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Essay/Term paper: Terrorism as an international phenomenon

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History

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Terrorism as an International Phenomenon



International terrorism, intelligence gathering and covert operations are all phenomenon, which intrigue the minds of many people both young and old. This paper is a historical recount and study on the various elements that comprise an international operation. It is also a vehicle for discussing the effects of intelligence agencies around the world, with particular interest in the CIA, Mossad, and KGB. This paper will show the various results of failed missions on the international community, examining whether the end justified the mean. Furthermore, it will also provide a deeper understanding to the way in which an operation works as developed through the mind of the agent, as well as the underlying reason for a particular action.

In order to comprehend the following paragraphs one must have a knowledge of the terms which may be used when discussing espionage, international terrorism and intelligence agencies throughout the world. First is the spy, agent or combatant. This is the person who carries out a mission. He/she does not necessarily work alone. Depending on the mission one or many spies may contribute in various ways. The entire team of spies, combatants or agents is called a "pod". These pods can act in a plethora of ways. One such way is a clandestine operation, where the actions are taken on foreign soil, specifically in the State, or Country where the result will occur. Generally there are two different types of combatants: those who work in the in the field actually performing operations and those who infiltrate another government, posing as a citizen of that country, in order to provide his/her home country with secret information. The latter is called a mole, or a double agent. He is one who pretends to be from the Country in which he is spying, in order to gain the confidence of that government before he enters it, usually as a spy.

Now that the reader has a basic knowledge of the vocabulary necessary to understand the information to be read, this person must first comprehend the history of espionage and terrorism. Although espionage dates as far back as biblical times when Moses sent spies into the land of Israel, this paper is only concerned with more contemporary organized espionage operations. The first of such operations were done in Germany, accomplished during the dawn of the Cold-War-Era.

It was then and there that the American Central Intelligence Agency, known as the CIA, and the Russian Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (Committee of State Security), known as the KGB , had secret campaigns being waged daily in the attempt to reveal various information concerning the making of nuclear weapons. The CIA, established in 1947, and the KGB, established in 1954, used Berlin as the battlefield for espionage.

It was not a very intricate system; although, the results were of great importance. The CIA operated from its Berlin Operations Base, BOB , which was an experimental entity. It had approximately 250 agents spying on Russian troop movement, fortification, ammunition dumps, and training grounds . From there information was gathered concerning the making of a Russian nuclear weapon.

Despite the fact that both intelligence agencies existed in Germany at the same time, their respective goals were not the same. The CIA concerned itself with the aforementioned goal of uncovering details about foreign nuclear weapons. They were a true counter-intelligence organization. However, the KGB focused their attention on bringing German scientists back to Russia in order to build a weapon of mass destruction .

The KGB worked endlessly to try to thwart the CIA"s intelligence actions. However, they underestimated the CIA"s determination and in doing so failed many times. Finally, the CIA discovered that it could tap the telephone line used by the KGB"s headquarters by digging a tunnel under the border between East and West Berlin. This yielded over 50,000 reels of tape with over 440,000 conversations recorded to the Americans containing information concerning the development of a Russian bomb .

An interesting insight to this operation, which gives a revelation of the operating of all intelligence agencies, is that the Russians already were aware of this tunnel. However, they allowed the mission to continue because if they had attempted to stop it, the CIA would have realized that information had leaked through a mole. This would then have started a search for the mole, and if found, the punishment could be capital. This would compromise the life of their agent, any secret information he has knowledge of, and the chance of further intelligence being gathered from him . The Russians weighed this given knowledge against the probable deterioration of the CIA"s immediate operations due to international backlash.

When an operation fails, or is revealed before it has an opportunity to be accomplished, there is a potential for a crisis in the international community. The Russians compared the outcome of both and decided not to compromise the life of their spy, even though he being caught was not a definite fate. The international backlash will be discussed at greater lengths later in this paper.



In light of the recent terrorist activities, the CIA has been busy trying to stop the antics of terrorists in the Middle East and other Islamic countries. Hosts of actions were taken by the CIA recently in order to accomplish the goal of stopping international terrorism. One very public operation was the missile strikes on various plants in Sudan and bases in Afghanistan. The preparation going into this attack was immense. The paths of each missile was charted and checked to ensure none collided in air. Further intelligence was gathered via satellite in the form of digital photographs. Also, the CIA had uncovered that a large meeting of known terrorists were going to meet at a base in Afghanistan. Therefore, it was decided that special missiles that would disperse shrapnel over a large area were to be used. This was in an attempt to kill as many terrorists as possible. The orchestration of these attacks took a surprisingly short amount of time .

Osama bin Laden is the terrorist accused of organizing the original terrorist bombings of the two American Embassies. The CIA, through intercepted communication has gathered substantial information on him, almost enough to bring him to trial . But, in between the developing information for his capture and indictment, the CIA has toyed with a few ideas that would bring bin Laden to a halt. The most prominent idea was that of freezing his financial accounts. Through the aid of a Saudi Arabian agent, the CIA has discussed the action but still needs further evidence before proceeding . Notwithstanding, this should soon arrive at the feet of the CIA through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI. They had a US informant in the Kenya cell of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network when the Embassy blew up with him inside. The mole, identified as "CS-1" (confidential source) for security reasons, has given the FBI substantial evidence to the inner workings of bin Laden .

Another prominent member of the world"s counter-terrorism organizations is Israel"s Mossad. The Mossad has been attempting to curb terrorist actions since its statehood was declared in 1948. It is almost a doppelganger of the CIA. However, Israel"s reliance on Mossad is substantially greater because of their hostile neighbors. The Mossad, together with the CIA, have combined in reducing terrorist activity by innumerable quantities.

Unfortunately, Mossad has had many opportunities to thwart a terrorist attack. Many attacks actually are discovered and are stopped by G-d in the form of blundered operations. Nevertheless, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has had a manifold of successful peacetime and war operations which hampered Arab nations in damaging and killing Israeli"s. Mossad has been widely regarded as one of the most active and secret Intelligence agencies in the world. They have succeeded time and time again by gaining positions which enable their agents to have a simple route and a million resources in order to carry out the necessary task. By gaining business positions in enemy countries Israeli spies have easier access to passports in and out of that country. This is a vital component to their clandestine actions, especially among the rather vicious Arab neighbors they have .

This is most exemplified during a mission in 1973 in Lebanon. An Israeli combatant had to get himself into Lebanon, which is a bitter nemesis of Israel. Mossad had decided to assassinate three major terrorist leaders in Fatah, a Lebanese based international terrorism organization. Through intelligence gathered earlier Mossad had decided these three men: Abou Yousef, Kamal Adwan, and Kamal Nasser, because of their undeniable leadership in earlier terrorist attacks on Israeli Citizens. Furthermore, a PLO mine factory, the headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an RPG projectile factory, and a petrol reservoir and garage were also targets .

Mossad utilized various businesses as cover for their agents. These agents then entered Lebanon under the cover of these businesses, many banks, and from apartments near the targets gathered intelligence for Mossad. After a few weeks the agents left citing business overseas as their reason to depart so soon. They all went to Europe and then finally to Israel. None knew who the others were and all were focused on their specific operation. Finally, on April 19, 1973, all three of the terrorists were assassinated and the buildings leveled by bombs from within, all because of a few businessmen who came to invest in Lebanon .

The Mossad has accomplished a plethora of missions similar to the one briefly described above. Further, Mossad has nearly perfected the art of clandestine assassinations. Regardless of the prestige which they have amassed over the decades, the Mossad has failed before, as has the CIA innumerable of times.

The result of a failed operation an have different consequences. If it is merely a spy that has been captured the punishment could be one of a few. The spy could be jailed for life, as the double agent from Israel is here in America, Jonathan Pollard. However, the result could reach a more severe level, death. This would be accompanied by torture in order to extract any information the spy has.

The consequence for operations that are detected has a parallel severity. The country may be held in contempt by the international community, also, diplomatic ties may be broken. Furthermore, the agency will suffer domestic backlash, probable loss of funding, and the leadership of the agency could be dismantled.

Evidence of this exists in reports on the failed Bay of Pigs operation in 1961. Kennedy was held responsible for the failure of 1,400 CIA trained troops to overtake Fidel Castro"s reign in Cuba. Many historians have labeled this as the "Perfect Failure". This debacle could have possibly been avoided if top level CIA officials warned President Kennedy that this could no longer be a viable covert operation . It had expanded beyond the realm of possible secrecy. The operation, although well thought out, had reached the apex for number of people in the operation. The flak was given to Kennedy and to Richard M. Bissell Jr., who was the Deputy Director. Bissell was asked to resign from his post in the CIA following the mission. He contends that the operation still could have succeeded even at its size. Just before the invasion Kennedy called off a number of air strikes which would have grounded the Cuban Air force. This he says would have allowed the CIA trained Guerrillas to stand a much higher chance of defeating the Castro army. Even though he maintains that it could have succeeded there is still a high chance that the attack would have failed despite the called off air strikes . Whatever the reason, this operation scared the CIA and was just the first in a series of ill-conceived, counterproductive, and tragic acts of US aggression.

The next doomed assignment by Kennedy was the Operation Mongoose, which was another attempt to overthrow Castro. This prompted the Cuban dictator to accept Russia"s offer of nuclear weapons for protection. Further results were the trade embargo that America established, the two planes which Cuba shot down when flying into its airspace, and finally the Cuban Missile Crisis, which Kennedy is heralded for stopping early and peacefully . However, that ordeal could have been avoided much earlier had the CIA not botched the covert Bay of Pigs operation.

Israel"s Mossad has also had it share of missions that were found out too early. A bungled assassination attempt in Jordan against Khaled Meshal, an officer of the well-known terrorist organization Hamas, led to a multitude of counter actions by various nations on the globe. The attempt was made in retaliation to the murder of two Israeli guards at their embassy in Amman, Jordan. An unidentified gunman who escaped without much information being gathered on him killed them. The Mossad then tried to retaliate by poisoning Meshal. The Jordanian government then caught the two agents that failed in their mission. An international uproar ensued, and a series of diplomatic ties were strained as new evidence came forth. Since the agents were carrying false Canadian passports, Canada recalled its envoy in the diplomatic tumult. President Clinton also criticized Israel and interceded further by obtaining the antidote to the poison .

Another consequences to this was that in order to retrieve the two spies Israel had o give the Arab world back 19 Palestinian prisoners and freed Hamas" founder and spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin . Notwithstanding, the most hurtful result of this assassination which went awry is that it nearly severed diplomatic ties with Jordan, which is Israel"s most "Amiable and friendly" neighbor, which isn"t much, but better than Syria. Jordan"s King Hussein was so angered that he demanded the resignation of Mossad chief Danny Yatom. Until this was done, he would cut off all security cooperation with Israel. This would allow for terrorists to enter Israel with half the security the border usually had. A few days later he got his wish after five more Mossad agents were found in Bern, Switzerland trying to eavesdrop on conversations between Islamic militants. After that fiasco, Yatom was ousted during negotiations between the Swiss and Israel .

That would seem to be enough consequences to deter any future assassination attempt by Mossad. If it was not then most likely the retaliation of the Hamas organization was another good reason, a myriad of revenge bomb attacks have torn the country apart. Gerald Westerby put it very simply in terms of assassinations when he declared, "…misery breeds misery. We killed a Terrorist and two more popped up to fill his place. Then they killed some more of us and so on and onward…Sure, it made the masses feel good for a day or two, but were we risking our lives to entertain the masses?" .

Therefore, from the foregoing paragraphs, one can see how certain anti-terrorist operations work from first-hand recounts. One also grasps the nature of intelligence, its origins and its grave consequences. The reader may also now have a greater understanding to the various actions of the various intelligence agencies throughout the world. In total, this paper has given an excellent basis and foundation to the reader in the area of anti-terrorism on the international spectrum, including its operations, function, consequence, and history.







Works Cited

Bourgholtzer, Frank. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. "Spy vs. Spy". Volume: 54 Issue: 2 March 1998. Pgs. 62-63.

Central Intelligence Agency," Microsoft® Encarta® 97 Encyclopedia. © 1993-1996 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Chabin, Michelle. USA Today. "Israel Swaps Hamas Leader for two Agents". Sec.: A Pg.: 1 Col.: 6 October 7, 1997.

Cooperman, Alan. US News and World Report. "When Spies and Poison Go Awry". Vol.: 123 Issue: 14 October 13, 1997. Page 42.

Draper, Theodore. New York Review of Books. "Is the CIA Necessary?". Vol.: 44 Issue: 13 August 14, 1997. Pages 16-22.

Kornbluh, Peter. Nation. "Beyond the Bay of Pigs". Vol.: 266 Issue: 15 April 27, 1998. Pages 25-26.

Makovsky, David. US News and World Report. "Israel"s Mossad Blushes Again". Vol.: 124 Issue: 9 March 9, 1998. Page 39.

Newsweek. "A Spy in the Network". November 9, 1998. Page 2.

Persico, Joseph E. New York Times Book Review. "Spy vs. Spy". Sec.:7 Page: 15 Col.: 1. September 28, 1997.

US News and World Report. "America Fights Back". August 31, 1998. Page 42.



US News and World Report. "The Recruiter for Hate". August 31, 1998. Page 48.



Westerby, Gerald. In Hostile Territory: Business Secrets of a Mossad Combatant. Harper Business: New York, 1998.











 

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