Monday, February 20, 2006

Insider Exclusive: Steve Emerson and Daniel Pipes Update on Terror War.

By Si Frumkin
Between the two of them Steven Emerson and Daniel Pipes probably know more about the ways of Islamic terrorism than any other pair of experts anywhere.

Steven Emerson heads up an organization that has penetrated and exposed the anti-American Jihaddist network long before 9/11. His book and video “American Jihad – the Terrorists Living Among Us” are acknowledged to be the basic sources of information about domestic terror cells within the Moslem community. Our intelligence establishment prior to 9/11 largely discounted his opinions and advice but this has changed. The evidence and analysis he provided turned out to be both invaluable and accurate, and he is now working closely with our security organizations as an advisor, partner and colleague.

Dr. Daniel Pipes is a prolific author and columnist with a doctorate from Harvard. He believes that the Middle East crisis can only be solved by a decisive Israeli victory. A founder of Campus Watch, a website that identifies and opposes pro-Islam and anti-Israel bias on college campuses, Dr. Pipes was recently appointed, by President Bush, to the prestigious Board of U. S. Institute of Peace, a Congressionally sponsored think tank. The appointment was made over vociferous objections of the ACLU, Tikkun, the usual Muslim groups, liberal Jewish leaders and left-leaning Senators, including of course, the two from California as well as Ted Kennedy.

I have known both Emerson and Pipes for a number of years and was invited to hear them both at an evening event in a secluded Beverly Hills restaurant. It was a fundraiser – underwritten by an anonymous sponsor – that drew over 300 people who paid $500 each to listen, question and learn.

With Dennis Prager as the moderator, Emerson and Pipes presented a disturbing view of a problematic future for Israel and the U.S. We are facing a time of struggle, conflict and – just maybe, if we remain steadfast - an eventual victory for our side.

Steven Emerson surprised many of us when he said that the FBI is now doing a good job in penetrating and keeping track of Moslem groups. He was, however, somewhat critical of the FBI’s policy of legitimizing some of the groups that are seen as non-violent and, therefore, not dangerous: our government makes a clear distinction between ideas and actions and is willing to coexist with those who limit their activities to ideas. .

Both speakers emphasized that their primary goal was to give credible information to political leaders so that policy could be formulated by knowledge rather than wishful thinking. Both praised the administration for its refusal to compromise the nation’s security for the sake of political expedience and both gave credit to President Bush for the absence of terror attacks in the U.S. for the last 4 years. U.S. has responded with force after 9/11 and has continued fighting terror both at home and abroad. Any hesitation under previous administrations has always been interpreted as a weakness by our enemies leading to an increase of terror activities. During the Clinton administration when our responses to terror were weak, ambiguous and ineffectual. – Somalia and USS Cole are prime examples – the terrorists were encouraged to strike again.

One of the main points of the evening’s presentation was the ongoing self-examination searching for causes of hatred by the Islamic terrorists. Both Pipes and Emerson emphatically agree that the “What did we do to make the Moslems so angry?” question is largely responsible for the pressure by the West on Israel. Israeli occupation and oppression, Palestinian suffering, the security fence, Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount and U.S. support for Israel are used as explanations – as wrong as they are - for Arab rage. This makes criticism of Israel almost obligatory, moral and even admirable while at the same time minimizing the responsibility of the Islamo-fascists. Their hatred is too irrational to explain or comprehend; in the words of Steven Emerson, “If there is no reason for the violence then one must be created, even if it goes back to the Crusades”.

Daniel Pipes believes that Western elites are educated to believe that there have to be rational explanations for human behavior. But this mentality does not seem to exist in Moslem societies. Our goal must be, therefore, to defeat the enemy, not to rehabilitate him. On the other hand, Islam itself is not the root of the problem – there is nothing to prevent Islam from being interpreted more rationally.

It was during the question and answer part that I asked a question which, to my surprise, appeared to stump both experts. But I did get a surprisingly simple answer to it, from another venue, just a few days later.

I asked why the Iranian Moslems who represent about 80% of U.S. immigrants from Iran have not been involved in anti-American activities or propaganda. Even as tensions between Iran and the U.S. have grown, there are no demonstrations, pronouncements and statements by American- Iranians. (Most recently, in New York, on February 15, a Moslem demonstration against the 12 Danish cartoons was described by the media as “…drawing South Asians, Arabs, African-Americans and others” with no mention of any Iranian participation.) Both Emerson and Pipes appeared surprised by the question, acknowledged that my premise was correct and seemed to have no explanation.

I will address this topic in a future article.

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