Chapter Fifteen: The Communist Roots of Terrorism (UPDATED)

The specter of communism did not disappear with the disintegration of the Communist Party in Eastern Europe

The Epoch Times here serializes an adaptation from the Chinese of a new book, How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World, by the editorial team of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party.

Listen to the audiobook:

 

Table of Contents

  1. Terrorism and Communist Revolution
  2. How Communist Regimes Export Terror
  3. The Communist Origins of Islamic Extremism
    a. Sayyid Qutb: The Marx of Islamic Extremism
    b. The Leninist Vanguard of Jihad
    c. The Communist Core of Islamic Extremism
    d. Qutb and the Rise of Terrorism
    e. How Communism Has Victimized Ordinary Muslims
  4. The Chinese Communist Party’s Support of Terrorism
    a. The CCP’s Support of Yasser Arafat’s Terrorist Activities
    b. The CCP’s Ties to Al-Qaeda
  5.  The Convergence of Terrorism and the West’s Radical Left
  6.  Ending the Fundamental Cause of Terrorism

References

***

1. Terrorism and Communist Revolution

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Western public has become familiar with the global terrorist movement and its representatives. Less well-known, however, is the close relationship between terrorism and communism.

Communist ideology is rooted in hatred and struggle. It regards all aspects of the “old society,” including its laws and morality, as the vestiges of an oppressive ruling class to be overthrown by any means necessary. Thus, the communist movement has made terrorism an important tool in its pursuit of power and in spreading its ideology around the world. The terms “terrorism” and “terrorist” were first recorded in 1795 as a reference to the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, which laid the foundation for the communist movement (see Chapter Two). [1]

Vladimir Lenin relied on terrorism to bring the communists to victory in Russia. Marxist theorist Karl Kautsky, in his 1919 book Terrorism and Communism, gave a comprehensive overview of what would come to pass under the proletarian dictatorship that Lenin sought to establish. Reflecting on the violence of the French Revolution, Kautsky argued that Lenin’s Bolsheviks had inherited the terrorist character of the Jacobins. [2]

Felix Dzerzhinsky, head of Lenin’s Cheka secret police, said in 1918, “We stand for organizing terror — this frankly should be admitted.” [3] The Cheka, short for All-Russian Extraordinary Commission, was active during the Russian Civil War, when the Bolsheviks competed with both the anti-communist White armies and rival socialist factions. It employed kidnappings, torture, assassination, and summary execution of “class enemies” on a large scale as part of Lenin’s repressions, which became known as the Red Terror.

The Cheka sought to inflict maximal fear and pain on the enemies of the Bolsheviks. According to records and eyewitness accounts collected in The Red Terror in Russia, written in 1924 by Russian emigrant historian Sergei Melgunov, many of the Cheka’s victims were selected because they were property owners or nobility. They would be paraded out of their homes at night, forced to disrobe, and then shot. The bodies of those murdered by the Cheka, including women, children, the elderly, and the clergy, often bore evidence of sadistic abuse — mutilation, burning, skinning, rape, decapitation, or even more hair-raising acts.

According to Melgunov, while the Cheka boasted about its slaughter, “the number of names published was a good deal smaller than the reality.” [4] During the Red Terror, the Cheka alone is believed to have been responsible for the murder of tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people.

The Soviet communist regime regarded Dzerzhinsky as a revolutionary hero. The Cheka was renamed many times before finally becoming the Committee for State Security (KGB), but its agents were always informally known as “chekists.” From Dzerzhinsky’s death in 1926 to 1990, the square in front of Lubyanka — the headquarters of the KGB — bore his name. In the 1940s, a statue of him was erected in the square, where it stood until being torn down in 1991. [5]

Following the establishment of the Soviet regime, the same pattern of red terror was repeated by communist revolutionary movements around the world. As discussed in previous chapters of this book, Marxist-Leninist regimes have, without exception, relied on terrifying brutality to seize and maintain power. Violence and murder are but one component of communism’s terrorist agenda. Even more destructive is how communism uses political and religious fervor to indoctrinate people with Communist Party culture, planting the seeds of deceit, hatred, and violence to be passed from generation to generation.

Today, terrorism comes primarily in three forms: state terrorism under communist regimes; terrorist activity carried out abroad by agents of communist regimes with the aim of spreading violent revolution; and fundamentalist Islamic extremism, which in fact owes much of its ideology and methods to communism.

2. How Communist Regimes Export Terror

While inflicting mass terror and suffering upon their own people, communist regimes support terrorist organizations abroad for the purpose of fomenting revolution or destabilizing rival states.

During the Cold War, the Soviets actively supported a wide range of terrorist activities on a global scale. The Chinese communist regime also has supported terrorist insurrections abroad, spreading Maoist theories of revolution and crafting alliances with terrorist organizations, as well as rogue regimes that are major sponsors of terrorism.

Stanislav Lunev, a former officer in the Soviet military’s Main Intelligence Directorate who defected to the West, said that the directorate was a primary mentor for terrorists around the world. [6] Many extremist groups that have staged anti-US attacks had ties with the Soviet security agency, the KGB. These include organizations like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Japanese Red Army, the Red Brigades of Italy, the Red Army Faction in West Germany, or various guerrilla groups in South America.

The most influential form of modern terrorism, however, is the radical Islam nurtured by the Soviet bloc as a means of destabilizing the Muslim world.

In the first half of the twentieth century, the Middle East belonged to the Western colonial sphere. As peoples in the region gained independence, the Soviet Union took the opportunity to boost its influence among them. Today, the Middle East finds itself in a complex and chaotic situation resulting from the contradictions between Muslim denominations, the Arab–Israeli conflict, the Cold War, the politics surrounding oil, and the clash of cultures between the West and Islam.

As mentioned in Chapter Five, Ion Mihai Pacepa, the former lieutenant general and acting chief of communist Romania’s foreign intelligence service, became the highest-ranking defector from the Soviet bloc when he escaped to the United States in July 1978. In his article “Russian Footprints,” Pacepa revealed substantial knowledge about communist support for terrorism in the Middle East. [7] He quoted Aleksandr Sakharovsky, the head of Soviet foreign intelligence, as saying, “In today’s world, when nuclear arms have made military force obsolete, terrorism should become our main weapon.” Eighty-two aircraft hijackings were carried out in 1969 alone. Many of them were the work of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) with support from the Soviets and Chinese communists. Pacepa recalled that when he visited Sakharovsky’s office, he saw “a sea of red flags” dotting a world map. Each flag represented an aircraft hijacking. Sakharovsky told Pacepa that the tactic of hijacking was his own invention.

The concept of “Islamic socialism” began to take hold during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union supported Arab states against Israel. Representatives included Yasser Arafat, who led the PLO from 1969 until his death in 2004, and Gamal Abdel Nasser, who served as Egypt’s second president from 1956 until his death in 1970. The PLO, which was supported by the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), engaged in widespread terrorist activities.

Between 1968 and 1978, the Romanian security forces made weekly air deliveries of military supplies to Palestinian terrorists in Lebanon. Archives from the East German government show that in 1983, the East German foreign intelligence agency sent $1,877,600 worth of ammunition for Kalashnikov assault rifles to Lebanon. Czechoslovakia provided Islamic terrorists with 1,000 tons of Semtex-H, an odorless plastic explosive.

In the early 1970s, Yuri Andropov, then-head of the KGB and later general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, began a covert, meticulously planned propaganda campaign to sow the seeds of anti-Semitic and anti-American hate throughout the Arab and Islamic world. Pacepa and coauthor Ronald Rychlak, in their book Disinformation, called Andropov the “father of a new disinformation era.” [8]

3. The Communist Origins of Islamic Extremism

While the Soviets and Chinese communists funded many terrorist organizations in the Middle East, actually introducing communism in areas with deeply held religious beliefs proved a steep challenge. The Soviet Union’s efforts to directly export socialist revolution to the Muslim world met with mixed and often temporary results.

While there were multiple Soviet-aligned states in the Middle East, only South Yemen and Afghanistan were under communist rule for varying lengths of time during the Cold War. In 1979, the Soviet Union launched an invasion of Afghanistan and occupied the country for ten years in an attempt to prop up the communist regime it had recently helped rise to power. In 1989, the Soviets gave up and withdrew from the country.

However, while communism itself failed to establish control over the Muslim world, it did much to influence the creation and development of contemporary Islamic extremism.
Following the 9/11 attacks, the threat of Islamic extremism gained prominence, with the actions of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist group becoming front-page news. But the ideological source of bin Laden’s Islamic extremism can be traced back to a man who has been described as the Karl Marx of radical Islam. [9]

a. Sayyid Qutb: The Marx of Islamic Extremism

At first glance, it may seem far-fetched to suggest a relationship between communism and radical Islam, given that Muslims believe in Allah and the prophet Mohammed, while communism is atheistic and aims to eradicate faith in religions. In fact, the theory and methods of modern Islamic extremism are closely linked to Marxism-Leninism.

The pioneer of radical Islam and modern jihad was Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian liaison for the local Muslim Brotherhood to the Communist International and the Egyptian communist party. [10][11] Qutb’s ideas were steeped in communist logic and rhetoric. Born in 1906, Qutb studied socialism and literature in the 1920s and 1930s. He studied abroad in the United States for two years in the late 1940s and joined the Muslim Brotherhood after his return to Egypt. [12]

Qutbism can be described as the pursuit of violence to destroy the old society dominated by “jahiliyyah.” As a religious term, jahiliyyah means ignorance of religious truth, and it originally referred to society before the spread of Islam. Qutb called upon Muslims to lay down their lives in the struggle against jahiliyyah, which would supposedly usher in humanity’s liberation. To articulate his ideas on this struggle, Qutb reinterpreted both the meaning of jahiliyyah and the Islamic concept of jihad.

Upon mention of jihad, many immediately think of “holy war,” but in Arabic, jihad simply means to struggle or to fight. In mainstream Islam, it can be taken to mean internal conflict (self-perfection) or defensive jihad. [13] Qutb, however, extended this definition to include proactive and unbridled use of violence in the “holy war” of jihad and laid out its theoretical foundations. [14] Qutb’s philosophy held that any social system that abided by secular laws or ethics was an anti-Islamic jahiliyyah. He saw jahiliyyah as the greatest obstruction for both Muslims and non-Muslims, preventing them from fulfilling Islamic values and law. Even a society that claimed itself Muslim could still be jahiliyyah. Qutb considered the Egyptian social system in which he lived to be one in which jahiliyyah was dominant, so he believed it must be overthrown. [15]

This interpretation of jihad and jahiliyyah mirrors the Marxist philosophy of struggle along class lines. Qutb claimed that the old society of jahiliyyah had been forced on people and, in the process, had robbed them of their freedom. These enslaved people — analogous to the working class in Marxism — had the right to wage jihad to overthrow the oppression of jahiliyyah. Qutb advocated jihad as the means of liberation for all mankind, Muslim as well as non-Muslim. [16] When Qutb’s writings were published, many mainstream Muslim leaders thought he had gone too far and condemned his ideas as heresy. [17]

Qutb had long had contact with Nasser, leader of the socialist-leaning Free Officers Movement and later the long-serving president of Egypt. In 1952, Nasser launched a military coup overthrowing the Muhammad Ali dynasty, Egypt’s pro-Western monarchy. It is said that this socialist-revolutionary coup was planned by Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood together with Nasser. However, while Qutb hoped Nasser would establish an Islamic regime, Nasser instead took the path of secularization and in 1954 began suppressing the Brotherhood.

Qutb and the Brotherhood prepared to assassinate Nasser, but the plot failed, and Qutb was imprisoned. He was severely tortured during his first few years in prison, but as conditions relaxed, he was allowed to write. Qutb wrote his two most important works while in prison — In the Shade of the Qur’an and Milestones. These two books, covering his views on the Qur’an, Islamic history, Egypt, and Western society, laid out in full his advocacy of anti-secular, anti-Western extremism. At one point, Qutb was released from prison, but stayed in Egypt and was jailed again. In 1966, he was convicted and hanged for his involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate Nasser. Qutb walked proudly up to the gallows and toward becoming a religious martyr.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda following the death of bin Laden, believed Qutb’s execution was what ignited the fire of jihadi extremism. [18] Islamic extremists often cite Qutb’s teachings and regard themselves as his “intellectual descendants,” as observed by William McCants, counter-terrorism expert and former fellow at West Point Military Academy’s anti-terrorism center. [19] Middle East expert Hassan Hassan, in a 2016 report on the Islamic State, quoted a saying popular among ISIS supporters about how the terrorist group’s essential doctrine was formed: “The Islamic State was drafted by Sayyid Qutb, taught by Abdullah Azzam, [and] globalized by Osama bin Laden.” [20]

b. The Leninist Vanguard of Jihad

Another Marxist concept Qutb borrowed was that of “false consciousness,” which refers to the ordinary masses’ acceptance of the ruler’s ideals and culture. The concept holds that this prevents the masses from perceiving their own oppression and overthrowing capitalism in favor of socialism. According to Qutb, those living under jahiliyyah don’t realize they are slaves, which is why they do not engage in jihad to emancipate themselves. [21]

One of Lenin’s major works is a pamphlet titled with the question Chto Delat’? (or in English, What Is to Be Done?) in which he argues that the working class will not become conscious of the need for communism unless led to it by an elite group of revolutionaries. Faced with the same question in his crusade against jahiliyyah, Qutb looked to Lenin for his answer.

Qutb’s writings are replete with vocabulary familiar to students of Marxism-Leninism, such as “vanguard,” “state,” “revolution,” and the like. The situation and challenges Lenin faced at the time of writing the pamphlet mirror the circumstances faced by Qutb as he formulated his own radical ideology. Lenin placed all hope for a successful revolution on a proletarian vanguard party — a highly disciplined elite organization charged with overseeing the revolution and guiding the masses — and derided the notion that communism could succeed if its agents merely operated in society at large. Qutb copied this theory and replaced the Leninist political party with Islamic extremist organizations.

Lenin, in his emphasis on the organization and the vanguard concept, identified a clear distinction between spontaneity and consciousness, and introduced the idea of party-building. According to Lenin, with only spontaneous action, workers can only make superficial demands, such as pay raises and eight-hour work days, as they lack the consciousness needed to liberate humankind. Lenin believed that external vanguards (usually comprising bourgeois intellectuals, who have the privilege of education) are needed to incite and indoctrinate the workers, so that the workers come to believe that revolution is their only way out and that only by liberating all of humankind can they themselves be liberated. In order to fully realize the vanguard, a tightly knit political party is needed to arrange their activities and provide them with opportunities for underground work as professional revolutionaries. [22]

Glenn E. Robinson, an associate professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and a research fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of California–Berkeley, said of radical Islam: “Modern jihadism is distinctively Leninist. Although for obvious reasons jihadi ideologues do not cite Lenin as an inspiration, their concepts and logic, especially Sayyid Qutb’s, betray this influence. Having been educated in Egypt in the 1940s, Qutb would certainly have been exposed to Lenin’s writings. Two key concepts from Qutb come straight from Lenin: jama’a (vanguard) and manhaj (program). … Lenin’s insistence on the centrality of the vanguard’s having a detailed and coherent program for undertaking and then consolidating the revolution was likewise echoed, with an Islamic tone, in Qutb’s writings.”

Drawing from the essence of Leninism, Qutb advocated for the organization of a Muslim version of the Leninist vanguard party. “Qutb made precisely the same argument for the Muslim world,” Robinson wrote. “The vast majority of Muslims were too caught up in and corrupted by the system of unjust and anti-Islamic rule to know how and when to take up arms against the state. A dedicated vanguard of jihadi cadres was needed to organize direct action against the state.” [23]

This vanguard, which consists of extremists, or what Qutb called “true Muslims,” has the revolutionary mission of liberating all Muslims and the whole of human civilization. The vanguard must strike hard on false Muslims, follow Islamic ideology as determined by Qutb’s interpretation, establish a new nation based on this Islamism, and use violence to impose Islam on the rest of the world.

In addition to the Leninist vanguard, Qutb’s theory also includes utopian ideas like “social equality” and the elimination of classes. [24] Such points echo the stated aims of communism.
After Qutb’s death, his brother Muhammad Qutb continued to publish his writings. The book Ma’arakat ul-Islam war-Ra’samaaliyyah, published in 1993, again highlights Qutb’s communist inspirations. Qutb blatantly states that Islam is a “unique, constructive, and positivist ‘aqidah’ [creed], which has been moulded and shaped from Christianity and communism together, [with a] blending in the most perfect of ways and which comprises all of their (i.e., Christianity’s and Communism’s) objectives and adds in addition to them harmony, balance and justice.” [25]

c. The Communist Core of Islamic Extremism

Class struggle is another Marxist idea central to Islamic extremism. Marx spent his whole life trying to incite conflict between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the point of no return so as to then “solve” the conflict through revolution. Islamic extremists operate in much the same way.

Destroying the World Trade Center in Manhattan did not in itself do anything to help realize the united Muslim world that Qutb envisioned, but it served as a means of exacerbating the conflict between the Western and Muslim worlds. Terrorist attacks were meant to incite backlash in the West against Muslims, which would, in turn, incite Muslims to carry out more attacks. [26] The extremists’ methods mirror Marx and Lenin’s promotion of conflicts between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in order to create the conditions needed for launching revolution.

Qutb’s theories bear a far greater resemblance to communism than to traditional Islam. While the Islamic extremists profess to have a religious opposition to communism, they in fact absorbed the pure essentials of communist revolutionary doctrine. As journalist Chuck Morse has noted: “The real enemy confronting the free world remains Communism. … [R]adical Islam is nothing more than Communism cloaked in the traditional garments of Islam. The same Communist enemy that subverted Europe … took root in the Islamic world and transformed large segments of the Islamic elite.” [27]

Finnish political historian Antero Leitzinger believes that modern terrorism was born during 1967 and 1968, developing in concert with the international communist movement. As radical student movements ran amok in the 1960s, students from Muslim countries who studied in the West were connected to leftist thought and brought concepts such as violent revolution back home with them. [28]

In 1974, Abdallah Schleifer, a Muslim convert who later became a professor in media studies at the American University in Cairo, met Zawahiri, the future leader of al-Qaeda. Zawahiri, who was studying medicine at Cairo University at the time, boasted that Islamic extremist groups had recruited the most members from elite institutions such as medical and engineering schools. Schleifer said that these institutions had high concentrations of young Marxists during the 1960s, and that radical Islam was simply a new trend in student rebellion. Schleifer told Zawahiri: “Listen, Ayman, I’m an ex-Marxist. When you talk, I feel like I’m back in the Party. I don’t feel as if I’m with a traditional Muslim.’” [29]

Curiously, many observers associate Islamic extremism with fascism (Islamofascism) and, for various reasons, fail to mention its communist origins. Fascism is a form of national socialism, and socialism is the first stage of communism, as Lenin and others have said. Communism is international in scope, aiming for communist revolutions around the world. When considering Islamic extremism in terms of its overall approach and doctrine, it becomes apparent that it has more in common with communism.

d. Qutb and the Rise of Terrorism

Qutb’s writings influenced many young Arabs, including Palestinian scholar and co-founder of al-Qaeda Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. [30] The 9/11 Commission Report both referred to Azzam as “a disciple of Qutb” and outlined Qutb’s influence on bin Laden’s worldview. [31]

Muhammad Qutb, Sayyid Qutb’s younger brother, was one of the primary transmitters of Qutb’s views. Muhammad Qutb became a professor of Islamic studies in Saudi Arabia, and he was responsible for editing, publishing, and promoting his late brother’s theories. Bin Laden regularly attended Muhammad Qutb’s weekly public lectures and read Qutb’s books.

Zawahiri said that when he was a youth, he repeatedly heard from his uncle about how great Qutb was and how he had suffered in prison. [32] In 1966, the year that Qutb was hanged, a fifteen-year-old Zawahiri helped form an underground cell that aimed to overthrow the government and create an Islamist state. Zawahiri wrote in his memoir: “The Nasserite regime thought that the Islamic movement received a deadly blow with the execution of Sayyid Qutb and his comrades. … But the apparent surface calm concealed an immediate interaction with Sayyid Qutb’s ideas and the formation of the nucleus of the modern Islamic jihad movement in Egypt.” [33] Later, Zawahiri joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad group, formed in the 1970s, and became bin Laden’s adviser, as well as an important member of al-Qaeda, eventually taking over the leadership after bin Laden’s death.

In the Sunni Muslim world, Qutb is the most prominent radical thinker. [34] Virtually all the major concepts and ideological innovations of the Sunni jihadi groups can be found in his works. [35] Although the various jihadi groups may differ in form, they all use violence to realize their political aims under the banner of Islam. [36]

The 1981 assassination of the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat by the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the attacks by Egyptian terrorist group al-Gamma al-Islamiyah in the 1990s against government officials, secular intellectuals, Egyptian Christians, and tourists were all steps in the campaign to bring about Qutb’s vision. [37]

The radical jihadi groups that pursue Qutb’s ideology are categorized as Salafi-jihadi terrorists. In 2013, there were nearly fifty Salafi-jihadi groups worldwide, with most based in North Africa and the Levant, according to a report by the US-based Rand Corporation. [38] Robert Manne, author of the book The Mind of the Islamic State: ISIS and the Ideology of the Caliphate, called Qutb “the twentieth-century father of the political movement now called Salafi jihadism” and a forerunner of the ISIS terrorist group, adding that while Qutb was not directly responsible for ISIS, “he posted the first milestone on the road that would eventually lead there.” [39]

Among the various extremist Islamic organizations in existence, although they lack a united vision and are given to ideological infighting, there is one trait common to the overwhelming majority of them: They have essentially inherited Qutb’s aggressive form of jihad — communist revolution in a different form.

e. How Communism Has Victimized Ordinary Muslims

Although extremist groups operate in the name of Islam, the biggest casualty is Muslim society. This is because the true motivation behind terrorism — like that of communism — is a desire for killing and destruction, whatever the superficial excuses.

The 2017 report Islam and the Patterns in Terrorism and Violent Extremism, published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, states that “almost all of the human impact of extremist attacks is Muslims killing or injuring fellow Muslims.”

According to the report, a “total of 83% of the [Islamic extremist] attacks and 90% of the deaths occurred in solidly Islamic countries,” as did the vast majority of suicide attacks carried out on foot or using vehicles. “If one looks at the five worst perpetrator movements in the world in 2016, four are ‘Islamist’ extremist. A total of 88% of 2,916 attacks and 99% of 14,017 deaths that resulted from the top five perpetrators were caused by Islamic extremist groups.” [40]

The State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2018 records a total of 8,093 terrorist attacks that occurred in the world that year, causing 32,836 total deaths. Attacks were overwhelmingly likely to take place in Muslim-majority countries and areas: “In 2018, terrorist incidents occurred in 84 countries and territories. About 85 percent of all incidents were concentrated in three geographic regions: the Middle East, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

In order, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, India, Nigeria, Somalia, Philippines, Pakistan, Yemen, and Cameroon experienced the greatest number of terrorist incidents in 2018. Incidents in these 10 countries accounted for 71 percent of the overall total number of incidents and 81 percent of all fatalities from terrorist incidents.” [41]

By contrast, terrorist attacks in Western countries resulted in far fewer deaths. A 2019 report by the Cato Institute stated that foreign-born terrorists in the United States caused 3,037 of the 3,518 murders caused by terrorists in the United States from 1975 through 2017. This number includes the 2,979 people killed by the hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks. [42]

4. The Chinese Communist Party’s Support of Terrorism

The CCP has long supported terrorist activities abroad, including those of Palestinian terrorist leader Arafat. One of the first to apply the tactic of hijacking commercial airliners, Arafat targeted US forces and later became an inspiration for bin Laden.

a. The CCP’s Support of Yasser Arafat’s Terrorist Activities

In 1959, Arafat started the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, also known as Fatah, and in 1988, he declared Palestine an independent state. Until his death in 2004, Arafat was the leading figure of various Palestinian militant organizations. He was also a favorite of the CCP, having visited China fourteen times and met with many Chinese communist leaders, including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin.

In 1964, Arafat established al-‘Asifah (“The Storm”), the military wing of Fatah, after which he immediately went to Beijing to meet with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. Zhou reminded Arafat to pay attention to strategy and not to use counterproductive slogans such as those calling for the complete destruction of Israel. [43]

In addition to providing weapons and financial support, Beijing often guided Palestine on how to wage conflict with the United States and Israel while expanding its influence internationally. The CCP also invited Palestinians to receive training in China.

In January 1965, Arafat declared war on Israel in north Palestine using his guerrilla organization, and the PLO set up an office in Beijing that May. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) afforded the PLO office diplomatic treatment and openly supported the PLO in various international arenas.

In November 1988, when Arafat announced the independence of the Palestinian state, Beijing immediately acknowledged it and established diplomatic relations.

Arafat and then-CCP General Secretary Jiang Zemin visited each other in 2000 and 2001, a time in which large-scale bloody conflicts broke out between Palestine and Israel. Israel repeatedly condemned Arafat for his role in the violence. With the CCP’s support, Arafat was able to contend with the United States and Israel while further destabilizing the Middle East.

The PLO’s member organizations were involved in various open and underground militant terrorist activities. They claimed that violent revolution was the only way to liberate the country, an ideology that follows the same doctrine as communist movements. Arafat was very close to the leadership in communist countries and met with members of the Socialist International. Fatah was an observer in the Party of European Socialists.

In 1970, the PLO carried out an assassination attempt on Jordan’s King Hussein bin Talal and a failed coup of the Jordanian government. In September that year, the PLO hijacked five commercial planes — four bound for New York and one for London — in what is known as the Dawson’s Field hijackings. One terrorist claimed that hijacking a plane had a greater effect than killing a hundred Israelis in battle.

In 1972, the terrorist group Black September, a militant faction of Fatah, massacred eleven Israeli athletes during the Olympic Games in Munich. One of the terrorists was Ali Hassan Salameh, security chief of Fatah and one of Arafat’s most trusted lieutenants. In addition to the Israelis killed in the attack, a West German police officer also died. [44]

The United States and Israel named Arafat as the instigator behind a number of terrorist attacks in the Middle East. In 1987, the White House designated the PLO as a terrorist organization and closed the PLO’s Palestine Information Office in Washington.

b. The CCP’s Ties to Al-Qaeda

For the vast majority of people around the world, the 9/11 attacks were a shocking tragedy. But in mainland China, from internet forums and chat rooms to university cafeterias, large numbers of people rooted for the terrorists, with comments such as “Good job!” and “We strongly support the acts of justice against the United States.” According to a survey of 91,701 people on NetEase, a major Chinese internet company, only 17.8 percent of respondents expressed strong opposition to the terrorist attacks, while a majority of people chose “opposition to the United States” or “the best is yet to come” in regard to the tragedy. [45]

The Chinese who cheered 9/11 had no relation to bin Laden or radical Muslims in terms of ethnicity, religion, or heritage, but the roots of their toxic thinking were the same. Like the Islamic extremists in their “holy war” waged against both the non-Islamic world and “false” Muslims said to be deluded by jahiliyyah, the CCP has spent seventy years poisoning the Chinese people with hatred of “class enemies” and indoctrinating them with twisted Communist Party culture.

For the CCP, the commonalities of Islamic extremism and communism go beyond mere ideological overlap. The CCP maintained close ties with the Taliban and al-Qaeda after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, as well as during the time the Taliban provided protection for bin Laden. In 1998, after the United States attacked al-Qaeda bases with cruise missiles, the Chinese regime allegedly paid bin Laden $10 million for any unexploded missiles, presumably to steal the technology. [46] [47]

At the same time, the CCP continued to provide sensitive military technology to state sponsors of terrorism. At the end of 2000, the UN Security Council proposed sanctions on the Taliban to force it to close bin Laden’s terrorist training camps located on its territory, but the PRC abstained from the vote. Instead, it sent military personnel to support the Taliban immediately after the United States began airstrikes in Afghanistan.

After 9/11, American intelligence officials reported that ZTE and Huawei, China’s two military-linked tech companies, were helping the Taliban military establish a telephone network in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. [48] On the day of the 9/11 attacks, Chinese and Taliban officials signed a contract to expand economic and technical cooperation. [49]

In their 1999 book Unrestricted Warfare, two Chinese military officers discussed a hypothetical second attack on the World Trade Center in New York, following the 1993 failed bombing attempt, noting that it would open up a complicated dilemma for the United States. The authors also named al-Qaeda as an organization with the ability to carry out such an operation. [50] Whether or not the CCP had knowledge of 9/11 before it happened, the regime’s concept of “unrestricted warfare” provided theoretical guidance for bin Laden’s future operations.

Additionally, in 2004, it was revealed that Chinese intelligence agencies used shell companies in financial markets around the world to help bin Laden raise funds and launder money. [51]
The communist camp faced total collapse with the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the CCP was left to face tremendous pressure from the free world on its own. Just as the United States and the free world began to focus their attention on condemning communist tyranny, 9/11 took place.

Priorities changed dramatically, and the War on Terror began instead. This gave the CCP a reprieve and allowed communism to expand once again.

The menace of radical Islamic terrorism compelled the United States to divert its resources and attention away from the continued threat of communism, preventing the free world from confronting the unprecedented abuses of the CCP. While the Western world waged war in the Middle East, a large-scale transfer of wealth quietly took place between China and the United States, allowing another communist superpower to rise where the Soviet Union had fallen.

5. The Convergence of Terrorism and the West’s Radical Left

After 9/11, radical Western leftist intellectuals cheered the event and defended the perpetrators. Days after the attacks, an Italian playwright and Nobel laureate in literature said, “The great speculators wallow in an economy that every year kills tens of millions of people with poverty — so what is 20,000 dead in New York?” [52] A professor at the University of Colorado–Boulder characterized those who had died in the World Trade Center as “little Eichmanns” (referring to one of the architects of the Nazi Holocaust), saying the victims were part of the “technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire” and implying that the attacks were a just punishment. [53]

On February 11, 2003, a month before the United States attacked Iraq, bin Laden released an audio recording through Al-Jazeera Television, saying that “there will be no harm if the interests of Muslims converge with the interests of the socialists in the fight against the crusaders,” and calling on people to fight against the US military in the streets. [54]

Hoping to prevent the United States from carrying out military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and later to hamper its efforts in the War on Terror, various radical left-wing forces launched a large-scale anti-war protest movement. Most members of the prominent anti-war organization ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), founded in 2001, are socialists, communists, and leftists or progressives. Many of its founders had ties with the International Action Center and the Workers World Party, a communist radical organization aligned with the North Korean regime. ANSWER is thus a front-line force aligned with Stalinist communism. Also participating in the anti-war movement was Not in Our Name, a front organization of the Revolutionary Communist Party, which is a Marxist-Leninist party linked to the Chinese communist regime. [55]

In his 2004 book Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, American scholar David Horowitz described the nefarious connection between radical leftists and Islamic extremists. According to his analysis, the radical Left around the world has served to indirectly defend Islamic jihadis. [56]

During a meeting with Hezbollah officials, a prominent leftist professor said that the United States was “one of the leading terrorist states.” [57] An assistant professor of anthropology at Columbia University told a crowd of about 3,000 students that he “personally would like to see a million Mogadishus.” [58] In the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, alleged al-Qaeda-trained fighters killed eighteen US special forces soldiers. The professor also expressed hope that American soldiers would kill each other.

Some left-wing figures have aided terrorists directly. In 1995, Omar Abdel-Rahman was convicted for conspiring to carry out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. One of his defense lawyers, Lynne Stewart, was sentenced to prison in 2006 for helping to smuggle messages from Abdel-Rahman to his followers in the Middle East that told them to continue their terrorist activities. Stewart became a political idol for the Left and was repeatedly invited to lecture at college campuses. [59]

Standing with terrorists against Western democratic society is part of the radical Left’s long march to destroy and take over Western society from within. The Left is willing to use any method that helps it achieve this goal. At a deeper level, though Western leftist ideology has no superficial relationship with Islamic extremism, their common roots lie in the hatred and struggle of the communist specter.

6. Ending the Fundamental Cause of Terrorism

From the Paris Commune and Lenin’s institutionalization of violence to the CCP’s state-sponsored persecutions, communism has always used terrorism to achieve its aims. Terrorists use violence to throw society into disorder, and use fear to bring people under their control. They violate the moral values held universally across humanity in order to achieve their ends.
The roots of communism can be seen in the core ideas and methods of modern terrorist groups, as it is communist ideology that provides a theoretical framework for their evil values.

Moreover, beyond the territory controlled by communist regimes, communism has manipulated a variety of groups and individuals to carry out terrorist acts, sowing chaos around the world and throwing up a diversionary smokescreen to confuse and misdirect its enemies.
Radical Islamic terrorism has taken the spotlight in international conflict since the end of the Cold War. However, as the United States and its allies became embroiled in costly and protracted military campaigns in the Middle East, the Chinese communist regime quietly worked to become a superpower capable of challenging the free world. The chaos that prevailed in the Middle East and elsewhere distracted Western governments and the public from the resurgent threat of communism, as well as the unprecedented crimes against humanity being committed by the CCP despite greater economic and cultural ties with the West.

Founded on hatred and struggle, communism is the fundamental cause of terrorism around the world. While the media focuses its attention on terrorist attacks that target Western society, the vast majority of those killed by Islamic extremists are ordinary Muslims living in Islamic countries. Similarly, the more than 100 million deaths caused by communism were nearly all of the victims living under communist regimes.

Until the toxic roots of communism are dug out, humankind will not enjoy a single day of peace. Only by recognizing the role of communism in the terrorist activities that plague our world, and by standing on the side of traditional moral values and faith, can this menace be defeated and the “global war on terror” be brought to an end.

Read Next: Chapter Sixteen

Updated July 2, 2020.

Read the series here: How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World

References

1. Brian Whitaker, “The Definition of Terrorism,” The Guardian, May 7, 2001, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/may/07/terrorism.

2. Karl Kautsky, Terrorism and Communism: A Contribution to the Natural History of Revolution, trans. W. H. Kerridge (Manchester, United Kingdom: The National Labour Press Ltd., 1919), Marxists Internet Archive, accessed on May 5, 2020, https://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1919/terrcomm/index.htm.

3. Felix Dzerzhinsky, as quoted in Michael Foley, Russian Civil War: Red Terror, White Terror, 1917–1922 (United Kingdom: Pen & Sword Books, 2018).

4. Sergei Melgunov, The Red Terror in Russia (United Kingdom: Hyperion Press, 1975), chap. 3.

5. Deborah Seward, “Statue of Soviet Intelligence Chief Pulled Down,” The Associated Press, August 22, 1991, https://apnews.com/863f51d5087d19bee14a280626730385.

6. Stanislav Lunev, Through the Eyes of the Enemy: The Autobiography of Stanislav Lunev (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1998), 80.

7. Ion Mihai Pacepa, “Russian Footprints,” National Review, August 24, 2006, https://www.nationalreview.com/2006/08/russian-footprints-ion-mihai-pacepa.

8. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (Washington, DC: WND Books, 2013), 259–266.

9. Paul Berman, “The Philosopher of Islamic Terror,” New York Times Magazine, March 23, 2003, https://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/23/magazine/the-philosopher-of-islamic-terror.html.

10. Raymond Ibrahim, “Ayman Zawahiri and Egypt: A Trip Through Time,“ The Investigative Project on Terrorism, November 30, 2012, https://www.investigativeproject.org/3831/ayman-zawahiri-and-egypt-a-trip-through-time.

11. Robert R. Reilly, The Roots of Islamist Ideology, Centre for Research Into Post-Communist Economies, February 2006, 4.

12. Berman, “The Philosopher.”

13. Andrew McGregor, “Al-Qaeda’s Egyptian Prophet: Sayyid Qutb and the War on Jahiliya,” Terrorism Monitor 1, no. 3 (May 4, 2005), https://jamestown.org/program/al-qaedas-egyptian-prophet-sayyid-qutb-and-the-war-on-jahiliya.

14. A. E. Stahl, “‘Offensive Jihad’ in Sayyid Qutb’s Ideology,” International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, March 24, 2011, https://www.ict.org.il/Article/1097/Offensive-Jihad-in-Sayyid-Qutbs-Ideology#gsc.tab=0.

15. McGregor, “Al-Qaeda’s Egyptian Prophet.”

16. Stahl, “‘Offensive Jihad.’”

17. McGregor, “Al-Qaeda’s Egyptian Prophet.”

18. Dale Eikmeier, “Qutbism: An Ideology of Islamic-Fascism,” Parameters, vol. 37, issue 1, http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA485995.

19. William McCants, “Problems With the Arabic Name Game,” Combating Terrorism Center, May, 22, 2006.

20. Hassan Hassan, The Sectarianism of the Islamic State: Ideological Roots and Political Context (Washington DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 2016), 26, https://carnegieendowment.org/files/CP_253_Hassan_Islamic_State.pdf.

21. Roxanne L. Euben, “Mapping Modernities, ‘Islamic’ and ‘“Western,’” in Border Crossings: Toward a Comparative Political Theory, ed. Fred Dallmayr (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 1999), 20.

22. Vladimir Lenin, “What Is to Be Done?” in Lenin’s Selected Works, trans. Joe Fineberg and George Hanna (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961), vol. 1, 119–271, Marxists Internet Archive, accessed on May 5, 2020, https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1901/witbd.

23. Glenn E. Robinson, “Jihadi Information Strategy: Sources, Opportunities, and Vulnerabilities,” in John Arquilla and Douglas A. Borer, eds., Information Strategy and Warfare: A Guide to Theory and Practice (London: Routledge, 2007), 92.

24. McGregor, “Al-Qaeda’s Egyptian Prophet.”

25. Abdallah al-Qutbi, as quoted in “Impaling Leninist Qutbi Doubts: Shaykh Ibn Jibreen Makes Takfir Upon (Declares as Kufr) the Saying of Sayyid Qutb That Islam Is a Mixture of Communism and Christianity,” TheMadKhalis.com, January 2, 2010, http://www.themadkhalis.com/md/articles/bguiq-shaykh-ibn-jibreen-making-takfir-upon-the-saying-of-sayyid-qutb-that-islam-is-a-mixture-of-communism-and-christianity.cfm.

26. Damon Linker, “The Marxist Roots of Islamic Extremism,” The Week, March 25, 2016, http://theweek.com/articles/614207/marxist-roots-islamic-extremism.

27. Charles Moscowitz, Islamo-Communism: The Communist Connection to Islamic Terrorism (Boston: City Metro Enterprises, 2013).

28. Antero Leitzinger, “The Roots of Islamic Terrorism,” The Eurasian Politician, no. 5 (March 2002), http://users.jyu.fi/~aphamala/pe/issue5/roots.htm.

29. Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (New York: Knopf Publishing Group, 2006), 42.

30. Dawn Perlmutter, Investigating Religious Terrorism and Ritualistic Crimes (New York: CRC Press, 2003), 104.

31. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report (Washington DC: National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 2004), 55, https://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf.

32. Wright, The Looming Tower, 36–37.

33. Lawrence Wright, “The Man Behind Bin Laden: How an Egyptian Doctor Became a Master of Terror,” New Yorker, September 16, 2002, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/09/16/the-mn-behind-bin-laden.

34. Glenn E. Robinson, “The Four Waves of Global Jihad, 1979–2017,” Middle East Policy 24, no. 3 (Fall 2017): 70, accessed via Research Gate on May 5, 2020, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319160351_The_Four_Waves_of_Global_Jihad_1979-2017.

35. Robinson, “Jihadi Information Strategy,” 88.

36. Robinson, “The Four Waves of Global Jihad,” 85.

37. Anthony Bubalo and Greg Fealy, “Between the Global and the Local: Islamism, the Middle East, and Indonesia,” The Brookings Project on US Policy Towards the Islamic World, no. 9 (October 2005): 7, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/20051101bubalo_fealy.pdf.

38. Seth G. Jones, A Persistent Threat: The Evolution of al Qa’ida and Other Salafi Jihadists (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2014), 64–65, https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR600/RR637/RAND_RR637.pdf.

39. Robert Manne, “Sayyid Qutb: Father of Salafi Jihadism, Forerunner of the Islamic State,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, November 7, 2016, http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2016/11/07/4570251.htm.

40. Anthony Cordesman, “Islam and the Patterns in Terrorism and Violent Extremism,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 17, 2017, https://www.csis.org/analysis/islam-and-patterns-terrorism-and-violent-extremism.

41. Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2018 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2019), https://www.state.gov/reports/country-reports-on-terrorism-2018.

42. Alex Nowrasteh, “Terrorists by Immigration Status and Nationality: A Risk Analysis, 1975–2017,” Cato Institute, May 7, 2019, https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/terrorists-immigration-status-nationality-risk-analysis-1975-2017.

43. Shi Yanchun 時延春, “Zhou Enlai yu Zhongdong” 周恩來與中東 [“Zhou Enlai and the Middle East”], Party History in Review, issue 1 (2006), 7–8, http://waas.cssn.cn/webpic/web/waas/upload/2011/06/d20110602193952375.pdf. [In Chinese]

44. Stefan M. Aubrey, The New Dimension of International Terrorism (Zürich: vdf Hochschulverlag AG an der ETH, 2004), 34–36.

45. “911 kongbufenzi xiji shijian zhi hou: guonei yanlun zhaideng” 911恐怖分子袭击事件之后:国内言论摘登 [“A Sampling of Chinese Public Opinion Following the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks”], Modern China Studies, issue 4 (2001), http://www.modernchinastudies.org/us/issues/past-issues/75-mcs-2001-issue-4/596-911.html. [In Chinese]

46. Yitzhak Shichor, “The Great Wall of Steel: Military and Strategy,” in S. Frederick Starr, ed., Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland (London: Routledge, 2004), 149.

47. John Hooper, “Claims That China Paid Bin Laden to See Cruise Missiles,” The Guardian, October 19, 2001, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/oct/20/china.afghanistan.

48. “Chinese Firms Helping Put Phone System in Kabul,” The Washington Times, September 28, 2001, https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2001/sep/28/20010928-025638-7645r.

49. Shichor, “The Great Wall of Steel,” 158.

50. Qiao Liang 乔良 and Wang Xiangsui 王湘穗, Chao xian zhan 超限战 [Unrestricted Warfare], (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui chubanshe, 2005), chap. 2. [In Chinese]

51. D. J. McGuire, “How Communist China Supports Anti-US Terrorists,” Association for Asian Research, September 15, 2005, https://web.archive.org/web/20110914053923/http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/2733.html.

52. Daniel Flynn, Why the Left Hates America: Exposing the Lies That Have Obscured Our Nation’s Greatness (United States: Crown Publishing Group, 2004).

53. “Ward Churchill” [profile], Discover the Networks, accessed on May 5, 2020, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1835.

54. Transcript of Osama bin Laden tape, BBC, February 12, 2003, accessed on June 9, 2020, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2751019.stm.

55. Jamie Glazov, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance With Tyranny and Terror (Los Angeles: WND Books, 2009), 164–165.

56. David Horowitz, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (Washington DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2004), 37.

57. Glazov, United in Hate, 159–176.

58. “Nicholas De Genova” [profile], Discover the Networks, accessed on May 5, 2020, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2189.

59. “Lynne Stewart” [profile], Discover the Networks, accessed May 5, 2020, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=861.