Terrorism and the myth of the Hydra

 
Old 09-16-01, 02:50 PM
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Terrorism and the myth of the Hydra

According to legend, whenever Hercules cut off one of the beast's heads another grew back in its place: in some versions of the tale two or three heads replaced the missing one.

Does anyone remember Abu Nidal?

Up until the early to mid 1990's he was International Public Enemy Number One; said to be bankrolled among others by Libya and Iraq and responsible for numerous acts of terrorism.

This is what I found when trying to determine what had happened to him: link
[....] The Abu Nidal group, once defined by the US State Department as “the most dangerous terrorist organization in existence,” has not been active in the past decade. This is due to the loss of support of Iraq and later of Libya, as well as the serious illness of its leader Sabri Khalil al-Bana a.k.a. “Abu Nidal.” There has thus been very little information about the group, its leadership, and the nature and location of its activities. In the period of 1973-1994 the group carried out numerous terrorist operations, in which more than 200 people were killed and about 700 wounded. The targets of this group included Israel, Jewish individuals and institutions, Arab individuals and institutions, Palestinian leaders and foreign individuals. One of the last operations included the kidnapping of seven Belgian passengers on a yacht near Lebanon in 1987, and the murder of a Jordanian diplomat in Beirut in January 1994. The hostages that were held in Lebanon were released in stages between 1988-1991 [....]

In October 1993, six members of the group were sentenced in Lebanon to up to life imprisonment for their part in the murder of the Jordanian diplomat. In February 1995, the Lebanese authorities arrested Mahmud Khalid `Aynatur, a.k.a. Abu `Ali Majid, who was head of special operations for the group. He was accused of orchestrating the kidnapping of the Belgian passengers and sentenced to imprisonment.

In August 1998, there were numerous rumors and reports that Abu Nidal was seriously ill will leukemia and undergoing clandestine treatment in an Egyptian hospital, after he was expelled from Libya. The Egyptian authorities have since obstinately denied his and there is no official or solid information about his whereabouts since then. Since most security apparatuses in the world haunt the man, any information about him or his followers brings about waves of rumors and guesses as to his whereabouts. Among those actively seeking his arrest are the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. Abu Nidal is responsible for the murder of several prominent Palestinian figures, such as `Issam Sirtawi, Salah Khalaf “Abu `Iyad” and Hail `Abd al-Hamid “Abu al-Hol,” between 1983-1991 [....]

On October 1999, Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that FRC had sent a note to President Mubarak asking him to intervene to stop the measures taken by the Egyptians against the group [....] The FRC also accused the Libyan authorities of arresting its members and deporting them to the Palestinian Authority [....]

In any case, the mystery surrounding the Fatah – Revolutionary Council, and Abu Nidal himself remains. From time some information surfaces. For now it seems that FRC is still alive, and should remain on the lists of every security and intelligence service in the world.
It seems that at around the same time that Abu Nidal went to ground - 1994/94 - the loose network of Middle Eastern terrorist organisations gained a new focal point:
Osama bin Laden who was linked to, but not really proven to be controlling the men that first bombed the WTC in 1993. Likewise, his cohorts were said to be involved in the attacks against US troops in Somalia. Yet during the 1980s he had been regarded as a something of a "freedom fighter" in the Afghan conflict against the Soviet-backed non-religious government of the day. In his case the disillususionment appears to have crystallised when western troops were stationed in his home-country of Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War.

I just wonder how it will be possible to emulate the legendary Hercules and attack "the beast" in such a way as to avoid the apparent inevitability of new heads being able to grow back.

Last edited by benedict; 09-16-01 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 09-16-01, 02:59 PM
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Re: Terrorism and the myth of the Hydra

Originally posted by benedict
According to legend, whenever Hercules cut off one of the beast's heads another grew back in its place: in some versions of the tale two or three heads replaced the missing one.

This is my greatest fear; that this spirals into an un-winable conflict, ie. Ireland, Israel, Kosovo, etc.....

How did Hercules defeat the Hydra, btw?
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Old 09-16-01, 03:00 PM
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Re: Terrorism and the myth of the Hydra

Originally posted by benedict
I just wonder how it will be possible to emulate the legendary Hercules and attack "the beast" in such a way as to avoid the apparent inevitability of new heads being able to grow back.
And then the larger issue ... when we take out the hydra, Hera will simply present us with another beast of destruction.

Seriously, it's an interesting analogy. I made the comparison to cancer earlier in the week - a similar idea. Eradicating it will be very painful and difficult. But bring on Operation Chemotherapy.

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Old 09-16-01, 03:05 PM
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This is why I think we should make no action against Bin Laden. It's been a game of one upsmanship. First an embassy. Then a Barracks. Then a Destroyer. Now this. Had we left him alone, there would have been no Jihad, and he would have still been in Sudan where we had good inteeligence over his actions.
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Old 09-16-01, 03:29 PM
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Re: Re: Terrorism and the myth of the Hydra

Originally posted by Mr. M How did Hercules defeat the Hydra, btw?
In the version I read he (or perhaps a helper) cauterised most of the heads with burning logs and buried the final, immortal head under a rock.

A final irony of the tale was that he used some of the Hydra's blood as a poison which quite some time later killed him.
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Old 09-16-01, 03:42 PM
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Which is why we need to destroy the body, as well as the heads.
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Old 09-16-01, 03:45 PM
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Originally posted by Bushdog
Which is why we need to destroy the body, as well as the heads.
...and hopefully we can destroy the body of the hydra without destroying ourselves, as Hercules did.
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Old 09-16-01, 03:46 PM
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Originally posted by Bushdog
Which is why we need to destroy the body, as well as the heads.
Sad to say but it might be true.
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Old 09-16-01, 03:57 PM
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I say starve it to death.

Terrorists do not live on blind faith to their cause alone.

In order to recruit both men and funding, they need to have victories, and there needs to be a sense of success on a relatively regular basis.

If every time they do something, their people are hurt even more, their sponsoring country is done some kind of significant damage, and despite their best efforts, the American people keep living their lives like the terrorists can't touch them, then eventually, they'll find it harder and harder to attract people and financing to their cause.

Combined with continued efforts by the US to spread democracy (and through it, just courts and laws) then I think people will eventually come around to our way of thinking on how to get the changes you want. (Ie. via government and more traditional-as we know it-activist activity.)

Or at least the number of terrorist attacks will be kept to a minimum.

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Old 09-16-01, 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by Blade
Combined with continued efforts by the US to spread democracy (and through it, just courts and laws) then I think people will eventually come around to our way of thinking on how to get the changes you want. (Ie. via government and more traditional-as we know it-activist activity.)
It's a tough call - on one hand, this is part of the reason that some of the terrorists already exist and are a plague on the USA.

Since the second world war, the USA has been meddlling in foreign policy where some might say they have no business being. Osama bin Laden and others ARE to a great extent a creation the USA and a result of it "interfering" in the policy of foreign countries.

Two middle eastern/European countries have a spat, and the US comes in as a big brother to one of them and helps them out. When the big brother actually gets a punch thrown at him, the question is then asked "why on earth would someone do that?". Worse than that is that the USA is seen to only half do the job. They come in and train the Afghanies to repel the Russians, but when the Russians leave, so do the US leaving them weakened for another group to take over. Is it any wonder why these people then have a resentment against the USA and consider the US to be their enemy?

Given the US aren't willing to change their foreign policy to bow OUT of the Middle East and leave them alone, drastic and non-American action will need to be taken (ie genocide or close to it). To kill this Hydra, the US WILL have to kill the body. That means killing everyone left (or at least enough to destroy a culture and a way of living). If you don't the people left alive will only hate the US more and direct their anger and hatred back at you.

As Benedict said (and I think it's a perfect example of this situation), some of the Hydra's blood was used as a poison which quite some time later killed Hercules.
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Old 09-16-01, 04:52 PM
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Originally posted by Bushdog
Which is why we need to destroy the body, as well as the heads.
I agree. But this would mean that we'd have to kill the women and children too.
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Old 09-16-01, 04:58 PM
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Concerning that "body"...

.... perhaps it is a choice of kill or cure?

Just one problem; establishing an effective cure.

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Old 09-16-01, 05:44 PM
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The "drug wars" is also a good example. When drug lord Pablo Escobar was killed, there were 2 major cartels, his (Medellin) and the Cali cartel. Then people in the drug "business" realized that the bigger you are (as an organisation), the more conspicious you become, and the easier it is to strike against you. Today, the big cartels are gone, replaced by hundreds of small operations. So if the US and it's allies manage to wage an effective war on terrorism, i.e. dismantled the Bin Laden organization, I believe that a similar thing could happen. "Big" terrorist organizations will disappear, only to be replaced by a lot of smaller ones. The difference (with the drug business) is that I doubt that a small terrorist organisation could pull off something of this magnitude because of the ressources, planning, and logistics required.
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Old 09-16-01, 07:15 PM
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Originally posted by namja

I agree. But this would mean that we'd have to kill the women and children too.
I guess I don't follow your logic. I agree we need to kill every last person he has recruited. If they plan stuff like they did, I could never accept the idea that they could be rehabilitated. I could see the same logic for the Taliban. I'm not necessarily convinced that the rest of the Afghans would be that unhappy with that arrangement.

At any rate if we kill him and his entire organization structure, is it really likely anyone can pull together the combination of money and manpower that he has? I don't want to just see us kill him and find he has done any kind of succession planning, but if we can take down his whole chain of command, I don't see it easily rising from the ashes.
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