Do you have any doubts we have been under attack for 32 years? We are at war and we will lose....
It was a cool fall day in November 1979 in a country going through a religious and political upheaval when a group of Iranian students attacked and seized the American Embassy in Tehran. This seizure was an outright attack on American soil; it was an attack that held the world's most powerful country hostage and paralyzed a presidency. President Carter had to do something. He chose to conduct a clandestine raid in the desert. But America's military had been decimated and down sized since the end of the Vietnam War. A poorly trained, poorly equipped and poorly organized military was called on to execute a complex mission that was doomed from the start. The ill-fated mission ended in ruin, but stood as a symbol of America’s inability to deal with terrorism.
(The Shah had been overthrown a year prior to the taking of the U.S. Embassy. He had been a U.S. ally for 40 years, and while he was called a ‘benevolent dictator’ he had managed to keep the peace in that part of the world. After his ouster, there was a power vacuum and the most organized ‘group’ moved into the power chair – In Iran, it was the religious leaders, led by Ayatollah Khomeini … in Egypt, 2011, it’s the Muslim Brotherhood)
The attack on this sovereign U. S. Embassy set the stage for events to follow for the next 32 years. The biggest problem was revealed… you cannot point and say ‘there the terrorists are!’ and subsequently attack. Terrorists are not a cohesive ‘army’; they don’t wear uniforms.
Soon after the Tehran experience, Americans began to be kidnapped and killed throughout the Middle East. America could do little to protect her citizens living and working abroad. The attacks against US soil continued.
In April of 1983 a large vehicle packed with high explosives was driven into the US Embassy compound in Beirut. When it exploded, it killed 63 people. It was the deadliest attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission up to that time. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the blast with a message "promising not to allow a single American to remain on Lebanese soil ...” This is seen in hindsight as the beginning of anti-U.S. attacks by Islamist groups.
Just six short months later in October, 1983 a large truck heavily laden down with over 2500 pounds of TNT smashed through the main gate of the US Marine Corps headquarters in Beirut and 241 US servicemen were killed. Moments later, a suicide bomber slams a vehicle into the barracks of French paratroopers, a 9-storey building called the Drakkar elsewhere in Beirut. The blast killed 58 French soldiers. The building is wiped out. We were in Beirut on a ‘peace-keeping’ mission, so there was no one to ‘attack’ back. The U.S. military packed up and left but the embassy remained.
Two months later in December 1983, the American embassy in Kuwait was bombed in a series of attacks whose targets also included the French embassy, the control tower at the airport, the country's main oil refinery, and a residential area for employees of the American corporation Raytheon. Six people were killed, including a suicide truck bomber, and more than 80 others were injured. The suspects were thought to be members of Al Dawa, or "The Call," an Iranian-backed group and one of the principal Shiite groups operating against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The U.S. military took no action in retaliation. In Kuwait, 17 people were arrested and convicted for participating in the attacks. One of those convicted was Mustafa Youssef Badreddin, a cousin and brother-in-law of one of Hezbollah's senior officers, Imad Mughniyah. After a six-week trial in Kuwait, Badreddin was sentenced to death for his role in the bombings.
On March 16, 1984, CIA Station Chief in Lebanon, William Buckley, was kidnapped. Buckley was the fourth person to be kidnapped by militant Islamic extremists in Lebanon. The first American hostage, American University of Beirut President David Dodge, had been kidnapped in July 1982. Eventually, 30 Westerners would be kidnapped during the 10-year-long Lebanese hostage-taking crisis (1982-1992).
U.S. officials believed that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah was behind most of the kidnappings and the Reagan administration devised a covert plan. Iran was desperately running out of military supplies in its war with Iraq, but Congress had banned the sale of American arms to countries like Iran that sponsored terrorism. Reagan was advised that a bargain could be struck -- secret arms sales to Iran, hostages back to the U.S. The plan, when it was revealed to the public, was decried as a failure and anathema to the U.S. policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists.
In August 1985, the first consignment of arms to Iran was sent -- 100 anti-tank missiles provided by Israel; another 408 were sent the following month. As a result of the deal, three American hostages were released.
[Since the funds from the arms sales to Iran were secretly, and illegally, funneled to the U.S.-backed Contras fighting to overthrow the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, the infamous episode became known as the "Iran-Contra affair."]
On September 20, 1984 a truck bomb exploded outside the U.S. Embassy annex in Aukar, northeast of Beirut, killing 24 people, two of whom were U.S. military personnel. According to the U.S. State Department's 1999 report on terrorist organizations, elements of Hezbollah are "known or suspected to have been involved" in the bombing. The U.S. mounted no military response to the embassy annex bombing, but it did begin to explore covert operations in Lebanon.
In December, 1984 Kuwait Airways Flight 221, on its way from Kuwait to Pakistan, was hijacked and diverted to Tehran. The hijackers demanded the release of the Kuwait 17. When the demand wasn't met, the hijackers killed two American officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development. On the sixth day of the drama, Iranian security forces stormed the plane and released the remaining hostages.
Iran arrested the hijackers, saying they would be brought to trial. But the trial never took place, and the hijackers were allowed to leave the country. There was no U.S. military response. The State Department announced a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of those involved in the hijacking. Later press reports linked Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyah to the hijackings.
Soon the terrorism spreads to Europe. In April 1985 there was a bomb attack against the El Descanso restaurant just outside Madrid, Spain. The explosion killed 18 Spaniards and injured 82 others, including 11 American servicemen, who were believed to be the target of the attack. A 47-year-old Syrian man with Spanish nationality, Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, is believed to be a key figure in Osama bin Laden's terrorist network in Europe has been linked to restaurant bomb attack.
Rhein-Main Air Base, West Germany, Aug. 8, 1985 - A car bomb exploded today outside the headquarters building at this United States military base, killing two Americans.
Fifty-nine days later, on October 7, a cruise ship, the Achille Lauro is hijacked and we watched as an American in a wheelchair was singled out of the passenger list and executed. The hijacking reached a dramatic climax when U.S. Navy F-14 fighters intercepted an Egyptian airliner attempting to fly the Palestinian hijackers to freedom and forced the jet to land at a NATO base in Sigonella, Sicily. American and Italian troops surrounded the plane, and the terrorists were taken into Italian custody. Score one for our side.
An American soldier was killed on April 5, 1986, when a bomb was detonated at La Belle, a discotheque in West Berlin known to be popular with off-duty U.S. servicemen. A Turkish woman was killed, and nearly 200 others were wounded. U.S. intelligence sources identified Libya as being responsible for the attack. Five individuals were captured and tried for the bombing. Four were convicted and one was acquitted.
After U.S. intelligence intercepted Libyan government communications implicating Libya in the La Belle disco attack, President Reagan ordered retaliatory air strikes on Tripoli and Benghazi. The operation on April 15, 1986, dubbed Operation El Dorado Canyon, involved 200 aircraft and over 60 tons of bombs. One of the residences of Libyan leader Muammar el-Kaddafi was hit in the attack, which, according to Libyan estimates, killed 37 people and injured 93 others. As a result of this American operation, U.S. national security officials say Libyan-sponsored terrorism ceased "for a long time."
Two days after the U.S. retaliatory attack, the bodies of three American University of Beirut employees -- American Peter Kilburn and Britons John Douglas and Philip Padfield -- were discovered near Beirut shot to death. The Arab Revolutionary Cells, a pro-Libyan group of Palestinians affiliated with terrorist Abu Nidal, claimed to have executed the three men in retaliation for Operation El Dorado Canyon.
The terrorists then shifted their tactics to bombing civilian airliners.
Trans World Airlines Flight 840, registration N54340, was a Boeing 727-231 flying en route from Rome's Fiumicino Airport to Athens on April 2, 1986. A bomb was detonated on the aircraft while it was over Argos, Greece, ejecting four American passengers (including a nine-month-old infant) to their deaths below. Five others on the aircraft were injured as the cabin suffered a rapid decompression. The remaining 110 passengers survived the incident as pilot Richard "Pete" Petersen made an emergency landing.
A group calling itself the Arab Revolutionary Cells claimed responsibility, saying it was committed because of "American arrogance" and clashes with Libya in the Gulf of Sidra the week before. Investigators concluded that the bomb contained one pound of plastic explosive. It is suspected it had been placed under the seat cushion on a previous journey by a Lebanese woman (later arrested, never convicted) who worked for the Abu Nidal Organization, which was opposed to the peace process.
Four days before Christmas, 1988 - Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York exploded over the small town of Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 people on board were killed, along with 11 on the ground. According to the State Department's "Patterns of Global Terrorism, 1991," released in April 1992, the bombing of Pan Am 103 "was an action authorized by the Libyan Government." Though there were reports that Syria and Iran also played significant roles in the attack, U.S. officials were never able to tie the two countries to the bombing. No one has ever taken credit for planting the bomb, though some think the bombing was in retaliation for Reagan’s bombing of Tripoli following the Berlin nightclub incident. Others believe it was retaliation for the USS Vincennes’ inadvertent shooting down of an Iranian Iran Air Flight 655 in the Strait of Hormuz on July 3, 1988.
The terrorists decide to bring the fight to America.
A firearm attack took place on January 25, 1993 near the entrance of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) headquarters in Langley, Virginia where two CIA employees were killed and three others wounded. The perpetrator, Mir Aimal Kansi, shot CIA employees in their cars as they were waiting at a stoplight.
Kansi fled the country and was placed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, sparking a four year international manhunt. He was captured by FBI agents in Pakistan in 1997 and rendered back to the United States to stand trial. He admitted that he shot the victims of the attack, and was subsequently found guilty of capital and first-degree murder, and was executed by lethal injection in 2002.
The following month, February 26, 1993, a group of terrorists are arrested after a rented van packed with explosives is driven into the underground parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. Six people are killed and over 1000 are injured. He attack was planned by a group of conspirators including Ramzi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammad Salameh, Nidal A. Ayyad, Abdul Rahman Yasin and Ahmad Ajaj. They received financing from Khaled Sheikh Mohammed (KSM).
On November 13, 1995 a car bomb explodes at a US military complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Six people were killed, including five Americans. Sixty others were injured. A group called The Islamic Movement for Change has claimed responsibility.
A few months later in June of 1996, another truck bomb explodes only 35 yards from the US military compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. June 25, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: truck bomb exploded outside Khobar Towers military complex, killing 19 American servicemen and injuring hundreds of others. Thirteen Saudis and a Lebanese, all alleged members of Islamic militant group Hezbollah, were indicted on charges relating to the attack.
The terrorists move to coordinate their attacks in a simultaneous attack on two US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Aug. 7, Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: truck bombs exploded almost simultaneously near two U.S. embassies, killing 224 (213 in Kenya and 11 in Tanzania) and injuring about 4,500. Four men connected with al-Qaeda, two of whom had received training at al-Qaeda camps inside Afghanistan, were convicted of the killings in May 2001 and later sentenced to life in prison. A federal grand jury had indicted 22 men in connection with the attacks, including Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden. America responds with cruise missile attacks. Nothing more.
The USS Cole was docked in the port of Aden, Yemen for refueling on 12 October 2000, when a small craft pulled alongside the ship and exploded, killing 17 US Navy sailors. Attacking a US War Ship is an act of war, but we sent the FBI to investigate the crime. This bombing was linked to Osama bin Laden, or members of al-Qaeda terrorist network.
September 11, 2001 - New York City, Arlington, Va., and Shanksville, Pa.: hijackers crashed two commercial jets into twin towers of World Trade Center; two more hijacked jets were crashed into the Pentagon and a field in rural Pennsylvania. Total dead and missing numbered 2,9921: 2,749 in New York City, 184 at the Pentagon, 40 in Pennsylvania, and 19 hijackers. Islamic al-Qaeda terrorist group blamed.
December 22, 2001: American Airlines Flight 63, carrying 197 people from Paris to Miami was diverted to Boston on December 22, 2001, after passengers and crew saw Richard Reid (dubbed the shoe bomber) trying to light a fuse and subdued him by tying him to his seat. A doctor on board administered a tranquilizer. FBI bomb technicians and explosives experts found explosives in Reid's shoes. Reid, a British citizen and convert to Islam, pleaded guilty to all eight counts against him, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted homicide and placing an explosive device on an aircraft.
June 14, 2002 - Karachi, Pakistan: bomb explodes outside American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 12. Linked to al-Qaeda.
July 5, 2002 – Los Angeles, California: Three people were dead and at least seven wounded today when an unidentified gunman opened fire on the Israeli national airline El-Al's ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport, police said.
Officials said preliminary investigations suggested the shooting was an isolated incident but did not rule out a possible link to terrorism. Israel immediately branded the shooting a terrorist attack. Speaking to CNN from Israel, Israeli Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh said while there was no specific information about which organization the gunman was affiliated with, "we have all the basis to assume this was a terrorist attack."
May 12, 2003 - Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: suicide bombers kill 34, including 8 Americans, at housing compounds for Westerners. Al-Qaeda suspected.
May 29–31, 2004 - Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: terrorists attack the offices of a Saudi oil company in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, take foreign oil workers hostage in a nearby residential compound, leaving 22 people dead including one American.
June 11–19, 2004 - Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: terrorists kidnap and execute Paul Johnson Jr., an American, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Two other Americans and BBC cameraman killed by gun attacks.
Dec. 6, 2004 - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: terrorists storm the U.S. consulate, killing five consulate employees. Four terrorists were killed by Saudi security.
Nov. 9, 2005 - Amman, Jordan: suicide bombers hit three American hotels (frequented by foreign diplomats), the Radisson, Grand Hyatt, and Days Inn, in Amman, Jordan, killing 60 and injuring 115. The bomb at the Radisson SAS exploded in the Philadelphia Ballroom, where a wedding hosting hundreds of guests was taking place. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.
September 13, 2006 - Damascus, Syria: an attack by four gunmen on the American embassy is foiled.
January 12, 2007 - Athens, Greece: the U.S. embassy is fired on by an anti-tank missile causing damage but no injuries.
December 11, 2007 - Algeria: more than 60 people are killed, including 11 United Nations staff members, when Al Qaeda terrorists detonate two car bombs near Algeria's Constitutional Council and the United Nations offices.
May 26, 2008 - Iraq: a suicide bomber on a motorcycle kills six U.S. soldiers and wounds 18 others in Tarmiya.
June 24, 2008 - Iraq: a suicide bomber kills at least 20 people, including three U.S. Marines, at a meeting between sheiks and Americans in Karmah, a town west of Baghdad.
June 12, 2008 - Afghanistan: four American servicemen are killed when a roadside bomb explodes near a U.S. military vehicle in Farah Province.
July 13, 2008 - Afghanistan: nine U.S. soldiers and at least 15 NATO troops die when Taliban militants boldly attack an American base in Kunar Province, which borders Pakistan. It's the most deadly against U.S. troops in three years.
Aug. 18 and 19, 2008 - Afghanistan: as many as 15 suicide bombers backed by about 30 militants attack a U.S. military base, Camp Salerno, in Bamiyan. Fighting between U.S. troops and members of the Taliban rages overnight. No U.S. troops are killed.
Sept. 16, 2008 - Yemen: a car bomb and a rocket strike the U.S. embassy in Yemen as staff arrived to work, killing 16 people, including four civilians. At least 25 suspected al-Qaeda militants are arrested for the attack.
Nov. 26, 2008 - India: in a series of attacks on several of Mumbai's landmarks and commercial hubs that are popular with Americans and other foreign tourists, including at least two five-star hotels, a hospital, a train station, and a cinema. About 300 people are wounded and nearly 190 people die, including at least five Americans.
February 9, 2009 - Iraq: a suicide bomber kills four American soldiers and their Iraqi translator near a police checkpoint.
April 10, 2009 - Iraq: a suicide attack kills five American soldiers and two Iraqi policemen.
June 1, 2009 - Little Rock, Arkansas: Abdulhakim Muhammed, a Muslim convert from Memphis, Tennessee, is charged with shooting two soldiers outside a military recruiting center. One is killed and the other is wounded. In a January 2010 letter to the judge hearing his case, Muhammed asked to change his plea from not guilty to guilty, claimed ties to al-Qaeda, and called the shooting a jihadi attack "to fight those who wage war on Islam and Muslims."
November 5, 2009 – Fort Hood, Texas: Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 injured when Major Hasan, a military psychiatrist, opened fire at Fort Hood base, the largest American military installation in the world. Hasan is an American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent.
December 25, 2009: A Nigerian man (the crotch bomber) on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit attempted to ignite an explosive device hidden in his underwear. The explosive device that failed to detonate was a mixture of powder and liquid that did not alert security personnel in the airport. The alleged bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, told officials later that he was directed by the terrorist group Al Qaeda. The suspect was already on the government's watch list when he attempted the bombing; his father, a respected Nigerian banker, had told the U.S. government that he was worried about his son's increased extremism.
December 30, 2009 - Iraq: a suicide bomber kills eight Americans civilians, seven of them CIA agents, at a base in Afghanistan. It's the deadliest attack on the agency since 9/11. The attacker is reportedly a double agent from Jordan who was acting on behalf of al-Qaeda.
October 29, 2010: two packages are found on separate cargo planes. Each package contains a bomb consisting of 300 to 400 grams (11-14 oz.) of plastic explosives and a detonating mechanism. The bombs are discovered as a result of intelligence received from Saudi Arabia's security chief. The packages, bound from Yemen to the United States, are discovered at en route stop-overs, one in England and one in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
This link is an interesting graphic of all sorts of ‘terror’ acts:
This is a Global Terrorism Database… most interesting stuff in this one:
The following link list terror acts back to April 14, 1972 – I have not verified those:http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/AmericanAttacks.htm