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Part I of our Interview with Terrorism Expert Steve Emerson

Posted by Joshua Price on September 24, 2007

The following is part one of our interview with terrorism expert Steve Emerson. Mr. Emerson is the founder and executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism (the link can be found under the blogroll menu to the right of the site). He is also a bestselling author. His most recent book is entitled Jihad Incorporated.

We wanted to get Mr. Emerson on after we had Michael Scheuer, the former head of the Bin Laden tracking unity at the CIA, on earlier this month. Mr. Scheuer and Mr. Emerson disagree on several aspects of the War on Terror, as will become apparent in the second part of our interview with Mr. Emerson which I will post on Wednesday.

I don’t agree 100% with either one, but they are both experts and their opinions and insights combined give us a solid picture of what we are facing in our enemy and how we can defeat it.

We are pleased to be joined by terrorism expert, bestselling author, and founder of The Investigative Project on Terrorism, Steve Emerson. Mr. Emerson, thank you for joining us.

Price: What are your thoughts on the announcement of a government-owned company from the United Arab Emirates—a country that has very questionable ties to terrorism—purchasing a 20% share of the NASDAQ stock exchange?

Emerson: Well, there are laws governing the ownership of certain strategic infrastructures in the United States by foreigners, and I think this might be construed as a potential threat—not that it’s overt or anything, but that a strategic component like the stock exchange being held in the hands of foreigners would not be consistent with a safe America.

Price: There was a recent article in The L.A. times, I believe, that described how al-Qaeda is ramping up efforts to merge and acquire other Islamic terrorist organizations. Can comment on or verify this?

Emerson: I cannot. That’s the first I have heard of that, so I don’t know. But in general, al-Qaeda has grown by acquisition not by expansion of membership. It grew exponentially in the 90s by merging with Egyptian Islamic jihad, and then of course it’s become linked with Uzbeki jihad—the Uzbekistan movement—and become linked with the Egyptian vanguards; it’s become linked with the Taliban of course, so it’s growth has really been through mergers and acquisitions than actual constituents. This would not be inconsistent with that.

Price: Do you see them continuing that process? Is it possible that they get to a point where they begin to move with groups that don’t necessarily have the same exact goals in mind—on a strategic level?

Emerson: The reason that different groups emerge is that there’s always a slight ideological difference. It’s like the Trotskyites and the Maoists. They ultimately had the same goal of destroying the West, but they had slight, different nuance views of how to do it. Those are the types of differences that make up the differences of these jihadist groups in the Bin Laden [inaudible].

Price: We have now seen several tapes from Osama Bin Laden and one of Ayman al-Zawahri, is there anything to make of these tapes other than the fact that they typical release tapes around the 9/11 anniversary?

Emerson: The only thing that it would appear, at least at a minimum to be, is that they feel much more secure in the positions they are now in, in order to release these tapes so frequently after such a hiatus—especially from Bin Laden himself. Does it indicate an impending attack? I don’t know. I don’t think there is any type of correlation between messages and attacks anymore. There used to be in the 90s, but not after 9/11.

Price: Do you believe, that since we are seeing more types and you believe that they may feel more secure, that Bin Laden still has some operation influence and control?

Emerson: It’s my belief that Bin Laden is a figurehead. He’s an icon. He’s an inspirational symbol. He’s not really calling the shots. He’s not operationally involved. Zawahri is an operations man. He’s the executive vice president, so it’s much more likely that al-Zawahri is calling the shots and making the arrangements, and also, Zawahri, I think, is the person who would be going back and forth between operatives in Pakistan and his safe house in Waziristan.

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One Response to “Part I of our Interview with Terrorism Expert Steve Emerson”

  1. Emerson, a Jew who gets it
    A perspective of a moderate Muslim

    At the risk of sounding anti-Semitic, I want to say this: either American Jews are completely clueless about the internal struggle inside Islam or they are so cowardly, that they are even afraid to voice their opinion. Or maybe it’s a combination of both.

    Every time there is a development that involves radical Islam, be it a Mayor of New York attending an Islamist parade, DOJ’s officials attending an Islamist conference, or a protester being sued for having the balls to expose an Islamist-sponsored event at an amusement park, the American Jewish community is as quiet as a church mouse. It’s like it is not even there.

    The effect of this silence is devastating. Not for the Jewish community, not yet. That time is still to come. The silence affects the American Muslim community. Every time moderate Muslims are ignored and Islamists are legitimized (by either direct support from government representatives or silent support of the ADL), radicals gain ground. In the current PC climate, moderate Muslims have pretty much no choice but to keep their mouths shut.

    Luckily for us, not everyone in the Jewish community is like that. There are some Jews that are speaking out. One of them is Steven Emerson, who has been warning the West about the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism since before PanAm 103. Most of his current work is focused on exposing the radicals masquerading as the moderates – those radicals who are embraced by the DOJ and the Pentagon, by the mayor of New York Bloomberg (Rudy would never get into bed with terrorist supporters) and the Treasury Department, by the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, by the Congress and the White House.

    There is a war of ideas within Islam, and moderate Muslims are losing. Most of Muslim clergy and Muslim establishment are paid for by the Wahhabis. Moderate Muslims are being run out of Mosques and community centers, and in many cases are physically threatened. Moderate Muslims have no place in the media or public debate, because the place reserved for Muslims is filled by Islamic radicals, who attempt to make criticizing anything Islamic a taboo. According to the Islamists, a Muslim can do no wrong.
    1. When a non-Muslim criticizes Islam or Muslims, he/she is an Islamophobe.
    2. When a Muslim criticizes Islam or Muslim, he/she is not a real Muslim, therefore see #1.

    This is a tactic used by “moderate” Muslims, the darlings of the government and the media. But how can you call someone who praises bin Laden, or has ties to Hamas, or calls for the elimination of Israel, or wants to replace the Constitution with the Koran a moderate? They are anything but moderates, however nobody except for a few people like Steven Emerson seems to notice that. But even when the Emersons of America appeal to the public, they are often being dismissed as alarmists and racists. Well, they are anything, but. You don’t have to be a clairvoyant to predict the future when it comes to expansion of radical Islam and extinction of moderate Muslims. All you need to do is get your heads out of the sand.

    Why our government is so forgiving and forgetful when it comes to individuals or organizations with known terrorist ties and anti-American views is beyond me. Why the Jewish leaders are so timid when it comes to the subject of radical Islam is incomprehensible.

    I thank God every day for people like Steven Emerson, because they are the last glimmer of hope for moderate Muslims.


    Original post

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