- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 9, 2001

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a 19-year-old Serb, assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden, a Saudi millionaire terrorist, blew up the twin towers of the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon in Washington.
The difference between the two terrorists is that Princip didn't know his act would precipitate World War I, while bin Laden is part of a vast conspiracy, under the military chieftaincy of Egypt or Iraq, to precipitate in the Middle East the seventh war since 1949. Who the leader or leaders are of this daring conspiracy it could be Saddam Hussein or Hosni Mubarak I do not know, but that there is such a conspiracy is as unquestionable as the war with Israel is inevitable.
The events of Sept. 11 were not random. They were primarily intended to keep the United States out of the Middle East when all-out war against Israel explodes and we are busy at home looking for terrorists in residence. They were also intended to prove to Muslim skeptics that America the superpower was a paper tiger. The belief that the United States was a paper tiger, and a sentimental one at that, was strengthened by the first President Bush's decision to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. As the Gulf War neared what might have been a triumphant end, he allowed Saddam Hussein and his Republican Guard to live to fight another day. Such generosity might have been appropriate in the time of General "Gentlemanly Johnny" Burgoyne, but was seen as a little absurd by a culture which believed that the only permissible generosity towards an enemy was to cut his throat.
Sept. 11 was one of the culminating points of the conspiracy which includes more than just bin Laden. Another important event was the murder of Ahmed Shah Massoud, leader of the only remaining anti-Taliban resistance. He was attacked on Sept. 9 and died of his wounds Sept. 15. Osama bin Laden and the Taliban regime were blamed. Without Massoud, the anti-Taliban faction would be crippled.
From the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center (six dead, 1,000 injured) through the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, through the multi-million dollar damage to the USS Cole and the death of 17 crew members, and earlier the Khobar barracks car bombing (19 dead), the strikes were relatively minor. Sept. 11 was different. It showed the Middle East that the war could successfully be taken to the enemy with spectacular results, including a probable economic recession for which bin Laden will take credit. Sept. 11 showed the Lilliputian helplessness of the Great Satan before a great military tactic, suicide bombing.
Bin Laden's great advantage is that he is at war with a nation-state located on a definable piece of real estate. We are at war with whom? Syria; no. Egypt; no. Iran; no. Algeria; no. Libya; no. Sudan; no. Iraq; certainly not. Afghanistan, maybe. Is that the way to fight an international conspiracy responsible, as Gary Kasparov put it in the Wall Street Journal, for "the first mass killing of the new millennium"?
We are dealing with an international conspiracy ambitions of which will not be thwarted by the arrest of Osama bin Laden or villains with forged passports. A conspiracy of this kind can only function successfully if it has a base like a state whose sovereignty is protected by ius gentium, by international law. The much-overlooked diplomatic pouch into which a state can put anything, big or little is protected from prying eyes including X-ray, infra-red and other devices.
Judge Abraham D. Sofaer, former State Department legal adviser and a Hoover Institution fellow, has written that "international law clearly imposes responsibility on states that harbor terrorists that attack other states … The difficult issue is whether this established principle of responsibility justifies enforcement through force." But there is an event which may make a different approach possible in dealing with an international conspiracy which has done such great harm.
Twenty years ago, on June 7, 1981, nine Israeli jets bombed to rubble an almost-completed Iraqi nuclear reactor 12 miles east of Baghdad. For Israel, it was a pre-emptive strike against an implacable enemy who threatened its survival. For the United States and its U.N. allies, it made possible the military, if not political, victory in the Gulf War over Saddam Hussein a decade later.
Unless we face up to the existence of real enemies besides Osama bin Laden, we will not, we cannot, end the multinational conspiracy which threatens our civilization.

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