involve  WMD.”  In  June  2002,  Abu  Ghaith,  al-­‐  

Qaeda’s  spokesman,  (and  bin  Laden’s  son  in  law,  who  was  recently  arrested  and  

awaits  a  trial  in  the  U.S.)  explained  the  “logic”  behind  al  Qaeda’s  plan  to  use  


We  have  not  reached  parity  with  them.  We  have  the  right  to  kill  4  
million  Americans  –  2  million  of  them  children  –  and  to  exile  twice  
as  many  and  wound  and  cripple  hundreds  of  thousands.  
Furthermore,  it  is  our  right  to  fight  them  with  chemical  and  
biological  weapons,  so  as  to  afflict  them  with  the  fatal  maladies  
that  afflicted  the  Muslims  because  of  the  [Americans’]  chemical  
and  biological  weapons  “  (Abu  Gheith  2002).  
Abu  Gheits  statement  was  followed  by  a  2003  fatwa  by  the  Saudi  cleric  al-­‐Fadh,  

who  religiously  “sanctioned  the  use  of  WMD  to  kill  American  civilians,  while  

comparing  the  catapults  of  Mohammad’s  times  with…WMD.  

Interestingly,  al  Qaeda  has  always  made  their  grandiose  WMD  intentions  

publicly  clear,  

 “…despite  the  fact  that  privately  some  al  Qaeda  leaders  were  
aware  that  their  WMD  program  was  strictly  an  amateur  affair…  
Another  wing  of  al  Qaeda  assessed,  correctly  as  it  turned  out,  that  
these  types  of  weapons  [WMD]  would  only  bring  small  tactical  
benefits  because  the  group  was  likely  to  only  acquire  or  build  
weapons  that  were  quite  primitive.  But  even  al-­‐Qaeda  “doves”  
understood  that  they  should  call  those  primitive  devices  (Bergen  
2011,  219).  
While  Bergen  belittles  the  terrorist  threat  of  WMD  terrorist  attack,  and  bases  his  

analysis  on  well  compiled  incidents,  and  even  scientific  assumptions  as  to  the  

prospective  threat  of  a  crude  radiological  detonation.  Based  on  Graham  Allison’s  

findings  in  his  2004  book  Nuclear  Terrorism,  there  are  at  least  two  options  that  

al-­‐Qaeda  could  use  if  it  realistically  desired  to  obtain  a  nuclear  weapon.  One  

option  would  be  to  use  the  black  market  and  TOC  connections  to  purchase  a  

tactical  nuclear  device  of  a  very  low  or  moderate  yield  of  0.25  KT  (Allison  2004,  

47-­‐49)  from  the  Russian  arsenal  (It  remains  unknown,  how  well  are  these  

weapons  currently  secured),  or  to  build  a  crude  nuclear  device,  which  would  

promise  only  partial  nuclear  explosion,  and  thus  not  a  fully  developed  chain-­‐  

reaction  (fizzle),  yet  potent  enough  to  be  catastrophic.  Scientists  of  the  Nuclear  

Control  Institute  in  Washington  D.C.  declare,  that  in  order  to  build  a  nuclear  

device  terrorists  would  need  only10  kg  of  Pu  239,  or  52  kg  of  a  94%  enriched  U-­‐

235.  (Carson  n.d.).  Some  variation  on  the  quantity  of  fissile  material  needed  

to  build  an  IND  is  presented  by  the  Weapons  of  Mass  Destruction  Commission  of  

the  UN,  but  the  risks  remain  the  same.  (Ferguson  and  Potter  2009).    There  are  

many  claims  reporting  the  theft,  or  unexplained  disappearance  of  various  

amounts  of  both,  Pu  239  and  HEU.  And  yet,  according  to  Peter  Bergen,  back  in  

2002  a  former  UN  weapons  inspector  David  Albright  concluded  that,  “it  was  

virtually  impossible  for  al-­‐Qaeda  to  have  acquired  any  type  of  nuclear  weapon,  

[other]…  U.S.  government  analysts  also  came  to  the  same  conclusion”  (Bergen  

2011,  222).  If  such  was  indeed  the  final  verdict  on  the  topic,  it  suggests  that  

President  Obama  and  his  administration,  reiterated  the  nuclear  threat  only  “to  

protect  their  back”  in  a  case  of  an  attack.  The  truth  is  probably  somewhere  

between  the  alarmists  and  those  who  belittle  the  nuclear  threat.  In  any  case,  this  

threat  cannot  be  just  overlooked.  Continued  awareness,  increased  preparedness  

and  general  vigilance  regarding  WMD  terrorist  threat  must  be  exercised.  




X.  The  Counterterrorism  Models  of  the  United  States  and  Israel:  


There  are  major  differences  between  the  United  States  and  Israel,  with  regard  to  

the  mutual  threat  of  terrorist  attacks.  

Both,  the  US  and  Israel  face  the  terrorist  threat.  While  Israel  lives  with  a  daily  

terrorist  attack  threat,  since  its  independence,  the  U.S.  has  experienced  many  

terrorist  incidents  throughout  its  existence,  however,  most  of  the  terrorist  

incidents  that  occurred  on  US  soil,  were  relatively  small,  and  not  very  concerning  

to  the  America  public  as  a  phenomenon,  with  one  or  two  exceptions:  the  1995  

bombing  in  Oklahoma  City,  and  the  1993  attempt  to  topple  the  Twin  Towers  of  

the  Trade  Center  by  al  Qaeda.    

Israelis  have  faced,  since  the  1948  declaration  of  independence,  a  continuously  

evolving,  mostly  escalating  terrorist  process,  with  occasional  lulls.  Both  

countries  experienced  a  surge  in  terrorist  activities  with  the  onset  of  suicide  

terrorism.    For  Israel  this  process  begun  in  1982,  with  the  Hezbollah  bombing  of  

against  the  Israeli  GSS  headquarters  in  Tyre,  Lebanon.    

For  the  U.S.  this  process  started  back  in  1983,  with  the  Hezbollah  suicide  attack  

on  the  Marine  Barracks  and  the  U.S.  Embassy  in  Lebanon;  and  later,  the  Libyan  

bombing  of  Pan  Am  Flight  103  in  December  1988.    

For  the  sake  of  objectivity,  it  is  of  value  to  mention  that  entirely  unrelated  to  

Israel  or  the  US,  1980  was  the  year  the  suicide  bombings  started  worldwide.  This  

phenomenon  was  arguably,  started  by  the  Mujahedeen  in  Afghanistan,  Pakistan  

and  Iraq.1983  was  also  the  beginning  of  the  Sri  Lankan  LTTE  suicide  terrorist  

activities.    While  suicide  terrorism,  is  not  new,  it  was  restarted  in  the  1980s  after  

a  long  break,  since  WWII,  and  its  targets  were  primarily  overseas  Americans,  and  

American  property  there.    

“In  the  24-­‐year  period  from  1980  to  2003,  there  were  just  under  
350  suicide  terrorist  attacks  around  the  world  –  of  which  fewer  
than  15%  could  reasonably  be  considered  directed  against  
Americans.  By  contrast,  in  the  six  years  from  2004  to  2009,  the  
world  has  witnessed  1,833  suicide  attacks  of  which  92%  are  anti-­‐
American  in  origin.  America  has  made  progress  in  bringing  
Western  institutions  to  Iraq,  but  democracy  has  not  proved  to  be  a  
panacea  for  reducing  terrorism…”  (Pape  and  Feldman    2010,  4).  
While  anti  American  terrorism,  in  general,  and  suicide  terrorism  in  particular,  at  

no  time  in  American  history,  actually  threatened  the  American  public  on  a  daily,  

and  widespread  basis;  from  the  very  onset  of  such  attacks  against  Israel  was  

accepted  as  a  direct  threat  to  the  Israeli  civilian  public,  and  moreover,  it  was  

perceived  as  a  symbolic  threat  to  the  very  continued  existence  of  the  Israeli  

society  and  state.  

XI.  Can  the  American  and  Israeli  Democracies  Ultimately  Defeat    


The  definition  of  ‘defeat’  can  be  misleading  and  it  is  yet  another  open-­‐ended  

question  whether  or  not,  defeating  terrorism  means  killing,  or  forever  

imprisoning  every  single  terrorist.  Audrey  Kurth  Cronin  posits,  

“  Ten  Years  into  a  trillion  dollar  effort  to  answer  the  attacks  of  
September  11,  2001,  it  is  difficult  to  tell  whether  U.S.  
counterterrorism  is  achieving  its  intended  effects,  much  less  
explain  how  it  fits  within  a  viable  American  grand  strategy.  As  
dramatic  changes  unfold  in  the  Arab  world,  experts  still  debate  
whether  or  not  the  United  States  is  winning  the  fight  against  al  
Qaeda”  (Kurth  Cronin  2012).  
The  2012  -­‐  2013  dramatic  events,  be  it  Ben  Ghazi  attack  on  the  American  

diplomatic  mission  on  September  11,  2012;  the  hostage  taking  by  a  large  scale,  

and  well  planned,  multinational  Islamist  terrorists  on  the  East  Algerian  gas  plant  

on  January  23,  2013  (Amir  2013);    the  July  23,  2013  massive  suicide  terrorist  

attacks  on  the  Iraqi  Abu  Gharib  and  Taji  prisons,  (Schreck  2013)  and  the  

liberation  of  several  hundreds  of  major  al-­‐Qaeda  operatives  or  the  July  30,  2013  

Taliban  attack  on  Pakistani  prison  in  Peshawar  further,  and  the  freeing  of  close  

to  200  Islamist  fighters  (Shah  Sherazi  2013)  -­‐  support  the  above  Cronin’s  


 Has  al  Qaeda  indeed  been  weakened,  or  has  it  just  changed  its  strategy  and  

spread  out,  like  a  metastasizing  cancer?  Are  our  allies  and  we  successful  in  

diminishing  the  number  of  prospective  terrorists  (al-­‐Qaeda  and  other  Islamist  

volunteers)?  Are  our  allies  effectively  denying  al  Qaeda  and  it  affiliates  safe  

havens?  And  most  importantly:  are  we  ready  to  absorb  a  future  attack  and  are  

we  able  to  effectively  respond  to  one?  So  far  the  US  government  have  pursued  a  

mostly,  open  –  ended  strategy/policy,  with  the  actual  cessation  of  all  US  military  

activities  overseas  only  somewhere  in  the  dim  future.  The  Obama  

administration,  doubtlessly,  realizes  the  huge  costs  of  the  U.S.  massive  

deployment  in  Afghanistan  and  is  indeed  taking  the  steps  required  to  withdraw  

and  thus  help  the  U.S.  troubled  financial  status.  

However,  Both  the  U.S.  and  Israel  are  still  adhering  to  terrorist  “body  counts”  as  

metrics  to  estimate  counterterrorism  success.  We  don’t  know  any  better  and  

sadly,  body  count  is  a  poor  indicator  of  al  Qaeda’s  capability  to  hit  us  once,  or  

more  than  one  time,  and  maybe  even  to  hit  us  with  WMD.  After  all,  as  said  before,  

all  al-­‐Qaida  needs  to  resurrect,  is  one  single  devastating  attack.  Somewhere  along  

this  longest  U.S.  war,  the  American  leadership  lost  the  focus  on  what  arguably,  

should  be  our  strategic  target  –  the  decimation  of  al  Qaeda,  and  our  battle  

calculus  was  expanded  to  include  the  Taliban,  which  should  not  be  confused  with  

al  Qaeda  and  it  is  very  questionable  if  the  U.S.  should  be  still  fighting  it.  Yet  

another  question  is  whether  or  not  The  West  should  be  fighting  al  Qaeda’s  

affiliates  and  which  ones,  of  the  so  many,  should  it  fight  and  how?  

While  there  is  a  general  agreement  that  al  Qaeda  core,  (in  Afghanistan/Pakistan),  

has  been  effectively  diminished,  the  most  dangerous  and  active  al  Qaeda  

“branch”  is  currently  in  the  Arab  Peninsula  (AQAP).  Moreover,  al-­‐Qaeda’s  North  

African  branch  (AQIM)  and  the  Iraq  node,  (AQI),  are  also  very  potent  and  

dangerous.  Furthermore,  we  also  face  homegrown  American-­‐born  or  bred,  al-­‐  

Qaeda  affiliates.  The  American  public  has  not  been  educated  in  terrorist  attack  

preparedness.  If  al  Qaeda  will  successfully  attack  the  homeland,  it  will  bring  

back,  not  only  the  traumas  of  the  past;  it  will  challenge  the  American  economy,  

and  its  national  interests  and  shake  the  very  core  of  our  democratic  structures,  

morals,  norms  and  beliefs.  Since  it  is  clear  that  assuring  100  percent  

impregnability  to  terrorist  attack  is  impossible,  the  U.S.  government  must  clearly  

focus  our  counterterrorism  strategy  on  attainable  goals,  or  else  we  may  be  

engaged  in  chasing  “al  Qaeda’s  shadows”  forever.  Kurth  Cronin  states,    

“  Fear  is  not  a  strategy.  Zero  risk  is  a  fantasy.  To  regain  their  
balance  and  perspective  after  a  decade  of  action  and  apprehension  
about  al  Qaeda,  Americans  and  their  government  should  return  to  
the  basics  of  strategic  thought,  particularly  the  relationship  
between  ends,  ways  and  means”(Kurth  Cronin  2012).  

In  view  of  the  fact  that  completely  defeating  al  Qaeda  and  its  affiliates  seems  out  

of  reach  at  this  point,  should  the  international  community  attempt  to  diffuse  

terrorism  by  resorting  to  nonviolent  measures,  reconciliation,  peace  processes,  

and  democratization?    Hardly.  Al  Qaeda  and  its  affiliates,  Hamas  and  Hezbollah  

and  other  Palestinian  groups,  are  unlikely  to  accept  a  politically  negotiated  

settlement,  which  will  disarm  them  and  diffuse  the  various  groups  as  

unnecessary.  In  fact  the  opposite  may  happen,  if  the  world  attempts  to  approach  

terrorists  with  peaceful  measures  alone,  

 “    …terrorists  tend  to  ramp  up  their  attacks  during  peace  processes,  precluding  

concessions.  Democracies  are  widely  seen  as  the  preferred  host  for  terrorist  

groups…and  clearly,  withholding  concessions  does  not  deter  terrorists  from  

committing  the  violence”  (Abrahams  2011,  592).  

It  seems  that  the  best  way  to  deal  with  terrorism  is  possibly,  somewhere  

between  the  different  approaches  described  above.  Since  terrorism  is  an  

amorphous  entity,  there  are  no  two  identical  forms  or  terrorist  groups.  Each  

group  requires  a  well  focused  and  perfectly  tailored,  coherent  strategy.  

Currently,  we  must  seek  to  tailor  the  response  to  al-­‐Qaeda,  or  Hamas  and  

Hezbollah,  not  along  any  ideas  of  rapprochement;  (in  spite  of  al  Qaeda’s  

notorious  suggestion  of  “truce”  (Cole  and  Shubailat  2009),  al  Qaeda  never  

showed  any  interest  is  any  kind  of  negotiations  or  settlement;  nor  did  the  U.S.).  

Israeli  –Palestinian  Oslo  accords  prove  that  Palestinian  Terrorist  organizations  

would  rather  continue  fighting  than  renouncing  violence  and  the  very  

annihilation  of  Israel.  It  seems  that  as  mentioned  before,  the  very  perpetuation  of  

the  existence  of  a  given  terrorist  group,  could  very  well  be  a  goal  on  its  own.  

 Without  removing  any  of  the  CT  tools  we  have  and  after  defining  how  we  

conceive  al  Qaeda’s  and  each  other  terrorist  group’s  end  –  we  must  choose  the  

tools  to  reach  this  goal.  A  coherent  strategy,  (one  defining  a  clear  an  consistent  

path  of  means  for  an  end)  will  not  abandon  the  use  of  force,  but  whatever  final  

means  are  chosen,  they  must  logically  fit  the  goal  of  “ending  “  al-­‐Qaeda  or  other  

terrorist  group.  While  such  coherent  plan  is  arguably,  easier  to  create  with  

respect  to  local  groups,  with  clearly  defined,  localized  grievances  (e.g.  Hamas  

etc.),  the  case  of  the  transnational  and  global  aims  of  al-­‐Qaeda,  makes  the  

creation  of  such  coherent  plan  extremely  challenging.  

Terrorism  is  “defeated”  every  time,  that  those  who  were  the  terrorists,  either  

renounce  the  use  of  violence,  and  join  peaceful  political  process  to  pursue  their  

goals;  or  whenever  they  are  suppressed  hard  enough  to  forever  stop  significantly  

hurting  the  civilian  public,  the  military  and  the  legal  political  processes.  The  

example  of  Sri  Lanka  and  the  LTTE,  is  an  example  of  such  terrible  suppression  of  

terrorism  by  the  government,  that  it  indeed  made  the  LTTE  capitulate  and  lay  

down  their  arms.  However,  as  stated  before,  suppression  has  its  democracy-­‐

defeating,  costs.  While  democracies  must  retain  their  high  moral  standards,  

appeasement  or  any  sort  of  capitulation,  to  terrorist  demands,  will  not  defeat  

terrorism;  carefully  measured  and  balanced  suppression,  along  with  other  non-­‐

violent  counterterrorist  measures  -­‐  eventually  might.  Although  it  may  sound  as  a  

biased  statement,  the  application  of  both  the  offensive  and  defensive  measures,  

as  a  long-­‐term  tactics,  is  likely  to  eventually  defeat  Palestinian  terrorism  and  less  

assuredly  -­‐  al  Qaeda.  Suppression  in  this  context  is  not  the  military  offensive  

measure  only.  It  is  the  result  of  combining  military,  intelligence,  law  enforcement  

along  with  homeland  preparedness,  which  create  a  resilient  public,  (strong  in  the  

face  of  terror  and  providing  strong  support  to  its  government).  Palestinian  

terrorism  is  very  different  from  the  global  Islamist  terrorism  challenge  of  al-­‐  

Qaeda.  Indeed,  one  has  to  be  aware  that  the  actual  connection  between  al-­‐Qaeda  

and  Israel  is  at  present  time  slim.    Yet  it  may  prove  tragic  to  accept  a  notion  that  

such  connection  is  altogether  nonexistent.  In  2011,  the  world  first  heard  about  

the  alleged  al-­‐Qaeda  amassing  in  the  Sinai  Peninsula.    However,  despite  some  

similarities  with  al-­‐Qaeda,  at  least  for  now,  the  terrorists  that  in  July  2011  and  in  

August  2012  attacked  and  killed  Egyptians  from  El  Arish,  and  in  2012,  Egyptian  

border  patrol  soldiers  (and  in  April  2013  fired  rockest  from  Sinai  into  Eilat,  

Israel  and  Aqaba,  Jordan)  -­‐  were  not  al-­‐Qaeda,  although  they  identified  

themselves  as  such.  (Vick  2011).  Israel  is  diligently  monitoring  information  

regarding  al  Qaeda’s  potential  threat  to  Israel.  This  writer  knows  of  the  GSS  al-­‐  

Qaeda  section,  and  assumes  that  it  is  very  likely  that  the  Mossad  and  the  IDI  

(Israeli  Defense  Intelligence  forces  of  the  IDF)  respectively,  have  analogous  al-­‐

Qaeda-­‐oriented  collection  and  analysis  specialized  entities.  

While    radical  Islamism  and  terrorist  tactics  that  currently  challenge  the  

international  community  have  little  connection  to  the  Israeli  –  Palestinian  

conflict,  it  remains  hard  to  contest  the  fact  that  the  1979  Iranian  Islamist  

revolution,(which  created  the  Hezbollah),  as  well  as  the  establishment  of  al  

Qaeda  by  bin-­‐Laden  –  drew  strength  and  initiative  from  the  Soviet  pullout  from  

Afghanistan  (1989);  Israel’s  withdrawal  from  Lebanon  in  2000;  the  U.S.  instant  

withdrawal  from  Lebanon  (1983);  the  Israeli  withdrawal  from  Gaza  (2005);  and  

the  Spanish  withdrawal  from  Afghanistan  (after  Madrid  in  2004).  Indeed  

terrorism  and  specifically  Islamist  radical  fanaticism,  challenges  the  whole  

world,  no  matter  how  it  is  named  and  whether  it  is  directly  or  indirectly  linked  

with  al  Qaeda,  or  with  its  ideology  and  political  goals.  In  spite  of  temporary  

setbacks,  which  further  empowered  Islamist  terrorism,  it  seems  acceptable  that  

in  the  long  run,  al  least  theoretically,  democracies  can  defeat  terrorism.  They  can  

do  so  through  a  clear  threat  perception  and  through  moral  consistency.  Yet  

before  one  decides  on  consistency,  there  are  some  changes  to  the  current  

concept  of  democracy  that  seem  to  be  mandatory,  if  we  want  to  win  the  war  on  

terror.  In  this  vein,  the  free  world  must  assimilate  the  contention  that  endurance,  

consistency  and  resilience  are  our  strategic  weapons.  

In  the  war  on  terror,  the  world  as  an  international  community,  must  unite  behind  

the  banner  of  targeting:  terrorists,  their  facilities,  finances  and  state  sponsors.  

Moreover,  certain  legislative  changes  are  necessary:  

 “  Democracies  need  to  drastically  alter  their  legislation  and  

policies,  as  well  as  international  law,  vis-­‐a’-­‐vis  the  war  on  terror.  
Until  recently,  most  democratic  legislatures  considered  terror  a  
crime  best  dealt  with  by  the  judiciary.  After  9/11,  legislation  in  
some  of  these  countries  changed  rapidly,  but  not  
enough…International  law,  meanwhile,  is  still  based  on  the  
percepts  of  conventional  warfare  –  and  especially  the  experiences  
of  WWII…We  must  find  the  proper  legal  balance  between  the  need  
to  ensure  security  and  the  need  to  ensure  basic  liberties…Although  
passing  through  security  at  an  airport  may  seem  inconvenient,  it  is  
nonetheless  a  necessary  precaution.“  (Ya’alon  2007,  21).  

Finally,  nobody  is  born  terrorist;  terrorism  is  being  taught  and  indoctrinated.  

What  is  so  hard  for  Westerns  to  understand  is  why  the  Islamist  education  system  

dehumanizes  Americans,  Israelis  and  Jews  (and  then  some)  as  “  infidels”  to  be  

annihilated;  why  Islamic  schools  (madrasas),  wherever  they  are,  be  it  the  

Palestinian  occupied  territories,  Saudi  Arabia,  Pakistan  or  Iran,  promote  a  

culture  of  Jihad  and  martyrdom,  thus  the  culture  of  death,  instead  of  life.    

Glorification  of  life  -­‐  not  of  death,  must  be  the  target  of  future  Islamic  education.  

This  is  where  our  “battle  for  hearts  and  minds”  must  be  focused.  Until  such  

change  in  Islamic  education  will  materialize  –  we  have  little  chance  of  truly  

defeating  Islamist  terrorism,  and  changing  the  Islamist  frame  of  mind.    The  

democracies  of  the  world  must  unite  in  their  attempt  to  promote  a  major  change  

in  the  core  values  of  the  Middle  Eastern  countries.  Islam  is  not  the  source  of  jihad  

and  martyrdom  –  people  who  prefer  a  fictional  afterlife  to  happiness  and  

fulfillment  in  this  life  –  are.  In  that  respect  several  steps  should  be  made  or  


• Monitoring  efforts  made  by  terrorists  in  every  aspect  of  the  battle  for  the  

hearts  and  minds,  research  and  operational  tools,  treating  it  as  a  

legitimate  subject  …and  as  an  intelligence  task…  The  media  constructed  

by  the  terrorist  organizations,  encompassing  television,  radio,  the  press  

and  the  Internet,  has  to  be  studied  and  monitored…”  (Gilboa  and  Lapid  

2012,  174-­‐175).  

• Sober  declassifying  intelligence  and  making  it  available  to  individuals  and  

institutions  dealing  with  the  battle  for  hearts  and  minds  in  Israel  and  

abroad:  that  includes  declassification  of  information  regarding  terrorist  

activity,  terrorist  military  structure,  funding,  brainwashing…support  from  

sponsors  …”  (Gilboa  and  Lapid  2012,  175).  

• Sober  declassification  of  counterterrorist  methods  and  their  

implementation.  Recording  not  only  success,  but  also  failures.  

It  is  much  better  to  disclose  our  CT  measures  and  truthfully  argue  those  

opposing  them,  by  explaining  our  realistic  options  and  trade-­‐offs  in  case  

we  cease  deploying  certain  controversial  CT  options  (e.g.  targeted  

killings).  Transparency,  within  logical  limits,  may  consolidate  support  to  

CT  activities  through  better  understanding  of  the  options  we  have  when  

facing  terrorism.  

Some  say  that  Israel  attracts  attention  like  a  magnet.  Back  in  the  1980’s  there  

were  said  to  have  been  more  foreign  reporters  in  Jerusalem  than  in  any  other  

major  capital,  with  the  exception  of  Washington  and  Moscow.  The  reason  for  that  

is  not  too  hard  to  understand.  Israel  is  probably  the  most  controversial  and  

condemned  state  in  the  International  community.  The  fact  that  Israel  is  situated  

on  the  “holy  land”  of  three  main  religions,  one  of  them  being  Christianity  -­‐  

focuses  the  attention  of  the  Christians  of  the  United  States  and  Europe  –  on  

Israel.  Islam  claims  its  connection  to  this  land,  and  especially  to  Jerusalem,  thus  

focusing  the  attention  of  some  1.3  billion  Muslims  around  the  world  on  Israel.  

Being  “the  people  of  the  Book,”  higher  moral  standards  are  expected  for  Israel  

and  Israelis  and  serve  as  yet  another  reasoning  behind  the  frequent  criticism  of  

Israel.  Most  critics  somehow  overlook  the  multiple  nature  of  moralities,  the  

complexity  of  judging  the  whole  country,  or  the  acts  of  the  Israeli  government,  

and  its  military,  as  well  as  its  parliamentary  democracy  –  in  the  context  of  their  

own  biases,  or  norms  -­‐  as  defined  in  the  behaviors  of  other  countries.  Indeed,  

comparing  Israel  and  the  United  states,  on  just  about  any  issue  is  very  

instructive.  Speaking  of  differences,  there  are  arguably,  no  other  two  

democracies  that  are  more  different.  One  is  huge  and  relatively  rich,  and  the  

other  is  tiny,  and  while  not  poor,  possibly  best  defined  as  bordering  on  

wellbeing.  While  the  U.S.  is  extremely  multicultural,  Israel  is  rather  homogenous.  

A  President  governs  the  American  democracy.  The  American  legislature  is  

completely  independent.  Both,  are  separately  elected  for  fixed  terms  –  Israel  is  a  

parliamentary,  democratic  regime,  where  the  tenure  of  the  government  depends  

on  the  continued  support  from  the  legislature  (Knesset),  the  Prime  Minister  is  

the  leader  of  the  largest  party  and  may  lose  his/her  chair  if  support  wanes;  no  

matter  how  long  he/she  has  been  at  the  state’s  helm.  There  is  also  a  very  

significant  difference  in  the  location  of  the  current  enemies  of  these  two  

democracies.  The  current  enemies  of  the  United  States  are  mostly  (with  some  

exceptions  of  homegrown  enemies),  located  very  far  from  its  shores  and  

homeland,  while  most  Israel’s  enemies  are  no  more  than  a  short  bus  ride  from  its  

centers  and  some,  like  in  the  US,  live  within  its  sovereign  territory.    

Furthermore,  both  democracies  are  very  engaged  in  their  respective  national  

security.  According  to  the  CIA  World  Fact  Book,  Israel  allocates  some  7.5  percent  

of  its  gross  national  product  to  the  military,  (#6  in  the  world),  while  the  United  

States  allocates  somewhere  near  4  percent  of  its  GNP  for  the  same  purpose  (#  23  

in  the  world).  Interestingly,  most  democracies  typically  allocate  one  or  two  

percent  for  this  very  purpose.  (Military  Expenditures  2006-­‐2012).      Israel  does  

not  have  a  Constitution.  There  is  a  codex  of  basic  laws,  which  were  passed  by  the  

Knesset,  and  they  serve  as  the  laws  of  the  land.  They  are  as  abiding,  and  as  

strongly  observed,  as  the  laws  stemming  from  any  constitution;  they  are,  at  the  

same  time,  often  debated  upon.  The  United  States  Constitution,  conceived  by  the  

Founding  Fathers,  is  upheld  with  unprecedented  rigor,  almost  as  if  it  were  

“sacred.”  While  it  indeed  preserves  the  human  rights  and  civil  liberties,  it  is  often  

the  source  of  bitter  struggle  and  harsh  disputes  over  the  interpretation  of  its  

various  articles,  and  amendments.    

While  Israel,  from  its  inception  promised  and  preserved  civil  liberties  and  

human  rights,  based  on  the  British  and  American  legal  systems,  the  United  

States,  is  a  country  that  until  not  too  long  ago,  did  not  have,  de  facto,  equal  rights  

neither  for  women,  nor  for  certain  origin  and  skin  color.  The  United  States  is  

constantly  evolving,  and  progress  is  constant  and  clear  to  see  by  all.  In  this  

respect  it  is  important  to  acknowledge,  that  although  Israel  does  not  have  to  deal  

with  the  huge  cultural  diversity  of  the  United  States,  it  would  be  incorrect  to  

assume  that  Israel  is  free  of  sectarian  discrimination,  or  that  women  are  always  

paid  same  wages  as  men  in  the  same  position.  However,  if  there  is  one  really  

vital  difference  between  the  Israelis  and  the  Americans,  it  is  arguably,  in  the  

amount  of  trust  the  people  are  expressing  towards  one  another  and  the  amount  

of  trust  the  public  has  to  its  respective  government,  military  and  the  various  

authorities  and  agencies.  According  to  James  Madison’s  Federalist  Papers  10:  

 “  A  common  passion  or  interest  will,  in  almost  every  case,  be  felt  
by  a  majority  of  the  whole…  and  there  is  nothing  to  check  
inducements  to  sacrifice  the  weaker  party  or  an  obnoxious  
individual.  Hence  it  is  that  such  democracies  have  been  spectacles  
of  turbulence  and  contention;  have  ever  been  found  incompatible  
with  personal  security…”  
Indeed,  Americans  observe  a  great  amount  of  suspicion  and  mistrust  towards  

any  authority,  and  they  fear  of  being  potentially,  in  danger  of  being  deprived  of  

their  basic  Constitutional  rights.  This  core  belief  is  a  guiding  light  in  their  

perception  of  their  government.  

One  may  rightly  question  the  source  of  the  Israeli  unusual,  amount  of  trust,  

which  Israelis  have  towards  each  other;  the  “camaraderie,”  so  often  exhibited  in  

personal  relations,  as  well  as  towards  the  government.  This  work  has  not  

researched  this  question  scientifically;  however  there  are  certain  factors,  which  

are  anecdotally  familiar,  from  a  life-­‐long  experience  within  the  Israeli  

community,  that  undoubtedly  contribute  to  the  unique  cohesiveness  of  the  

Israeli  society.  Among  the  most  vital  cohesiveness  enhancers  are  the  following  

common  experiences:  1)  the  vast  majority  of  Israelis  are  Jewish  and  whether  

secular  or  orthodox,  the  religion  equals  nationality  concept,  serves  as  a  social  

glue.  2)  The  “founding  fathers  of  Israel”  came  mostly  from  Poland,  Russia  and  

Europe  and  shared  much  of  the  same  culture,  as  well  as  a  socialist,  and  a  humble  

vision  of  themselves  and  of  the  Israeli  State;  a  state  created  to  serve  as  a  refuge  

for  the  Jewish  Diaspora.  3)  Many  of  the  founders  of  Israel  were  survivors  of  the  

Holocaust  and  these  survivors  were  forever  bonded  by  the  memories  of  near  

total  annihilation  of  the  Jewish  people.  4)  The  current  generations  of  Israelis  are  

often  descendants  of  the  Holocaust  victims  and  survivors.  They  thus  continue  to  

uphold  much  of  the  same  attitudes,  towards  Jewish  and  Israeli  existential  issues.  

5)  Most  Israelis,  undergo  a  mandatory  three-­‐year  service  in  the  IDF,  which  

serves  as  a  maturing  mechanism,  as  well  as  additional  ”social  glue,”  and  results  

in  a  true  “people’s  army,”  which  is  a  near  sacred  and  very  highly  trusted,  

protector  of  the  Jewish/Israeli  people  and  the  Jewish  state.  

While  the  American  people  find  protection  in  the  Separation  of  Powers  and  the  

system  of  Checks  and  Balances,  so  do  the  Israelis.  In  spite  of  the  trust  Israelis  

have  in  their  government,  both  the  Israelis  and  Americans,  respectively,  insist  on  

the  separation  between  the  White  House  and  Congress,  and  the  separation  of  the  

government  [of  Israel]  from  the  Knesset;  knowing  that  it  helps  to  lessen  the  

madness  that  can  come  from  any  one  institution  taking  over.    

XII.  Weapons  of  Mass  Destruction  Terrorist  Threat  to  Israel  

Interestingly,  while  there  is  a  lot  of  talk  and  debate  regarding  the  WMD  terrorist  

threat  to  the  U.S.,  there  is  hardly  any  such  talk  regarding  Israel.  While  WMD  

threat  of  annihilation  of  the  Jewish  state  has  been  expressed  numerous  times,  by  

states  like  Iran,  and  Libya,  (in  the  past),  there  is  very  little  “talk”  coming  directly  

from  terrorist  sources.  Indeed,  as  suggested  by  William  Walker,  if  we  assume  for  

a  while,  the  point  of  view  of  Israel’s  adversaries,  Israel  has  indeed  been    

“  …a  principal  driver  of  enmity  of  every  kind  in  the  Middle  East,  
and  a  principal  driver  of  quests  for  WMD…Israel’s  nuclear  
capability  and  supremacy  in  conventional  weapons  have  
encouraged  and  legitimized  WMD  proliferation  within  the  region.  
Where  unable  to  gain  access  nuclear  technology,  states  have  
turned  to  CBW  instead…”  (Walker  2004,  66).  
Naturally,  this  truism  however  right,  is  oblivious  to  the  fact  that  Israel  developed  

its  arguable,  nuclear  capability  with  French  help,  in  the  1950s  and  on;  but  it  

never  threatened  any  nation  with  its  nuclear  capability,  and  never  even  

acknowledged  it  as  existent.  Nobody  has  tried  to  call  Israel’s  bluff,  thus  far.    

However  the  threat  from  Iran,  is  realistic  enough  to  create  an  atmosphere  of  

alarmism  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  even  if  Iran  were  to  cross  the  “red  line”  

portrayed  by  the  Israeli  Premier  Benyamin  Netanyahu  on  September  27,  2012  

(Heller  2012),  and  continue  enriching  its  uranium  –  it  would  take  additional  

considerable  time  to  create  a  nuclear  weapon,  as  we  can  learn  from  the  more  

nuclear-­‐advanced  case  of  North  Korea.  (South  Korea  and  U.S.  2013).  Moreover,  

although  due  to  Israel’s  small  size  and  its  high  population  density,  it  would  have  

a  very  hard  time  to  survive  even  a  single  nuclear  attack,  even  if  it  indeed  has  as  it  

is  suggested,  between  80  and  200  nuclear  bombs  ready;  or  moreover  as  claimed:    

“  The  Third  Temple’s  Holy  of  Holies:  Israel’s  nuclear  weapons”  U.S.  
Army  Col.  Warner  Farr  said  Israel’s  nuclear  arsenal  has  grown  
from  an  estimated  13  nuclear  bombs  in  1967  to  400  nuclear  and  
thermonuclear  weapons…Israel’s  navy  could  deploy  weapons  on…  
[its]  submarines.  Israel  will  then  have  a  second  strike  
capability…(U.S.  Air  Force  Says  Israel…2002).  
By  merely  admitting  to  such  legendary  capability  -­‐  it  would  arguably,  silence  

even  the  hateful  “Ahemedinajads”  of  Iran.  However,  the  fact  that  no  matter  how  

many  bombs  Israel  might  have,  if  it  has  no  strategic  depth  and  can’t  allow  for  at  

least  1/3  of  it  population,  along  with  at  least  50  percent  of  its  vital  infrastructure,  

to  be  annihilated  -­‐  all  these  imaginary  claims  of  its  suggested  deterrence  

capability  could  very  well  be  a  nonsense.  

Moreover,  even  more  threatening  for  Israel,  is  the  idea  of  any  country  “sharing”  

its  nuclear  or  other  WMD  capability,  with  Hezbollah  or  al-­‐Qaeda.  Although  such  

scenario  seems  unrealistic,  it  may  prove  real  after  all.  On  January  16,  2013  

Israel’s  Ambassador  to  the  UN  Ron  Prosor  said:  “  the  prospect  of  Hezbollah  

acquiring  chemical  weapons  –  through  mishandling  or  via  [Syria]…  is  

frightening”  (Wilner  2013).  As  widely  known,  already  in  August  2012,  Syria  

acknowledged  its  chemical  weapons  warning  to  the  world:  “  No  chemical  

weapons  will  ever  be  used  [said  Syrian  Foreign  Ministry  Spokesman]  …Unless  

Syria  is  exposed  to  external  aggression…The  weapons  are  under  supervision  of  

the  Syrian  armed  forces”  (Ghitis  2012).    

Much  more  realistic  is  the  version  voiced  by  the  outgoing  Israeli  Ambassador  to  

the  UN  Danny  Gillerman,  who  told  the  New  York  Times  in  February  2008:    

“  The  real  fear  is  not  that  the  Iranians  will  be  crazy  enough  or  
stupid  enough  to  launch  a  missile  at  Israel,  but  that  they  will  have  
no  compunction  about  providing  rouge  regimes  and  terror  
organizations  like  Hamas  and  Hezbollah  with  weapons  of  mass  
destruction”  (Benhorin  2008).  
Even  the  above  version  is  not  necessarily  realistic.  After  all,  if  Hezbollah,  (which  

is  a  very  capable  terrorist  organization),  obtains  CBW  from  Syria  or  Iran,  and  

uses  them  against  Israel,  the  retaliation  might  be  against  the  state  who’s  

“signature”  will  be  on  such  weapons;  thus  theoretically,  Israel  might  retaliate  

accordingly,  and…the  world  would  be  at  the  edge  of  a  nuclear  abyss.  On  February  

9,  2013  the  Israeli  PM  Netanyahu  urged  the  EU  to  join  other  nations  which  have  

already  declared  Hezbollah  a  terrorist  organization;  a  request  seconded  by  John  

Brennan  who  called  on  the  EU  to  take  “  proactive  action  to  uncover  Hezbollah’s  

infrastructure  and  disrupt  the  group’s  financing  schemes  and  operational  

networks  in  order  to  prevent  future  attacks.”  (Jerusalem  Post  Editorial  2013).  

Such  a  move  would  empower  the  EU  to  freeze  many  of  Hezbollah’s  assets.  

David  Siegel,  the  Israeli  Consul  General  to  the  U.S.  spoke  to  the  GOP  on  February  

13,  2013  and  added:    

“  Global  Jihadists  and  Al  Qaeda  are  coming  to  fight  in  Syria  on  both  
sides  of  the  divide…The  longer  this  continues,  the  more  deeply  
embedded  in  Syria  these  powerful  and  dangerous  organizations  
are…They’ll  take  [these  WMD  systems]  and  disappear  throughout  
the  Middle  East…We  won’t  let  terrorists,  who  are  the  most  
dangerous  in  the  world  –  Al  Qaeda,  Hezbollah  and  others  –  be  
equipped  with  the  most  dangerous  weapons  in  the  world”  (Stone  
Yet  another  related  question  is  whether  there  is  a  significant  difference  between  

the  WMD  terrorist  threat  to  Israel  from  Hezbollah,  and  the  WMD  threat  to  Israel  

from  Hamas.    On  August  10,  2012,  the  deputy  speaker  of  the  Palestinian,  newly  

elected  parliament  in  Gaza  Strip  Ahmad  Bahr,  was  heard  shouting:  

 “  Oh  Allah,  destroy  the  Jews  and  their  supporters.  Oh  Allah,  
Destroy  the  Americans  and  their  supporters.  Oh  Allah,  count  them  
one  by  one,  and  kill  them  all,  without  leaving  a  single  one.”  That  
cry  was  echoed  by  Yussuf  al  Sharafi,  a  Hamas  member  of  the  
Palestinian  Legislative  Council:  “  Allah,  take  the  Jews  and  their  
allies,  Allah,  take  the  Americans  and  their  allies…annihilate  them  
completely  and  do  not  leave  anyone  of  them  (Keyes  2012).  
This  kind  of  rhetoric  is  far  from  new,  in  view  of  the  continuous  conflict  with  

Israel.  This  conflict  is  currently  in  “remission”  due  to  the  agreement  reached  in  

November  2012.  Interestingly,  with  Khaled  Meshaal’s,  (the  supreme  Hamas  

leader’s),  refusal  to  back  Basir  Asad  in  failing  Syria,  the  safe  haven  Hamas  had  

there  was  terminated,  and  Hamas  operatives  had  to  look  for  new  alliances  and  

safe  havens  in  Egypt,  Turkey  and  Qatar.  However,  Hamas  emerged  from  the  

latest  confrontation  with  Israel  stronger  than  before,  and  with  a  degree  of  new  

support  within  its  Sunni  allies  in  the  Middle  East.  Moreover,  it  did  not  lose  its  

support  from  the  Shia’  Iran  and  Hezbollah  and  in  the  future,  Israel  will  have  to  

confront  a  better-­‐armed  Hamas.  While  the  chance  of  reconciliation  between  the  

Fatah  and  Hamas  went  amiss  (in  fact,  none  of  the  involved  parties  was  

interested:  Fatah  was  afraid  of  being  overrun  by  Hamas,  Hamas,  did  not  want  

anything  to  do  with  possible  peace  negotiations  with  Israel);  and  Israel  too  

would  arguably,  rather  see  the  division  in  the  Palestinian  camp  as  an  ongoing,    

reassuring  that  the  Palestinian  will  not  unify  as  a  single  entity;  harder  to  deal  

with.  Furthermore,  Hamas,  in  a  way  like  Hezbollah,  is  not  a  monolithic  entity.  

While  it  is  interested  in  resistance,  it  is  also  interested  in  politics,  (very  possibly  

more  interested  in  politics  than  resistance).  Indeed,  its  involvement  and  

attempted  help  to  the  Palestinian  civilization  (medical,  educational  etc.)  is  no  

way  near  the  infrastructure  developed  by  the  Hezbollah  in  Lebanon,  but  it  can  

not  be  disregarded.  (Shaikh  2012).  Back  in  January  2009,  an  arms  convoy  on  its  

way  from  Iran  to  the  Gaza  Strip  was  destroyed  in  Sudan’s  eastern  Red  Sea,  by  an  

“unidentified”  aircraft.  In  April  2011,  alleged  smugglers  of  a  shipment  of  Iranian-­‐  

made  mustard  and  other  nerve  agent,  were  killed  in  Port  Sudan  by  a  mysterious  

aircraft  strike.  Israel  denied  comment  (Israeli  Strikes  Kill  WMD-­‐related  Hamas  

2011).  All  this  information,  even  if  true,  is  at  best  anecdotal.  There  are  no  public  

statements  by  Israeli  officials  regarding  WMD  threat  from  either  Hamas  or  

Hezbollah.  Although  in  truth,  Hezbollah  posits  a  grave  potential  danger  to  both  

the  U.S.  and  Israel,  this  threat  does  not,  at  this  time,  include  WMD.  Moreover,  in  a  

relatively  recent  statement  (September  3,  2012)  Hassan  Nasrallah  openly  

declared  that  the  Hezbollah  does  not  have,  and  does  not  need  WMD  to  pummel  

Israel  in  a  war.  (Hezbollah:  We  Don’t  Have  Chemical  Weapons  2012).  

The  WMD  terrorist  danger  to  Israel  may  be  smaller  than  the  danger  to  US.  While  

the  imminent  threat  to  the  United  States  is  mostly  from  al  Qaeda  (and  very  

currently  also  from  North  Korea),  the  WMD  threat  to  Israel  is  mostly  from  Iran,  

and  it  is  not  very  likely  that  Iran,  or  any  other  Middle  Eastern  country,  may  

release  WMD  into  the  unpredictable  hands  of  terrorists.  At  the  same  time,  the  

great  difference  between  al  Qaeda  as  a  non-­‐state,  transnational  actor,  and  

Hezbollah,  which  has  evolved  into  a  guerrilla  type  insurgency;  deeply  involved  in  

a  “legitimate”  political  system  in  Lebanon  -­‐  is  that  while  Hezbollah  presents  a  

grave  potential  future  danger  to  the  U.S.,  EU  and  other  parts  of  the  world  -­‐  at  this  

time,  Hezbollah  is  carefully  building  its  infrastructure  in  Latin  America,  EU,  the  

U.S  and  other  parts  of  the  world.  Hezbollah  is  currently  focused  on  twin  activity:  

political  and  social  activity  within  Lebanon,  and  diversified  criminal  activity  

elsewhere  as  part  of  Transnational  Organized  Crime  (Hezbollah  in  Latin  America  

2011).  Although  it  is  theoretically,  like  al-­‐Qaeda  interested  in  expelling  the  West  

from  the  Middle  East,  it  is  presently  unlikely  to  participate  in  overt  and  large  

terrorist  attacks  against  the  U.S.  The  future  however,  may  be  holding  some  very  

unpleasant  surprises  from  Hezbollah  to  the  West.  While  some  may  suggest  that  

Hezbollah  is  more  likely  to  get  politically  assimilated  in  the  Lebanese  society,  

such  development  is  not  very  likely,  because  Hezbollah  is  manipulated  by  Iran.  If  

Iran  will  become  involved  in  a  regional  war  due  to  its  nuclear  ambitions,  

Hezbollah  might  be  accordingly,  activated  to  attack  not  only  Israel.  It  may  be  

requested  also,  to  stage  terrorist  attacks  in  the  U.S.  and  elsewhere.  However,  it  

should  be  clear  that  no  matter  what  terrorist  group  is  threatening  the  United  

States  -­‐  no  terrorist  threat  to  the  U.S.  is  truly  existential.  The  U.S.  can  survive  

much  more  than  a  single  terrorist  attack  of  any  kind.  Unfortunately,  this  is  not  

necessarily  the  Israeli  situation.  Thus,  however  theoretically  small  is  the  WMD  

threat  to  Israel  –  it  cannot  be  disregarded.  This  section  did  not  expand  on  the  

theoretical  threat  to  Israel  from  transnational,  al  Qaeda  type  of  terrorism.  At  

present  time,  the  Israeli  IC  carefully  monitors  such  threat.  The  GSS  has  a  

dedicated  al  Qaeda  section,  and  it  is  probably  true  that  the  same  can  be  said  

about  the  rest  of  the  Israeli  IC.  As  it  turns  out  –  it  is  Hamas,  of  all  things,  that  

blocks  any  current  al  Qaeda  foothold  in  the  West  Bank  and  Gaza.    

Not  out  of  love  for  Israel  though…  

XIII.  The  Israeli  Counterterrorism  Apparatus  

Israel  has  been  affected  by  terrorism  from  its  very  birth  as  a  nation  –  on  every  

level.  Terrorism  affects  directly  and  indirectly  most  of  Israeli  government  

ministries  and  institutions.  It  is  arguably  true  that  every  Israeli  share  part  of  the  

daily  burden  of  terrorism.  However,  the  coping  framework  that  Israeli  

authorities  developed  in  order  to  deal  with  this  threat  is  divided  between  three  

dimensions:  intelligence,  security  and  civilian.  This  part  of  the  paper  will  focus  

mainly  on  the  offensive  dimension  of  the  Israeli  model  and  thus  the  intelligence  

and  security  dimensions.  

The  Israeli  intelligence  community  is  constructed  from  three  separate  entities:  

Military  Intelligence  (a.k.a.  Israel  Defense  Intelligence,  IDI,  know  also  as  AMAN);  

the  Institute  for  Special  Operations  (Mossad);  and  the  Israeli  General  Security  

Service  aka  Israel  Security  Agency  (GSS  aka  ISA  aka  Shabak  or  Shin  Bet).  The  

Israeli  National  Police  (INP),  as  well  as  the  Department  of  Political  Research  of  

the  Ministry  of  Foreign  Affairs  are  not  an  official  part  of  the  IIC,  but  the  INP  is  a  

de  facto  participant;  and  has  been  known  to  generate  its  own  CT  leads  and  cases,  

through  special  intelligence  and  CT  units    (e.g.  YAMAM  or  TZASMA  a.k.a.  Tzevet  

Samim  Mivttzai  Artzi,  which  originally  was  a  national  anti-­‐drug  unit  in  the  1970s  

and  1980s.).  

In  spite  of  the  fact  that  all  above-­‐mentioned  entities  share  the  task  of  fighting  and  

thwarting  terrorism  as  one  of  their  missions,  counterterrorism  per  se,  is  the  

main  mission  of  the  GSS.  And  the  GSS  is  accepted  as  the  first  and  foremost  

authority  with  regard  to  counterterrorism.  

“  In  principle,  the  GSS  jurisdiction  was  limited  to  the  State  of  Israel  
and  the  occupied  territories;  Aman  was  responsible  for  Arab  
countries  and  the  Middle  East;  and  Mossad  handled  special  
operations  and  intelligence  in  the  rest  of  the  world.  The  problem  
with  this  division  is  that  in  order  to  enhance  their  reputation,  
prove  their  importance,  and  secure  resources,  intelligence  
organizations  tend  to  compete  with  one  another.  Thus,  when  they  
identify  a  promising  lead,  they  tend  to  overlook  geographical  
boundaries”  (Pedahzur  2009,  71).  
Moreover,  when  a  promising  lead  is  identified  by  one  of  these  agencies,  there  

still  is  to  some  degree,  an  inherent  tendency  to  develop  such  lead  alone,  without  

sharing;  despite  specific  operational  needs  (such  as  SIGINT  or  VISINT,  that  can  

be  best  performed  by  IDI/AMAN).  In  the  very  same  manner,  while  the  GSS,  often  

reached  out  of  Israel  and  the  occupied  territories,  using  human  assets  it  obtained  

through  its  cover  of  various  foreign  individuals,  posted  in  Israel.  Both,  the  GSS  

and  the  Mossad  occasionally  developed  promising  leads  linked  to  the  occupied  

territories,  and  even  more  so,  to  Israel’s  neighbors  (e.g.  Jordan,  Syria  or  

Lebanon),  which  arguably,  should  have  been  AMAN’s  domain,  according  to  the  

official  IDI  mandate.    

“  An  examination  of  the  relations  among  the  Israeli  intelligence  
agencies…shows  that  often  at  the  root  of  their  disagreements  have  
nothing  to  do  with  intelligence  or  operational  matters  at  all,  but  
are  the  expression  of  generic  problems  in  public  organizations,  
which  tend  to  be  highly  territorial  and  compete  over  prestige  and  
resources.  These  problems  are  far  from  being  exclusive  to  Israel  ”  
(Pedahzur  2009,  74).  
The  above  description  is  no  longer  entirely  adequate.  Following  the  2006,  second  

Lebanon  war,  a  rethinking  prompted  by  Hezbollah’s  relative  success,  prompted  

reorganization  within  the  GSS,  which  led  to  a  much  improved  paradigm  of  


“  Shin  Bet  [aka  GSS]  began  to  work  closely  with  special  police  
counterterrorism  units…The  IDF  and  police  were  brought  inside  
Shin  Bet’s  command  center  to  ensure  that  they  had  access  to  all  
information.  Local  commanders  could  reach  out  directly  to  Shin  
Bet  regional  leaders,  decentralizing  (and  thus  speeding  up)  
information  sharing…the  situation  is  hardly  perfect.  There  is  still  
fighting  over  scarce  SIGINT  assets,  and  Shin  Bet  relies  on  the  IDF  
for  aerial  surveillance  and  other  expensive  platforms…Yet  by  the  
standards  of  U.S.  intelligence,  where  coordination  is  more  
cumbersome,  Israel’s  sharing  of  information  is  impressive”  
(Byman  2011,  343).  
The  changes  the  GSS  has  gradually  enacted  were  possibly  based  not  only  on  

Israeli  innovative  thinking,  but  also  on  lessons  learned  from  the  post  9/11  

reorganization  of  the  U.S.  CT  struggle.  Israel  realized  that  it  should  create  a  

single,  central  headquarters  for  the  struggle  with  terrorism,  like  the  CTC,  but  

with  certain  specific,  Israeli  adjustments.  These  were  outlined  in  Pedahzur’s  


“…instead  of  implementing  organizational  reforms  that  will  end  up  
in  a  new  series  of  struggles  between  the  various  agencies…the  idea  
is  to  establish  a  main  headquarters  for  the  struggle  against  
terrorism  that  will  serve  as  a  hub  of  a  network  that  will  send  out  
its  arms  to  each  and  every  one  of  the  various  intelligence  and  
thwarting  forces…it  will  enable  daily  coordination…and  rapid  
deployment  of  the  necessary  resources  when…a  threat  is  detected  

by  one  of  the  intelligence  organizations.  Representatives  of  all  the  
forces  in  charge  of  coping  with  terrorism  will  be  stationed  full-­‐
time  at  the  headquarters.  Their  job  will  be  real  time  
coordination…”  (Pedahzur  2009,  146).  
 The  GSS  collects,  analyzes,  assesses  the  terrorism  related  intelligence,  and  

evaluates  the  threats.  It  formulates  and  disseminates  concrete  warnings  

regarding  the  likelihood  of  terrorist  attacks.  The  intelligence  products  are  also  

used  in  preparation  of  offensive  and  defensive  activity  against  terrorist  

organizations.  While  the  GSS  is  sometimes  paralleled  with  the  FBI,  such  

comparison  is  somewhat  flawed.  The  GSS,  is  less  concerned  with  law  

enforcement  and  forensic  aspects,  which  are  the  forte  of  the  FBI.  Although  the  

GSS  interrogates  its  suspects  and  investigates  cases  of  terrorism  or  espionage,  it  

has  relatively  lower  interest  in  the  procedure  of  indictment  and  the  prosecution  

of  the  suspects;  it  attempts  to  produce  a  constant  flow  of  actionable  intelligence,  

and  thwart  terrorism;  any  other  tasks  are  arguably,  secondary.  To  arrests  its  

suspects  in  terrorism,  the  GSS  collaborates  with  the  INP,  IDF’s  Special  Forces  and  

the  Border  Patrol.  When  a  terror  suspect  is  ready  for  indictment,  he/she  is  often  

passed  to  the  police  to  deal  with  most  of  the  aspects  of  the  arrests  and  prisoner  

transfer.  The  GSS  has  its  own  prosecutors,  which  often  work  as  a  team  with  

Israel’s  Attorney  General’s  office  and  the  police  to  reach  indictment,  prosecution  

and  eventually  -­‐  incarceration.  

The  Israel  National  Police  has  the  mandate  over  internal  security  in  Israel,  and  as  

such  it  has  a  responsibility  to  prevent  terrorist  attacks  within  Israel.  It  shares  

with  the  GSS  the  reasonability  for  foiling  and  thwarting  terrorist  attacks,  either  

by  acting  upon  intelligence  from  the  GSS  or  other  branches  of  the  IC,  or  by  acting  

on  its  own  intelligence  and  by  proactively  locating  and  neutralizing,  prospective  

attackers  on  their  way  to  their  targets.    The  INP  is  also  entrusted  with  securing  of  

sensitive  facilities,  crowded  areas,  as  well  as  providing  emergency  management  

to  attack  sites,  following  an  attack.  The  INP  operates  a  large  number  of  highly  

qualified  bomb  squads,  capable  of  responding  to  multiple  and  simultaneous  

alerts  regarding  “suspected  objects,”  with  the  objective  being  -­‐  neutralizing  IEDs  .  

The  INP  also  provides  all  forensic  services  through  its  Identification  and  Forensic  

Science  Division.  (Ganor  2007,  277).  

During  the  1950’s  the  INP  has  established  the  Border  Patrol  (BP  a.k.a.  Mishmar  

Hagvul  or  MAGAV)  as  an  auxiliary  arm,  which  at  that  time  was  responsible  for  

the  safety  of  villages  located  close  to  Israel’s  “green  line  “  borders.  Currently,  the  

BP  is  used  to  augment  the  police  during  large-­‐scale  public  events.  It  also  

augments  the  IDF  by  patrolling  and  helping  to  preserve  the  order  in  the  West  

Bank,  and  along  the  Gaza  Strip  “border”  with  Israel.  The  BP  hosts  the  YAMAM,  

which  is  a  highly  trained  SF  unit,  tasked  with  a  variety  of  kinetic  missions  such  as  

the  interception  and  arrests  of  terrorist  suspects,  and  intervention  in  hostage  

situations.  The  Yamam,  which  is  located  in  more  than  a  single  base,  also  serves  as  

an  equivalent  of  S.W.A.T.  to  augment  the  INP’s  during  problematic,  criminal  


The  Israeli  Defense  Forces  (IDF)  are  responsible  for  protecting  Israel’s  borders,  

from  foreign  invaders.  Currently,  it  focuses  on  preventing  terrorist  penetration  

to  Israel,  controlling  the  West  Bank,  and  preventing  Palestinian,  terrorist  

infiltration  of  Israel,  from  Gaza  and  the  West  Bank.  The  IDF  is  tasked  with  

conducting  offensive  kinetic  activity  against  terrorist  organizations  wherever  

they  are:  in  Gaza,  West  Bank  and  in  Arab  states  that  sponsor  terrorism.  

Both  the  IDF  and  the  INP  created  a  number  of  units  specializing  in  undercover  

and  overt  operations  aimed  at  the  apprehension  or  the  killing  of  terrorist  leaders  

and  combatants,  within  their  Palestinian  strongholds.  (e.g.  units  like  Duvdevan,  

Shimshon,  Yamas,  Gideonim  etc.).    While  the  main  mission  of  the  IDF  is  to  protect  

the  sovereign  borders  of  Israel  from  external  attack  by  a  hostile  nation/s;  as  part  

of  the  lessons  learned  from  the  1991  Iraq  Gulf  war,  a  new  reality  had  to  be  

recognized:  the  external  borders  could  not  stop  missiles  and  the  HAGA  

Command  (Civil  Defense)  which  was  linked  to  the  IDF,  was  found  insufficient,  (in  

size,  capability  and  authority)  in  view  of  the  new  threats  to  the  homeland.    In  

1992,  the  Israeli  government  decided  to  create  the  Homeland  Front  Command  

(HFC),  which  has  been  created  as  an  integral  part  of  the  IDF;  its  commander  has  

a  dual  sub  ordinance:  directly  to  the  IDF’s  COS    (Chief  of  Staff)–  as  part  of  the  IDF,  

and  directly  to  the  Minister  of  Defense.  This  unique  structure  gave  the  new  

command  all  the  independence  and  the  respective  responsibilities  of  an  IDF  

combatant  command.  As  such  it  focused  on  the  protection  of  the  civilian  

population  of  Israel  in  times  of  war,  massive  terrorist  attacks  (e.g.  during  the  

2006  war  with  the  Hezbollah),  as  well  as  in  case  of  natural  disasters.  The  HFC  

became  the  first  and  foremost  authority  on  Civil  Defense  in  Israel.  It  is  assisted  

by  the  voluntary  police  units  of  Civil  Guard,  (also  known  as  MASH’AZ  aka  

Mishmar  Ezrahi),  and  other  voluntary,  and  semi-­‐voluntary  organizations  (e.g.  the  

Israeli  equivalent  of  the  Red  Cross:  MDA  a.k.a.  Magen  David  Adom  etc.).  The  new  

command  can  arguably,  and  to  a  limited  degree,  be  seen  as  a  rough,  Israeli  

equivalent  of  the  U.S.  National  Guard.  One  of  the  additional  objectives  of  the  HFC  

is  to  relieve  the  IDF  regional  commanders  of  their  partial  responsibility  for  the  

civilian  population’s  safety  in  wartime,  which  they  had  until  1992.  The  creation  

of  the  HFC  liberated  the  regional  IDF  commanders  from  much  of  their  internal  

obligations;  thus  allowing  the  IDF  to  focus  solely  on  protecting  Israel  outwards.  

(Israelis  and  Americans  2013).    

XIV.  The  Shaping  of  Israel’s  counterterrorism  paradigm.  

 Counter  terrorism  experts  like  Boaz  Ganor  and  Ami  Pedahzur  correctly  claim,  

that  Israel  has  never  developed  a  straightforward,  coherent,  official  doctrine  for  

counterterrorism.  Various  policy  makers  and  heads  of  the  security  apparatuses,  

held  various  opinions  regarding  the  goals  and  the  means  to  be  defined  in  the  

struggle  with  Palestinian  terrorism.  Some  of  the  hawkish  Israeli  leaders  believe  

that  terrorism  can  be  eliminated  completely,  by  adhering  to  the”  war  model.”  

Others  argue  that  terrorism  can  be  contained,  only  well  enough,  not  to  affect  

policymakers.  Yet  others  suggest,  that  although  terrorism  could  indeed  be  

eliminated  through  the  war  model,  such  approach  is  not  practical  due  to  the  

constraints  imposed  by  the  international  community  (Pedahzur  2009,  3).    

The  supporters  of  the  war  model  prevailed  over  the  past  sixty-­‐five  years;  

however,  it  is  not  to  say,  that  there  were  no  periods  of  defensive  attitude  to  

counterterrorist  struggle.  In  fact  if  anything  characterizes  the  Israeli  CT  model,  it  

is  rather  its  lack  of  consistency  and  its  lack  of  coherence,  (and  thus  the  lack  of  

narrow,  focused,  definition  of  the  final  ends  to  be  achieved  and  the  consistent  

application  of  chosen  means,  until  the  goal  is  reached).  In  fact  as  Ganor  posits,  

“…[during]  1994-­‐2000…the  Israelis  emphasized  using  all  means  

necessary  to  deal  with  terrorism,  cripple  the  ability  of  terrorists  to  
carry  out  attacks,  and  reduce  terrorism’s  influence  on  the  morale  
of  the  Israeli  public…[but]  When  decision  makers  realized  that  
fundamentalist  Islamic  groups  were  continuing  their  showcase  
attacks  on  Israel,  and  the  [Palestinian]  Authority  was  not  making  
use  of  its  capabilities,[to  use  its  own  militia  to  arrest  terrorists  –  as  

agreed],  Israel’s  policies  underwent  a  change:  security  apparatuses  
would  now  operate  within  the  [Palestinian]  autonomy,  although  in  
a  discreet  manner.  Under  cover  units  and  Special  Forces  
concentrated  on  eliminating  senior  terrorist  leaders…In  October  
1994,  after  a  suicide  attack…  Yitzhak  Rabin  announced  that  he  had  
directed  the  security  forces  to  eliminate  terrorist  leaders.”  (Ganor  
2007,  279).  
Moreover,  this  opinion  is  strongly  seconded  by  Avraham  Shalom  and  Yuval  

Diskin  two  of  the  former  heads  of  the  Israeli  General  Secret  Service  (GSS  aka  

SHABAK),  clearly  state  in  interviews,  that  when  it  comes  to  making  a  final  

decision  regarding  a  CT  operation  –  Israeli  politicians  (many  of  whom  were  

former  generals)  expect  the  Shabak,  military  or  else  to  present  them  with  an  

option  which  is  agreed  upon  by  all  –  so  that  they  don’t  have  to  be  the  once  to  

make  the  final  decision,  and  thus  take  the  responsibility,  and  often  the  ultimate  

blame  for  the  results.  Yet  these  decisions  are  always  tactical,  never  strategic  (The  

Gatekeepers  2013).  

However,  not  long  after  Israel’s  counterterrorism  apparatus  engaged  in  frequent  

targeted  killing  of  terrorist  leaders  and  specific  combatants,  it  became  clear  that  

the  deterrence  effect  that  Israel  expected  to  achieve  through  the  implication  of  

this  method,  failed  to  deter  the  Hamas  and  other  terrorist  factions.  In  fact  the  

opposite  better  exemplifies  the  result  of  the  application  of  this  paradigm.  In  fact,  

Israel  failed  to  deter  suicide  terrorism  through  the  application  of  targeted  

killings  and  other,  nonlethal  and  punitive  CT  methods  (e.g.  house  demolitions,  

enhanced  interrogations,  deportations,  administrative  detentions,  etc.).  

However,  this  failure  does  not  suggest  that  ‘suicide  terrorism  deterrence’  is  

outright  impossible.  It  only  suggests  that  Israel  has  not  found  the  “right  formula”  

to  attain  such  deterrence,  till  this  very  day.    

“…it  is  reasonable  to  conclude  that  Israel’s  deterrent  policies  were  
not  effective.  While  offensive  and  defensive  actions  achieved  
impressive  successes  in  thwarting  attacks,  the  total  number  of  
attempts  was  not  reduced,  and  indeed  it  increased.  If  the  objective  
of  Israeli  actions  was  to  deter  the  organizations,  their  leaders,  and  
their  operatives  from  carrying  out  suicide  attacks…the  objective  
was  not  fulfilled.  In  spite  of  this,  it  is  not  possible  to  conclude…  that  
it  is  necessarily  impossible  to  deter  terrorists  or  suicide  bombers,  
only  that  the  tactics  used  by  Israel  did  not  achieve  this  objective  
and  that  efforts  must  be  made  to  tailor  new  methods  to  the  unique  
challenges  of  suicide  bombings”  (Ganor  2007,  281).  
Existing  data  suggests,  that  although  the  long-­‐term  objective  of  deterrence  and  

ending  terrorism  in  general  (and  suicide  terrorism  in  particular),  was  not  

obtained,  Israel’s  immense  thwarting  efforts  were  not  entirely  lost  on  the  

adversaries,  nor  on  the  Israeli  public.  In  fact,  the  Israeli  public,  consistently,  gives  

the  GSS  and  IDF  a  100  percent,  unequalled  trust.  (Byman  2011,  344).  

For  one  thing,  the  terrorists  understood  that  Israel’s  resolve  is  undiminished,  

and  that  continued  terrorism,  (which  was  unprecedented  in  scope  between  2001  

and  2005),  is  unlikely  to  break  the  Israeli  resolve  and  its  public  resilience.  

Moreover,  it  is  definitely  unlikely  to  bring  about  the  collapse  of  the  Israeli  society  

and  state,  nor  is  it  advancing  in  any  way,  any  negotiated  solution  to  the  

Palestinian  problem.  

Secondly,  targeted  killings  offered  the  Israeli  population  in  general  and  those  

directly  affected  by  acts  of  terrorism,  some  sense  of  “rough  justice”  being  done.  

This  in  turn,  also  caused  the  respective  prime  minister  and  his  cabinet  to  retain  

the  political  power  and  popular  support.  However,  targeted  killing  and  other  

non-­‐lethal  CT  measures  used  by  Israel  were  also  a  widely  used  reason  for  

international  criticism  and  political  pressure.  

Moshe  Ya’alon,  a  former  IDF  COS  (2002-­‐2005)  contends  that  terrorism  can  be  

ultimately  defeated  through  the  war  model,  if  the  application  of  this  model  is  

prolonged  and  continuous.  He  suggests  that  capitulation  to  terrorism  only  

generates  more  terror.  Indeed,  in  1983,  when  the  Hezbollah  bombed  the  Marine  

barracks  outside  Beirut,  the  U.S.  (and  the  French)  immediately  pulled  out  from  

Lebanon,  where  they  were  applied  as  a  U.N.  Peace  keeping  force.    Not  Hezbollah,  

nor  Iran,  has  ever  “  paid”  for  this  horrible  act.  In  another  case,  in  1989,  after  

spending  ten  years  attempting  to  establish  firm  foothold  in  Afghanistan,  the  

Soviet  army  withdrew.  These  withdrawals  were,  and  still  are  used  as  a  proof  of  

Islam’s  victory  and  they  encouraged  Islamists  to  pursue  new  non-­‐Islamic  targets,  

considered  to  be  a  threat  to  Islam.  This  later  led  to  the  creation  of  al  Qaeda  and  

eventually,  to  the  horrors  of  September  11,  2001.  

The  Israeli  pull-­‐out  from  Lebanon  in  2000,  closely  followed  by  Hezbollah’s  

occupation  of  most  of  Lebanon;  as  well  as  the  Israeli  pull-­‐out  of  the  Gaza  Strip  in  

2005,  gave  further  impetus  to  terror  organizations  and  eventually  led  to  the  

“legalization”  of  Hamas,  as  the  “true  representative”  of  the  Palestinian  population  

of  the  Gaza  Strip  -­‐  through  the  2006  elections.  All  these  examples  show  that  

giving  up  to  terrorism  does  not  quench  terrorism’s  blood  thirst;  on  the  contrary,  

it  invigorates  it.  The  issue  eventually  boils  down  to  the  effect  such  “retreats”  or  

pullbacks  have  on  the  resilience  of  the  civilian  public.  The  respectable  

democratic  society  (i.e.  Israeli  or  American,  for  example)  must  be  and  remain,  

psychologically  resilient.    

 ”[it]…  must  be  able  to  absorb  terror’s  costs  economically,  

emotionally,  and  in  terms  of  lives  lost  –  rather  than  surrender  to  it.  
Democratic  societies  are  uniquely  susceptible  to  terrorism  and  can  
be  easily  manipulated  by  terrorists.  A  perfect  example…occurred  
in  Spain,  where  the  public  responded  to  the  2004  Madrid  train  
bombings  by  electing  a  government  that  immediately  withdrew  
Spanish  troops  from  Iraq.”  (Yaalon  2007,  10).  

The    terrorism  expert  Ami  Pedahzur,  contends  also  that  terrorized  public,  that  is  

unsatisfied  with  its  government  response  to  terrorism  can  terminate,  or  shorten  

the  political  careers  of  the  elected  leadership.  Thus  the  leadership  feels  under  

pressure  to  counter  the  psychological  impact  of  terrorism  on  the  public.    


 “…defensive  model”  has  proven  to  be  successful  in  offering  

physical  protection  to  civilian  centers.  Yet  applying  it  is  usually  a  
long  process,  sometimes  much  longer  than  the  tenure  of  an  elected  
policymaker.  Hence  it  does  not  have  the  same  impact  of  the  war  
model….Successful  offensive  operations,  which  take  place  
immediately  after  a  terrorist  attack,  reassure  the  terrorized  public,  
boost  morale,  and  carry  political  perks  that  are  very  appealing  for  
elected  officials”  (Pedahzur  2009,  8).  
The  assumption,  that  the  “war  model”  does  not  offer  a  real  solution  to  the  

problem  constantly  creates  constant  pressures  to  “  innovate;”  meaning:  to  come  

up  with  some  “new  trick,”  new  CT  method,  that  will  prove  more  efficient  in  

answering  the  terrorist  challenge.  In  Israel,  this  challenge  is  often  exemplified  by  

the  competition  among  the  various  branches  of  the  IC  and  the  special  CT  units.  

Innovation  is  important  in  order  to  remain  ‘relevant’  and  to  assure  continued  

flow  of  funds  to  the  respective  organization  or  unit.  Although  such  competition  

encourages  “out  of  the  box”  thinking,  it  may  at  times  be  destructive,  by  way  of  

creating  unwillingness  to  share  knowledge  and  information.  One  of  the  

manifestations  of  this  problem  in  Israel  was  the  unhealthy  competition  between  

Special  Forces  units.  Such  competition  often  ignored  the  respective  unit’s  specific  

fortes  and  caused  choosing  another  unit,  despite  of  it  objectively  being  less  

suitable  for  the  task  at  hand.  The  war  model,  in  its  CT  application  relies  on  highly  

sophisticated  technological  minor-­‐tactical-­‐warfare,  which  is  considered  better  

for  CT  operations,  than  the  use  of  traditionally  oriented  and  equipped  army  

units.  This  claim  can  be  exemplified  by  the  past  frequent  use  of  the  IDF’s  special  

forces  elite  unit,  named  SAYERET  MATKAL,  in  many  complex  operations,  for  

which  (in  spite  of  this  units  near  phenomenal  versatility  and  adaptability)  –  this  

unit  was  not  always  the  best  choice.  The  competition  was  often  vis  a’  vis  the  

INP’s  afore  mentioned,  YAMAM.  While  SAYERET  MATKAL  is  agreeably  a  great  

unit,  it  does  not  specifically,  specialize  in  say,  hostages’  release  and  

counterterrorism  related  arrests,  through  its  everyday  training  and  missions.  It  

is  a  deep-­‐enemy-­‐territory-­‐penetration  intelligence  unit.  SAYERET  MATKAL  is  

very  famous  and  admired  (by  the  Israeli  public)  unit.  Moreover,  some  Israeli  

leaders  were  its  commanders,  while  in  the  IDF.  (E.g.  Binyamin  Netanyahu  and  

Ehud  Barak,  or  Moshe  Ya’alon).  It  is  thus  attributed  almost  mythological  

capabilities.  The  INP’s  YAMAM  was  established  with  its  reason  d’être  being  

counterterrorism.  It  became  internationally  highly  regarded  and  envied,  by  the  

much  more  powerful  IDF  which  favored  “  its  own”  SAYERET  MATKAL.  In  many  

cases,  the  YAMAM  was  the  first  one  to  arrive  and  be  ready  for  action  in  a  CT  

situation,  but  was  voted  down,  and  substituted  by  SAYERET  MATKAL.  (A  classic  

case  to  prove  this  point  is  the  Nahshon  Waxman/Wachsman  1994  abduction  and  

failed  release  attempt.  (Haberman  1994).  

The  prolonged  Israeli  and  worldly  experience  contends  that  no  swift  victory  is  

predictable  or  possible  in  the  war  against  terrorism.  The  public  must  be  aware  of  

the  fact  that  the  struggle  will  be  likely  very  long  and  with  many  casualties,  along  

the  way.  It  is  the  role  of  the  leadership  to  influence  the  civilian  public  on  the  

necessity  of  confronting  terrorism  continuously,  until  its  defeat  and  not  be  lured  

by  the  false  premises  of  some  form  of  appeasement,  capitulation  or  surrender.  

Furthermore,  even  if  public  is  being  readied,  the  leadership  and  even  more  so,  

the  military  leaders,  have  to  define  what  constitutes  a  victory  in  such  struggle.  

Surely  a  “decisive  victory”  is  not  one  attained  by  killing  a  single  person;  not  even  

a  person  like  bin  Laden.  

As  Moshe  Ya’alon  posits,  

 “  To  draw  an  analogy  from  boxing,  victory  over  terror  is  achieved  
through  winning  points  rather  than  knockouts.  A  “  decisive  
victory”  is  thus  gained  by  winning  various  tactical  engagements,  
reducing  the  overall  threat  to  civilians,  and  strengthening  the  
broader  society’s  resilience  in  the  face  of  terrorism”  (Ya’alon  2007,  
The  citizens  of  Western  democracies  expect  accountability  from  both  their  

political  and  military  leaders  and  often  blame  their  politicians  because  of  not-­‐  

timely  thwarted  terrorist  attacks.  Arguably,  this  may  be  seen  as  a  “psychological  

mechanism  that  allows  average  citizens  to  believe  that  they  retain  a  degree  of  

control  over  their  lives…through  participation  in  the  democratic  process”  

(Ya’alon  2007,11)  

Moreover,  civilians  expect  absolute  safety  promised  and  actually  obtained.  They  

have  hard  time  understanding,  that  in  face  of  terrorism,  such  guarantees  

available  are  non-­‐existent.  Foolproof  protection  is  impossible.  In  the  political  

world,  the  frustration  of  civilians  over  inability  to  foolproof  citizenry  against  

terrorism,  can  also  be  used  by  the  political  opposition  against  the  political  

leadership;  claiming  that  the  government,  that  was  in  power  at  the  time  of  given  

terrorist  attacks  was  ‘incompetent’  in  its  ‘war  against  terror.’  Such,  as  afore  

mentioned,  was  the  case  of  the  Spanish  government  that  fell  after  the  2004  

Madrid  train  bombings,  or  the  case  of  Benyamin  Netanyahu  and  the  Likud  

replacing  Shimon  Peres  as  PM  of  Israel,  after  the  1996  Hezbollah  suicide  

terrorist  campaign.  This  was  also  the  case  the  1999  Ehud  Barak’s  replacement  of  

Benyamin  Netanyahu.    

The  military  and  IC  leadership  as  well,  is  being  scrutinized  by  the  public  for  their  

use,  or  abuse  of  coercive  power.  In  a  democracy,  any  military/intelligence  entity  

is  limited  by  the  need  for  a  public  support  for  their  use  of  force.  This  is  the  

inherent  result  of  the  democratic  system  of  checks  and  balances.  In  this  respect,  

the  Israeli  public  is  no  different  from  other  democratic  publics.  It  has  been  for  

many  years,  split  regarding  the  attitude  to  the  Israeli  –  Palestinian  conflict.  The  

Israeli  public  is  split  over  two  main  issues:  the  future  outcome  of  the  said  conflict  

and  the  persuasion  of  some  Israelis,  that  “we  have  missed  opportunities”  to  

restore  peace,  by  way  of  a  two  state  solution.  

“  This  kind  of  division  hinders  the  development  of  a  necessary  

consensus  regarding  the  legitimacy  of  the  use  of  force.  Terrorists  
recognize  the  importance  of  legitimacy  in  democratic  states,  and  
the  Palestinians  exploited  it  to  manipulate  both  Israeli  and  
international  opinion,  thus  causing  major  problems  for  Israeli  
commanders”  (Ya’alon  2007,  14).  
No  matter  how  split  the  Israeli  public  was  in  April  2002,  it  reunited  in  the  face  of  

the  second  intifada,  and  PM  Ariel  Sharon,  defying  intelligence,  as  well  as  some  of  

his  first  line  generals,  sent  the  IDF  to  retake  the  West  Bank  despite  fears  of  

failure  and  massive  Israeli  casualties.  It  was  the  correct  choice,  as  a  tactical  

decision  to  stop  Yasser  Arafat’s  empty  promises  to  police  his  own  and  stop  the  

suicide  bombers  from  penetrating  Israel.  

“  Some  of  the  methods  were  brutal,  but  Operation  Defensive  Shield  
suppressed  Palestinian  terrorism,  including  Hamas  and  Fatah’s  
deadly  suicide  bombings.  Though  its  impact  was  not  fully  apparent  
until  three  years  later,  the  operation  restored  normalcy  on  both  
sides  of  the  green  line.  Even  though  the  second  intifada  claimed  
seven  times  as  many  Israeli  lives  as  the  Second  Lebanon  War,  most  

Israelis  seem  to  have  erased  it  from  their  memory”  (Issacharoff  
and  Harel  2012).  

Within  the  Israeli  CT  activities,  it  seems  reasonable  to  believe  in  offensively  

pursuing  and  thwarting  terrorist  activity,  within  their  immediate  surroundings.  

Operating  in  the  periphery  of  “terror  land”  allows  IDF  to  control  the  

circumstances  of  engagement.  IDF  keeps  the  initiative,  and  occasionally  achieves  

surprise.  Ya’alon  neatly  posits  that:    “All  these  lessons  emphasize  the  importance  

of  relaying  first  on  offense,  then  the  fence,  and  finally  defense  “  the  fence  being  the  

Israeli  Protective  Barrier  (  Ya’alon  2007,  15).  

Thus,  the  Israeli  operational  principles  of  counterterrorism  are:  

• Keeping  timely  Intelligence  as  the  heart  of  the  offense.  

Defensively/offensively  providing  real–time  information  leading  to  

successful  terrorist  interdiction  and  the  destruction  of  their  

infrastructure.  It  also  suggests  effective  collection  and  dissemination  of  

early  warnings.  The  offensive  kinetics  must  be  precise,  and  must  stress  

avoiding  collateral  damage.  

• Intelligence  and  information  First.  The  IDF  and  the  IC  must  have  the  

ability  to  obtain  and  convey  all-­‐source  intelligence:    VISINT,  SIGINT,  

HUMINT  OSINT  and  C4I  (Command,  control,  communications,  computers,  

and  information)  to  the  front  lines.  Only  by  integrating  intelligence  units  

and  wide-­‐source  information  can  be  effective  to  find,  fix  and  finish  the  

low-­‐signature  targets  exemplified  by  terrorists.  

•  Creativity  and  Flexibility  within  the  offensive  paradigm.      

Terrorists  are  uniquely  effective  in  avoiding  detection  or  escaping  after  

detection.  Since  the  different  means,  forces  and  platforms  used  to  detect,  

recognize  and  finish  terrorists  act  on  a  moment’s  notice,  this  is  indeed  an  

operational  problem.  Operational  units  must  thus  be  always  ready  for  a  fast  

deployment.  These  units  must  be  well  trained  and  highly  adaptable  to  

changing  conditions.  Moreover,  the  surprise  element  is  a  must  have;  without  

which  the  apprehension  of  terrorists  is  impossible.  Since  terrorists  prefer  to  

shield  themselves  by  non-­‐combatant  civilian  population,  they  notably  seek  

refuge  in  the  crowded  refugee  camps,  where  the  population  (which  often  

serves  as  their  lookouts),  also  aids  them.  Here  the  need  for  creativity,  on  the  

part  of  Special  Forces,  is  imminent  in  view  of  the  inherent,  suspicious  nature,  

of  terrorists  and  the  fact  that  they  quickly  learn  new  lessons  and  spread  any  

innovative  methods  seen  in  use  by  the  IDF.  Creativity  and  innovation  in  the  SF  

must  thus  be  constantly  encouraged  on  every  level.  The  leading  principal  is:  

“[the  one]  who  dares-­‐wins”…success  is  built  on  taking  risks,  and  a  single  

setback  should  not  warrant  a  return  to  the  defensive  mode  of  operation…”  

(Ya’alon  2007,  16).  Gaza  presents  a  unique  challenge:  the  decision  to  work  

from  the  periphery  –  in,  necessitates  the  use  of  targeted  killings  or  military  

incursions.  “  Because  no  freedom  of  movement  exists  (for  the  IDF),  arrest  

missions  such  as  conducted  in  the  West  Bank  are  nearly  impossible  in  Gaza.  

Any  arrest  operation  inside  Gaza,  would  necessitate  massive  troops,  unlike  

the  platoon-­‐size  operations  conducted  in  the  West  Bank.”  (Ya’alon  2007,  16).  

• The  role  of  defensive  measures  in  security  operations    

Defensive  measures  are  complementary  to  the  offensive  ones.  Such  measures  

are  highly  inconvenient  to  both  sides.  The  roadblocks,  curfews,  checkpoints  

and  closures  saved  many  Israeli  lives,  but  at  the  same  time  made  life  very  

difficult  to  the  Palestinian  civilian  population  and  these  control  means,  

continuously  create  deep  resentment  and  a  sense  of  humiliation,  in  the  

Palestinian  population;  as  well  as  harm  the  Palestinian  economy.  The  Security  

Barrier  has  proven  to  be  an  effective  defensive  system;  however,  although  it  

reduced  the  number  of  suicide  bomber  infiltrations  of  Israel,  this  system  is  

not  foolproof.  Terrorists,  by  default,  will  never  stop  looking  for  ways  to  

circumvent  any  defensive  system,  the  barrier  included.  (17).  

• Achieving  Security,  while  attempting  to  also    “Win  Hearts  and  Minds.”    

As  mentioned  before,  defensive  measures,  in  the  form  of  checkpoints  or  

closures,  as  well  as  outright  offensive  measures  like  targeted  killings,  

undermine  the  very  possibility  to  win  the  heart  and  minds  of  the  Palestinian  

population.    There  is  no  exact  formula  for  striking  the  balance,  so  very  

needed  between  the  “carrots  and  the  sticks.”  Thus,  the  fact  that  Palestinians  

for  example,  get  free  medical  care  in  Israeli  hospitals  pales  in  comparison  to  

the  everyday  buildup  of  hatred  and  humiliation.  Hearts  and  minds  will  not  be  

won  in  Gaza,  anytime  in  the  near  future.  This  however,  does  not  mean  that  

the  battle  for  hearts  &  minds  should  be  limited  to  Palestinians,  and  to  the  

current  generations  only.  Israel  must  continue  this  battle  for  the  hearts  and  

minds  of  the  international  community,  and  future  Palestinian  generations.  

This  must  be  done  by  better  understanding  of  the  Palestinian  plight;  strongly  

influencing  Israeli  peace-­‐related  perceptions  as  presented  by  the  various  

media  outlets;  as  well  as  a  conscious  educational  effort,  aimed  at  mitigating  

the  devastating  results  of  Palestinian  hateful,  anti-­‐Israeli,  anti-­‐Jew  and  anti-­‐

Zionism  “educational”  effort,  which  often  results  in  the  creation  of  new  

terrorist  cadres.  

• Safeguarding  “Arms  Purity”  at  War  (TOHAR  HANESHEK  in  Hebrew).  The  

struggle  with  terrorism  is  characterized  by  its  asymmetry.  While  Israel  is  

attempting  to  maintain  the  highest  moral  standards  possible,  terrorists  

inherently  play  by  a  different  set  of  rules,  or  arguably,  without  any  rules  

whatsoever.  Since  every  war,  by  its  very  nature,  poses  severe  challenges  to  the  

morality  of  the  adversaries,  in  the  Israeli-­‐Palestinian  context,  the  Israeli  and  

the  worldly  public  opinion  are  truly  judging  only  Israeli  morality.  Israeli  

military  and  IC  know,  that  it  is  extremely  important  to  display  high  moral  

standards  in  order  to  maintain  strong  resolve  as  a  moral  nation  and  to  

eventually,  prevail  in  the  long  battle  for  the  hearts  and  minds  of  the  Palestinian  

civilian  population.  In  spite  of  constant  criticism  by  other  democracies,  as  well  

as  by  other,  non-­‐democratic  nations,  the  IDF  and  the  IIC,  attempt  to  maintain  

the  highest  moral  standards,  in  the  face  of  public  scrutiny  regarding  the  use  of  

force  against  terrorist  organizations  acting  from  within  civilian  population  that  

protects  them,  despite  the  fact  that  in  reality,  terrorists  do  not  care  much  about  

the  fate  of  the  public.  In  the  case  of  Israel,  arguably  unlike  in  the  case  of  other  

nations  facing  terrorism,  the  whole  nation  is  at  war.  When  a  whole  society  is  at  

war,  the  use  of  force  by  that  society  is  heavily  criticized,  and  such  society  must  

do  its  very  best  to  preserve  this  society’s  peacetime  values,  no  matter  what.  

The  Bible  teaches  us  refrain  from  murder  and  killing,  while  the  Talmud  grants  

us  the  option  to  kill  first  –  in  self-­‐defense.  On  the  terrorism  “battlefield”  it  is  

sometimes  difficult  to  discern  right  from  wrongdoing.  Thus,  education  of  the  

whole  society,  and  especially,  those  directly  involved  in  the  fighting  -­‐  is  

necessary.  The  IDF  thus  stresses  the  education  of  the  ‘moral  rules  of  

engagement’s  on  this  unique  battleground,  especially  to  the  commanders  of  the  

various  military  units.  The  military,  intelligence  and  police  commanders  are  the  

role  models,  the  behavior  of  which  is  copied  by  their  subordinates.  High  

professional  conduct  must  be  maintained  at  all  cost.  However,  the  continuous  

situation  whereas,  Israel  is  constantly  fighting  within  civilian  areas  and  civilian  

population,  may  bring  about  a  dangerous  degree  of  desensitization.  Some  claim  

that  this  is  the  result  of  the  fighters’  survival  instinct  that  makes  Israelis  

capable  of  more  easily  enduring  the  complexity  of  this  battleground.  This  

unique  battleground  also  blurs  the  difference  between  civilians  and  combatants  

and  may  prevent  Israeli  soldiers  from  making  the  right  distinction  between  a  

terrorist  and  an  innocent  civilian.  Dehumanization  of  the  enemy;  the  perception  

that  the  enemy  is  inhuman,  evil,  because  he/she  is  himself,  or  is  a  supporter-­‐of  

suicide  bombings,  -­‐  is  easy.  Suicide  terrorism  makes  no  logical  ‘sense’  to  the  

Western  mind.  Thus  Israeli  soldiers  may  be  tempted  to  treat  any  Palestinian  

inhumanely.  Some  regrettably  do.    

“  Anyone  who  tells  you  that  there  were  no  moral  offenses  during  
the  [second]  intifada  is  lying.  Members  of  our  [Israeli]  forces  
deliberately  vandalized  property,  looted  and  stole.  We  also  killed  
people  by  mistake.  But  we  were  able  to  check  ourselves  and  mete  
out  punishment  where  necessary,  especially  when  people  
committed  offenses  that  were  not  just  judgment  errors  in  the  heat  
of  the  battle”  (Baram  in  Issacharoff  and  Harel  2012).  
It  is  also  possible  that  at  times,  soldiers  assume  that  all  their  actions  are  

inclusively  correct,  as  part  of  their  acting  in  “self  defense.”  Thus,  any  act  of  self-­‐

defense  or  attempt  to  survive,  may  be  assumed  as  moral.    

Combat  experience  is  another  factor  which  should  be  considered;  especially,    

when  considering  the  behavior  of  lower  ranks  and  younger  soldiers,  who  are  

often  inexperienced.  Some  suggest  that  youth  leads  to  a  tendency  to  characterize  

their  view  of  the  world  -­‐  in  terms  of  “black  and  white;”  with  little  or  no  “gray  

areas.”  Experiencing  the  Palestinian  adversary  in  black  and  white  only,  may  lead  

to  moral  mistakes  and  is  thus,  yet  another  challenge  to  the  commanders.  

XV.  Israel’s  Offensive  Counterterrorism  Tools:  Practical,  Moral  and  Legal    



Over  the  years  of  the  Israeli  –  Palestinian  conflict,  decision  makers  learned  that  it  

was  not  enough  to  examine  the  effectiveness  of  Israeli  counterterrorism  policy  in  

quantitative  terms  only.  Metrics  like  the  number  of  Israeli/Palestinian  casualties  

were  not  telling  enough,  when  the  leadership  had  to  face  also  international  and  

national  media  outlets  and  public  opinion.  Boaz  Ganor,  suggests  that  when  

examining  the  effectiveness  of  the  CT  struggle  it  is  valuable  to  consider  four  main  

terrorism-­‐related  factors:  counterterrorist  operational  capability;  motivation  to  

perpetrate  new  attacks;  group’s  internal  morale;  and  the  morale  of  the  

victimized,  targeted  population.  (Ganor  2005,  105-­‐111).  Accordingly,  several  

aspects  should  be  examined,  when  attempting  to  evaluate  the  CT  efforts:  

• Operational  Capability  –  the  degree  the  CT  actions  diminish  or  enhance  

terrorist  capability  to  perpetrate  attacks.  

• Damage  to  terrorists’  internal  image  –  damage  to  the  group’s  image  within  its  

civilian  population,  which  is  its  source  of  support,  funding  and  mobilization.  

• Damage  to  its  fundraising  capabilities  -­‐  how  does  the  CT  operations  affect  the  

group’s  capability  to  continue  their  financing  through  donations,  money  

laundering  and  through  various  criminal  activity.  

• Disrupting  the  administrative  capabilities  of  the  group  (training,  arming,  etc.  

whatever  is  needed  to  continue  operations).  

• To  what  degree  has  the  CT  action  contributed  to  limiting  group’s  freedom  of  


• Actual  damage  to  group’s  personnel,  resulting  from  the  CT  activity.  

• Motivation  -­‐  while  the  aim  of  CT  actions  is  to  diminish  the  terrorist’s  

motivation,  we  have  to  acknowledge  that  sometimes,  it  fires  back  and  

increases  the  motivation  to  perpetrate  new  attacks,  due  to  increased  

frustration  and  hatred  (towards  Israel/Jews).  

• Terrorist  group’s  internal  morale:  successful  CT  operations  aim  to  decrease  

the  group’s  morale  by  triggering  fear,  loss  of  confidence  in  group’s  

leadership,  leading  to  increased  fear  among  group  supporters  and  possibly  

leading  to  lesser  expectations  and  some  degree  of  openness  to  political  

compromise.  However,  CT  offensive  operations  may,  just  as  well,  have  the  

opposite  effect:  an  increased  stubbornness,  increased  daring,  increased  

mobilization  and  public  support  -­‐  as  a  blow  back  resulting  from  some  

offensive  tactics,  deemed  as  “too  much”  (e.g.  targeting  Hamas  political  


• Morale  of  those  who  suffer  from  the  acts  of  terror.  Terrorism  causes  

psychological  and  physical  damage.  The  civilian  population  targeted  by  

terrorists  expect  the  government  to  “get  justice  done”  by  hitting  at  the  attack  

perpetrators  in  retaliation  and  vengeance.  CT  operations  are  thus  also  

targeted  to  boost  popular  morale  and  support  for  the  political  leadership;  as  

well  as  to  intensify  the  national  resolve  to  stick  to  national  goals,  norms  and  



Targeted  Killings  

By  far,  the  most  controversial  counterterrorism  tool  is  the  Targeted  Killing  of  

terrorists.  This  terminology  is  relatively  new,  although  the  intentional  killing  of  

terrorist  leaders,  proponents  and  combatants  is  very  old;    in  truth,  it  can  be  

traced,  at  least,  as  far  back  as  the  Biblical  times  and  the  example  of  King  David  

ordering  the  killing  of  his  chief  of  staff  (Uriah  Hachette).  Throughout  history,  

assassinations  were  a  clandestine  political  tool,  used  by  a  wide  variety  of  

governments  not  necessarily  to  deal  with  terrorists,  but  rather  with  all  kinds  of  

politically  ‘unwanted  and  harmful’  dissidents  and  political  leaders.    Professor  

Steven  R.  David,  in  2002,  defined  the  difference  between  an  assassination  and  

targeted  killing.  Assassination  suggests  a  connotation  of  “  murder  by  treacherous  

means,”  which  is  arguably,  not  the  case  when  discussing  targeted  killing  of  

bloody-­‐handed  terrorists.  It  is  also  usually  accepted  that  “assassinations  relate  to  

the  killing  of  political  adversaries,  in  order  to  silence  legitimate  opposition.  

Terrorists,  who  target  and  indiscriminately  kill  innocents,  are  usually  not  

considered  as  “political  leaders”,  although  they  are  certainly  “political  players,”  

whether  we  like  it  or  not.  (David  2002,  2-­‐3).  Although  we  know  today  about  a  

number  of  assassinations  and  assassination  attempts,  carried  out  by  secret  

services  like  the  Soviet  KGB,  the  Russian  FSB,  the  CIA,  the  Israeli  Mossad,  and  

many  others;  such  actions  were  rarely  publicly  admitted  by  the  sponsoring  state.  

While  in  some  cases  they  were  conveniently  “leaked,”  so  the  gains  from  their  

attribution  to  the  right  party  could  be  obtained  (e.g.  retaliation,  deterrence  etc.)  

this  seldom  the  case.  The  common  denominator  of  these  actions  was  the  fact  that  

the  targeted  individuals  caused  an  unacceptable  degree  of  harm  to  a  nation,  or  

posed  a  real  political  threat  to  the  leadership  of  the  state  behind  the  killing;  yet,  

they  often  were  living  away  from  the  state  they  were  acting  against,  often  on  a  

constant  move  or  in  hiding  and  the  state  could  not  bring  them  to  public  trial.  In  

other  cases,  the  state  did  not  want  a  public  trial,  or  could  not  prove  their  “guilt”  

through  commonly  accepted  criminal  evidence,  that  they  indeed  deserve  to  die.  

Assassinations    (and  assassination  attempts)  were  at  times,  carried  out  also,  by  

sane  or  insane  individuals,  over  political,  religious  or  personal  issues  (e.g.  the  

assassination  of  Lincoln,  Lenin,  the  attempt  on  President  Reagan’s  life,  etc.).  

Assassinations  deprived  the  targeted  individual  from  the  due  process  of  law,  the  

fair  trial,  which  all  democracies  claim  to  assert  their  constituents.  While  Israel  

targeted  and  successfully  killed,  the  Black  September  terrorists  that  perpetrated  

the  1972  Munich  Olympic  Games  Massacre,  this  was  not  yet  called  “targeted  

killing.”  This  was  an  act  of  clandestine  retribution-­through-­execution.  In  fact,  after  

a  suicide  bombing  in  Tel  Aviv  in  1994,  which  killed  twenty-­‐one  Israelis  and  

injured  forty-­‐three,  Prime  Minister  Yitzhak  Rabin  openly  announced,  that  he  

directed  the  security  forces  to  eliminate  terrorist  leaders  that  organize  the  

terrorist  attacks.  (Ganor  2007.  In  Art  and  Richardson  2007,  279)  However,  it  was  

in  view  of  the  onset  of  the  second  intifada,  in  September  2000  and  the  spat  of  

high  intensity  and  magnitude,  suicide  bombings  by  Hamas,  the  Islamic  Jihad  and  

other  Palestinian  terrorist  factions,  that  Israel  has  openly  declared  the  targeted  

killing  of  terrorist  leaders  and  combatants  as  its  formal  and  overt  policy.  Since  

“assassination”  is  inherently  viewed  in  a  negative  context,  Israel  has  chosen  to  

use  “  targeted  thwarting”  or  “  interceptions”  instead  (Shapiro  2001).    The  

evolution  of  targeted  killings  since  1972  until  current  times  has  been  widely  

elaborated  on  by  many.  However,  even  the  highly  eloquent  explanations  offered  

by  Ganor,  does  not  render  the  reader  with  a  definitive  answer  to  whether  the  use  

of  this  method  is  legal  and  moral  or  not.  Due  to  the  fact  that  targeted  killings  are  

conducted  against  terrorist  entity,  which  is  not  directly  compatible  with  the  

worldly  experiences  of  WWII,  the  Geneva  Conventions,  and  the  deliberations  of  

the  International  Red  Cross  –  an  obscurity  arises  from  the  lack  of  new  tools,  new  

spectacles,  through  which  targeted  killings  of  terrorists  should  be  viewed.  Some  

of  the  main,  open  issues  are:  the  very  definition  of  terrorists;  are  they  to  be  

treated  according  to  the  laws  of  war,  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  they  are  “civilian  

combatants”  of  sorts?  The  Geneva  Conventions,  the  Red  Cross  and  the  

International  Courts  (e.g.  ICTY,  ICT,  ICC,  etc.)  were  meant  to  deal  with  armies,  

soldiers  and  civilians,  and  in  some  cases  -­‐  with  a  third  category:  insurgents  or  

guerrillas  –  but  not  “terrorists.”  Guerrillas  are  often  recognized  as  political  

players,  legitimately  representing  the  population  of  sovereign  states.  Currently,  

the  Hezbollah,  deemed  as  a  terrorist  group  by  Israel,  the  U.S.  and  some  of  the  

West,  indeed  represents  the  Palestinian  refugee  population  in  Lebanon;  while  

Hamas  is  arguably,  the  ‘true  representative’  of  the  Palestinian  population  of  the  

Gaza  Strip.  None  of  the  two  populations  mentioned,  is  recognized  as  a  sovereign  

people  or  state.  Thus  Israel,  in  its  decision  to  target  terrorists  that  plan,  help,  

train,  equip,  send  and  dispatch  those  who  actually  execute  terrorist  attacks  

against  Israel,  are  now  viewed  by  Israeli  authorities  as  anything  but  “guerrilla  

combatants”  -­‐  and  as  such,  Israel  occasionally,  kills  them  after  very  careful  

deliberation,  which  is  backed  by  Israel  Supreme  Court  rulings  (2004)  and  upon  

the  careful  approval  by  top  political  and  military  leadership.  This  does  not  solve  

some  critical  question.  Not  only  the  question  of  the  ‘legality’  of  targeted  killings,  

but  also  the  morality  of  it;  the  effectiveness  of  this  method  or  the  fate  of  the  

innocent  by-­‐standers,  commonly  referred  to  as  the  “collateral  damage.”  

The  policy  of  targeted  killing  is  consistent  with  Jewish  and  current  Israeli  law,  

and  is  considered  legal  with  most  of  the  current  interpretations  of  the  

International  Law.  David  posits’    

“  Regarding  Jewish  law,  the  “Rodef”  [assailant]  injunction  that  appears  in  the  

Bible  (Exodus  22:1)  makes  it  abundantly  clear  that  if  someone  is  coming  to  kill  

you,  you  are  obliged  to  kill  them  first.  This  obligation  applies  not  only  for  one’s  

protection,  but  for  the  defense  of  one’s  community  as  well.  As  such,  Jewish  law  

does  not  only  permit  killing  a  terrorist,  before  he  can  act  -­‐  it  requires  it  (David  

2002,  14).  

The  Israeli  law,  based  on  its  Basic  Law  (which  is  the  closest  Israeli  legislation  

ever  came  to  a  Constitution),  prohibits  the  violation  of  life  of  any  person,  yet  it  

states  that  this  provision  may  be  suspended  for  a  “proper  purpose,  and  to  extent  

no  greater  than  is  required…”  (Basic  Law1992,  150).  Prior  to  the  second  intifada,  

the  Prosecutor  General  (Attorney  General)  of  IDF  has  issued  three  conditions,  

which  were  mandatory  to  rendering  a  specific  targeted  killing  -­‐  legal:  the  name  

of  the  targeted  individual,  has  been  submitted  to  the  Palestinian  Authority  (PA),  

with  an  arrest  request,  which  was  thus  ignored  by  the  PA;  Israeli  authorities  

were  unable  to  arrest  the  said  individual  themselves;  and  the  killing  must  be  the  

only  way  to  prevent  an  imminent  future  terrorist  attack.  An  IDF  team  of  lawyers  

led  by  Daniel  Reisner  further  scrutinized  these  provisions.  (Byman  2011,  314-­‐


In  2002,  Reisner  drew  a  new  set  of  guidelines  for  targeted  killing.  In  order  for  a  

targeted  killing  to  be  legal,  the  following  conditions  must  be  met:    

• The  target  is  a  combatant.  

• The  target  is  unreachable,  and  thus  cannot  be  arrested.  

• Senior  civilian  officials  approve  the  operation.  

• Efforts  are  undertaken  to  avoid/reduce  civilian  casualties  (such  efforts  

must  be  consistent  with  the  principle  of  proportionality  of  potential  

collateral  damage,  with  the  damage  to  be  caused  by  the  target,  if  not  


• The  operation  takes  place  in  areas  that  Israel  does  not  effectively  control.  

• The  target  must  be  an  individual  posing  a  future  threat.  Not  just  

somebody  with  past-­‐time,  blood  on  his/her  hands.  

For  years,  Israel  attempted  to  avoid  its  direct  linkage  to  a  certain  terrorist  killing,  

because  of  international  scrutiny  and  harsh  criticism.  Indeed,  Mossad  agents  

preserve  such  anonymity  to  this  day,  unless  they  are  uncovered  due  to  mission’s  

failure  (e.g.  the  Lilhammer  affair  in  1973,  or  the  failed  assassination  attempt  of  

Khaled  Mashal  in  Jordan,  1997).  Moreover,  some  of  the  members  of  the  IDF  elite  

SF  units  (e.g.  Duvdevan.  See  links  under  Duvdevan),  use  undercover  methods  to  

briefly  infiltrate  Palestinian  hostile  areas  and  either  carry  out  a  targeted  killing  

or  apprehension  and  arrest  of  suspected  terrorists.  The  Duvdevan  and  Shimshon  

units  are  the  descendants  of  the  pre-­‐independence,  Jewish  Mistarvim  military  

intelligence  unit.  While  Duvdevan/Shimshon  are  used  for  intelligence  gathering  

missions  in  the  West  Bank  and  Gaza  Strip,  their  main  mission  is  apprehension,  

arrest  or  targeted  killings  of  terrorists.  During  a  typical  operation,  while  

undercover  posture  is  best  retained  for  future  activity,  it  is  sometimes  blown,  

due  to  operational  circumstances.  In  any  case,  the  IDF  and  the  GSS  officially  

acknowledge  their  operations,  and  especially  targeted  killings,  as  part  of  IDF’s  

and  GSS’s  transparency  paradigm  (see:  IDF  Failed  to  Investigate  2012).  

While  Israeli  soldiers,  intelligence  operatives  and  police  officers,  act  within  the  

limitations  of  the  Israeli  law,  these  practices  are  not  necessarily  accepted  as  legal  

in  the  eyes  of  the  international  community  and  the  International  Law.  Moreover,  

sometimes  even  the  rulings  of  the  Israel  Supreme  Court  are  internationally  


In  2005,  in  more  than  30  cases  the  targeted  killings  failed,  yet  approximately  150  

civilians,  who  were  near  to  the  locations  of  the  targeted  killing  attempts,  were  

unintentionally  killed  as  well.  International  and  local  objections  to  the  killings  

argued  that  since  Israel  is  the  formal  occupier  of  the  West  Bank  and  Gaza  Strip  –  

these  areas  should  fall  under  police  jurisdiction  and  thus  Israel  must  deploy  only  

the  law  enforcement  model  there.  The  Supreme  Court  however,  held  a  broader  

definition  of  the  term  “combatant”  than  the  one  used  with  regard  to  ‘army  

combatants,’  because  of  the  Palestinian  population’s  involvement  in  supporting  

terrorists;    acting  as  “human  shields”  for  the  terrorists,  and  thus  actively  

participating  in  terrorism.  This  ruling  of  the  Israel  Supreme  Court  clearly,    

“…exculpated  the  IDF  for  killing  the  relatives,  recruiters,  planners  

and  group  leaders  of  a  known  terrorist  when  striking  the  terrorist  
himself.  The  Supreme  Court  added  that  the  future  threat  does  not  
have  to  be  imminent;  the  target  can  simply  be  a  member  of  a  
terrorist  group  and  thus  presumed  to  be  involved  in  
attacks…[however]  Israel  must  first  try  to  arrest,  but  if  that  is  not  
feasible,  killing  is  considered  legal”  (Byman  2011,  318).  
However,  when  the  Israeli  government  asked  the  Supreme  Court  to  rule  on  the  

recognition  of  terrorists  as  “unlawful  Combatants”  –  in  order  to  differentiate  

them  from  “legal  combatants”  and  civilians,  (because  terrorists  indeed,  try  to  

blend-­‐in  with  the  rest  of  the  population;  they  indeed,  do  not  obey  the  law  and  as  

such,  should  not  be  subject  to  the  Geneva  Conventions,  Red  Cross  and  other  

military  war  rules)  –  the  court  decided  to  “take  no  stance”  on  this  question  and  

left  open  the  issue  of  “what  rights  terrorists  have.”  (Byman  2011,  318-­‐319).    

In  yet  another  legal  opinion  by  Kristen  Eichensehr,  published  in  the  Yale  Law  

Journal,  she  criticizes  the  Israeli  Supreme  Court,  asserting  that  in  its  first  ruling  

on  the  issue  of  targeted  killings,  it  has  weakened  the  international  law’s  

protection  to  all  civilians,  by  extending  the  meaning  of  “direct  participation”  of  

terrorists  in  terrorism:    

“  terrorists  are  civilians  under  the  law  of  armed  conflict  and  thus  
are  lawfully  subject  to  attack  only  when  the  directly  participate  in  
hostilities.  But  the  court  also  expanded  the  traditional  definition  of  
“direct  participation”…By  disregarding  the  “direct  participation”  
requirements’  important  evidentiary  function,  the  court  weakened  
the  protection  that  international  law  affords  to  all  civilians,  not  just  
to  terrorists”  (Eichensehr,  2007).      

International  Law  complicates  things  because  it  is  by  default,  applied  to  

individuals,  groups  and  populations,  based  on  WWI  and  WWII  experiences  

mostly.  It  is  not  that  the  asymmetry  context,  within  which  terrorism  acts  is  lost  

on  international  lawyers;  it  is  the  fact  that  international  law  has  so  far  failed  to  

adapt  to  current  day  realities,  by  passing  new  and  more  applicable  laws  to  fit  

current  terrorism.  This  failure  stems  from  international  diversity  of  interests,  

norms,  morals  and  perceptions’  that  International  Law  represents.    

                                     As  mentioned  before,  assassination  per  se,  violates  the  International  

Law.  However,  if  one  is  lawfully  engaged  in  armed  hostility,  it  is  not  considered  

‘assassination’  to  target  such  individual,  because  lawful  engagement  in  an  armed  

hostility  (i.e.  insurgency  or  guerrilla  war)  deals  with  individuals  who  are  lawful  

combatants,  and  thus  viewed  pretty  much  like  “soldiers”.  Moreover,  terrorists  

are  widely  recognized  as  “  enemies  of  human  kind  “  and  as  such  warrant  their  

engagement  with  extreme  prejudice.  (Li  2010).  

Another  complex  legal  issue  is  the  one  regarding  the  ambiguity  of  the  Israeli  

engagement  with  the  Palestinian  terror  groups.  Is  Israel  in  a  state  of  war  with  the  

terrorists?  And  is  Israel  using  ‘treacherous”  (and  thus  forbidden)  methods  in  its  

struggle  with  terrorism.  Robert  David  posits:  

 “  there  are  two  points  of  ambiguity  in  the  Israeli  case  regarding  its  
adherence  to  international  law.  First,  is  whether  Israel  is  actually  
at  war  with  the  Palestinians…Israel  is  not  at  war  since  war  is  
between  two  armies  or  two  states  and  the  Palestinians  are  neither.  
But  since  Israel  is  in  armed  conflict  with  Palestinians,…[it  is]  
allowed  to  target  combatants….The  second..  area  of  ambiguity…is  
using  “treacherous”  means  when  it  kills  terrorists…It  is  true  that  
Israelis  have  used  deception  in  some  of  their  killings…Israelis  have  
disguised  themselves  as  women  or  Arabs  to  facilitate  getting  their  
target.  [However,]  what  distinguishes  the  killings  in  the  second  
intifada  from  the  past…is  precisely  the  open  and  military  nature  of  
the  attacks.  The  use  of  helicopter  gunships  of  F-­‐16  to  kill  suspected  
terrorists…International  lawyers  may  disapprove  of  the  Israeli  
actions  but  few  would  argue  that  it  violates  the  ban  on  
assassination.  (David  2002,  15).  
Historically,  it  was  Premier  Golda  Meir,  who  promised,  ordered  and  authorized  

the  first  official  targeted  killings  of  the  Black  September  terrorists  involved  in  the  

Munich  Olympic  Games  1972  massacre:    

“  Golda’s  dark  eyes  glazed  straight  at  them  [the  family  members  of  
the  victims]…  “I  want  to  share  my  plans  with  you.    I’ve  decided  to  
pursue  each  and  everyone  of  them,  not  one  of  the  people  involved  
in  any  way  will  be  walking  on  this  earth  for  much  longer…We  will  
chase  them  till  the  last”  (Klein  2005,  100).  
Boaz  Ganor  (2005),  elaborates  also  on  the  so  called  “  boomerang  effect”  which  is  

applied  to  the  possible  result  of  targeted  killings.  It  has  been  frequently  stated  

that  targeted  killings  do  not  deter  terrorists  from  further  attacks;  furthermore,  it  

has  been  often  posited  that  it  makes  them  more  revengeful,  hateful,  and  thus  

potentially  provokes  murderous  retaliatory  terrorist  attacks,  which  arguably,  

would  not  have  taken  place  otherwise.  Others  suggest,  that  the  claims  that  

targeted  killings  increase  the  overall  number  of  terrorist  attacks,  are  hard  to  

prove.  Moreover,  the  alluded  retaliatory  terrorist  attacks  are  hard  to  prove  as  

such.  One  of  the  most  prominent  examples  of  the  said  boomerang  effect,  was  the  

Hezbollah  attack  on  the  Israeli  Embassy  in  Buenos  Aires  in  1992;  which  probably  

indeed  was  correctly  linked  with  the  targeted  killing  of  the  Hezbollah  leader  

Abbas  al-­‐  Musawi.  However  an  attempt  to  link  the  rather  unique,  chain  of  suicide  

bombings  to  the  targeted  killing  of  Yihye  Ayash  (aka  the  Engineer),  the  infamous  

Hamas  bomb  maker,  attack  planner,  recruiter  and  suicide  bombers  dispatcher  –  

is  questionable.  The  capability  to  execute  such  attacks  was  already  there;  the  

killing  of  Ayash  may  have  rather  sped  up  the  process  and  rate  of  “  normal”  

suicide  attacks.  As  suggested  by  Ganor:  

“  Those  who  favor  offensive  action  claim  that  boomerang  effect  is  
merely  the  invention  of  terrorist  organizations,  as  part  of  a  
sophisticated  and  calculated  psychological  warfare  aimed  at  
ensuring  their  immunity  from  military  attack.  …Those  who  oppose  
offensive  action  believe  that  the  boomerang  effect  should  be  taken  
seriously,  and  that  it  actually  dictates  a  policy  of  restraint  and  
avoiding  offensive  action  against  terrorist  organizations…  Israel’s  
offensive  actions  may  increase  motivation  but  certainly  do  not  
increase  capability  to  carry  out  attacks….  Offensive  action  against  
the  organization  is  liable  to  increase  its  activists’  motivation  for  
vengeance  and  because  the  capability  is  already  there,  the  
organization’s  leaders  are  likely  to…perpetrate  an  attack….”  
(Ganor  2005,  133).  
The  efficacy  of  targeted  killings  as  a  CT  tool  is  frequently  contested,  not  only  by  

international  organizations  and  international  community,  but  also  by  segments  

of  the  Israeli  society  and  members  of  various  human  and  public  rights  

organizations  (Stein  2001).    However  the  most  ambiguous  question  is  whether  

or  not,  targeted  killing  are  a  successful  CT  tactic.  In  truth,  the  offensive  and  

defensive  tools  available  to  any  society  faced  with  a  terrorism  problem  are  very  

limited;  hence  as  such,  no  terrorism-­‐afflicted  society  can  just  disregard  or  

dismiss  any  tool  in  its  CT  arsenal.  As  the  Israeli  experience  exemplifies,  all  tools  

must  be  used  in  a  careful,  legal  and  balanced  way.  Variables,  like  the  number  of  

terrorist  attacks,  or  the  number  of  casualties  of  such  attacks,  are  not  necessarily  

good  predictors  of  the  efficacy  of  the  CT  tools  used  at  a  given  time,  because  a  

variety  of  unrelated  variants  are  likely  to  influence  terrorist  response  to  targeted  

killings,  simultaneously  with  their  emotional  wish  for  revenge.  Such  

unaccounted-­‐for  variants  may  be  for  example:  personal  changes  within  the  

terrorist  organizations;  changes  in  what  terrorists  prioritize  in  a  given  period;  

lull  periods  in  terrorist  attacks;  peace  negotiations,  etc.  In  a  similar  way,  the  

above-­‐mentioned,  unaccounted-­‐for  changes  may  be  also  confused  with  

successful  or  unsuccessful  application  of  certain  CT  measures.  

This  problem  is  even  more  comprehensive  due  to  the  fact  that  in  the  Israeli  

experience,  there  was  no  one  period  of  time,  during  which  only  one  offensive  CT  

measure  was  applied.  There  is  no  way  to  gauge  the  effect  of  targeted  killings  

alone,  since  they  were  always  applied  along  with  road  blocks,  check  points,  

administrative  detentions,  deportations,  house  demolitions  or  the  erection  of  the  

Security  Barrier.  Moreover,  one  should  note,  that  targeted  killings’  effect  might  

be  also  affected  by  the  way  this  CT  method  by  itself,  is  being  carried  out:  are  

targeted  killings  by  snipers,  or  undercover  Special  Forces  less  or  more  deterring  

than  a  strike  from  a  airborne  platform  of  some  kind?  There  is  no  univocal  reply  

to  this  question;  The  IDF  and  GSS  decide  on  the  best  method  according  to  how  it  

fits  the  targets  behavior,  his/her  location  (e.g.  within  civilian  population,  schools  

and  children  and  the  prospective  collateral  damage;  the  urgency  of  the  case:  has  

the  terrorist  has  been  dispatched  and  is  on  his/her  way  to  carry  out  an  attack?  

The  danger  to  Israeli  troops/snipers  –  stemming  from  a  high-­‐risk  incursion  to  

Palestinian  controlled  territory,  etc.).  

The  Israeli  way  of  application  of  targeted  terrorist  killings  has  never  been  as  

consistent,  systematic  and  continuous  as  it  was  during  the  second  intifada.  Some  

observe,  that  the  second  intifada  could  be  considered  as  a  “laboratory”  for  

examining  this  CT  method,  as  never  done  before.  (Kober  2007).    During  the  

second  intifada,  Israel  has  successfully  targeted  and  killed  more  than  253  

terrorists,  an  unprecedented  number,  in  comparison  to  the  previous  application  

of  this  method.  Interestingly,  some  claim  that  the  method  of  decapitation  of  the  

leaders  only,  seems  to  have  been  temporarily  “abandoned”  -­‐  (after  the  2002  

killing  of  a  PFLP  political  activist  Mustafa  Thabet,  who  was  perceived  by  the  

Palestinian  population,  as  a  “political  figure”  only)  -­‐  in  favor  of  targeting  

relatively  low  ranking  terrorist  operatives.  During  the  period  between  2000  and  

2004  some  159  attempted  targeted  killings,  were  carried  out  through  a  variety  of  

application  methods.  These  resulted  in  317  Palestinian  fatalities,  out  of  which  

almost  80  percent    (253)  were  indeed  combatants.  Choosing  to  target  the  

leadership  not  only  rightly  “fits  with  the  common  logic”,  it  is  also  allegedly  

confirmed  by  the  influence  of  such  choice  on  the  Stock  Exchange.  

“  As  for  seniority,  an  assassination  will  probably  be  most  effective  
if  the  target  is  a  senior  leader  with  specialized  knowledge  and  
skills.  At  the  same  time,  successful  assassinations  would  also  tend  
to  increase  significantly  the  motivation…to  retaliate.  Conversely,  
an  assassination  targeting  a  low-­‐rank  terrorist  is  likely  to  have  
both  a  relatively  small  effect  in  reducing  the  capability  of  his  
organization  and  also  in  increasing  motivation  for  retaliation”  
(Zussman  and  Zussman  2006,  A196).  

Interestingly,  Zussman  and  Zussman  also  deduct,  from  their  Stock  Marked  

response  to  targeted  killings  study,  that  the  killing  of  high  ranking  terrorist  

military  leadership  made  the  stock  market  rise;  however,  the  stock  market  

declined,  following  the  killing  of  terrorist  group’s  political  leaders.  (Zussman  and  

Zusman  2006,  A204).  Yet,  Kobler  argues  that,  

“  …unlike  the  elimination  of  military  leaders,  which  proved  to  be  
ineffective,  the  decapitation  of  Hamas’s  political    and  spiritual  
leaders  seemed  to  have  accounted  for  the  organization’s  decision  
to  suspend  hostilities  against  Israel,  which  essentially  meant  the  
end  of  the  second  intifada”  (Kobler  2006).  
Who  is  right  then?  This  question  is  arguably,  answered  by  the  comprehensive  

approach-­‐change,  adopted  by  the  IDF:  since  2002:  “  In  a  significant  shift  from  the  

IDF  legal  advisor’s  emphasis  on  targeting  combatants  only,  Israel  raised  the  

stakes  again  when  it  began  a  comprehensive  campaign  against  the  military,  

organizational,  and  political  leadership  of  its  opponents”  (Byman  2011,  316).  

Indeed,  many  Israeli  proponents  argue  that  the  peace  process  is  stalled  and  

cannot  advance,  as  long  as  terrorists  are  unafraid  to  continue  their  actions.  As  

history  have  shown,  cease  fire  only  played  into  Palestinian  extremism  hands.  

Inherently,  the  Palestinians  used  cease-­‐fires  merely  for  rearming.  

One  may  correctly  argue,  that  the  actual  Israeli  gains  from  targeted  killings  

remain  controversial.  Despite  of  the  2002  Israeli  shift  in  their  targeting  choices  

and  despite  the  conclusion  that  cease-­‐fires  are  used  by  Hamas  only  for  rearming,  

the  November  2012  spat  of  fighting  brought  about  the  cessation  of  the  rocketing  

attacks  on  Israel,  -­‐  the  fighting  was  stopped  in  favor  of  a  negotiated  cease  fire,  

one  more  time.  It  can  be  safely  assumed,  that  during  the  next  round  of  fighting,  

(which  can  be  arguably  accepted  as  granted,),  Israel  will  face  a  better-­‐prepared  

and  better-­‐armed  Hamas.  

 In  2005,  Jerry  Smith  evaluates  in  his  thesis,  the  effectiveness  of  Israel’s  

counterterrorism  strategy  as  a  whole.    

“  When  a  suicide  attack  occurs,  the  Israeli  citizens  want  action  to  
be  taken…the  Israeli  government  sees  [the  targeted  killing]  as  an  
opportunity  to  solve  two  problems  at  the  same  time.  They  can  take  
out  the  senior  key  figure  of  the  terrorist  organization  responsible  
for  the  attack,  while  also  giving  the  victim’s  families  some  sense  of  
justice”  (Smith  2005,  57).    
 Diane  Leigh  Maye  contrasts  this  point  of  view,  in  her  2006  thesis,  on  the  same  

topic.  Leigh  Maye  evaluates  seven  Israeli  “  actions  aimed  at  countering  

“Palestinian  resistance.”  By  addressing  Palestinian  terrorists  as  resistance,  Leigh  

Maye  renders  Palestinian  terrorism  certain  “legitimacy”  as  combatants  of  a  

guerrilla  war.  Maye  correctly  assesses  the  poor  efficacy  of  targeted  killings  as    

“root  problem  solution”  for  the  long  run:  

 “  The  assassinations  have  not  thwarted  number  of  attacks…nor  do  they  have  

history  of  ending  the  terrorist  organization’s  existence.  To  the  contrary,  the  

attacks  may  have  provoked  an  even  stronger  response…”  (Leigh  Maye  2006,  39).    

However,  Smith  contends,  
 “  International  law  prohibits  assassinations…[however]  terrorists  
are  considered  to  be  “common  enemies  of  humankind”…Many  
times  after  a  leader  is  removed  there  tends  to  be  
internal…struggle…furthermore,  group  will  tend  to  spend  more  
time  and  resources  to  stay  alive…the  Israeli  policy  of  targeting  
“ticking-­‐bomb  terrorists  does  not  deserve  the  kind  of  
condemnation  it  is  receiving…”  (Smith  2005,  35).    
Yet  another  study  of  the  efficacy  of  targeted  killings  against  Palestinian  terrorism  

was  conducted  Hafez  and  Hatfield  who  concluded  in  their  2000-­‐2004  differenced  

and  lagged  time-­‐series  analysis,  which  targeted  killings  have  no  significant  

impact  on  rates  of  Palestinian  violence.  Targeted  Killings  did  not  increase  or  

decrease  Palestinian  attacks  whether  in  the  long  or  short  run.  While  targeted  

assassinations  may  be  a  useful  political  tool,  signaling  the  adversary  state’s  

determination  to  punish  the  perpetrators,  or  placate  angry  public  at  home,  there  

is  but  little  evidence  that  they  really  impact  the  course  of  terrorism  (Hapez  and  

Hatefield  2006).  

As  before,  when  it  comes  to  concluding  who  is  right  and  who  is  wrong  in  their  

conclusions  regarding  the  efficacy  of  the  targeted  killings  and  the  other  Israeli  

offensive  and  defensive  CT  tools,  it  is  up  to  the  reader  to  draw  his/her  own  


 The  issue  of  deterrence  with  regard  to  the  Palestinian  terrorism  is  somewhat  

complex.  While  some,  like  Ganor,  claim  that  Israeli  CT  measures  however  

successful,  did  not  deter  the  Hamas  Hezbollah  and  others  from  perpetrating  

attacks  -­‐  it  is  true  that  the  “hard  hand”  approach  of  Israel  in  thwarting  

Palestinian  suicide  terrorism,  may  have  increased  the  hatred  and  demand  for  

revenge  in  the  Palestinian  organizations;  but  the  systematic  decapitation  of  

Hamas,  (and  other  group’s)  leaders,  as  well  as  mid  level  combatants,  created  real  

capability  losses  in  the  terrorist  groups.  In  2002  the  suicide  attacks  related  

deaths  peaked,  (188)  and  in  2003.  The  average  lethality  per  attack  -­‐  has  peaked  

as  well  (5.5)  (Byman  2011,  366-­‐368).  By  decapitating  the  leaders  and  the  

“engineers,”  Israel  created  a  situation,  whereas  much  of  the  terrorist’s  top  

echelon,  both  leadership  and  bomb-­‐making  capability  -­‐  was  extinct.  It  is  arguably  

wrong  to  suggest  that:“  every  dead  terrorist  is  instantly  replaced  by  a  new  one.”  

In  the  longer  run,  the  quality  matters.  The  loss  of  leadership  and  much  of  the  

technical  “know  how”  probably  indeed  caused  the  drop  in  the  number  of  suicide  


.”…simply  swapping  one  militant  for  another  does  not  work.  The  
number  of  skilled  terrorists  is  often  quite  limited.  Generators  of  
terror  such  as  bomb  makers,  trainers,  document  forgers,  
recruiters,  and  leaders  are  scarce  in  number  and  require  many  
months  if  not  years  to  perfect  their  skills.  If  these  generators  of  
terror  can  be  eliminated  through  arrests  or  killings,  the  
organization  as  a  whole  is  disrupted”  (Byman  2011,  365).  

 The  exact  success  of  the  targeted  killings  is  hard  to  gauge  also  due  to  the  

erection  of  the  Security  Barrier,  which  agreeably,  prevented  many  suicide  


 In  an  interesting  quantitative  and  qualitative  PhD  paper,  Pia  Jansen  concludes  

that  there  has  been  a  remarkable  decline  in  the  average  number  of  fatalities  per  

terrorist  incident  in  Israel  from  2001-­‐2005.  She  further  posits  that,  

“  Israel  have  not  only  been  successful  in  countering  the  volume  of  
attacks,  but  that  they  may  have  been  able  to  thwart  the  
effectiveness  of  the  attacks,  which  again  indicates  that  they  have  
succeeded  in  reducing  the  terror  organization’s  overall  
capability”(Jansen  2007,  321).  
In  direct  relation  to  targeted  killings  Byman  summarizes:    

“Given  all  the  drawbacks,  why  does  Israel  continue  with  targeted  
killings?  The  reason  is  simple:  targeted  killings  work.  The  strikes  
have  disrupted  Hamas,  PIJ  the  al  Aqsa  Martyrs  Brigade,  and  other  
Palestinian  terrorist  groups;  they  have  depleted  the  number  of  
skilled  operatives;  and  they  have  forced  the  remaining  militants  to  
spend  more  time  in  hiding  than  in  plotting  future  attacks.  Targeted  
killings  are  not  the  only  important  tool  in  Israel’s  arsenal,  but  
when  these  killings  are  combined  with  the  security  barrier  and  an  
increased  ability  to  arrest  suspects,  the  number  of  Israeli  deaths  
from  terrorism  declines  precipitously  “  (Byman  2011,  312).  
Moreover,  Byman  also  emphasizes  Israel’s  General  Secret  Service’s  and  the  IDF’s  

uniquely  transparent  approach  and  nationwide-­‐garnered  support  towards  these  

unfortunate,  yet  sometimes,  absolutely  necessary  kinetic  operations.  (Byman  

2006,  108-­‐111).  

If  there  is  any  single  Palestinian  indication  of  how  successful  have  the  Israeli  

targeted  have  been  in  suppressing  Palestinian  terrorism,  it  can  be  found  in  the  

Palestinian,  first  and  foremost  request,  during  the  negotiations  for  the  cease-­‐fire  

in  2012:  “  1.a.  Israel  should  stop  all  hostilities  in  the  Gaza  Strip  land,  sea  and  air  

including  incursions  and  targeting  of  individuals”  (Kaphle  2012).  

Other  Israeli  Counterterrorism  Measures:  Defensive  and  Punitive  

Counterterrorism  Measures  


The  terminology  offensive  and  defensive,  with  regard  to  the  Israeli  CT  model,  can  

be  misleading  since  both,  offensive  and  defensive  measures  can  be  considered  

pre-­‐emptive  or  preventive,  in  certain  occasions;  thus,  even  the  defensive  

measures,  often  contain  offensive  elements.  In  this  context  administrative  

measures  like  detainment,  can  be  viewed  as  both  defensive  and  offensive.  The  

most  prominent  goal  of  all  these  measures  is  to  jointly,  or  separately,  prevent  

acts  of  terrorism  against  Israel.  While  some  Israeli  leaders  decidedly,  belittle  

defensive  measures  (e.g.  closures,  checkpoints  etc.),  for  their  part  in  thwarting  or  

deterring  terrorist  attacks  -­‐  it  is  harder  to  belittle  some  major  defensive  projects,  

such  as  the  Israeli  Airport  Authority  security  measures,  the  securing  of  sensitive  

installations,  infrastructure  and  national  monuments  and  symbols,  or  the  

Security  Barrier  erected  since  2003,  which  is  said  to  have  prevented  over  75%  of  

suicide  terrorist  attacks  (Ganor  in  Art  207,  283).  Nonetheless,  Israel  has  very  

long  borders,  comparatively  to  its  small  size.  Securing  borders  is  not  only  an  

American  problem;  even  in  a  state  as  tiny  as  Israel,  an  airtight  border  security  is  

virtually  impossible.  Nor  is  it  possible  to  have  a  guard  everywhere,  at  all  times.  

Moreover,  the  Israeli  public  lives  within  a  very  short  distance  from  Israel’s  

borders,  and  thus,  is  in  constant  and  very  realistic,  danger  from  Palestinian  


Infiltration  of  Israel  by  Palestinians  is  done  on  a  daily  basis.  Ways  to  circumvent  

the  checkpoints  are  daily  tested,  and  Palestinians  continuously  create  new  paths  

on  their  way  to  their  legal  or  illegal  work  place  in  Israel.  This  practice,  may  

however  be  waning  down,  with  the  completion  of  the  Security  Barrier.  

In  the  same  vein,  despite  the  ongoing  debate  as  to  the  efficiency  and  the  legal  

standing  of  the  Security  Barrier,  the  reader  is  herewith  provided  with  additional  

data,  to  help  create  an  educated  opinion  on  that  topic.  

The  Israeli  version  of  a  Security  Barrier  is  not  a  unique  and  original  invention  of  

Israel.  Likewise  protective  barriers  have  been  built  in  quite  a  few  places  in  the  

world:  Iraq-­‐Kuwait  (1991,  120  miles  long);  Iraq-­‐Saudi  Arabia  (2006,  559  miles  

long);  Afghanistan-­‐Pakistan  (2005,  1500  miles  long);  India  –Pakistan  (2007,  435  

miles  long),  etc.  (Walls  of  the  World  2012).  In  2002,  following  the  huge  increase  

in  suicide  bombing  in  Israel,  the  government  decided  to  build  a  physical  obstacle  

in  order  to  improve  the  operational  capability  of  fighting  terrorism  and  to  

prevent  terrorist  infiltration  from  the  West  Bank,  into  Israel.  The  ideas  behind  

the  “fence”  were  to  prevent  uncontrolled  passage  of  residents  of  the  West  Bank  

into  Israeli  territory,  as  well  as  to  prevent  weapons  smuggling  and  the  

infiltration  of  terror  cells  and  individuals,  wishing  to  augment  existing  terrorist  

cells  in  Israel  (Mersel  2006,  80).  

Despite  the  historical  views  of  the  founding  fathers  of  Israel  (e.g.  Yigal  Alon)  that  

claimed  that  no  modern  country  could  surround  itself  with  a  fence  or  walls,  in  

2001  and  on,  the  wall  became  clearly  detrimental  to  Israel’s  protection  from  

Palestinian  suicide  bombers.  Avi  Dichter,  a  former  head  of  the  GSS  is  cited  saying  

that  the  barrier  was  crucial  for  stopping  terrorism,  and  stopping  suicide  

bombers  from  entering  Israel.  Furthermore,  one  of  the  leaders  of  the  terrorist  

group  Palestinian  Islamic  Jihad  (PIJ),  Ramadan  Abdallah  Shalah  is  quoted  as  

saying,  in  an  interview  to  Al-­‐Sharq,  in  March  2008,  that  the  barrier  “limits  the  

ability  of  the  resistance…to  carry  out  suicide  bombing  attacks”  within  Israeli  

territory  (Byman  2011,  325,  328).  Due  to  the  fact  that  the  “route”  of  the  Security  

Barrier  makes  several  ‘detours’  resulting  in  the  effective  incursion  and  inclusion  

of  some  of  the  West  Bank  as  partial  enclaves,  within  the  Israeli  territory,  many  

critics  accused  Israel  of    a  “  land  grab”  and  creating  a  de  facto  “new  border”  with  

the  future  Palestinian  state.  The  original  route  of  the  barrier  indeed  included  

some  indisputably  Palestinian  lands.  The  “land  grab”  as  it  was  often  defined,  was  

contested  as  illegal,  mostly  because  it  would  infringe  upon  some  of  the  

Palestinian  petitioners  basic  liberties,  to  access  their  agricultural  lands,  their  

access  to  water  wells;  thus  also  affecting  their  shepherding,  as  well  as  their  

access  to  fruit  and  olive  plantations  and  thus  undermining  the  livelihood  of  some    

35,000  Palestinian  village  residents  and  their  children.  These  Palestinians  also  

claimed  to  have  lost  their  access  to  schools  and  medical  facilities  (Mersel  2006,  

80).  As  in  other  cases  of  offensive  or  defensive  CT  measures,  the  case  of  the  

Security  Barrier  was  eventually,  overviewed  and  ruled  upon,  by  the  Israeli  

Supreme  Court  (ISC),  which  ruled  the  Barrier  “somewhat”  illegal.    

“the  Court  [ISC]  rationalized  in  [2004],  that  even  if  it  can  be  
assumed  that  building  the  fence  would  achieve  and  promote  
national  security,  and  even  if  there  is  no  alternative  means  that  is  
less  restrictive,  some  of  the  seizure  actions  were  illegal  under  
principals  of  international  law  and  Israeli  administrative  law  
because  the  damage  they  caused  to  the  individual  was  not  
proportional  to  the  gain  brought  about”  (Mersel  2006,  81).  
The  ruling  by  the  International  Court  declared  the  Separation  Barrier  as  illegal,  


While  the  ISC  did  not  declare  the  mere  ‘building  of  the  fence’  illegal,  it  did  rule  

that  the  placement/route  of  the  barrier  was  disproportionately  harmful.  The  

eventual  ruling  of  the  ISC  effectively  decreased  the  annexed  Palestinian  land,  by  

15  percent  (Byman  2011,  327).    

The  impact  of  the  barrier  was  intense.  It  did  effectively,  block  almost  all  terrorist  

infiltrations  from  the  Gaza  Strip,  and  much  of  the  infiltration  from  the  West  bank.  

It  is  however,  not  impregnable.  Israeli  Arabs  (some  20  percent  of  the  Israeli  

civilian  population,  or  1.5  million,  that  did  not  leave  their  lands  in  1948),  which  

have  an  Israeli  citizenship,  Israeli  ID,  and  do  not  experience  any  limitations  on  

their  movement,  have  on  quite  a  few  occasions,  linked  with  the  West  Bank  

Palestinians  in  the  perpetration  of  terrorist  attacks.  However,  this  is  not  the  only  

concern  regarding  the  final  outcome  of  the  Barrier:  currently,  even  those  

Palestinians  that  are  participants  in  the  Israeli  economy,  as  highly  valued  

workers  in  Israeli  agriculture  and  construction,  are  often  stopped  by  the  barrier.  

The  long  waiting,  slow  traffic  progress,  at  the  barrier  checkpoints,  (where  they  

display  their  special  working  passes  and  are  searched  for  explosives),  and  the  

frequent  closures,  cause  direct  damage  to  the  Israeli  economy,  as  well  as  

exacerbate  the  anger  and  the  hatred  towards  Israel.  

Israelis  are  very  open  about  the  human  costs  of  the  Barrier.  The  former  COS  of  

IDF  Moshe  Yaalon  wrote:  “  Any  defensive  measures  taken  by  Israel  –  including  

traffic  checkpoints,  closures,  and  curfews-­‐  inevitably  led  to  Palestinian  suffering  

and  to  violations  of  their  civil  rights”  (In  Byman  2011,  331).  And  the  Israeli  

politician  Uzi  Dayan,  a  firm  believer  in  the  effectiveness  of  the  Barrier  contends  

that,  “  The  barrier  also  poisons  communal  relations…I  don’t  think  that  good  

fences  make  good  neighbors…If  Frost  [See  Robert  Frost’s  Mending  Wall]  had  

terrorists  for  neighbors  rather  than  irate  New  Englanders,  he  would  build  a  

fence.”(In  Byman  2011,  331).  The  Security  Barrier  is  not  just  a  passive,  physical  

obstacle;  it  is  heavily  armed  with  various  types  of  motion  detectors,  video  

cameras  and  other  sensors,  as  well  as  sniper  nests  and  observation  points,  

affording  better  security  and  arguably,  a  certain  degree  of  deterrence.  Indeed,  as  

Byman  (2011)  suggests,  despite  the  security  wall  along  the  Gaza  Strip,  Hamas  

unsuccessfully  attempted  to  mount  many  suicide  operations.  The  cost  of  the  

completed  Security  barrier  is  said  to  be  around  $2Billion.  Indeed  a  large  amount  

of  money.  According  to  US  estimates,  the  construction  of  the  planned  “Great  Wall  

of  Mexico”  would  be  $4-­‐$8  Billion  (U.S.-­‐  Mexico  Border  Fence  2008).  However,  

from  a  bit  cynical  point  of  view,  the  cost  of  a  single  USAF  F/A-­‐18  Horne,t  is  $94  

Million,  F-­‐35  Lightning  II  is  $122  Million,  a  single  F-­‐22  Raptor  is  $350  Million  and  

a  single  B-­‐2  Spirit  is  $  2.4  Billion…  (Top  10  Most  Expensive  Military  Planes  


Historically,  there  is  no  significant  stretch  of  the  Israeli  land  borders,  and  its  

coastline,  that  has  not  been  penetrated  by  terrorists  and  used  to  launch  an  

attack.  It  is  thus  hard  to  disregard  the  opinion  of  one  of  the  former  “gatekeepers”  

(heads  of  the  GSS)  Carmi  Gilon,  cited  by  Boaz  Ganor  (translated  from  Hebrew)  

who  says:    

 “It  must  be  remembered  that  the  number  of  possible  targets  for  
terrorism  is  almost  infinite…it  is  impossible  to  place  a  guard  at  
every  location  in  the  country.  The  only  solution  is  pinpoint  
intelligence  that  leads  to  the  terrorist  about  to  carry  out  the  attack,  
and  your  ability  to  cripple  or  stop  him  beforehand…Most  of  our  
resources  should  not  be  invested  guarding  buses  but  in  
operational  intelligence,  so  we  can  get  to  the  terrorist  before  he  
places  the  bomb”  (In  Art  2007,  284).  
Although  Gilon  is  indeed  correct,  his  argument  is  faulty,  because  his  logic  implies  

that  using  guards  on  buses,  inside  malls  and  movie  theatres  for  example,  is  too  

costly  and  inefficient.  Gilon  implies  that  if  the  money  invested  in  passive  

defensive  measures  would  have  been  applied  to  theoretical  creation  of  better  

intelligence  products;  this  would  have  been  more  effective.  This  is  not  

completely  true:  Gilon’s  argument  is  theoretical  at  best;  we  don’t  know  how  

would  a  dramatic  shift  of  funds  from  passive-­‐defensive  means  towards  

theoretical  intelligence,  affect  the  actual  thwarting  of  terrorist  attacks.  We  know  

for  fact,  that  guards  of  public  places  did,  in  fact,  stop  suicide  terrorists,  more  than  

few  times;  sometime  at  the  cost  of  their  own  lives  (Bennet  2002),  in  other  cases  

guards,  along  with  members  of  the  public  stopped  suicide  terrorists  from  

mounting  a  crowded  bus,  or  from  entering  a  crowded  restaurant.  Although  

ideally,  Americans,  Israelis,  and  everybody  else  would  love  to  always  have  hard,  

operational  intelligence  ready  to  thwart  any  terrorist  attempt  -­‐  in  reality,  

although  Israeli  CT  has  excelled  in  this  respect,  for  as  long  as  Palestinian  

terrorism  continue,  Israel  will  probably  always  need  ‘additional’  intelligence,  

which  is  often  not  attainable,  no  matter  how  much  Israel  invest  in  growing  its  

intelligence  potential.  This  is  the    “unquenchable  thirst”  that  characterizes  the  

very  nature  of  intelligence  work.  Israelis  have  the  greatest  respect  for  the  work  

of  the  GSS,  IDF  and  the  rest  of  the  IIC;  but  the  need  to  augment  intelligence  

capabilities  by  passive-­‐defensive  measures  should  be  an  accepted  reality.  

Additional  measures,  such  as  police  patrols,  police  presence,  bus  guards,  mall  

guards  etc.,  will  for  the  foreseeable  future,  be  part  of  the  Israeli  life  and  its  

landscape.  Life  in  Israel  has  created  highly  vigilant  and  wary  public,  which  is  

made  of  individuals  who  in  many  cases  are  the  ones  who  locate  IEDs  and  

neutralize  suicide  bombers,  either  alone,  or  together  with  the  police.  

However,  Palestinian  terrorism  is  not  deterred  by  Israel’s  last  line  of  defense,  aka  

the  civilian  guards,  and  the  public.  Occasional  successes  in  foiling  an  attack  by  

ordinary  civilians  or  hired  guards  did  not  increase  the  Israeli  deterrence  effect.    

There  is  no  known  effective  way  to  deter  suicide  bombers.  In  2008  Ehud  Olmert,  

then  Israel’s  Prime  Minister,  considered  an  actual  legislation  according  to  which,  

the  house  of  the  family  of  the  suicide  bomber  will  be  demolished  and  razed,  thus  

penalizing  the  family  of  the  dead  terrorist  for  his  deeds.    Even  if  that  such  

legislation    have  not  created  a  public  uproar  (which  it  did),  while  suicide  

terrorists  have  emotional  ties  to  their  families,  their  perception  is  that  their  

sacrifice  in  becoming  a  martyr,  overrides  all  other  concerns.  Moreover,  in  some  

cases,  the  act  of  martyrdom  is  strongly  encouraged  by  the  bomber’s  family.  

(Chehab  2007,  85-­‐90).  When  public  vigilance  succeeds  foiling  a  terrorist  plan,  

yet  the  perpetrators  manage  to  escape  arrest  -­‐  the  attack  is  likely  to  be  only  

postponed,  and  possibly  attempted  in  a  different  place,  on  a  different  occasion.    

Suicide  bombers  are  no  longer  easy  to  identify.  It  is  next  to  impossible  to  define  

what  makes  for  a  positive  identification  of  a  prospective  suicide  bomber.  Suicide  

bombers  are  not  always  nervous  or  …smiling;  they  do  not  always  perspire  

profusely  and  so  on  –  it  is  rather,  a  combination  of  a  ‘wrong  person  in  the  wrong  

place  at  the  wrong  time,  ‘  odd  behavior  and…”vibes”  that  cannot  be  explained  but  

which  are  somehow  “sensed”  by  everyday  Israelis.  Statistically,  civilian  vigilance  

plays  a  major  role  in  the  identification  of  “suspicious  objects”  and  people.    This  

unique  capability  of  many  Israelis,  also  strengthens  the  Israeli  public  

psychologically,  and  gives  it  some  sense  of  “control”  over  their  environment.  

While  many  countries  look  up  to  their  government  alone,  to  take  care  their  

security,  Israelis  largely  share  the  security  burden  with  their  government  and  are  

seen  as  an  active  and  valuable  partner  in  counterterrorism  and  other  security  


As  posited  by  the  2009  U.S.  Homeland  Security  Institute  Report  for  the  DHS:  

“The  [Israeli]  public  is  treated  [by  the  Israeli  government]  as  a  key  partner  in  

counterterrorism.”(McGee  et.  al.  2009,  3).  

Israeli  administrative  counterterrorist  measures  

Israeli  authorities  deploy  several  administrative  measures,  which  aim  at  limiting  

the  liberties  of  the  Palestinian  population  in  order  to  retain  peace  and  order  and  

prevent  terrorism.  The  most  prominent  administrative  measure  is  the  closure  

(SEGER  Heb.).  There  are  four  types  of  most  commonly  imposed  closures:  1).  

Closure  imposed  for  a  predetermined  period  of  time,  during  Palestinian  

memorial  days  (e.g.  the  ”  Earth  Day”  a.k.a.  Yum-­‐el-­‐Ard),  or  during  Jewish  

holidays;  2)  Protective  closures,  due  to  a  concrete  warning  about  an  imminent  

attack  –  attempting  to  stop  any  Palestinians  from  moving  inside  a  certain  area  of  

the  West  Bank,  and  temporarily  stopping  the  movement  through  the  IDF  

checkpoints.  3)  Closures  following  a  terrorist  attack  –  aimed  at  allowing  for  fast  

and  effective  movement  of  IDF  in  their  attempt  to  arrest  the  perpetrators  of  the  

attack.  4)  In  the  past,  closures  intended  to  exert  pressure  on  the  Palestinian  

Authority,  to  comply  with  certain  security  request  from  Israeli  authorities  (e.g.  

arresting  fugitives  etc.).  Closures  are  often  confused  with  punitive  measures.  

They  indeed  cause  a  lot  of  suffering  on  the  part  of  Palestinians,  yet  their  purpose,  

from  the  Israeli  point  of  view,  is  very  logical  as  a  security  tool,  to  control  the  

movements  of  Palestinians  and  prevent  attacks  against  Israelis.  The  IDF  has  

stated  that  during  2008  it  has  removed  140  roadblocks  and  eight  central  

checkpoints  in  an  effort  to  improve  freedom  of  movement  for  the  civilian  

Palestinian  population  in  Judea,  Samaria  and  the  Jordan  Valley.  As  of  July  2009,  

Israeli  authorities  report  that  an  additional  27  checkpoints  and  140  roadblocks  

have  been  removed.  1500  permits  have  been  issued  to  Palestinian  public  

officials,  allowing  them  to  pass  freely  through  the  Israeli  crossings  into  Israel.  

According  to  IDF  sources,  in  the  West  Bank  there  are  504  remaining  dirt  

roadblocks  and  14  checkpoints  (Behind  the  Headlines  2009).    

Israel’s  punitive  counterterrorism  measures  

The  aim  of  CT  punitive  measures  is  to  remove  threatening,  dangerous  elements  

from  within  the  Palestinian  society,  in  order  to  prevent  attacks,  promote  public  

security  and  also  to  extract  some  revenge  from  Palestinians  found  responsible  

for  attacks  they  were  linked  to  and  deter  others  from  following  in  their  footsteps.  

All  the  punitive  CT  approach  is  based  on  the  enactment  of  punitive  actions,  

without  providing  the  subjecst  of  these  actions,  with  the  full  due  process  prior  

the  administration  of  these  means.  The  Israeli  authorities’  actions  are  however,  

based  on  existing  laws  and  regulations,  which  clearly  define  acts  considered  as  

forbidden  by  state  laws  and  as  endangering  the  safety  of  the  Israeli  society.  

The  main  punitive  counterterrorism  measures  in  Israel  include:  demolition  or  

the  sealing  (with  concrete)  of  the  houses  of  terrorists,  and  especially  suicide  

terrorists;  administrative  detention  of  terror  suspects;  deportation  of  suspects;  

confiscation  of  funds  deemed  to  be  related  to  terrorist  activities  and  the  

imposing  of  administrative  fines.    

Administrative  deportation  has  been  considered  to  be  the  most  severe  

punishment  and  actively  removed  key  figures  involved  in  unrest  and  terrorism.  

It  is  also  the  most  contested  punitive  measure  and  one  that  often  cause  an  

escalation  in  tensions  and  unrest;  such  actions,  have  had  sometimes,  a  self-­‐

defeating  results.  Deportation  of  Palestinians  from  the  occupied  territories,  

should  not  however,  be  confused  with  mass  deportation  of  population  from  

occupied  areas,  which  is  banned  by  the  U.N.  international  community,  based  on  

the  Geneva  Conventions.  Thus  Israeli  deportations  of  Palestinians  targeted  

individuals  only.  The  act  of  deportation  can  be  appealed  in  absentia  by  

representative  of  the  deported  before  the  Israeli  High  Court  of  Justice  (It  is  a  

special  convening  of  the  ISC).  The  highest  number  of  deportees  in  the  1990s  was  

the  deportation  of  415  radical  Islamist  political  activists  to  Lebanon  in  1992.  Due  

to  a  U.N.  Security  Council  intervention,  this  deportation  was  terminated  after  one  

year,  during  which  the  deportees,  which  were  hosted  and  sponsored  by  

Hezbollah  that  instructed  them  in  terrorism  related  actions,  such  as  the  

preparation  of  IEDs,  military  training,  and  terrorist  attacks  related  training.  

According  to  the  most  recently  updated  statistics,  the  last  deportations  were  

conducted  in  2004  and  included  only  3  Palestinians.  (Deportations  from  the  

West  Bank  to  the  Gaza  Strip  2013).    

Administrative  detentions  are  one  of  the  more  common,  as  well  as  more  

effective  punitive  measures.  It  is  based  on  emergency  regulations,  dating  back  to  

the  British  Mandate  over  Palestine  (1920-­‐1948).  The  idea  is  simple  and  effective:  

removal  of  the  detainee,  who  is  considered  to  be  a  violence  inciter  and  his  

incarceration  for  a  limited  period  of  time  (up  to  six  month  a  t  a  time);  a  period  

which  can  be  both,  appealed  to  the  ISC  (by  the  detainee),  and  extended  according  

to  the  state’s  security  needs,  after  legal  review  of  each  case.  Detention  is  mostly  

used  to  deal  with  individuals  which  otherwise  would  have  to  be  publically  tried,  

forcing  the  authorities  to  reveal  secret  information  (e.g.  how  the  evidence  

against  the  said  individual  was  obtained).  Meir  Dagan,  former  head  of  the  GSS,  

stated  in  a  1999  interview,  cited  by  Ganor:  “  It  is  impossible  to  act  in  the  State  of  

Israel  without  administrative  detention.  It  is  one  of  the  best  tools  in  our  

possession  to  make  use  of  intelligence  without  exposing  it  to  the  other  side”  

(Ganor  2005,  292).  Doubtlessly,  detaining  an  individual  for  longer  than  a  few  

hours  is  contrasted  with  the  very  concept  of  democracy.  However,  one  should  

consider  that  democracies  faced  with  continuous  acts  of  terrorism,  must  defend  

themselves  somehow.  Detention  is  the  only  tool  which  allows  for  the  use  of  

intelligence  in  the  possession  of  the  state,  without  disclosing  it  to  the  terrorist  

entities  and  terrorism  supporting  population.  B’Tselem,  the  Israeli  Human  Rights  

Organization,  suggests  that  the  most  recent  peak  in  administrative  detentions  

has  been  in  February  and  April  of  2012,  with  over  300  detainees  detained  for  a  

period  of  over  two  years  (Duration  of  Administrative  Detention  2013).  

House  demolition  and  house  razing.  This  punitive  measure  is  legally  based  on  

Emergency  Defense  Regulations,  created  closely  with  the  creation  of  the  State  of  

Israel.  The  original  logic  behind  this  CT  method  was  not  punitive  at  the  time  it  

was  created.  In  its  source,  the  regulation  provided  a  local  military  commander  

with  the  legal  right  to  use  such  measure  to  maintain  order  and  security,  within  

the  area  under  his  command.  It  was  a  deterrent.  Although  house  demolitions  

were  often  appealed  to  the  Israeli  High  Court  of  Justice,  the  appeals  were  mostly  

turned  down.  In  principle,  the  demolition  of  a  Palestinian  house  is  ordered  in  

cases  that  the  house  dweller  was  a  terrorist.  The  appeals  of  house  demolition  

cases  were  often  based  on  the  claim  that  the  other  owners  of  the  said  house  had  

no  knowledge  of  the  terrorist  activities  of  the  individual/s,  which  were  proved  to  

be  suicide  (or  non  suicide)  terrorists.  In  July  2012,  upon  the  order  of  Israel’s  

minister  of  defense  Ehud  Barak,  an  area  including  8  small  Palestinian  villages,  

which  was  for  years  acclaimed  by  the  IDF  as  needed  for  IDF  training  and  as  an  

IDF  fire  zone,  has  been  ordered  for  demolition.  However,  Barak’s  order  did  not  

deprive  the  inhabitants  from  using  the  said  land  for  their  farming  -­‐  when  not  in  

use  by  the  IDF.  (Hass  2012).  

XVI.  Israeli  Counterterrorism  model:  preliminary  conclusions.  

As  the  terrorism  experts  Boaz  Ganor  and  Ami  Pedahzur,  stated,  Israel  never  

formulated  a  definitive  CT  policy  or  strategy.  The  Israeli  approach  to  countering  

terrorism  is  thus  a  compilation  of  extensive  experience,  arguably,  the  most  

extensive  CT  experience  today.  When  attempting  to  classify  or  categorize  Israeli  

counterterrorism  model,  one  can  only  point  out  to  certain  CT  tactics,  as  opposed  

to  comprehensive  strategy.  In  the  Israeli  case,  lacking  a  precise,  coherent,  

strategy  has  proven  to  be  occasionally  beneficial  to  Israel,  because  it  was  not  

forced  to  stick  to  an  inflexible  set  of  decisions,  made  at  one  point  in  time.  Israel  

was  thus,  able  to  adapt  its  CT  to  its  most  current  needs  and  pressures  without  

contradicting  former  decisions.  However,  such  benefit  does  not  come  without  a  

tradeoff:  lack  of  coherent  CT  strategy  often  made  Israeli  authorities  more  

exposed  to  outside  pressures,  whether  by  its  own  public,  or  by  international  

public  opinion  as  outlined  in  various  forums  (e.g.  U.N.  general  assembly,  the  Red  

Cross  and  other  various  NGOs  and  specific  countries).  These  pressures  are  

possibly,  the  main  reason  behind  the  lack  of  consistency  in  Israel’s  approach  to  

terrorism,  and  the  occasional  shifting  of  the  emphasis  from  utterly  offensive  

measures  to  more  “permissive”  and  lenient  ones  –  and  back.  In  this  respect  one  

may  want  to  examine  the  Palestinian  behavior.  Every  time  the  Israelis  have  

shown  flexibility  and  a  wish  to  “talk  peace”  –  the  Palestinians  stepped  up  their  

defiance.  This  happened  clearly  in  the  aftermath  of  the  1993  Oslo  accords,  and  

again  after  Israel’s  pullout  from  Lebanon  in  2000.  Although  since  the  most  recent  

cease  fire  in  December  2012,  by  and  large,  calm  was  observed;  there  were  

several  incident  of  rockets  fired  from  Gaza  and  Sinai  into  Israel.  

While  Israel  may  be  criticized  for  not  having  a  written  and  well-­‐defined  CT  

strategy  and  policy,  it  remains  a  fact  that  it  was  able  to  counter  terrorism  

successfully  for  extended  periods  of  time,  thus  allowing  its  population  to  regain  

their  peace  and  composure.  Unlike  what  some  may  think,  life  in  Israel  is  good,  in  

almost  every  respect.  Israel  has  been  wise,  in  setting  as  a  goal,  not  the  total  

eradication  of  the  Palestinian  terror,  but  rather  its  confinement,  containment,  so  

as  to  minimize  terror’s  success  in  ensuing  physical  damage,  carnage  and  

psychological  and  political  pressure.  

In  the  offensive  field  Israel’s  biggest  achievement  its  unique  intelligence  

capability,  which  evolved  along  with  the  threat,  while  constantly  investing  in  

more  comprehensive  understanding  of  their  adversaries,  and  innovating  the  CT  

tools,  methods  and  units  –  accordingly.  

In  the  defensive  field,  Israel’s  major  CT  achievement  is  the  creation  of  the  lasting  

bond  and  partnership  between  its  civilian  population,  its  security  apparatuses  

and  the  government.  Israelis  are  probably,  the  worlds  most  CT  oriented  people.  

They  take  pride  in  their  ability  to  stand  up  to  terrorism  and  in  spite  of  the  fear,  

horror  and  trauma,  rationalize  the  fact  that  the  number  of  injuries  and  fatalities  

from  car  accidents,  is  many  times  the  number  of  terrorism  casualties.  

Israel  is  being  criticized  as  being  somewhat  a  “police  state.”  Although  

undeniably,  Israeli  democratic  liberties  are  infringed  upon  each  time  Israelis  are  

asked  to  identify  themselves  or  open  their  bags  for  a  security  search;  this  

infringement  is  not  only  accepted  as  a  necessary  evil;  in  fact,  sometimes,  when  a  

guard  does  not  perform  his/her  task  with  diligence  –  he/she  is  reprimanded  by  

the  public.  Moreover,  largely  because  the  wisdom  of  involving  the  judiciary  in  the  

CT  process  and  safeguarding  its  independence  from  the  executive,  Israel  was  

able  to  preserve  the  true  spirit  of  democracy,  at  least  as  well  and  arguably  better  

than  states  like  the  US,  France  or  UK.  

What  took  place  in  Israel  as  a  gradual  application  of  appropriate  legislature  and    

Jurisprudence  happened  to  the  U.K.,  U.S.,  in  the  form  of  shock  treatment.  The  

September  11,  2001  bombings  triggered  a  cascade  of  emergency  legislature  at  

least  in  the  US  (2001),  the  U.K.  (2001),  Italy  (2001),  Germany  (2002),  Norway  

(2002),  to  mention  a  few  (Counter  Terrorism  Legislation  2005).  The  new  laws  

triggered  understandable  concern  from  large  segments  of  the  respective  

populations,  which  do  not  share  the  Israeli  level  of  confidence  and  trust  it  has  in  

its  government.  

In  view  of  the  global  expansion  of  Islamist  terrorism,  other  nations,  other  

democracies  beside  Israel,  will  arguably,  have  to  accept  certain  infringement  of  

their  democratic  liberties  in  order  to  more  effectively  confront  transnational  


XVII.  Can  Lessons  from  Fighting  Palestinian  Terrorism  be  Applied  to  the    

                     Struggle  with  Al  Qaeda?  

While  lessons  from  the  Israeli  struggle  with  two,  very  different,  types  of  

terrorism  (one  carried  out  by  Hamas  and  other  Palestinian  factions  and  the  other  

carried  out  by  Hezbollah),  are  likely  to  benefit  the  U.S.  CT  efforts,  it  is  suggested  

by  some,  that  Palestinian  terrorism,  Hezbollah  terrorism,  and  other  forms  of  

terror,  be  it  the  LTTE,  the  FARC,  the  Chechens,  Or  the  IRA  etc,  -­‐  none  apply  to  the  

al  Qaeda  model  and  the  al  Qaeda  related  counterterrorism.  Indeed,  al  Qaeda  is  

different  from  any  other  terrorist  group  mentioned  in  this  paper.  It  is  in  truth,  

the  only  truly  transnational  terrorist  group.  It  conducts  its  activities  both  in  a  

hierarchical  and  horizontal  venues.  Unlike  all  other  groups,  which  are  focused  on  

actions  directed  at  a  single  state  and  its  sovereign  territory  and  its  civilian  

population  –  al  Qaeda  targets  the  whole  world  -­‐  even  if  its  current  efforts  are  

focused  on  the  U.S.  and  its  allies  mainly  as  “symbols  of  all  evil”.  Although  the  

Hezbollah  is  widely  diffused  around  the  world,  it  is  still  no  match  in  popularity  to  

al  Qaeda,  which  can  boast  significant  and  autonomous  presence  in  some  100  

states,  despite  the  fact  that  a  poll  released  in  2008  by  Terror  Free  Tomorrow,  

found  that  only  24  percent  of  Pakistanis  had  a  favorable  opinion  of  bin-­‐Laden  in  

2008,  as  compared  to  46  percent  a  year  before.  In  a  similar  way,  the  poll  suggests  

that  al  Qaeda’s  popularity  has  dropped  from  33  to  18  percent  (Bajoria  and  Bruno  

2012).  Al  Qaeda  has  an  international  communications  and  propaganda  systems,  

as  well  as  funds  collection  system/s.  Al  Qaeda  operatives  meet  and  train  in  

various  and  ever  changing,  locations  throughout  the  world;  it  is  also  involved  in  

criminal  activities,  along  with  “fund  raising”  activities  in  the  Middle  East,  Africa,  

Latin  America,  Asia,  and  even  throughout  Europe  and  the  United  States  and  

Canada.  Moreover,  al  Qaeda  has  evolved  beyond  being  just  a  terrorist  group  of  

several  thousands  sworn  in  members  (possibly  more  –  or  –  less);  al-­‐Qaeda  is  

currently  an  “idea”  or  as  suggested,  a  “brand  name”  or  a  “franchise”.  It  is  unique.  

Without  negating  any  part  of  the  “myth”  of  al  Qaeda,  it  is  clear  that  in  spite  of  al  

Qaeda’s  “innovations,”  it  still  shares  a  respectable  number  of  common  traits  with  

other  terrorist  groups.  The  lessons  to  be  learned  are  thus,  from  each  and  every  

terrorist  -­‐  combating  experience.  At  this  point  in  time,  no  country,  including  the  

U.S.,  can  afford  to  disregard  the  lessons  learned  from  CT  struggles  of  other  

countries.  However,  the  applicability  of  such  lessons  is  naturally,  selective.  Al-­‐  

Qaeda’s  and  its  affiliate’s  motivation  is  a  mixture  of  political  (nationalist)  and  

religious  reasoning,  much  like  some  of  the  other  terrorist  groups.  Like  others,  al-­‐  

Qaeda  and  its  affiliates,  are  is  still  conducting  its  business  in  secrecy;  it  has  to  

constantly  hide  from  its  persecutors,  train  and  mobilize  new  combatants,  show  

strong  Internet  presence,  affect  the  world  news  and  execute  terrorist  attacks  -­‐  to  

prove  its  continuous  existence,  just  like  other  terrorist  groups.  

“  Under  the  impact  of  the  loss  of  its  base  in  Afghanistan  and  under  
relentless  pursuit…al  Qaeda  was  forced  to  reconfigure  itself  from  a  
unitary  bureaucratic  organization  into  an  ideology  and  a  loose  

confederation  of  groups.  It  has  become  a  true  transnational  entity  
that  has  networked…with  numerous  like-­‐minded  groups…”  (Art  
and  Richardson  2007,  582).  

While  the  “founding  fathers”  of  al-­‐Qaeda  came  from  Egypt,  Algeria  and  Saudi  

Arabia,  the  new  generation  came  also  from  Muslim    “diasporas”  in  W.  Europe  and  

their  descendants.  Each  of  al-­‐Qaeda’s  affiliates  has  its  own  agenda,  but  they  all  

share  the  common  set  of  beliefs  regarding  the  West,  Palestine  and  naturally  the  

U.S.  These  beliefs  are  summarized  in  the  following:  “  the  West  is  implacably  

hostile  to  Islam;  the  only  way  to  address  this  threat  and  the  only  language  that  

the  West  understands  is  the  logic  of  violence;  and  jihad  is  the  only  option”  

(Hoffman  2003,  10).  Since  the  United  States  is  the  leader  of  the  West,  (and  

arguably,  the  rest  of  the  world),  it  is  only  natural  for  it  to  become  al-­‐Qaida’s    

main  target.  The  Idea  of  liberal  democratic  regime  does  not  resonate  well  with  

al-­‐Qaeda’s  thinking;  it  rebels  not  only  against  Western  democracies,  but  also  

against  the  autocracies  of  the  Middle  East:  it  wishes  to  replace  the  present  

autocratic  systems  there  with  a  theocratic,  undemocratic  and  suppressive  

regime,  based  on  the  Sharia’  law  being  mandatory  and  the  creation  of  a  new  

caliphate,  that  will  engulf  the  whole  Islamic  culture.  It  is  clear  that  al  Qaeda  and  

its  affiliates  tap  onto  the  existing  sea  of  hatred  and  resentment  towards  the  

colonializing  West  and  its  “puppet,”  corrupt,  autocratic  and  “secular”  regimes.  As  

mentioned  before,  in  spite  of  tactical  successes  of  the  U.S.  and  its  allies  in  

Afghanistan,  the  dwindling  numbers  of  al-­‐Qaida  core  say  little  about  the  actual  

situation  of  the  jihadist,  worldwide  movement.  Many  claim  that  unlike  the  theory  

of  Moshe  Ya’alon  with  regard  to  the  possibility  to  defeat  Palestinian  terrorism,  by  

consistent  and  complete  suppression  (Ya’alon  2007,  20),  suppressing  al  Qaeda  is  much  more  challenging  and  difficult,  because  it  is  so  widely  metastasized.    

“  Since  9/11,  al  Qaeda  and  jihadist  terrorists  in  general  are  putting  
more  emphasis  than  ever  on  recruitment  from  the  Muslim  
diasporic  community,  especially  those  living  in  the  West.  Although  
the  diasporic  jihadists  may  be  less  capable  than  those  trained  in  
Afghanistan,  as  resolute…[resulting  from  the  Iraq  War  
experience]…the  jihadists  have  become  particularly  adept  in  urban  
terrorist  warfare  that  can  be  just  as  easily  applied  in  the  United  
States  and  Europe  as  in  Iraq  and  the  Middle  East”  (Art  and  
Richardson  2007,  584).  
On  the  other  hand,  these  2007  conclusions  by  Richardson  are  arguably,  

contested  by  recent  statistics:  a  2012  Pew  Research  Center  Study  conducted  in  

Egypt,  Jordan,  Lebanon,  Pakistan  and  Turkey  shows  that  a  majority  of  Muslim  

citizens  hold  unfavorable  views  of  al-­‐Qaeda  one  year  after  Osama  bin-­‐Laden’s  

death.  For  the  record,  in  Pakistan,  only  13  percent  of  Muslims  have  a  positive  

view  of  al-­‐Qaeda,  with  55  percent  holding  an  unfavorable  view  of  it  and  just  over  

30  percent  have  no  opinion  at  all.  In  Lebanon  and  in  Turkey,  the  number  of  al-­‐  

Qaeda  enthusiasts  is  portrayed  by  2%  and  6%  respectively.  It  seems  that  al-­‐  

Qaeda  is  most  popular  in  Egypt  (possibly  due  to  the  fact  that  Ayman  al  Zawahiri,  

Osama’s  successor  is  originally  from  Egypt).  21  percent  of  Egyptians  surveyed,  

presented  a  favorable  view  of  al-­‐Qaeda  (Fox  2012).  Furthermore,  Richard  Wike,  

Pew’s  Global  Attitudes  Project’s  associate  director,  is  cited  saying  that  al-­‐Qaeda’s  

popularity  has  changed  little  over  the  past  year  (2011-­‐2012),  since  bin-­‐Laden’s  

death;  however,  throughout  the  decade  plus  since  9/11,  support  for  al  Qaeda  

dropped  sharply.  Wikes  is  cited  saying,  “  Typically  when  people  are  exposed  to  

extremism  and  extremist  violence  in  their  own  country,  we  tend  to  see  people  

reacting  in  a  negative  way”  (in  Fox  2012).  Indeed,  for  example  in  Jordan,  

confidence  in  al-­‐Qaeda  dropped  dramatically  from  61  percent  in  2005  to  24  

percent  in  2006,  after  al-­‐Qaeda  carried  out  several  suicide  bombings  in  Amman,  

Jordan’s  capital.  By  2011,  only  13  percent  of  the  Jordanians  reported  confidence  

in  bin-­‐Laden’s  leadership  (Fox  2012).  This  however,  is  unfortunately  not  the  

whole  picture.  

As  mentioned  earlier  in  this  work,  while  al-­‐Qaeda  core  in  Afghanistan  has  been  

arguably,  effectively  dealt  with  -­‐  its  off-­‐shots  in  the  Maghreb  (AQIM)  and  in  the  

Middle  East,  specifically  in  Libya,  Algeria,  Mali,  Yemen,  Sudan  and  Syria  are  a  

source  for  serious  concern  to  the  U.S.  and  the  rest  of  the  free  world.  Recent  

attacks  on  U.S.  facilities  in  Benghazi,  (September  11,  2012)  and  the  natural  gas  

complex  in  Algeria,  (January  2013),  along  with  the  strengthening  of  an  Al  Qaeda  

franchised  group  Jabhat  al  Nusra  in  Syria;  as  well  as  the  recent  arrest  of  al-­‐Qaeda  

related  terrorist  network  in  Canada  and  the  jihadist  terror  attack  in  Boston,  MA  

(although  not  directly  linked  to  al-­‐Qaeda  the  “idea”  is  there);  are  all  pointing  at  a  

metastasized  al-­‐Qaeda  capability.    Al  Nusra  is  of  particular  concern  to  the  U.S.  

due  to  its  AQI  backing  and  support,  as  well  as  due  to  its  already  large  

membership,  estimated  at  10,000  fighters  including  some  with  Western  

nationalities,  which  may  refocus  its  attention  on  another  target,  once  the  Syrian  

civil  war  is  over  (Miller  and  Warrick  2013).  Back  in  April  2012,  Bruce  Riedel,  a  

Brookings  institution  fellow  focusing  on  the  Middle  East  warned,  that  despite  the  

decrease  in  popularity,  al-­‐Qaeda  still  poses  a  significant  threat  to  international  

security.  In  his  words,  cited  in  U.S.  News,  “  Low  approval  ratings  are  not  really  

relevant  in  terrorism.  If  10  percent  of  Muslims  support  [al-­‐Qaeda]  that  means  

100  followers,  a  huge  pool  to  recruit  a  few  suicide  bombers.”  (Fox  2012).  Mr.  

Riedel  could  hardly  be  more  correct.  As  recently  stated  by  unidentified  senior  

U.S.  intelligence  source,    

“  one  of  the  most  concerning  things  we’re  seeing  is  cross-­‐
fertilization  and  cross-­‐  pollinization  of  affiliates.  The  newer  groups  
have  more  diverse  memberships,  abundant  access  to  weapons  and  
a  willingness  to  collaborate  that  serves  as  a  multiplier  effect”  
(Miller  and  Warrick  2013).  
These  new  developments  pose  new  challenges  to  the  U.S.  and  counterterrorism  

strategy,  which  was  until  very  recently  focused  mostly  on  al-­‐Qaeda  Afghanistan  

and  on  the  Taliban.  The  shift  in  al-­‐Qaeda’s  profile,  challenges  the  future  of  the  

drone  related  intelligence  and  targeted  killings  of  al-­‐Qaeda  members.  The  U.S.  is  

not  as  well  prepared  for  such  challenges  from  the  HUMINT  respect,  as  well  as  

from  the  angle  of  using  the  drones  in  far  away  countries,  where  the  U.S.  does  not  

have  as  many  ready  “landing  strips,”  nor  necessarily,  the  consent  of  the  state  in  

which  al-­‐Qaeda  is  present.  While  in  the  short  term,  al-­‐Qaeda  affiliates  provide  

new  justification  for  the  U.S.  to  use  its  drone  tactics,  it  is  suggested  that  these  CT  

wars  may  well  be  expected  to  continue  for  another  decade  or  more.  

The  U.S.  has  recently  disclosed  plans  to  build  a  drone  base  in  Niger,  to  make  

intelligence  collection  over  Mali  possible.  While  nothing  has  yet  been  said  about  

targeted  killings  there,  this  would  have  been  an  expected  move  on  the  part  of  the  

U.S.  However,  for  now,  the  U.S.  relies  on  regional  allies  and  on  France  to  deal  

with  the  terrorists  in  Mali  and  Niger.  The  flow  of  combatants  and  weapons  has  

transformed  AQIM  and  made  it  more  resilient.  It  became  a  focal  point  for  

’migration’  of  combatants  ousted  from  their  previous  ‘posts,’  where  they  suffered  

setbacks  (e.g.  Yemen,  Pakistan,  Afghanistan  etc.).    As  correctly  stated,    

“  In  its  broader  incarnation,  the  group  [AQIM]  is  one  of  the  most  
diverse  affiliates,  drawing  militants  from  Mali,  Mauritania,  Libya,  
Egypt  and  Sudan.  The  organization’s  amorphous  membership  also  
illustrates  what  U.S.  officials  described  as  an  increasingly  fluid  
militant  network”  (Miller  and  Warrick  2013).  

An  increasingly  important  is  also  the  fact  that  al-­‐Qaeda  core  is  not  funding  any  of  

its  new,  affiliated  groups.  Moreover,  it  is  currently,  not  much  more  that  a  

“blessing  giver”  and  possibly  an  adviser.  However,  the  affiliates  still  look  to  al-­‐  

Qaeda  core  for  varying  degrees  of  guidance  and  affirmation.  David  Cohen,  the  

Treasury  Department’s  undersecretary  for  terrorism  was  cited  saying:    

“  Unable  to  rely  on  al  Qaeda  [central]  for  help,  regional  affiliates  
such  as  AQIM  have  been  forced  to  raise  their  own  funds,  mostly  
through  criminal  enterprises…Their  money  is  self-­‐generated,  
predominantly  through  kidnapping  ventures  and  other  criminal  
enterprises”  (Miller  and  Warrick  2013).  
 With  due  “respect”  granted  to  al-­‐Qaida’s  activity  in  the  Maghreb,  the  Arabian  

Peninsula  remains  an  al-­‐Qaeda’s  franchise  stronghold  (in  Yemen),  which  is  

capable  and  committed  to  carrying  attacks  against  the  United  States.  However,  

the  al-­‐Qaeda  metastasized  threats  are  evident  to  all  Western  democracies  and  

their  worldwide  facilities.  Indeed,  Western  governments  are  warning  their  

embassies,  businesses  and  tourists  of  the  terrorist  hazards  and  threats.  In  view  

of  the  French  intervention  in  the  Algerian  gas  pipeline  and  the  Mali  hostage  

incidents,  the  French  government  with  population  a  10  percent  of  which,  is  of  

North  African  descent,  is  bracing  for  a  possible  wave  of  retaliatory  terrorist  

attacks  in  France.    

                             To  conclude  this  section,  it  seems  reasonable,  that  lessons  can  and  should  

be  learned  constantly,  from  the  experiences  of  every  country,  which  is  

threatened  by  terrorists  and  is  involved  in  counterterrorism.  There  is  no  way  to  

directly  apply  everything  learned  from  the  decades  of  fighting  Palestinian  

terrorism,  to  the  struggle  with  al-­‐Qaeda.  But  there  are  some  points  to  be  made.    

• The  use  of  force  alone  is  unlikely  to  defeat  al-­‐Qaeda.  Even  local  groups  

like  Hamas,  PIJ  and  alike,  were  not  defeated  and  completely  destroyed  by  

Israeli  military.  Moreover  it  took  Sri  Lankan  governments  24  years,  to  

defeat  the  local  LTTE  through  the  application  of  extreme  measures,  which  

badly  undermined  the  democratic  nature  of  the  existing  regime.  With  al-­‐  

Qaeda  being  more  an  idea  and  a  formula  for  global  terrorism,  force  alone  

is  insufficient.  

• The  Israelis  have  never  really  tried  “to  battle”  for  the  hearts  and  minds  of  

the  Palestinians.  The  very  nature  of  the  Israeli  –  Palestinian  conflict  

negates  the  very  concept  of  positively  approaching  the  Palestinians;  this  

is,  simply  put  –  two  people  locked  in  a  deadly  struggle  over  the  same  tiny  

piece  of  land.  

Positive  Israeli  gestures  towards  Palestinians  (e.g.  medical  care,  the  Oslo  

accords,  etc.)  have  been  dwarfed  by  both,  the  offensive  and  the  defensive  

Israeli  measures.  Interestingly,  although  Israeli  retaliatory  and  pre-­‐

emptive  violence  against  Palestinians,  leads  them  to  support  more  radical  

factions  and  more  radical  attitudes  towards  the  conflict,  this  effect  is  

temporary,  and  according  to  a  study,  supposedly,  vanishes  completely  

within  90  days  (Jaeger  2008).  The  lesson  for  fighting  against  al-­‐  

Qaeda  is:  refrain  from  occupation.  If  the  US  has  to  fight  –  it  should  do  so,  

as  much  as  possible,  by    “remote  control”  to  minimize  the  alienating  effect  

of  occupation  on  those  who  host  al-­‐Qaeda.  

• The  United  States  has  a  much  better  chance  than  Israel,  of  waging  a  

successful  campaign  for  the  hearts  and  minds  of  the  Muslim  population,  by  

driving  a  wedge  between  the  Muslim  public  at  large,  and  the  destructive  

path  of  al-­‐  Qaeda.  

                     General  Lessons  to  be  Learned  from  the  Worldwide  Struggle  with  


           International  Cooperation  in  CT  Struggle  is  a  Must  

Most  of  terrorist  groups  not  affiliated  with  al-­‐Qaeda,  portray  a  picture  of  

localized  activity  and  accordingly,  require  a  mostly  localized  

counterterrorist  struggle.  However,  is  some  cases  as  exemplified  by  the  

Hezbollah,  the  most  daring,  complex  and  lethal  attacks,  were  carried  not  

in  the  Hezbollah  locale,  but  in  far  away  lands,  e.g.  Argentina  (the  attacks  

on  the  Israeli  Embassy  in  1992,  and  the  Argentine  Jewish  Cultural  Center  

in  1994);  the  2002  failed  plot  to  attack  U.S.  and  Israeli  naval  vessels  in  

Singapore  Straits;  the  2009  foiled  attempt  to  attack  Israeli  and  Egyptian  

targets  in  Sinai;  and  the  2012  Burgas,  Bulgaria  attack  on  Israeli  tourists.  

Although  Israel  has  shown  it  capability  to  retaliate  against  terrorists  

overseas,  when  facing  terrorism  as  well  spread  as  al  Qaeda’s  affiliates,  a  

great  deal  of  international  cooperation  is  needed  in  order  to  successfully  

counter  terrorist  attempts.  It  is  notable,  that  while  most  countries  seem  to  

cooperate  with  the  U.S.  in  al-­‐Qaeda  related  terrorism  cases  (e.g.  the  Dar  el  

Salam,  and  Nairobi  1998  bombings;  the  2000  USS  Cole:  September  11,  

2001  attacks:  the  Bali  2002  attacks  in  Indonesia;  the  2004  Madrid:  2005  

London,  and  Sharem  al  Sheikh;  2008:  and  2011  Mumbai,  India  etc.)  -­‐  

Michael  Chertoff,  who  led  the  U.S.  DHS,  already  back  in  2005  correctly  

suggested  that,    

           “  If  we  are  going  to  challenge  the  kind  of  interdependence  that  
terrorist  networks  thrive  upon,  we  have  to  be  able  to  confront  the  
network  anywhere  it  operates,  and  that  means  we  have  to  be  able  
to  function  internationally  and  do  it  in  partnership  with  overseas  
allies”  (Fiorill  2005).  
While  some  of  this  international  cooperation  is  exemplified  in  law  

enforcement  cooperation,  the  main  purpose  of  international  cooperation  

regarding  counterterrorism  is  focused  on  intelligence  collaboration.  In  

the  Cold  War  era,  the  U.S.  had  a  considerable  pool  of  human  intelligence  

sources;  however,  following  the  demise  of  the  Soviet  Union,  the  interest  in  

HUMINT  waned,  in  favor  of  the  “magic  “  of  SIGINT,  MASINT  and  COMINT.    

With  the  new  need  for  infiltration  of  al  Qaeda  and  affiliated  terrorist  

groups,  the  U.S.  have  found  itself  in  a  dire  renewed  need  of  HUMINT  to  

supplement  and  complement  the  digital  intelligence.  Typically,  human  

assets  take  a  long  time  to  acquire  and  to  develop;  it  is  thus,  that  the  U.S.  

had  to  lean  heavily  on  foreign  collaboration  with  the  international  

intelligence  community  to  augment  its  own,  lacking,  human  sources.  

During  the  first  decade  of  the  21st  century,  many  terrorist  plots  

succeeded,  but  an  unknown,  yet  arguably,  impressive  number  of  al  Qaeda,  

and  affiliate  plots,  was  foiled  mostly  due  to  good  human  intelligence,  

resulting  from  international  cooperation,  along  with  collaboration  in  

surveillance  and  law  enforcement;  including  international  pre  and  post  

event  investigation.  It  is  interesting  to  see  the  far-­‐sightedness  of  C.I.A’s    

Paul  Pillar,  in  his    writings,  Terrorism  and  American  Foreign  Policy  (2001),  

as  well  as  in    Intelligence  and  U.S.  Foreign  Policy,(2011);  in  both  Pillar  

argues  in  favor  of,    

“Close  cooperation  with  foreign  intelligence  services  constitutes  

our  most  important  and  effective  tool,  by  expanding  the  
intelligence,  police  and  international  security  resources  directed  
against  terrorist  targets…Imposing  financial  controls  and  
limitations  plays  a  secondary  role  in  combating  
terrorism…Selective  military  retaliation  deters  terrorism,  
demonstrates  US  resolve,  encourages  other  governments  to  fight  
terrorism,  and  disrupts  terrorist  operations”  (Pillar  in  Moore  
Pillar  does  not  see  an  end  to  the  struggle  with  al  Qaeda.  Rather  than  

winning  against  terrorism  –  terrorism  can  at  best  be  managed.  And  he  

sagely  contends  (in  2001)  that  the  death  of  Osama  bin  Laden  will  not  

bring  about  the  complete  demise  of  al  Qaeda.  Pillar  further  suggests  

several  policy  recommendations  to  be  implicated  by  the  U.S.  (Pillar  in  

Moore  2008).  

• The  U.S.  should  insert  a  counterterrorism  perspective  into  its  foreign  

policy  strategy.  

• U.S.  government  must  pay  attention  to  a  maximal  range  of  terrorist  

threats,  and  not  to  focus  solely  on  Osama,  al-­‐Qaeda,  or  on  any  particular  

other  group  or  individual  alone.  All  threats  must  be  considered.  (But  not  

all  must  be  fought).  

• All  available  CT  methods  must  be  applied  in  a  carefully  balanced  way.  

• We  must  tailor  different  CT  measures  to  meet  different  terrorist  


• The  U.S  must  leverage  the  power  of  foreign  governments  to  engage  in  the  

U.S.  and  other  allied  countries  counterterrorism  efforts.  

• Special  efforts  must  be  made  to  inform  the  American  public  about  the  

terrorist  threat,  and  the  role  the  American  public  may  (and  possibly  

should)  play  in  counterterrorism.  

Overall,  the  purpose  of  counterterrorism  related  intelligence  is  the  

disruption  of  as  many  terrorist  cells  and  plots  as  possible;  this  will  not  

only  prevent  attacks,  but  also  damage  the  terrorist  network  and  possibly  

disrupt  terrorist  activity  in  a  longer  run.  As  stated  before,  some  claim  that  

the  killed  and  the  apprehended  terrorists  are  almost  instantly  replaced,  

but  as  we  have  seen  in  the  Palestinian  Hamas’  case,  high  ranking  fighters  

or  leaders  were  hard  to  replace  and  the  effect  of  being  openly  targeted  at  

all  times,  caused  them  to  go  into  hiding  and  limited  the  damage  they  

caused.  Furthermore,  as  we  know  from  the  Osama  case,  he  was  deeply  

affected  by  the  U.S.  relentless  hunt  for  him;  and  he  shared  his  fears  and  

concerns  by  warning  other  al  Qaeda  operatives  of  the  dangers  constituted  

by  drones  and  other  modern  CT  tools  (McConnell  and  Todd  2013).  

Although  the  CT  capabilities  of  the  U.S.  and  its  allies  have  improved  on  the  

national  and  international  level,  an  ongoing  international  cooperation  

with  foreign  intelligence  services  is  a  must,  because  none  of  the  countries  

targeted  by  al-­‐Qaeda  and  its  affiliates,  can  effectively  seal  its  borders,  and  

prevent  terrorist  infiltration.  Not  even  Israel,  which  arguably,  has  come  

relatively  close  to  such  capability.  (Levi  2008).  


               Intelligence  and  Counterterrorism:  The  Unique  Nature  and  Quality    

               of  Intelligence  Needed  to  Disrupt  Terrorism:  the  U.S.  and  Israeli    


Starting  on  the  national  level,  the  U.S.  has  a  troubled  history  as  far  as  

intelligence  sharing  is  concerned.  Good,  effective  intelligence  sharing  is  

arguably,  the  foundation  for  the  obtaining  of  a  reliable,  finalized  and  

actionable  intelligence  product.  This  problem  is  magnified  many  times  

over,  when  the  sharing  is  needed  on  an  international  level,  whereas  the  

trust  shared  with  foreign  intelligence  services  is  inherently  low  and  tends  

to  be  extremely  egocentric.  

“  America  needs  help  from  other  countries,  whether  it  likes  it  or  
not…Working  with  other  services  provides  US  intelligence  several  
direct  benefits,  including  access  to  specific  information…denied  to  
large-­‐scale  US  penetration…Foreign  services  can  also  provide  
direct  force  to  solve  a  particular  problem  [arrests  etc.].  Finally,  
other  intelligence  services  can  mask  American  actions  as  local  
ones…At  the  same  time,  foreign  services  may  harm  US  interests.  
They  may  have  conflicting  political  missions…[and]  working  with  
liaison  often  open  the  US  to  moral  hazards.  Foreign  intelligence  
services  are  not  bound  by  the  peculiarities  of  the  American  legal  
system…”  (Peritz  and  Rosenbach  2012,  221).    
Moreover,  foreign  help  in  counterterrorism,  is  not  offered  “free  of  

charge.”  There  is  a  “price”  for  helping  the  U.S.  to  fight  al-­‐Qaeda  and  its  

affiliates.  In  exchange  for  services  rendered  to  the  US,  it  may  be  obliged  to  

overlook  certain  moral  and  humanitarian  issues  related  to  the  

interrogation  style,  prisoner  abuse,  clandestine  nuclear  deals  and  human  

rights  violations.  This  is  a  necessary  evil,  with  which  the  US  intelligence  

services  must  often  cope,  in  order  to  gain  the  needed  support.  

The  intelligence  failures  that  allowed  9/11  and  the  2003  Iraq  War  to  

happen,  point  out  to  two  U.S.  intelligence  problems;  both,  prior  to  9/11,  

and  in  the  aftermath  of  9/11.  It  is  still  debated,  whether  9/11  could  have  

been  thwarted  if  better  intelligence  sharing  was  experienced  within  the  

US  IC.  It  is  also  arguable  whether  better  intelligence,  based  on  more  

sources  –  could  have  prevented  the  Iraq  2003  war.  Yet,  there  is  no  

division  over  the  fact  that  intelligence  sharing  within  the  US  IC  has  been  

and  unfortunately,  still  is  -­‐  faulty.  The  problem  of  “stove-­‐piping”  or  not  

sharing  information  gathered,  even  with  sister  agencies  are  not  a  unique  

problem  of  the  US  IC.  It  is  in  fact,  an  inherent  problem  of  any  intelligence  

agency;  and  some  say  –  and  large  bureaucracy.  

“Information  sharing  has  been  repeatedly  identified  as  one  of  the  
weakest  points  of  various  intelligence  communities  around  the  
world….known  as  “stove-­‐piping”  or  the  “silo-­‐  effect”…  intelligence  
agencies  are  often  good  at  moving  information  up  and  down  their  
own  chains  of  command,  but  do  a  poor  job  of  sharing  this  
information  laterally.  (Quiggin  2007,  140).  

 A  2006  GAO  report,  surveying  26  US  government  agencies  involved  in  the  

collection  dissemination  and  the  use  of  terrorism  related  intelligence,  

points  out  to  the  sad  fact  that  between  2001  and  2006  there  was  still  no  

government-­‐wide  policy,  or  process  integrating  CT-­‐related  information  

available.  (Quiggin  2007,  141).  However,  in  2007  the  US  government  has  

issued  a  National  Strategy  for  Information  Sharing,  which  declares:  

“success  in  preventing  future  terrorist  attacks  depends  upon  our  ability  to  

gather,  analyze,  and  share  information  and  intelligence  regarding  those  

who  want  to  attack  us…  “  (National  Strategy  for  Information  Sharing  


It  was  the  huge  bureaucracy  and  “red  tape,”  that  made  the  US  IC  

extremely  cumbersome  and  slow  to  react  –  that  often  was  the  reason  

behind  stove  piping  (i.e.  moving  information  within  each  agency  only,  

without  sharing).    Interestingly,  for  comparison  and  contrast,  Israel,  being  

a  small  country,  with  a  tiny  IC  (in  comparison  to  the  US),  also  suffered  

from  stove  piping.  An  extensive  review  of  the  GSS  in  1996  found  that  

intelligence  integration  and  sharing  was  not  done  properly.  There  was  no  

clear  hierarchy  for  decision-­‐making,  

“  …Different  parts  of  the  GSS  organized  according  to  region:  one  
division  might  advise  waiting  before  protecting  a  source,  while  
another  would  advocate  nabbing  a  suspect  and  interrogating  him  
immediately.  Each  command  had  autonomy,  which  resulted  in  a  
mix  of  methods  and  philosophies…On  top  of  that  there  it  was  not  
clear  where  Shin  Bet’s  [GGS]  responsibility  ended  and  those  of  the  
Mossad  and  the  IDF  began”  (Byman  2011,  340).  
This  foreign  example  of  “turf  wars”  even  within  a  single  agency,  

demonstrates  a  problem  that  is  inherent  worldwide,  and  can  be  seen  in  its  

common  example  even  in  the  inherent  rivalry  and  turf  wars  between  

different  police  jurisdictions,  sometimes  named  “collar  wars”  (Allen  1993,  

203).  The  US  government  attempted  to  improve  this  situation  by  the  2005  

Intelligence  Reform  Act,  and  the  2007  actual  National  Strategy  for  

Information  Sharing.    The  documents  representing  a  set  of  visions,  

aspirations,  rules  and  regulations,  seen  in  a  “strategy’  is  not  enough;  

especially  so,  when  such  rules  and  regulations  are  not  assimilated  and  

shared  by  those  who  have  to  execute  the  said  strategy.  The  original  2005  

U.S.  Intelligence  Reform  tried  to  deal  with  numerous  issues:  

• The  overemphasizing  of  the  Presidential  Daily  Brief  (PDB),  

which  created  a  tendency  to  focus  on  superficial  intelligence  product,  

listing  mostly  attention-­‐grabbing,  latest  clandestine  reports,  without  

deep  analysis.  

• Changing  the  disappointing  National  Intelligence  Estimates  (NIEs),  

which  instead  of  being  one  of  the  IC’s  major  products,  were  often  too  

late,  too  long  and  too  detailed,  to  serve  high  level  policy  makers  in  an  

optimal  way.  The  source  of  this  problem  was  the  wish  to  present  a  

unified  analytic  position  (of  the  IC),  which  not  necessarily  portrayed  

the  reality.  

• Following  the  Iraq  WMD  quagmire,  the  analysts  started  to  deploy  “risk  

aversion  techniques”  whereas  the  intelligence  product  focused  often  

on  amalgamating  all  potential  relevant  data  –  forcing  the  policy  

makers  to  draw  their  own  conclusions.  These  issues  clearly  show  a  

poor  capability  to  balance  the  intelligence  product  (Lieberthal  2009).  

• The  new  cadre  of  analysts  hired  by  the  IC  lacked  the  deep  immersion  

in  the  background  of  the  country  they  were  specializing  in.  They  

lacked  the  extensive  knowledge  of  the  country’s  history,  economics  

and  politics;  which  are  very  important  to  correctly  understand  the  

information  collected.  Accordingly,  it  has  been  recommended  that  

despite  certain  security  vetting  risks  –  the  recruits  should  be  chosen  

from  those  that  have  and  extensive  experience  relevant  to  the  country  

of  concern.  

• Greater  sharing  not  only  of  information,  but  also  of  competing  

opinions  over  a  given  topic.  By  getting  more  than  a  single  analytic  

opinion  from  a  single  intelligence  agency  or  discipline,  a  joint  

leadership  in  developing  an  analysis  was  suggested,  along  with  

encouragement  of  presenting  privately  held  opinions,  even  if  they  were  

contrary  to  the  general  position  on  a  given  subject.  

• Accordingly,  additional  emphasis  was  placed  also  on  the  education  of  

new  IC  recruits  and  assigning  analysts  systematically  to  provide  

support  to  senor  policy  makers,  from  the  assistant  secretary  and  up.  

• Another  suggestion  was  to  develop  a  systematic  and  regular  feedback  

flow  from  the  policy  makers  to  the  analysts,  and  thus  creating  a  better  

understanding  between  the  “supply  end”  of  the  intelligence,  and  the  

“demand.  “  Analysts  need  to  be  better  trained  and  equipped  to  

understand  the  subtle  effects  of  power  dynamics  between  analysts  

and  policymakers;  and  policymakers  need  to  keep  in  mind  that  their  

power  and  positions  are  intimidating  to  many  analysts  who  brief  

them”  (Lieberthal  2009).  

• Lieberthal  further  outlines  the  obstacles  still  troubling  the  U.S.  IC,  

even  after  2007:  

 “  Ongoing  IC  cultures  of  insularity  and  secrecy…  present  major  

obstacles  to  realizing  the  IC’s  full  potential…some  IC  managers  
continue  to  deny  information  to  other  parts  of  the  community  
because  they  do  not  utilize  identical  security  
screenings…another  example,  the  need  for  National  Intelligence  
University  has  been  understood  for  some  time,  but  the  IC’s  
sixteen  disparate  agencies  still  resist  merging  their  
educational…programs.  This  resistance  highlights  that  the  IC  
still  has  some  distance  to  go  in  terms  of  individual  agency  
cultures  and  mindsets…”  (Lieberthal  2009).  

Moreover,  the  2005  creation  of  the  ODNI,  without  giving  it  and  its  head,  

the  Director  of  National  Intelligence  (DNI)  a  real  mandate,  created  not  

much  more  that  another  layer  of  ineffective  bureaucracy.  Although  

talented  individuals  staff  it;  the  function  of  these  individuals  is  at  best  

unclear  and  at  worst  destructive.    

“Beyond  its  information  –sharing  and  relationship  building  

abilities  –  two  areas  that  the  intelligence  bureaucracy  has  
improved  apart  from  the  ODNI’s  efforts  –  the  office  has  no  added  
value  in  the  fight  against  al  Qaeda.  The  ODNI  –  has  yet  to  take  
center  stage  in  thwarting  an  attack  …despite  multiple  chances  to  
do  so  “  (Peritz  and  Rosenbach  2012,  225).  
The  DNI  has  a  broad  job,  but  little  actual  power.  He  is  theoretically,  

supposed  to  manage  the  sixteen  IC  agencies,  which  are  frequently  in  

dispute  with  one  another  and  which  often  answer  to  different  leaders,  

including  the  President.  This  makes  the  DNI  the  most  likely  “fall  guy”  to  

take  the  blame  for  whatever  intelligence  mishap  or  terrorist  attack.  

However,  as  Peritz  and  Rosenbach  suggest,  the  ODNI  could  become  more  

valuable,  if  instead  of  regurgitating  the  already  processed  information  

and  actual  intelligence  products  of  the  IC  before  it  reaches  the  President  

and  the  NSC,  it  could  arguably,  become  more  valuable,  if  it  would  become  

removed  from  the  daily  analysis,  and  focus  on  its  own  signature  

intelligence  products,  produced  by  a  group  of  analysts  made  of  the  US  

government’s  highest  experts  in  any  given  NS  field  –  who  can  focus  on  the  

big  picture;  way  beyond  the  limited  scope  of  the  analysts  of  each  IC  

participant  and  contributor.  In  reality,  most  of  the  time  spent  by  the  

various  analysts  is  spent  on  the  so-­‐called  “  current  intelligence”.  Such  

focus  prevents  them  from  conducting  long  term,  strategic  analyses.      

“  By  creating  a  cadre  of  first-­‐among-­‐equals  analysts,  the  ODNI  

could  capitalize  on  the  creative  energies  of  its  working  
population…these  particulars  thinkers  would  be  encouraged  to  
challenge  conventional  wisdom”  (Peritz  and  Rosenbach  2012,  

 Though  domestic  information  sharing  is  of  grave  importance  to  

the      counterterrorism  effort,  one  must  not  overlook  two  important  


First,  beyond  the  internal  squabbles,  states  rely  increasingly  on  other  

states  for  their  security  or  their  CT  related  training  and  equipment.  

Second,  to  combat  transnational  terrorist  threats  effectively,  the  

information  sharing,  must  expand  to  the  international  realm.  After  all,  

Muhammad  Atta’s  cell,  made  up  largely  from  Saudi  nationals,  trained  for  

quite  a  while  in  Hamburg,  Germany,  with  the  intention  to  carry  attacks  in  

the  United  States.  Terrorists  still  come  from  various  states,  plan  

operations  in  states,  and  operate  in  states  (Revron  2008,  3).  

Most  terrorism  activities,  just  like  politics  –  are  local,  and  what  makes  al-­‐  

Qaeda  such  huge  challenge  to  the  US,  is  its  transnational  nature.  

Interestingly,  Hamas,  another  Muslim  Sunni  group,  might  be  wrongly  

considered  as  “brother-­‐in-­‐  arms”  of  al  Qaeda.  Yet  this  is  not  the  case.  In  

fact,  Hamas  holds  a  rather  low  opinion  of  al-­‐Qaeda  and  has  so  far  

prevented  al-­‐Qaeda  from  obtaining  a  foothold  in  Gaza.  Even  the  al-­‐Qaeda  

affiliate,  Jund  al-­‐Islam,  (Army  of  Islam)  group,  that  kidnapped  the  BBC  

reporter  Alan  Johnston  in  2007,  was  quickly  and  brutally  suppressed  by  

Hamas.  (Meshal:  Johnston’s  Release  2007).  At  that  time,  al-­‐Qaeda’s  

Zawahiri  has  softened  his  criticism  of  Hamas,  attempting  to  use  the  

isolation  in  which  Hamas  has  found  itself  after  the  purge  of  FATAH  from  

Gaza  strip  and  the  2007  elections.  Zawahiri  indeed  intended  for  al-­‐Qaida  

to  create  presence  in  Palestinian  territories  and  start  its  own  anti  Israel  

Jihad.  (Baliani  2007).  


In  2012,  the  Obama  administration  produced  a  revamped  National  

Strategy  for  Information  Sharing  and  Safeguarding  (2012).  The  emphasis  

is  on  the  fact  that  information  is  treated  as  a  National  Asset,  and  as  such  

Information  Sharing  Requires  Shared  Risk  Management.  In  order  to  build  

and  sustain  the  trust  required  to  share  with  one  another,  the  various  IC  

agencies  must  work  together  to  identify  and  collectively  reduce  risk,  

rather  than  avoiding  information  loss  by  not  sharing  at  all.  Moreover,  the  

new  NSISS  declares  that  the  purpose  of  information  sharing  is  nothing  

else  than  Improved  Decisionmaking.  The  2012  NSISS  thus  focuses  on  

achieving  five  goals:  

A. Emphasis  on  working  together,  adopting  common  processes  in  order  

to  build  trust,  simplifying  information  sharing  agreements,  supporting  

efforts  through  training,  incentives  and  performance  management.  

B. Developing  clear  policies  for  making  information  available  to  

approved  individuals.  Secure  information  discovery  and  access,  must  

rely  on  identity,  authentication,  and  authorization  control,  wide  data  

correlation,  common  information  sharing  standards  and  a  rigorous  

process  to  certify  and  validate  their  use.  

C. Optimize  mission  effectiveness  through  shared  services  and  


D. Strengthen  information  safeguarding  through  structural  reform,  

policy,  and  technical  solutions.  

E. Protecting  Privacy,  Civil  Rights  and  Civil  Liberties.  In  order  to  

maintain  public  trust,  the  US  IC  and  government  must  be  consistent  in  

the  way  privacy  is  applied  and  the  way  civil  rights  and  civil  liberties  

are  protected.  The  US  must  carefully  adhere  to  and  comply  with  the  

law  by  developing  information  sharing  operations.  

“  As  we  execute  the  Strategy  together,  we  will  harness  our  
collective  resolve  to  treat  information  as  a  national  asset,  
make  it  discoverable  and  retrievable  by  all  authorized  users,  
and  arm  those  charged  with  preserving  the  security  of  the  
Nation.  Only  as  we  achieve  the  safety  and  success  our  country  
rightfully  demands  and  fully  deserves”  (National  Strategy  for  
Intelligence  Sharing  and  Safeguarding  2012,  2).  

When  one  considers  the  magnitude  of  the  effort  and  good  will,  that  will  be  

required  to  enact  the  demands  stemming  from  this  National  Strategy,  it  

may  be  –  rather  overwhelming.  In  the  much  smaller,  Israeli  intelligence  

community,  it  is  easy  to  detect  the  basic  differences  in  approach  to  issues  

of  sharing  and  safeguarding  of  intelligence  in  the  U.S.  and  Israel.  

For  one  thing,  the  huge  size  of  the  U.S.  IC  with  its  16  sister  agencies,  (not  

including  several  intelligence  oriented  agencies  such  as  the  Customs,  the  

DEA,  Coast  Guard  etc.  which  arguably,  should  be  included  in  the  sharing  

process,  along  with  certain  elements  of  law  enforcement,  even  on  the  

local  level)  –  it  is  clear  that  having  a  dedicated  strategy  is  a  must,  if  only  

due  to  the  sheer  size  of  the  bureaucratic  effort  that  is  involved  in  sharing  

information  on  the  national  level;  without  even  getting  into  the  additional  

complexity  of  sharing  on  the  international  level.  

Israel,  by  contrast,  officially,  has  only  three  intelligence  agencies,  (the  GSS,  

the  Mossad  and  the  IDI);  although,  one  should  not  omit  the  intelligence  -­‐

oriented,  Political  Research  Department  of  the  Ministry  of  Foreign  Affairs,  

as  well  as  INP  intelligence  Division,  both  are  at  least  de  facto,  intelligence  

agencies.  The  INP  is  tasked  with  several  counterterrorism  duties  and  

responsibilities  and  is  by  and  large,  responsible  for  the  actual  “arresting,  

thwarting  ”  element  of  CT  efforts  and  participates  in  the  interrogation  of  

suspected  terrorists.  (Israel  Police  Intelligence  Division  2013  website).  

Israel  (despite  its  minute  size),  has  experienced  a  severe  sharing  problem  

not  only  between  its  various  IC  agencies.  In  fact,  the  problems  were  

inherent  even  inside  the  GSS  alone,  not  to  mention  the  vicious  turf  wars,  

between  the  GSS  and  the  other  sister  agencies  and  the  INP,  which  was  

frequently  looked  upon  as  an  underdog.    

The  Israeli  society  is  rather  cohesive,  even  if  only  just  because  of  the  fact  

that  most  of  its  members  are  of  Jewish  origin.  The  Jewish  religion,  into  

which  most  Jews  are  born,  is  an  element  that  largely  diminishes  the  risk  

of  disloyalty  and  treason;  however,  it  does  not  completely  rule  out  such  

possibility,  and  cases  to  the  contrary  are  dully  noted  (Gilboa  and  Lapid  

2012,  250-­‐257).  Foreign  agents,  for  example,  can  infiltrate  Israel  while  

posing  as  being  of  Jewish  origin,  and  thus  gladly  accepted  as  new  

immigrants.  Israel  also  attracts  religious  personnel  of  all  kinds:  clerics,  

monks  and  priests  etc.,  who  come  to  Israel  under  religious  pretenses,  and  

are  granted  certain  diplomatic  immunity.  Naturally,  all  IC  and  police  

members  are  vetted  to  one  degree  or  another,  but  only  a  minority  of  

police  officers,  in  intelligence  related  tasks,  is  vetted  with  considerable  

intensity,  equivalent  to  other  members  of  the  Israeli  IC  and  is  cleared  to  

deal  highly  classified  information.  

Since  the  American  society  is  much  less  homogenous  and  cohesive,  a  

country  of  massive  immigration  and  tourism  (much  more  than  Israel),  it  

is  understandable  that  the  very  act  of  recruiting  new  IC  employees  of  all  

races  and  religions,  is  more  than  theoretically  more  risky.  Moreover,  it  

may  be  hard  to  understand  that  being  an  Israeli  (not  only  a  Jew)  is  very  

unique,  from  the  security  angle,  since  all  Israelis  are  exposed  rather  

evenly,  to  the  terrorist  threat,  which  makes  for  a  more  homogenous  

perception  of  the  terrorist  threat  and  Israel’s  anti-­‐terrorist  stance.  In  spite  

of  this  interesting  sociological  and  political  feature,  there  are  numerous  

Israelis  that  in  the  last  two  decades  openly  adopt  an  anti  –  Zionist,  anti-­‐

Israeli,  pro-­‐Palestinian  stance,  which  creates  an  interesting  vetting  

dilemmas.  Moreover,  in  the  past  three  decades,  Israel  must  also  deal  with  

the  problem  of  the  extreme  right.  Although  Israel  has  arguably  

experienced  only  one  anti  Israeli  extreme-­‐right–related,  VIP  assassination  

(the  assassination  of  Yitzhak  Rabin  November  1995),  the  problem  of  

“Jewish  Underground”  has  cast  a  grim  shadow  of  Israel’s  self-­‐perceived  

unity  (Sprinzak  1999,  155-­‐161).  

                         The  1996  formerly  mentioned  GSS  review,  led  to  two  significant  

changes:  a  somewhat  improved  central  coordination  and  improved  

intelligence  sharing.  The  coordination  problem  was  partially  resolved  

through  the  strengthening  of  the  GSS  headquarters,    

“Over  time  Shin  Bet  [GSS]  “broke  all  the  walls  of  
compartmentalization”…Now  the  information  was  open  to  anyone  
who  might  need  it.  Unlike  the  presumption  of  
compartmentalization  in  most  Western  intelligence  agencies,  in  
Israel  today  [2011]  the  presumption  is  for  sharing.  Shin  Bet  

officials  need  approval  of  the  deputy  director  or  the  director  to  
compartmentalize  information,  rather  than  the  other  way  around”  
(Byman  2011,  340-­‐341).  

In  2002,  the  GSS  claimed  that  the  shared  counterterrorism  response  has  

been  able  to  prevent  about  80  percent  of  terrorist  attacks  through  

preemptive  intelligence.  This  however  was  not  satisfactory,  since  the  

other  20  percent  claimed  many  Israeli  lives.  Out  of  155  attempted  suicide  

bombings,  112  were  stopped,  while  forty-­‐three  were  actually  carried  out.  

It  was  not  until  2006,  that  the  GSS  completed  its  reorganization  in  the  face  

of  continuing  terrorist  challenge:  

“  There  are  three  geographic  field  offices  that  focus  on  Palestinian  
areas  and  Israeli  Arabs.  Another  part  of  the  organization  works  on  
al-­‐Qaida,  Hizballah,  and  other  groups,  at  times  in  cooperation  with  
the  Mossad.  A  fifth  division  looks  at  Jewish  extremism….  To  
coordinate  all  the  information,  the  desk  at  headquarters  where  
analyst  sat  became  Shin  Bet’s  counterterrorism  brain.  The  desk  
operatives  see  all  interrogations  reports,  SIGINT,  and  field  agent  
reports  and  directs  different  collectors  to  complete…and  pursue  
new  leads…[and]  coordinate  with  the  IDF,  air  force  and  the  
police…In  the  past  Shin  Bet  favored  agent  runners  and  
interrogators.  Today  the  desk  operatives  run  the  show…”  (Byman  
2011,  341-­‐342).  
A  lesson  to  be  learned  here  is  that  although  the  new  changes  in  the  GSS’  

and  IDF’s  approach  to  the  terrorist  challenge  did  not  deter  the  Hamas  and  

other  Palestinian  faction  from  attempting  terrorist  attacks,  it  has  

however,  transformed  overall  terrorism  from  a  massive,  uncontrolled  

problem,  into  a  manageable  one,  thus  allowing  the  Israelis  to  conduct  

normal  life  once  more.  

However,  in  as  much  as  the  CT  doctrine  improved,  it  has  not  become  an  

actual  long-­‐term  and  coherent  strategy.  While  it  allows  for  additional  

flexibility  in  the  almost  instantaneous  application  of  new  or  different  CT  

measures,  it  is  very  open  to  outside  political  pressures,  manifested  in  the  

multi-­‐partisan  Israeli  democratic  system,  which  is  often  self-­‐destructive,  

in  its  inability  to  create  a  broad  consent  and  support  for  CT  measures  and  


“    Much  of  the  problem  is  due  to  Israel’s  unusual  system  of  
democracy…ministers  are  rarely  chosen  for  their  expertise,  but  
instead  to  ensure  that  the  prime  minister  can  form  a  coalition  to  
stay  in  government.  In  contrast  to  the  American  system,  Cabinet  
ministers  owe  their  primary  loyalty  to  their  party,  and  not  to  the  
prime  minister  …As  a  result  Cabinet  turnover  is  frequent  and  
political  horizons  are  short  term,  driven  by  politics  rather  than  the  
greater  good”  (Byman  2011,  345).  
With  due  respect  to  the  American  democratic  government  system,  where  

the  choice  of  ministers  is  not  always  bipartisan,  and  the  choice  of  new  

Supreme  Justices  is  mostly  a  Presidential  and  partisan  prerogative,  

possibly  the  final  outcome  is  not  necessarily  much  “better,”  but  it  is  open  

to  Congressional  oversight  and  is  certainly  more  permanent  and  stable.  

XVIII.      The  United  States  Counterterrorism  Paradigm:  The  Use  of  Lethal  

                               Force  in  U.S.  Counterterrorism:  Moral,  Legal  and    

                               Efficacy  Issues  


As  shown  in  the  Israeli  case  of  targeted  killings,  the  debates  regarding  

their  efficacy  and  their  legal  limitations  are  still  ongoing  and  although  it  is  

one  of  the  limited  options  the  world  has  at  its  disposal,  when  combating  

terrorism,  the  proponents  of  democracy,  civil  liberties  and  human  rights  

are  adamantly  opposed  to  the  systematic  targeted  killing  of  terrorists.  

From  the  logical  point  of  view,  with  the  limited  CT  capabilities  we  have  at  

our  disposal,  it  might  be  unwise  to  completely  outlaw  and  stop  using  this  

ugly  and  imperfect  method.  The  world  have  learned  that  national  

terrorism,  and  more  so,  transnational  terrorism,  cannot  be  fought  by  large  

armies  and  according  to  the  rules  of  war  applied  in  WWII.  

Daniel  Byman  expresses  his  opinion  on  the  topic  of  targeted  killings,  for  

the  Brooking  Institute.  He  posits,    

Killing  terrorists  is  difficult,  is  often  ineffective,  and  can  easily  
backfire.  Yet  it  is  one  of  United  States’  few  options  for  managing  
the  threat  posed  by  al  Qaeda…U.S.  drone  attacks  in  Pakistan  has  
killed  dozens  of  lower  –ranking  and  at  least  10-­‐mid  and  high-­‐
ranking  leaders  from  al  Qaeda  and  the  Taliban”(Byman  2009).  
 Interestingly,  in  2006  Byman  wrote  an  article  with  an  near-­‐  identical  title,  

in  which  he  carefully  outlined  the  risks,  as  exemplified  by  the  Bush  

administration’s  abolishing  of  many,  long-­‐standing,  U.S.  limits  on  punitive  

and  preventive  actions;  as  well  as  the  need  for  authorization  of  special  

measures,  including  secret  prisons,  domestic  surveillance  without  court  

authorization,  holding  of  enemy  combatants  and  their  rendition  to  third  

countries  for  interrogation.  All  of  which  caused  international  outcry  and  

have  caused  many  Americans  to  question  the  legitimacy  of  their  

government’s  CT  policy.    Usually,  almost  no  method  used,  can  remain  

secret  forever.  One  way  or  another,  almost  everything  leaks  at  some  point  

or  is  officially  declassified.  The  US  exploits  several  CT  measures,  which  

are  controversial.  Targeted  killings  are  only  one  of  these  measures.  The  

White  House  has  sanctioned,  upon  a  certification  by  the  Department  of  

Justice,  enhanced  interrogation  techniques,  “black  sites,”  special  

electronic  surveillance  (without  a  warrant)  etc.  In  the  early  post  9/11  

stages,  the  American  public,  as  well  as  most  of  the  IC  knew  next  to  nothing  

about  what  has  been  going  on,  and  what  has  already,  been  much  more  

openly  discussed  by  the  Israelis.  The  eventual  “  sharing”  of  these  secrets  

with  the  American  public,  proved  detrimental  in  the  way  it  has  been  

conducted.  It  created  a  significant  mistrust  of  the  Bush  administration  

and  cast  a  dark  shadow  over  the  actions  and  the  legitimacy  of  the  C.I.A  

and  its  operations,  which  were  deemed  as  contrary  to  the  Constitutional  

rights,  the  American  legislature  stemming  from:  the  United  States  

Constitution  and  the  International  law.  

In  2005  Jerry  Smith  evaluates  in  his  thesis,  the  effectiveness  of  Israel’s  

counterterrorism  strategy.  He  posits:    

“  When  a  suicide  attack  occurs,  the  Israeli  citizens  want  action  to  
be  taken…the  Israeli  government  sees  [the  targeted  killing]  as  an  
opportunity  to  solve  two  problems  at  the  same  time.  They  can  take  
out  the  senior  key  figure  of  the  terrorist  organization  responsible  
for  the  attack,  while  also  giving  the  victim’s  families  some  sense  of  
justice”  (Smith  2005,  57).    
In  view  of  the  American  continuous  criticism  of  these  questionable  

methods,  (starting  with  the  notable,  2001  condemnation  of  Israel’s  

targeted  killings  by  Martin  Indyk,  then  the  US  Ambassador  to  Israel),  

One  must  ask:  are  the  American  people  oblivious  to  the  limited  options  of  

conducting  counterterrorist  operations?  

Doesn’t  the  very  same  logic  apply  to  the  Israeli  and  U.S.  use  of  these  

method/s?  In  fact,  while  what  indeed  takes  place  within  the  Israeli  

decision–making  process  is  rather  transparent,  (although  not  in  a  real  

time);  as  attested  to  by  several  of  the  commanders  of  the  Shin  Bet  (The  

Gatekeepers,  2013)  –  Israeli  politicians,  even  at  the  highest  levels,  were  

often  detached  from  the  decision  making  process  on  the  executive,  field  


 Israeli  political  leaders  such  as  Shamir  or  Rabin  wanted  to  be  handed  “a  

ready  decision”  for  each  and  every  case  where  Palestinian  terrorists  were  

to  be  targeted  and  killed;  even  more  so  in  cases  involving  possible  

collateral  damage.  Politicians  were  always  in  awe  of  the  final  results  of  

kinetic  operations  and  their  international  and  national  repercussions.  

According  to  Avraham  Shalom,  interviewed  in  The  Gatekeepers  (2013),  

“  One  could  not  relate  to  them  [the  political  leadership]  seriously;  could  

not  believe  them;  nobody  was  giving  official  backing  [to  the  decisions  of  

the  IDF  or  Shabak]  .”  (The  Gatekeepers  2013).    Thus  the  Israeli  CT  

apparatuses  learned  since  the  1980’s  not  to  execute  kinetic  operations  

without  the  direct  consent  of  the  political  leadership  and  their  

involvement  and  approval  for  each  such  operation.  Yet  the  Israeli  CT  

paradigm  evolved  further  with  the  continuous  involvement  of  the  Israeli  

Attorney  General,  and  the  Israeli  Supreme  Court,  which  are  currently  

always  involved  in  such  decisions.    While  the  case  of  the  killing  of  Osama  

bin-­‐Laden  indicate  full  involvement  of  the  American  political  leadership  

in  a  kinetic  action,  it  is  so  far  unclear  to  what  actual  extent  is  the  US  

President,  the  US  Attorney  General  and  Judicial  involved  in  each  kinetic  

operation.  The  media  thus,  plays  an  important  role  in  providing  a  degree  

of  transparence  to  the  military  and  intelligence  operations.  

In  truth,  although  there  are  some  obvious  differences  between  the  Israeli  

and  American  CT  paradigms  –  the  continued  use  of  targeted  killing  is  

simply  an  inevitable  must.  Even  more  than  in  the  case  of  Palestinian  

terrorism  –  the  case  of  al-­‐Qaeda  and  its  affiliates  the  challenge  of  finding,  

fixing  and  finishing  terrorists  is  currently  even  harder  and  more  


The  American  public,  because  of  the  assumption  of  not  being  threatened  

by  daily  terrorist  attacks  (like  in  Israel),  considers  terrorist  threat  as  

remote  (the  terrorist  attack  on  the  Boston  Marathon  in  April  2013,  comes  

as  a  sobering  reminder).  Americans  are  strongly  susceptible  to  thinking  

that,  “  it  will  not  happen  here,  or    “it  will  not  happen  to  me.”  Although  in  

order  to  cope  with  the  horror  of  terrorism,  Israelis  too,  use  such  defense  

mechanisms;  it  seems,  that  at  least  statistically,  the  chances  of  being  

affected  by  a  terrorist  incident  in  the  U.S.  are  much  smaller  than  in  Israel.  

In  fact,  even  in  Israel,  the  statistics  are  “calming”  and  the  chances  of  an  

average  Israeli  (as  opposed  to  say,  a  settler,  living  and  travelling  through  

hostile  territory  on  a  daily  basis)  being  involved  in  a  lethal  car  accident,  or  

dying  of  heart  disease  or  cancer,  are  much  higher  than  the  chances  to  be  

killed  by  terrorists.  (Chapman  2012).  Despite  that,  most  Israelis  are  

unlikely  to  arrive  at  the  conclusion  that  due  to  the  statistically  low  chance  

of  being  hit  by  terrorists,  there  is  no  need  for  preparedness,  and  the  

stubborn  struggle  with  Palestinian  terrorists.  In  fact,  the  Council  on  

Foreign  Relations,  has  published  in  its  2012  publication  of  the  2011  NCTC  

report  the  following  statistics:  

“  The  number  of  U.S.  citizens  who  died  in  terrorism  attacks  increased  by  2  

(two)  between  2010  and  2011;  overall  a  comparable  number  of  

Americans  are  Crushed  to  death  by  their  television  or  furniture  each  

year…”  (Zenko  2012).  It  took  9/11  to  bring  the  horrors  of  terrorism  to  

strike  home,  unlike  any  terrorist  attack  before.  Not  even  the  Oklahoma  

City  bombing.  This  is,  after  all,  the  rationale  behind  terrorism:  terrifying  

the  public  beyond  logic.  

The  United  States  faces  terrorist  challenges  overseas,  as  well  as  from  

within.  Home  born  and  bred  American  terrorists,  are  yet  another  good  

reason  to  set  the  statistics  aside  and  prepare.  Some  additional  traits  

characterize  the  difference  in  battlegrounds  between  the  U.S.  and  Israel:  

•  The  U.S.  can  survive  WMD  attacks,  but  some  of  its  allies  arguably,  cannot.  

And  even  the  US  may  take  decades  to  recover  from  such  event.  

• Targeted  killings  (and  specially  drone  attacks  and  Special  Forces  killing  

operations)  are  the  only  CT  tolls  that  can  reach  terrorists  wherever  they  

are.  “  Counterterrorism  requires  the  use  of  force,  and  there  is  no  way  

around  that.  It  does  not,  however,  require  the  indiscriminate  use  of  force”  

(Art  &  Richardson  2007,  590).  

• Elimination  of  al  Qaeda’s  top  echelon,  improves  the  chances  of  ultimately  

defeating  it  in  the  long  run.  While  “foot  soldiers”  are  easily  replaced,  

leaders,  technicians,  communication  and  propaganda  experts  etc.,  are  

hard  to  find  and  it  takes  a  long  time  to  train.    

           Although  Art  and  Richardson  state,      

“  Do  not  count  on  decapitation  to  incapacitate  the  global  

jihadist  terrorist  network.  Decapitation  worked  in  the  
Peruvian,  Turkish  and  Japanese  cases  because  the  
[respective  terrorist  groups]  were  highly  centralized  
around  one  individual.  Bin  Laden  created  a  different  type  of  
organization…Al  Qaeda  has  proved  resilient  in  finding  new  
leaders  to  replace  the  original  ones  taken  down”  (Art  &  
Richardson  2007,  590-­‐591).    
The  post–bin-­‐Laden  reality  suggests  that  bin  Laden’s  demise  did,  in  fact,  

create  a  significant  void  in  al-­‐Qaeda,  but  failed  to  defeat  the  group.  

However,  continuous  decapitation,  of  top  and  middle  level  operatives,  is  

the  correct  way  to  continue  for  the  foreseeable  future.  Some  believe  that  

in  order  to  defeat  terrorism  “  You  do  not  have  to  kill  every  single  terrorist,  

you  have  to  kill  ‘enough’  to  create  a  critical  mass  “  that  will  stop  them  in  

their  tracks  (Avi  Dichter  in  The  Gatekeepers  2013).  

• Although  the  international  law  prohibits  assassinations,  terrorist  are  

considered  to  be  “common  enemies  of  humankind,”  (Smith  2005,  35),  

shouldn’t  people  thus  conclude,  that  even  if  targeted  killings  are  not  more  

righteous  than  “assassinations,”  the  International  Law  should  be  changed  

to  exclude  terrorists  from  International  Law’s  protective  shield?  

• There  is  no  doubt  that  targeted  killings  can  go  wrong,  and  innocents  can  

be  mistakenly  hurt  or  killed,  as  history  shows.  If  that  is  the  case,  how  can  

today’s  Americans  or  Britons  criticize  their  government,  when  their  

public  sat  quietly  when  an  American  and  U.K  administrations  endorsed  

the  indiscriminate  killing  of  hundreds  of  thousands  of  innocent  civilians  

during  WWII  (in  Hiroshima,  Nagasaki,  Dresden,  Hamburg  Tokyo  etc.)???  

• It  is  obvious  that  in  order  to  minimize  mistaken  killing  of  innocents,  

during  the  long  hunt  for  terrorists,  the  hunting  tools  and  hunting  

instructions  must  become  as  close  as  possible  to  mistake-­‐free,  through  

proper  oversight  (Juristic  and  top  executive).  

                                                     The  United  States  is  a  firm,  unrelenting,  believer  in  democracy.  

Democracies  vary,  among  other  things  -­‐  in  the  respective  perception  of  their  

citizen’s  rights  as  humans  and  as  citizens.  The  United  States  also  struggles  

with  its  perception  of  the  “human  rights  of  terrorists.”  Most  of  the  currently  

used  counterterrorism  measures  used  by  Israel,  (e.g.  blowing  up  houses  of  

terrorists;  the  security  barrier,  enhanced  interrogation,  targeted  killings  etc.)  

are  occasionally  contested,  not  only  by  the  terrorists  themselves  and  the  Arab  

countries;  but  also  by  the  Israeli  legal  system,  and  by  Israel’s  otherwise  

closest  allies,  including  the  United  States.  These  deeds,  embraced  by  both  

American  and  Israeli  CT  apparatuses,  are  also  contested  and  criticized  by  the  

American  and  other  countries’  publics.  Furthermore,  Israeli  CT  practices  are  

severely  scrutinized  also  by  segments  of  the  Israeli  population.  Naturally,  

“targeted  killings”  of  terrorists  is  probably,  the  most  contested  CT  method.  

Arguably,  this  method  would  probably,  not  be  as  contested  as  it  is,  if  the  actual  

casualties  of  drone  strikes  would  have  been  terrorists  only.  The  so-­‐called  

“collateral  damage”  is  understandably,  severely  contested.  Had  the  American  

people  shared  Israel’s  experience  of  daily  suicide  bombings,  they  too,  might  

have  decided,  that    “better  red  than  dead”;  meaning,  “if  the  current  political  

and  legal  system  is  incapable  of  defending  me  –  it’s  time  to  re-­‐evaluate  and  

possibly  correct  it,  using  whatever  measures  needed  to  assure  my  survival.”  

Alas,  the  world  is  not  perfect  and  the  U.S.  population  and  other  allied  

populations,  include  people  that  often  see  targeted  killings  and  especially  

targeted  killings  of  Americans-­‐turned-­‐terrorists  and  the  so  called  “signature  

killings”  not  only  deplorable,  questionable,  but  even  outright  illegal,  under  the  

5th  Amendment  to  the  Constitution  of  the  U.S.  and  under  the  International  


The  near-­‐total  opaqueness  of  the  drone  strikes  conducted  by  the  CIA,  does  not  

help  the  case  for  the  killing  of  terrorists  without  “due  process”.  Many  free  

press  articles  cover  the  debate  over  this  and  other  CT  issues.  David  Brooks  

writing  recently  in  the  New  York  Times  suggested,    

“  [Machiavelli]  puts  too  much  faith  in  the  self-­‐constraint  of  his  leaders.  
Machiavelli  tells  us  that  men  are  venal  self-­‐deceivers,  but  then  he  gives  his  
Prince  [aka  Obama]  permission  to  do  all  these  monstrous  things,  trusting  him  
not  to  get  carried  away  or  turn  in  a  monster  himself.  Our  founders  were  more  
careful.  Our  founders  understood  that  leaders  are  as  venal  and  untrustworthy  
as  anybody  else.  They  abhorred  concentrated  power,  and  they  set  up  checks  
and  balances  to  disperse  it.  Our  drone  policy  should  take  account  of  our  
founders’  superior  realism.  Drone  strikes  are  easy,  hidden  and  abstract.  There  
should  be  some  independent  judicial  panel  to  review  the  kill  lists.  There  
should  be  an  independent  panel  of  former  military  and  intelligence  officers  
issuing  reports  on  the  program’s  efficacy.”(Brooks,  David.  2013).      

There  is  no  disputing  Brook’s  logic  and  the  great  foresight  of  our  Funding  

Fathers,  but  one  more,  where  was  this  democratic,  civil  and  human  rights  

American  thinking  during  WWII  or  Vietnam???  Where  was  the  intense  need  

for  transparency  and  oversight  back  then?    

The  American  democracy,  as  other  stable  democracies,  obviously  has  some  

sanity  to  it  after  all.  None  of  the  American  leaders  of  the  20th  century  turned  to  

be  an  irreversible,  heartless  “monsters,”  like  Hitler  or  Stalin.  

Even  during  WWII  and  Vietnam,  when  grave  atrocities  were  conducted  with  

the  knowledge  of  the  American  leadership,  “something”  has  put  an  eventual  

stop  to  these  atrocities  –  before  they  got  completely  out  of  hand.  And  horrors  

like  Nagasaki  were  not  repeated.  However,  human  kind  developed  an  

“elephants  skin”  as  far  as  human  suffering  is  concerned.  The  atrocities  of  

Bosnia,  Darfur  or  Rwanda,  can  easily  dwarf  all  of  al  Qaeda’s  current  

“achievements.”  But  we  are  dead-­‐stuck  in  what  terrorizes  us,  and  interferes  

with  our  relatively  secure  lives.  We  are  thus,  by  and  large  –  hypocrites.  

As  we  know  more,  about  the  terrible  things  humans  can  do  to  one  another,  we  

must  strive  to  minimize  our  violent  activities  as  much  as  possible.  In  the  case  

of  the  US  targeted  terrorist  killings,  the  judiciary  and  the  very  top  of  the  

government  must  oversee  and  approve  the  “list  of  terrorist  targets”.  

Moreover,  “signature  drone  strikes,”  must  be  altogether,  reconsidered.  The  

case  regarding  the  legality  and  Constitutional  Rights  regarding  targeting  of  a  

terrorist  who  happens  to  be  an  American  citizen,  is  of  disproportional  

importance.  If  an  American  individual  chooses  to  be  a  terrorist,  or  is  the  tragic  

case  collateral  damage,  although  far  from  perfect  or  humanitarian,  such  

events  must  be  accepted  as  sometimes,  unpreventable.    And  finally,  the  CIA  

should  reconsider  its  culture  of  opaqueness,  which  does  little  to  improve  its  

success  rate,  but  creates  an  exhausting  distrust  of  the  whole  American  CT  


It  is  interesting  to  recall  Francis  Fukuyama’s  End  of  History  in  this  context.  In  

2008  Fukuyama  suggested,  in  an  interview  to  the  Daily  Beast,  an  “upgrade”  to  

his  1992  original  thoughts,  

 ”…  Democracy  is  built  around  institutions  that  are  quite  difficult  to  put  into  

place,  especially  the  rule  of  law…I  did  not  imagine  back  in  1992  [that]  the  U.S.  

could  become  so  controversial  and  damaging  to  the  prospect  of  

democracy…there  needs  to  be  a  re-­‐emphasis  on  the  use  of  American  soft  

power”  (Fukuyama  In  Philips  2008).      

Contrary  to  the  thoughts  of  Fukuyama  is  Daniel  Byman  suggestion  in  his  2011  


“  The  aggressive  U.S.  drone  campaign  in  Pakistan  has  played  an  important  role  

in  weakening  al-­‐Qaeda  and  should  be  continued.  The  Drone  campaign  will  not  

end  al-­‐Qaeda  presence  in  Pakistan,  but  it  does  keep  the  organization  on  the  

run  and  reduces  its  operational  effectiveness.”  (Byman  2011).  

On  this  very  topic  of  targeted  killings,  Richard  Murpy  and  Afsheen  John  

Radsan,  wrote  their  legal  analysis  and  assessment,  of  Due  Process  and  

Targeted  Killing  of  Terrorists.  There,  on  page  405  they  posit,    

“…under  Boumediene,  [Boumediene  vs.  Bush]  the  executive  has  a  due  process  
obligation  to  develop  fair,  rational  procedures  for  its  use  of  targeted  killing  no  
matter  whom  it  might  be  targeting  anywhere  in  the  world.  To  implement  this  
duty,  the  executive  should,  following  the  lead  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  Israel  
(among  others),  require  an  independent,  intra-­‐executive  investigation  of  any  
targeted  killing  by  the  CIA.  These  investigations  should  be  as  public  as  is  
reasonably  consistent  with  national  security.  Even  in  war  on  terror,  due  
process  demands  at  least  this  level  of  accountability  for  the  power  to  kill  
suspected  terrorists”  (Murpy  &  Radsan  2009,  405).  

In  yet  another  legal  opinion  by  Kristen  Eichensehr,  published  in  the  Yale  Law  

Journal,  she  criticizes  the  Israeli  Supreme  Court,  asserting  that  the  Israeli  

Supreme  Court,  in  its  first  ruling  on  the  issue  of  targeted  killings,  has  

weakened  the  international  law’s  protection  to  all  civilians,  by  extending  the  

meaning  of  “direct  participation”  of  terrorists  in  terrorism:    

“  terrorists  are  civilians  under  the  law  of  armed  conflict  and  thus  are  lawfully  
subject  to  attack  only  when  the  directly  participate  in  hostilities.  But  the  court  
also  expanded  the  traditional  definition  of  “direct  participation”…By  
disregarding  the  “direct  participation”  requirements’  important  evidentiary  
function,  the  court  weakened  the  protection  that  international  law  affords  to  
all  civilians,  not  just  to  terrorists”  (Eichensehr,  2007).      

To  summarize,  the  morals,  humanity  and  the  legal  posture,  of  targeted  killing  

is  highly  disputed,  as  is  its  efficacy.  While  the  whole  array  of  counterterrorist  

current  tools  is  badly  flawed,  it  is  arguably,  the  best  we  have  –  in  the  short  


When  thinking  about  more  distant  future,  something  that  strategists  should  

and  must  do,  new  elements,  still  in  their  early  stages  of  development,  such  as  

the  application  of  soft  power,  smart  power,  state  building,  democratic  

institutions  creation,  education  etc.,  should  be  considered  with  much  more  

vigor  than  has  been  thus  far.  

XIX.  Other  U.S.  Counterterrorist  measures.  

 Administrative:  The  Patriot  Act  

The  Patriot  act,  (Uniting  and  Strengthening  America  By  Providing  Appropriate  

Tools  Required  to  Intercept  and  Obstruct  Terrorism  Act  of  2001)  is  possibly  the  

most  noteworthy  piece  of  legislation  enacted  in  response  to  the  9/11  attacks.  

Section  411  of  the  act  expands  the  definition  of  the  terminology  of  “  terrorist  

activity”  to  include  also  whatever  is  considered  as  engaging  in  terrorist  activity  

and  makes  an  alien  who  provides  “material  support”(i.e.,  food,  shelter,  transport,  

funds  etc.)  to  a  terrorist  –  “removable,”  whether  or  not  the  alien  knew  that  he  

was  involved  in  terrorist  activity  (Grebinar  2003,  278).  Section  412  of  the  Patriot  

Act  deals  with  Mandatory  Detention  of  Suspected  Terrorists:  Habeas  Corpus.  The  

Due  Process  Clause  of  the  Fifth  Amendment  states  that,  “no  person  shall…  be  

deprived  of  life,  liberty,  or  property,  without  due  process  of  law.”  The  Due  

Process  Clause  applies  to  all  individuals,  not  just  U.S.  citizens.  The  Supreme  Court  

held  that  illegal  aliens  are  indeed  granted  the  protection  of  the  Fifth  and  

Fourteenth  Amendments,  which  grant  also  the  right  to  due  process.  

Interestingly,  the  provisions  determining  the  legal  aspects  of  the  detention  of  

alien  terrorists  do  not  mention  a  trial  or  a  hearing/s  required  to  determine,  

beyond  a  reasonable  doubt,  if  the  alien  has  indeed  committed  the  terrorist  acts  

he/she  is  accused  of.  To  this  day,  many  disapprove  of  the  sweeping  authority  it  

grants  U.S.  officials  and  question  the  legislation,  which  seems  to  contradict  the  

very  principles  on  which  a  democracy  is  built.  (Grebinar  2003,  280).  

Torture  and  Indefinite  Detention  

Although  the  issue  of  torture  has  not  been  explored  before  the  U.S.  courts  and  

the  Congress,  and  is  not  subjected  to  much  contention,  it  remains  problematic.  

The  U.S.  Supreme  Court  2011-­‐2012  term  has  ended  with  “mixed  results.”  “  The  

Court,  without  comment,  let  stand  rulings  upholding  torture…”(Kravets  2012).  

The  United  Nations  Convention  Against  Torture,  which  both  Israel  and  the  

United  States  have  ratified,  defines  torture  as  “any  act  by  which  severe  pain  or  

suffering,  whether  physical  or  mental,  is  intentionally  inflicted  on  a  person”  to  

obtain  information  or  a  confession.  

Israel’s  official,  “  moderate  measure  of  physical  pressure,”  was  a  touch  more  

honest  than  the  Bush  administration’s  “enhanced  interrogation  techniques.”  But  

the  intent  was  the  same.  The  Israel  Supreme  Court  has  eventually  terminated  

this  practice  in  1999,  and  the  United  States  followed  this  rulings.    

“  In  both  countries,  whatever  security  benefits  may  have  been  gained  by  torture  

were  far  outweighed  by  the  damage  done  to  a  nation  that  betrays  its  own  values.  

As  Justice  Barak  wrote  in  his  1999  decision  clarified,  “Although  a  democracy  

must  often  fight  with  one  hand  tied  behind  its  back,  it  nonetheless  has  the  upper  

hand”  (Schmemann  2009).  

However,  in  spite  of  this  democratic  ruling,  the  debates  around  the  alleged  

continued  use  of  ill  treatment  and  torture  by  the  GSS,  and  in  the  U.S.  is  still  on.  

The  Israeli  human  right  organization  B’tselem  had  the  following  2011,  

condemnation  of  the  1999  ruling  of  the  Israel  Supreme  Court,  convened  as  the  

High  Court  of  Justice.  

“  the  court  avoided  declaring  the  methods  torture  or  ill-­‐treatment  

because  such  a  finding  would  have  rendered  its  judgment  
incompatible  with  international  law,  which  requires  states  to  
prosecute  and  punish  perpetrators  of  torture  and  ill-­‐treatment  and  
forbids  them  to  cite  "exceptional  circumstances"  as  a  justification  
for  such  actions.  “  (Torture  and  Ill-­‐Treatment  2011).  

It  is  the  opinion  of  this  writer,  that  the  American  justice  system,  although,  

arguably,  politically  influenced,  is  certainly  competent  and  capable  of  dealing  

with  terrorism  and  related  issues  of  human  rights,  civil  rights  and  civil  liberties,  

as  well  as  the  international  law.  It  seems  that  when  terrorism  is  the  concern,  it  is  

patriotism  that  unites  all  under  the  same  “democratic”  banner.  

While  battling  terrorism  is  constantly  carried  out,  both,  on  the  battlefields  and  

inside  courtrooms,  it  is  in  our  best  interests  to  conduct  as  much  of  this  struggle  

as  possible  –  in  the  courtrooms,  where  justice  can  not  only  administered,  but  

also  –  seen.  Indeed,  some  cases  are  very  problematic,  as  evidence  needed  to  

effectively  indict  and  convict  terrorists  is  not  always  easily  accessible;  whether  

because  of  the  need  to  preserve  the  anonymity  of  the  source  of  the  information  

or  evidence,  or  because  the  evidence  gathered,  may  be  insufficient  to  justify  a  

conviction,  or  may  have  been  obtained  through  marginal  means  (i.e.  

psychological  and/or  physiological  duress  which  can  be  contested  in  court).  

“Respected  conservative  Jurists  Benjamin  Wittes  and  Jack  

Goldsmith  argued  in  March  2010  that…the  US  should  sidestep  the  
issue  of  the  courts  and  detain  these  individuals  indefinitely.  Don’t  
bother  trying  them  at  all…the  politically  draining  fight  about  
civilian  vs.  military  trials  is  not  worth  the  costs…  [However],  
detaining  people  indefinitely  rubs  most  Americans  the  wrong  way  
”(Peritz  and  Rosenbach  2012,  233-­‐234).    

 This  is  a  real  challenge.  During  such  times,  a  democracy  must  protect  its  nation  

while  preserving  human  right  and  civil  liberties,  including  those  of  the  terrorists.    

And  yet  this  writer  posits,  that  indefinite  detention  in  case  of  some  major  

terrorist  leaders  is  a  “necessary  evil,”  which  can  be  exercised  with  grave  

limitations  and,  strict  oversight  by  the  Judiciary  and  the  Executive.  It  may  be  an  

unfortunate  truth,  that  many  Americans  are  concerned  that  by  the  emulation  of  

Israeli  rationales  and  procedures  in  counterterrorism,  the  United  States  may  be  

risking  the  deprivation  of  individuals  from  their  basic  rights.    

There  are  times  when  ideals  and  noble  principles,  may  cause  harm  to  the  very  

democratic  structure  we  are  trying  to  protect.  It  is  essential  that  people  will  

continue  questioning  government’s  actions,  and  its  ability  to  restrict  the  rights  of  

others.  Without  such  pressure,  a  government  could  easily  abuse  its  powers,  as  

we  have  seen  in  the  rise  of  the  Third  Reich  in  Germany.  However,  we  must  also  

enable  the  actions  of  the  government  to  react  firmly  and  consistently  to  terrorist  

threats.  Considering  the  current  availability  of  WMD,  we  must  keep  in  mind  that,  

“  Terrorists  today  are  not  only  willing  to  die  for  their  cause,  but  they  incorporate  

that  willingness  into  the  execution  of  their  plans”  (Grebinar  2003,  284).  

Renditions  and  Extraordinary  Renditions  

Rendition  is  yet  another  controversial,  but  efficient  tool  in  the  counterterrorist  

tool  bag.  A  rendition  is  the  transfer  of  a  captured  fugitive  or  suspect  to  another  

country,  without  performing  the  formal,  legal  and  diplomatic  procedure  of  

extradition.  The  first  U.S.  rendition  took  place  in  1985.  It  was  the  1985  arrests  of  

the  Palestinian  terrorists  involved  in  the  hijacking  of  the  Italian  cruise  ship  

Achille  Lauro,  and  the  murder  of  U.S  citizen  Leon  Klinghoffer.  The  second  case  

was  conducted  after  President  Reagan  has  signed  a  secret  presidential  directive  

authorizing  the  CIA  to  kidnap  terror  suspects  anywhere  in  the  world,  in  1987.  

The  arrest  of  Fawaz  Yunis,  a  Lebanese  implicated  in  the  1985  Hijacking  of  TWA  

Flight  847  and  the  murder  of  US  Navy  diver  onboard,  is  an  example  of  the  style  

and  methodology  of  the  first  terrorism-­‐oriented  renditions,  during  the  pre  9/11  

era.  (Naftali  2005).    During  the  Clinton  administration  formal  steps  were  

undertaken  to  prevent  any  inhumane  treating  of  the  rendered  individuals.  Thus,  

the  country  to  which  the  suspect  was  rendered  must  have  had  a  legal  case  

pending  against  the  rendered  person  prior  to  his  rendition.  (Peritz  and  

Rosenbach  2012,  64).    

Although  the  original  renditions  of  the  1990s  designed  by  the  CIA’s  Michael  

Scheuer,  received  the  blessings  of  the  US  Supreme  Court  as  legal,  such  was  not  

the  case  with  the  post  9/11  renditions  and  extraordinary  renditions.  The  

extraordinary  renditions  are  acts  of  kidnapping  of  suspects,  without  the  

knowledge  and  consent  of  the  sovereign  state  in  which  the  suspect  resided  at  the  

time  of  the  kidnapping.    

The  state  of  Israel  has  been  a  relentless,  somewhat  legendary,  practitioner  of  

extraordinary  renditions  starting  with  the  famous  case  of  Adolf  Eichmann  

(1960).  However,  by  and  large,  most  of  Israeli  renditions  are  in  fact  arrests  of  

Palestinian  terrorists,  within  the  Gaza  Strip  or  the  West  Bank  (a.k.a.  ‘occupied  

territories’)  and  thus  does  not  involve  the  ‘mitos’  of  abduction,  exchanging  flights  

allover  the-­‐globe  etc.  After  9/11  the  CIA  was  placed  under  extreme  pressure  to  

effectively  neutralize  al-­‐Qaeda.  This  called  for  some  marginal  methods,  that  

would  place  captured,  wanted  terrorists  outside  of  the  reach  of  judicial  systems,  

for  an  undefined  period  of  time:  

“  The  central  effect  of  the  post-­‐9/11  rendition  program  has  been  to  
place  captured  terrorist  suspects  outside  the  reach  of  any  justice  
system  and  keep  them  there.  The  absence  of  human  rights  
guarantees  and  the  introduction  of  “enhanced  interrogation  
techniques”  have  led,  in  several  cases  examined,  as  we  shall  see,  to  
detainees  being  subjected  to  torture”  (Alleged  Secret  Detentions  
report  2006).  

The  Council  of  Europe  (COE)  human  rights  organizations  pointed  an  accusing  

finger  toward  the  US  and  the  CIA,  as  the  main  culprit  behind  renditions.  In  its  

2006  report,  the  COE  alleges  that  some  14  EU  countries  colluded  with  the  US  in  

conducting  these  secret  extrajudicial  acts,  implicating  mostly  Poland  and  

Romania.  Between  2001  and  2005,  there  were  allegedly,  some  100-­‐150  cases  of  

rendition  and  extraordinary  rendition  conducted  by  the  CIA  over  EU.  (Savage  


Although  the  Obama  administration  opposed  renditions  in  2009;  extraordinary  

and  ordinary  renditions  were,  in  fact,  secretly  and  sparingly  continued.  In  2011  

renditions  were  again  formally  adopted  and  limited  only  by  the  mandatory  

request  that  renditions  will  only  take  place  to  countries  “  where  there  is  a  

diplomatic  assurance  that  they  will  not  be  treated  inhumanely”  (Finn  and  Tate  

2011).  However,  the  US  cannot  in  reality,  control  the  deeds  of  the  authorities  of  

other  states  and  thus  assure  “humane  treatment”  outside  the  US.  It  is  

additionally  claimed  by  the  same  source,  that  the  CIA  operated  a  fleet  of  26  

leased,  privately  owned,  planes  to  conduct  a  huge  number  of  renditions  in  the  

period  between  2001-­‐2006,  according  to  the  allegations  of  the  CEO  (Finn  and  

Tate  2011).    

Interestingly,  according  to  a  recent  report,  although  more  than  20  EU  countries  

offered  their  support  in  extraordinary  renditions  to  the  CIA,  many  of  the  Western  

states  are  conspicuously  missing  from  the  new  list  of  the  54  states  listed  in  the  

new  COE  report.  (Elgot  2013).  

Renditions  of  both  types  have  certain  important,  advantages:  For  one  thing  

rendition  is  an  effective  way  of  removing  terror  suspects  and  thus  neutralizing  

them.  Terrorists  in  captivity,  cannot  really  harm  anybody,  although  arguably,  as  

was  the  case  of  Sheikh  Ahmad  Yassin  (Hamas  leader),  he  continued  to  be  an  

inspirational  figure,  despite  his  incarceration  (and  later  –  home  imprisonment);  

In  the  case  of  the  notorious  Sheikh  Yassin,  because  of  his  continuous  instigation  

of  violence  against  Israel  –  he  was  eventually  killed  in  a  targeted  killing  by  the  

IDF.  Moreover,  such  individuals  may  become  a  reason  for  the  abduction  of  allied  

civilian  or  military  individuals  by  terrorists,  that  declare  their  release  of  their  

captives  conditional  upon  the  release  of  the  rendered  terrorist/s.  Although  

renditions  and  the  investigation  of  suspects  by  foreign  authorities  are  very  

important  for  developing  future  intelligence,  much  of  the  information  or  even  

evidence  collected  during  a  rendition  is  inadmissible  in  US  courts,  which  is  

guided  by  strict  evidence  admission  standards.  Rendition  can  also  effectively  

disrupt  a  terrorist  plot  during  its  planning  phase.  Such  was  in  the  case  of  Khalid  

Sheikh  Muhammad,  arrested  in  Pakistan  in  2003  and  handed  over  to  the  CIA;  

thus  thwarting  the  Bojinka  plot.  Furthermore,  in  some  cases  where  the  rendition  

placed  the  suspect  in  a  nation,  which  upholds  lower  evidence-­‐admission  

standards  than  the  US,  such  country  is  likely  to  end  the  trial  with  a  steep  

sentence,  possibly  much  harsher  than  if  the  case  were  tried  in  US  courts.  In  such  

a  case,  the  world  is  a  bit  safer  for  a  longer  period.  

Renditions  have  some  obvious  disadvantages  as  well.  Due  to  the  very  

questionable  nature  of  basing  an  arrest  upon  partial  evidence,  mistakes,  which  

may  cause  embarrassment  to  the  CIA  (or  any  other  arresting  agency),  as  well  as  

a  possible  anger  from  US  allies,  are  common.  In  spite  of  efforts  to  avoid  them,  

mistaken  renditions  do  happen.  





                         XX.    Limitations  of  the  Study  

Being  a  qualitative  -­‐  descriptive  study,  only  scantly  supported  by  statistics  

can  be  an  obvious  limitation.  However,  numeral  quantification  of  the  

attributes  of  various  CT  tactics,  as  stated  in  this  work,  is  often,  at  best  

confusing,  and  at  worst  misinforming.  

Of  much  greater  importance  would  have  been  the  implications  of  further  

study  into  two  related  fields:  First,  the  effect  of  the  nexus  between  

transnational  terrorism  and  transnational  organized  crime,  which  could  

prove  of  great  value  when  assessing  the  terrorist  chances  to  acquire  

further  funding,  as  well  as  WMD.  Second,  this  paper  discussed  only  

marginally  the  role  of  the  creation  of  public  resilience  in  the  face  of  

terrorism.  Such  section  is  very  instructive,  especially  with  regard  to  the  

American  public,  which  is  currently,  unprepared  to  absorb  terrorist  

attacks  survive  and  rebound  back  to  normal  life  (McGee  2009).  The  

current  paper  does  not  consider  these  fields  as  secondary,  but  their  scope  

would  have  justified  another  separate  paper.    

Some  may  posit  that  this  work  is  biased  in  favor  of  “extermination”  of  

terrorists  at  all  costs  and  arguably,  that  it  upholds  the  Israeli  

counterterrorism  methods  as  more  compatible  with  democratic  ideals  

and  norms  –  than  the  CT  methods,  in  reality  are.  This  is  not  the  intended  

case.  Although  the  author  had  a  first  hand  experience  with  the  Israeli  IC,  a  

conscious  effort  was  made  to  present  a  balanced  view  of  the  issues  at  

hand,  supporting  the  various  claims  made  throughout  the  book  with  solid  

research.  In  the  end,  it  is  for  the  reader  to  decide  what  is  the  ultimate  way  

to  deal  with  terrorism.  

Finally,  this  work  should  be  further  extended  into  the  realm  of  live  

interviews  with  counterintelligence  operatives  from  the  United  States,  

and  Israel  at  least.  Unfortunately,  the  time  frame  and  other  obstacles,  did  

not  allow  for  that.  Although  much  of  the  cited  literature  is  indeed  based,  

to  some  extent,  on  such  interviews,  the  use  of  additional,  current,  live  

material  could  better  portray  the  current  situation  and  the  option  at  hand.  

                           XXI.  Conclusions  and  Recommendations  

This  work,  has  taken  the  reader  over  vast  territory  regarding  the  different  

nuances  of  counterterrorism.  It  exemplified  the  nature  of  the  difference  

between  most  terrorist  groups  –  and  al-­‐Qaeda  and  its  affiliates.  In  the  end  

of  the  day,  it  seems  that  with  the  possible  yet  arguable,  exception  of  the  

Hezbollah,  only  al-­‐Qaeda  is  transnational  in  its  scope,  ideology  and  vision.  

While  this  paper  reiterates  that  democracy  cannot  be  imposed  

prematurely  and  forcefully;  it  also  suggests  that  the  further  

counterterrorist  struggle,  must  be  focused  through  a  cohesive  strategy  on  

a  narrowly  defined  enemy,  like  Hamas  or  al-­‐Qaeda;  so  far,  despite  intense  

efforts  to  defeat  both  (and  other)  groups,  and  successfully  secure  

democracies  from  terrorist  threats  failed  and  they  are  likely  to  at  best,  

bring  about  the  control  and  containment  of  terrorism,  but  not  its  defeat  

and  surrender.  

Countries  faced  with  terrorism  must  prepare  for  a  long,  continuous  

struggle  with  terrorist  entities.  And  in  order  for  their  societies  to  survive,  

these  societies  must  become,  governmental  partners  to  the  CT  struggle.  

Accordingly,  these  societies  must  be  more  educated  about  the  threats  

they  face,  and  about  the  ways  to  become  more  resilient  when  facing  

terrorist  attacks.  

Although  it  is  clear  that  current  and  mid-­‐term  counterterrorism  must  

involve  the  use  of  aggressive,  and  occasionally  lethal,  military  and  law  

enforcement  measures;  and  include  temporary,  and  highly  over  sighted  

measures  which  at  times  are  deemed  as  less-­‐than-­‐democratic  –  the  world  

must  remember  that  terrorists  defy  it  of  any  and  all  democratic  

principles,  because  the  destruction  of  democracy  and  its  substitution  by  

an  Islamist  religious  regime,  is  one  of  the  main  terrorist  aims.  And  

terrorists  are  agreeably,  defined  as  the  enemies  of  humanity.  This  is  a  war  

for  the  perpetuation  of  democracy.  One  must  further  remember,  that  

although  there  is  a  strong  likelihood  that  the  U.S.,  or  one  of  its  allies,  will  

become  the  victim  of  a  terrorist  WMD  attack,  it  is  also  probable,  that  such  

attack  will  be  relatively  limited,  and  arguably,  survivable  by  most  allied  

countries.  By  no  means,  should  even  the  terrorist  threat  of  the  use  of  

WMD  lead  to  any  appeasement  policy.  Terrorists  have  proven,  time  and  

again,  that  they  inherently  see  any  peaceful  reconciliation  attempts  –  as  a  

sign  of  weakness,  and  have  used  any  past  peaceful  attempts  –  only  to  

strengthen  their  terrorist  attacks  (e.g.  Hamas,  Hezbollah,  LTTE,  and  al-­‐  


The  struggle  with  Islamist  terrorism  has  taken  us  to  foreign  lands,  some  

of  which  have  in  the  past,  been  erroneously  occupied.  There  is  no  such  

thing  as  “good  occupation”  and  modern  democracies  must  strive  to  

refrain  from  future  occupation  of  lands,  during  the  course  of  the  hunt  

after  terrorists.  Thus,  the  hunt  for  terrorists  must  be  limited  to  pinpointed  

strikes,  aimed  at  either  decapitation  of  certain  members  from  airborne  

platforms  or,  whenever  intelligence  allows  –  a  limited  and  very  

temporary,  land  incursions  and  kinetic  operations;  followed  by  a  swift  

withdrawal  of  the  Special  Forces  involved  in  the  hunt.  

Any  future  capability  to  strike  terrorist  organizations  and  personnel  

depends  more  than  anything  else  –  on  intelligence.  Democracies  must  not  

only  develop  their  intelligence  capabilities  of  all  possible  types;  

furthermore,  they  must  further  develop  and  improve  their  international  

intelligence  and  counterterrorism  cooperation  and  collaboration  with  

other  CT  entities  around  the  world.  The  world  must  be  led  by  thoughts  

and  by  the  persuasion  that  terrorism  has  almost  never  won  a  war,  but  it  

did  win  a  few  battles.  Terrorism  must  never,  be  allowed  to  win  this  


The  main  hypothesis  of  this  paper  was  the  assumption  that  the  United  

States,  can  and  should  learn  from  counterterrorism  lessons  learned  by  

other  countries  faced  with  terrorism  and  specifically,  the  lessons  learned  

by  Israel’s  sixty-­‐five  years  of  continued  struggle  with  terrorism.  Although,  

as  elaborated  on  in  this  paper,  the  conditions  of  the  battlefield,  its  size,  the  

arms  involved  and  the  differences  in  the  goals  of  Palestinian  terrorism  

and  al-­‐Qaeda  –  are  outstanding;  terrorists  are  terrorists,  and  suicide  

terrorists  are  just  that  –  wherever  they  are  and  act.  Although  the  

American  technology  may  be  more  advanced  than  the  Israeli  and  the  

structure  of  the  American  and  the  Israeli  counterterrorism  may  be  

different,  it  was  Israel  that  was  first  to  use  airborne  platforms  to  kill  

terrorists  through  precision  strikes,  which  precluded  very  large  collateral  

damage.  The  U.S.  introduction  of  drone  strikes,  has  so  far  proven  to  be  

effective,  although  not  in  Israel,  nor  anywhere  else,  can  anybody  rightly  

claim,  that  CT  measures  of  any  kind,  actually  deterred  terrorists  from  

continuing  their  attacks.  However,  in  several  cases,  massive  repression  of  

a  terrorist  group,  led  after  decades  of  bloodshed,  to  a  political  solution  

(e.g.  LTTE,  ETA,  IRA  etc.).  Yet  another  lesson  can  be  learned  from  the  

structure  of  different  CT  bureaucracies,  and  their  relative  success  in  

fighting  terrorism.  Although  both,  the  American  and  the  Israeli  IC  

suffered,  and  still  suffer  from  information  sharing  problems,  so  far  it  looks  

like  the  Israelis  were  able  to  improve  their  intelligence  capability  

regarding  CT,  more  than  their  American  allies.  The  U.S.  IC  suffers  from  

many  maladies;  one  of  the  major  ones  being  its  humongous  bureaucratic  

size,  which  hampers  its  information  sharing  as  well  as  its  ability  to  make  

fast  decisions,  so  often  needed  in  the  CT  battlefield.  Reorganizations,  are  

extremely  difficult  to  execute,  especially  so  in  large  organizations.  It  

remains  questionable  whether  even  if  it  wanted,  the  U.S.  would  have  

actually,  been  able  to  truly  reorganize  the  16-­‐agency  structure  of  its  IC.  

The  creation  of  the  ODNI  did  little  to  improve  the  situation.  There  must  be  

a  rethinking  of  the  sharing  process  and  procedures,  so  eloquently  

verbalized  in  the  2012  NSSI.  If  this  strategy  is  worthy  the  paper  it  is  

written  on,  this  may  indeed  be  the  key  to  improvement.  Also  the  Israeli  

transparency  regarding  its  CT  measures  and  the  extraordinary  

willingness  of  the  Israeli  GSS  to  share  its  information  with  its  partners,  

attests  to  organizational  maturity,  and  effectiveness.  This  also  is  a  lesson  

to  look  into  and  consider.  

The  Israelis  use  few  CT  measures  that  are  inapplicable  to  the  U.S.  

situation  (e.g.  house  demolitions,  closures,  and  curfews).  However,  

targeted  killings  and  detentions  are  tools  shared  and  strongly  criticized  

by  the  populations  of  both  countries.  It  is  rather  easy  to  criticize  the  

democratic  behavior  of  a  country,  which  tries  to  defend  itself  from  

terrorism.  The  tools  at  the  disposal  of  a  democracy  fighting  a  terrorist  

threat  are  very  limited.  It  is  however,  a  survivalist  struggle,  at  least  for  the  

Israeli  state.  Israel’s  biggest  disadvantage  stems  from  the  very  occupation  

of  the  disputed  lands.  While  Israel’s  withdrawal  options  are  very  limited;  

this  is  not  the  case  with  the  U.S.  presence  in  Afghanistan/Pakistan/  Iraq.  

Terminating  occupation  will  most  likely  create  an  atmosphere  of  

diminishing  hatred  to  the  U.S.  and  its  allies.  While  in  the  short  turn  a  

pullout  from  occupied  lands,  may  be  wrongly  perceived  as  a  sign  of  

weakness;  if  accompanied  by  proper  re-­‐education  and  possibly,  by  smart  

power  approach,  including  positive  propaganda  –  it  may  alienate  

transnational,  and  national  terrorist  groups  and  remove  or  dramatically  

diminish  their  popular  support  and  funding  sources.  Terrorism  cannot  be  

altogether  eradicated,  but  it  can  be  contained  and  managed  to  a  degree  

that  it  will  cause  little  disturbance  to  normal  life.  For  that  reason,  the  CT  

efforts  must  not  be  limited  to  the  use  of  force  alone,  but  rather  the  use  of  

other,  above  mentioned  measures  as  well.  


XXII.  Methodology:  Research  and  Analysis  

An  attempt  to  quantitatively  and  qualitatively  analyze  the  U.S.  and  Israeli  CT  
model’s  efficacy  has  been  done  by  many.  This  work  focuses  more  on  the  Israeli  
CT  model  and  its  questionable  compatibility  with  the  U.S.  struggle  against  al-­‐  
Qaeda  and  its  affiliates.  Such  attempts  are  reflected  by  using  variables  like  the  
number  of  suicide  terrorist  attacks,  thwarted  by  American  or  Israeli  authorities,  
respectively,  in  a  given  period  of  time  (most  Israeli  data  tends  to  focus  on  2000-­‐
2005,  the  years  of  the  second  Palestinian  upraising).  Another  variable  is  the  
number  of  fatalities  that  resulted  from  suicide/terrorist  attacks.  There  is  
abundance  of  data  regarding  the  relationship  between  the  number  of  thwarted  
attacks  and  the  number  of  casualties/fatalities.  Yet  another  interesting  analytical  
tool  can  arguably  be,  the  statistical  exemplification  of  al-­‐Qaeda’s  resonance  with  
the  Muslim  public  worldwide.  In  other  words  –  al-­‐Qaeda’s  decreasing  popularity  
and  the  impact  of  this  feature  on  the  future  of  transnational  terrorism.  It  is  highly  
arguable  to  what  extent  can  any  of  the  above  variables  be  used,  as  a  stand-­‐alone  
predictor  of  Islamist  transnational  terrorism.  Any  such  set  of  figures  is  
insufficient  to  be  a  reliable  predictor  of  the  future  of  terrorism.  These  figures  can  
at  best,  help  in  understanding  the  terrorist  dynamics  in  a  given  period.  
Moreover,  it  is  hard  to  find  U.S.  military  or  CIA  statistics  comparable  with  those  
published  by  the  Israeli  authorities.  One  of  the  main  differences  between  the  
American  and  the  Israeli  CT  approach  is  the  difference  in  transparency.  The  
Israelis  announce  and  “take  the  blame  for”  every  terrorist  killed;  they  are  precise  
in  stating  numbers  of  casualties  on  both  sides.  The  US,  because  of  a  variety  of  
reasons  (mainly  the  assumed  need  for  secrecy  and  the  public  and  legal  scrutiny),  
plays  their  hand  close  to  their  chest;  with  certain  exceptions  made  when  major  
terrorist  figures  are  eliminated.  

Furthermore,  as  stated  above,  the  fact  remains  that  despite  the  figures  quoted  by  
various  researchers  (from  highly  accredited  scholars  to  research  students),  
regarding  the  Israeli  CT  success  or  failure  in  effectively  dealing  with  terrorism,  
there  is  no  agreement  among  the  scholars  and  the  CT  professionals,  as  to  the  
efficacy  of  the  Israeli  CT  model.  Moreover,  it  is  frustrating  that  there  is  no  general  
agreement  even  with  respect  to  the  efficacy  of  one  single  CT  tool,  which  is  
currently  used  by  both  countries  (Israel  is  in  fact,  “taking  a  break”  since  
November  2012  ceasefire  agreement  with  Hamas)  –  the  targeted  killings.  This,  
after  all,  is  the  one  variable  that  is  reasonably  easy  to  quantify,  as  opposed  to  
evaluating  the  value  of  say,  the  Security  Barrier,  which  is  said  to  have  prevented  
over  75  percent  of  suicide  terrorist  attacks  during  the  2003-­‐2005  period  (Ganor  
in  Art  2007,  283).  The  only  way  to  obtain  such  figure  would  be  through  accessing  
IDF  and  GSS  official  databases  of  intended  terrorist  attempts  and  thwarted  ones.  
(Usually,  attempts  thwarted  without  casualties  or  damage,  are  not  reported).  
While  this  work  sparingly  uses  statistics,  it  is  difficult  to  decide  who  is  right  in  
their  data  interpretation.  Furthermore,  the  scope  of  this  work  has  encountered  
some  true  dilemmas.  For  example:  targeted  killings  decimate  the  number  of  
terrorists  in  a  certain  organization.  But  some  scholars  posit  that  this  is  a  “fata  
morgana”  (mirage)  because  there  is  almost  always  a  new  leader,  ready  and  
waiting  to  fill  in  the  shoes  of  his  predecessor  and  certainly,  a  new  combatant  to  
take  the  place  of  the  dead  or  captured  one.  Moreover,  some  claim  that  targeted  
killing  cause  a  “boomerang  effect”  –  targeted  killings  are  claimed  to  enrage  
terrorists  even  more,  thus  enhance  volunteering  and  act  as  a  catalyzing  agent  for  
ever-­‐  more-­‐murderous  attacks.  In  view  of  the  fact  that  the  escalation  in  al-­‐  
Qaeda’s  activity  since  1993  (Trade  Center),  through  US  Embassies  in  Kenya  and  
Zimbabwe  1998,  the  USS  Cole  in  2000,  and  finally  9/11  -­‐  was  not  caused  by  a  
significantly  more  efficient  and  resolute  CT  activity  by  the  US  -­‐  it  is  difficult  to  
accept  the  boomerang  effect  as  given.  So,  is  the  terrorism  of  Hamas,  PIJ  or  
Hezbollah  different  altogether  from  al  Qaeda’s?  Such  is  not  the  case,  although  
very  significant  differences  between  al-­‐Qaeda  and  other  groups  do  exist,  and  are  
elaborated  on,  in  this  paper.  The  ideas  behind  sending  a  suicide  bomber  to  a  
busy  market  in  Iraq,  and  in  Jerusalem,  are  very  close  and  the  indoctrination  and  
“reasoning”  of  the  suicide  bomber  are  indeed  very  much  alike.  However,  the  

arenas,  the  circumstances,  are  different  and  most  of  the  difference  stems  out  of  
al-­‐  Qaeda’s  global  reach  and  global  intentions.  In  a  way,  Palestinian  suicide  
bombers  are  much  more  ‘nationalist’  and  “localized”  both  in  their  goals  and  their  
battlefield,  than  the  “foreign  legion”  of  al  Qaeda.  
The  methodology  that  was  decided  upon  as  best  suiting  for  this  work,  was  that  of  
a  predictive  and  suggestive,  analytic  thesis,  based  mostly  on  qualitative  and  
descriptive  research.  The  careful  examination  and  analysis  of  current  literature  
and  related  historical  facts  on  the  topic,  are  likely  to  provide  for  a  product  that  
will  best  benefit  the  academic  world  and  may  possibly  interest  the  respective  
counterterrorist  administrations.  This  research  involves  many  factors  and  
exploits  on  their  inter-­‐relations.  For  example,  this  writer  chose  to  expand  on  the  
actual  risks  of  WMD  being  obtained  and  used  by  al-­‐Qaeda  against  the  U.S.  and  its  
allies.  However,  this  part  of  the  research  is  strongly  connected  to  the  overall  
threat  posed  by  Islamist  terrorism  and  it  examines  also  similar  threats  to  Israel.  
It  is  imperative  to  expand  this  research  in  the  future  and  to  analyze,  through  
critical  inquiry  and  document  analysis  (e.g.  U.S  NSS,  NSCT,  NSS,  terrorist  fatwas  
etc.),  the  actual  relationship  between  documents  and  historical  events  and  
changes  in  CT  measures.  The  thorough  examination  of  many  of  the  related  
scholarly  books  and  much  of  the  related  articles  and  published  works,  provides  a  
detailed  perspective  on  both  the  past  and  the  current  situation,  as  well  as  allows  
for  a  cautious,  exploratory,  educated  guesswork  aimed  at  the  future.