Eerie Historical Parallels

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 28, 2005 | Go to article overview

Eerie Historical Parallels


Byline: F. Michael Maloof, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Reports now suggest Iran has set up four camps to train suicide bombers. Administered by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, this group is tied closely to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorists. The IRGC also has had many contacts with al Qaeda's Ayman Al-Zawahiri, deputy to Osama bin Laden.

In fact, Iran through the IRGC provides more than $100 million a year to the Hezbollah, in addition to what the terrorist group gets from Lebanese expatriates from Latin America, West Africa to the Far East. Hezbollah also has been involved in planning insurgent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq in close operational cooperation with al Qaeda.

Recent shaped charge attacks causing many U.S. Marine casualties near the Syrian border had all the earmarks of Hezbollah. The actual ordnance most likely came from Iran.

Suicide bombings are Hezbollah's signature. The group made its terrorist debut in the April 18, 1983, bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Then on Oct. 23, 1983, Hezbollah was responsible for the suicide truck bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon, killing some 220 U.S. Marines and 21 other U.S. Service members.

Hezbollah also has carried out many other truck bombings, including the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association building in Argentina.

The success of Hezbollah's suicide truck bombings has inspired al Qaeda to use that method in its "jihad" or war against the United States and other Western countries. The devastating al Qaeda suicide attacks on September 11, 2001, against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon reflect that.

Besides suicide attacks, al Qaeda in Iraq under Abu Musab Zarqawi has inflicted many hostage beheadings.

Al Qaeda's decapitations represent nothing new in the nearly 1,500 years of Islam. In fact, beheadings occurred in the time of Mohammed, who lived until 632 AD. A passage in the Koran (sura 47, verse 4) says: "When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [the Truth, Islam], then strike their necks."

Believing they carry out Mohammed's original teachings, al Qaeda members recently fulfilled this dictate with Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg, in addition to other foreign nationals from countries aiding coalition forces in Iraq.

This modern fanaticism among predominantly moderate Muslims worldwide may well mirror a similar, more deliberate fanaticism with roots going back at least to the 12th century.

The notion of Paradise accompanied with various numbers of virgins for Islamic martyrs, unquestioned discipline and dying as martyrs in spreading Islamic teachings is rooted in the history of a secret Islamic cult group called the Assassins. Their influence extended over Persia and what was Palestine 1,000 years ago.

The Assassins, known for political murders, were founded by Hasan-i-Sabah, also known as "The Old Man of the Mountain" in the Elburz Mountains of northern Iran. He was born in Qum, southwest of Tehran in Persia, which is modern Iran, the same country that reportedly has now set up suicide training camps.

Sabah was very strict, disciplined in his religious fervor. He sent missionaries throughout Iran and Syria in the beginning of the 12th century. His community and its followers became known as Hashshashin, or Assassins.

Similar to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, Hasan-i-Sabah had a unified central command. He handpicked semiautonomous leaders to form a decentralized network of power. Each command had its own headquarters for local operations.

Legend has it he would have subjects drugged to simulate dying. …

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