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Decades of Inattention: Terror Masters' Permitted Evolution

At the Center for Security Policy, Caroline Glick has written a column that gives another brief history of the life and times of Imad Mugniyah. However, she begins not with a look at his murderous career's past, but rather at what was its present.

It is quite possible that terror master Imad Mughniyeh was not killed Tuesday night in Damascus for his past crimes, but to prevent him from carrying out additional attacks in the future.

On January 30, French security services raided a Paris apartment and arrested six Arab men. Three of the men - two Lebanese and one Syrian - were travelling on diplomatic passports. According to the Italian Libero newspaper, the six were members of a Hizbullah cell. Documents seized included tourist maps of Paris, London, Madrid, Berlin and Rome marked up with red highlighter to indicate routes, addresses, parking lots and "truck stopping points." The maps pointed to several routes to Vatican back entrances.

Libero's report explained that the "truck stopping points" aligned with information the French had received the week before from Beirut. There, Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah had convened a conference of his senior terror leaders where he ordered them to activate Hizbullah cells throughout Europe to kidnap senior European leaders.

The 'French Connection' may prove insightful in what lead to his demise. It may or may not unfold eventually in the open source.

But it is Ms. Glick's concluding graphs that are most important here, and policy makers should pay close attention going forward.

Mughniyeh embodied the fact that terrorists of all shapes and colors willingly collaborate with one another against their common enemies in the West. Mughniyeh personally bridged all the divisions within the world of Arab and Islamic terrorism. He showed that when it comes to attacking the West, there is no distinction between secular, nationalist, religious, Islamist, Sunni or Shi'ite terrorists.

His work revealed the inconvenient truth so fervently denied by policy-makers and politicians throughout the Western world. He showed that for the jihadists there is no distinction between terrorists who attack in Israel or against Jewish targets abroad and those who attack non-Israeli and non-Jewish targets. Moreover, his work as an Iranian agent demonstrates Iran's central role in sponsoring jihad throughout the world.

Mughniyeh's legacy is not simply a laundry list of massacre and torture. It is the nexus of global terror. While it is a great thing that he is dead, it must be understood that his death is insufficient. Hundreds of thousands converged in Beirut to celebrate his life's work. The West must understand the significance of that work and unite to destroy it - layer after layer.
[Emphasis added.]

After decades of inattention, the Terror Masters' war has grown exponentially in scope, lethality and scale. They will not be defeated simply by killing its seasoned leadership - neither Mugniyah nor bin Laden nor al-Zawahiri.

We must resist the temptation to find a way to end the war in its various theaters, but rather embrace the necessity to win it and defeat them in all.

We did not declare it. Likewise, it is not within our power to 'end' it so long as they desire it. To presume so is both arrogant and naive. And a road to defeat.