Note this recent State Department Announcement:
“Counterterrorism: Establishment of the Bureau of Counterterrorism”
State Department Announcement
01/04/2012 02:52 PM EST
“Today the State Department is pleased to announce the establishment of the Bureau of Counterterrorism, fulfilling one of the key recommendations of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, which was concluded in December of 2010. We believe that this change will strengthen the State Department’s ability to carry out its counterterrorism mission around the world.”
Click here for the full story: http://www.state.gov/g/ct/rls/rm/2012/180148.htm
Op-Ed: “Bureau of Counterterrorism in 2012″
When I saw the State Department announcement, it brought to mind the terrorist activity in the early 1980′s against Americans inside Lebanon, with thirty-six suicide attacks, including the Hezbollah bombing of the U. S. Embassy in Beirut in April 1983, which killed sixty-three people. Then in October 1983 truck bombs struck two buildings housing U. S. and French troops. In these attacks we lost 241 American troops and the French lost fifty-eight. The Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the bombings. In December 1983 a truck filled with gas cylinders and explosives rammed into a three-story administrative wing of the U. S. Embassy in Kuwait City, killing five people. The attack was undertaken by a radical Shiite Islamic group with ties to Iran.
This followed with the first World Trade Center garage attack in February 1993, and the attacks against U. S. and UN troops by al-Qaeda supported Islamic Courts Union militias in Mogadishu, Somalia in October 1993. Then in June 1996 there was the bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.
We were forewarned by these terrorist attacks against American interests long before the attacks on the U. S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, which killed hundreds of people. There were many signs of al-Qaeda’s presence in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and East Africa regions for a long period, but the State Department was not prepared for this terrorist activity or the ability to minimize such a disastrous outcome.
The State Department had ample knowledge from the U. S. embassy attacks alone, to establish a Bureau of Counterterrorism in the early 1980′s. Instead plans called for closing a number of embassies in critical areas. In Somalia the State Department closed the embassy in 1991 after the overthrow of the ruthless dictator, which was an opportunity for us to help stabilize the country. The embassy in Comoros was shuttered in 1993, as being non-significant to our country’s interests. In Sudan the embassy was closed in 1996 for fear of attacks, based on false security information.
These three countries, with high Muslim populations, then had a deficit of credible in-country intelligence information regarding terrorist activities, strangers accessing and transiting through these countries. During the ensuing years, radical Wahhabist imams infiltrated the mosques and madrassas — which made the embassy closings a penny-wise and pound-foolish decision by the State Department.
Terrorist attacks were planned by Osama bin Laden, and many carried out by his al-Qaeda network, while in Sudan from 1991-1996, including the October 2000 suicide bomb attack on the Navy’s guided missile destroyer USS Cole, anchored at the Port of Aden, Yemen.
The big wake up call that changed the world forever was on September 11, 2001, with terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the airliner that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Subsequent to these terrorist attacks the State Department had more reason than ever to establish such a Bureau of Counterterrorism.
During my posting as U. S. Ambassador from 2002-2005, to the Indian Ocean (East African) countries of Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros, there were numerous cables of concern sent by the U. S. Embassy in Port Louis to Washington, with what was considered credible information on terrorist activities, and the possible location of the Comorian, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of the most wanted terrorists. We felt the reported threats and information were not taken seriously.
Media reports today, based on government sources, would lead you to believe the U. S. is winning the Global War on Terror. The killing of Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a senior commander of the Haqqani network, and other al-Qaeda leaders, will not make a difference. I believe we are in for a long siege. We are not fighting an organized army, but rather a radical fundamentalist movement, bent on creating a worldwide caliphate under Sharia, the strict Islamic law.
It is not too late in the Global War on Terror to establish in 2012, the proposed Bureau of Counterterrorism, in hopes of reducing the spread of terrorist activity around the world. But I truly hope, this new department will be well funded, employ qualified personnel, have a clear mission, and not just become another bureaucracy.
For more insightful information read: “When the White House Calls”.