This interview with a former head of "Nativ" special service, Yakov Kedmi, a famous anti-Soviet protester, a soldier and a diplomat, appeared on Israeli news channel "ITON-TV" soon after the Paris attacks *.
I think it's still relevant, and its main point will remain relevant for at least a decade - "If you use terrorists, you’ll have to live with them afterwards."
Interviewer: "Do you think ISIS was avenging [recent bombing raid] ... or did they simply declare war on everybody? .."
Kedmi: "I want to ask - why this hysteria, all of a sudden? French blood - it is more red? Does it have a different composition? Is it more valuable?
Three hundred thousand people have been killed in Syria! [In a war] supported by the French, and most of the countries who are weeping today.
A Russian plane recently exploded. We’re not totally sure it was a terrorist attack, but everyone treated it as one. Where was the hysteria? And there, more people died, more women and children.
What's the matter, then? Is this the first terrorist attack in Paris? This is the second terrorist attack in Paris? This is the tenth act of terrorism in Europe? Why does everyone care all of a sudden?"
Interviewer: "Such a massive loss of life in Europe..."
Kedmi: "And what about NATO bombing of Belgrade? When Bosniaks slaughtered Serbs, Serbs - Bosniaks, Croats - both of those, and Albanians added to the mess? How’s that for massive?
Why is terrorism such news? [Here in Israel], we have lived with terrorism for how many decades.
The same professional mourners ... what did they say about terrorism which affected us? And how did they react to to Beslan? Or to Nord-Ost?!"
Interviewer: "Yes, Nord-Ost is very similar to what happened".
Kedmi: "Yes, it is. But the reaction isn’t similar. The attitude isn’t. No one blames the French president for this. But they blamed the Russian president back then. Both for Beslan and Nord-Ost**."
Interviewer: "In Nord-Ost and Beslan ... they were making demands ..."
Kedmi: "What difference does it make - the technical details of a given terrorist attack, or law enforcement actions? The attack was organized by a terrorist organization. People were killed in it. Technicalities don’t matter.
The problem is that terrorism is a constant factor [in modern life]. But when the terrorists are killing non-Europeans, or Europeans from the Balkans - it's OK. When terrorists kill Russian citizens - well, no big deal, serves them right. When Israelis are killed - it is a struggle for a brighter future, of other nations or religions. But the French … - why are they more valuable than us?!"
Interviewer: "[The security services could not prevent this] ... The same thing could happen in the States or Russia, or anywhere. How do we live now?"
Kedmi: "I have some unpleasant news. [Terrorists] will strike wherever they can. And they can reach anywhere. Because it is impossible to put a policeman next to every French citizen, and a drone above. Right?
The nature of the problem has nothing to do with the actions of the French secret service, or law enforcement. It’s about the actions of their government.
About the actions of Europe, France, the United States, and all the others who have long been flirting with terrorism. With terrorists. Who divide terrorists into moderate, useful ones, and the bad ones. Moderates become bad when they attack their masters.
Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, during the Balkan wars, and in Chechnya - it was moderate. From moderate to good***. When bin Laden funded terrorist training camps in Chechnya - he was moderate! When al-Qaeda fighters attacked Serbs in Bosnia, burning churches and villages - they were the moderates!"
Interviewer: "When Basayev fought against the Georgians, the Russian GRU supported him."
Kedmi: "Basayev did not fight in Georgia as a member of a terrorist organization! He was a [Deputy Minister of Defense] in the Abkhazian army, planning conventional warfare. This is completely different. He turned to terrorism later - it does not matter which country he served years prior.
But when Basayev was organizing terrorist attacks during the Chechen war - [the West and the Gulf states] supported him! As a terrorist! And Bin Laden was supported - as a terrorist! And Al Bagdadi was supported, back when he carried out terror attacks against Assad!"
Interviewer: “But [Israel] created Hamas, right?"
Kedmi: "We did not create them. We supported them, back in the day. But this is quite different. We never supported Hamas as a terrorist organization. We merely did not have the foresight to predict that this non-profit religious/aid organization will be transformed into terrorists. But we never supported terrorists!
And the Americans - they supported the al-Qaeda as a terrorist organization! And Jabhad al-Nusra, they supported that terrorist organization! And they supported ISIS, as a terrorist organization! "
Interviewer: "They did not support ISIS".
Kedmi: "ISIS did not grow in Iraq. It first gained a foothold in Syria. And while it was against Assad, the Americans supported it. Because ... The problem is that they think some terrorism is for a noble cause. That there is such as thing as moderate, good terrorists. But the only good terrorist is a dead one."
Interviewer: "There is information that in Syria, ISIS created some special “Khorasan” school that prepares saboteurs especially for terrorist attacks abroad, and they are recruiting people. Do you know anything about these things?"
Kedmi: "Who cares!? How does this relate to the problem of terrorism!? Any terrorist organization, if allowed to capture territory, creates structures that are involved in the preparation and organization of various acts of terrorism. What do I care what is the name of this base? What's the difference where it is, and how does this or that army call that place? The problem is terrorism itself."
The Interviewer: "Could the terrorist attack in Paris be in response to a bombing raid by the French airforce two days ago?"
Kedmi: "Who cares! This... nonsense - studying why exactly a terrorist organization decided to conduct a terrorist attack in this place, at this time, under what pretext... Terrorism is what they do, by definition. Therefore, from a political point of view, it does not matter: where and how, and the name of the triggerman. Those details are for the intelligence services, law enforcement and the army. What does this have to do with the problem of terrorism as a whole?
The problem is that any type of terrorist activity needs to be declared illegal. All bases of terrorist organizations must be destroyed. And the terrorists themselves must be destroyed. Physically. Until this is the norm - all the discussions are empty talk, entertaining the public or journalists with the musings of this or that "expert", who discusses the kinds of terrorist bases and the names of their celebrity commanders...
The terrorism which we face today has been created by all those who have enabled these organizations to emerge and develop. Who funded them. Who allowed them to act.
Why ISIS decided to strike now, and not a day earlier or later - that’s not important. I heard one expert, a Russian one - he said that they did it in memory of St. Bartholomew massacre! You know, I seriously doubt they even know what that is.
Others say it was before the G20 summit. You know, terrorists are not meeting production deadlines - “Produce X acts of terror before the G20”.
The root of the problem is elsewhere.
It’s in Saudi Arabia and Qatar creating Jabhat Al-Nusra, ISIS, etc., giving them money.
It’s in Americans and Europeans indirectly supporting them, [and handing Libya to the islamists via a NATO bombing campaign against the secular government - ed.].
It's Turkey giving them free passage, bases in its territory, paying money for their oil.
It's Libyan weapons that were shipped to Syria via Turkey, and fell into the hands of terrorists - that happened due to the short-sightedness of the dim-witted American, Italian, and French governments! The very same French****!
Interviewer: "Konstantin Kosachev, a Russian senator ... said he will demand Russian government put pressure on foreign countries to create an anti-terrorism coalition...
What would be the powers of such body? .. How feasible it is to create such a structure, given the current relationship of Russia, Europe, and the United States - can it be done?"
Kedmi: "What can be done?
Can Russians force American government to stop their insane policies?! No.
Can someone else? No.
All the talk that we hear today is mere window dressing.
You know what the government officials are discussing after the attack? How to deal with ISIS.
Not terrorism in general! Just ISIS - a special case. [Only the bad, uncontrollable terrorists - ed.].
A decision must be made that all terrorist organizations: Hamas, Hezbollah, Jaysh al Islam, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood offshoots - they are all to be destroyed. And all the nations of the world are to pursue this policy. And no country gives them territory. And no country supports them, for fear of punishment. That's when we can speak about a real war on terror.
No matter who says what, real question is - who is ready to do this?! Nobody! Because now they bargain.
They half-heartedly bargain over Syria - who cares about the lives of Syrians, right? They already agreed that al Nusra, al-Qaeda, and ISIS are terrorist organizations. But ten organizations that are proxies for the Turks, Saudi Arabia and Qatar - those are the good terrorists! Those are the moderates! Let them do what they will!
So, while that continues ... And Hamas - no one even mentions them anymore! No one talks about Jaysh al-Islam - and yesterday, they killed a rabbi with his son! ...
ISIS was small at first. A splinter group. Jaysh Al Islam and al-Qaeda were small, too. And until terrorism - all terrorism - is outlawed, such things will [grow around the world]. And those who created them will not escape terrorism, either."
Interviewer: "... the struggle against slavery - it started to be effective when everyone agreed: if a ship has slaves - hang the captain."
Kedmi: "That's right … along with the crew. And that’s not the only method. But methods are, again, secondary. What I’m saying is that until terrorism - any terrorism - is completely outlawed, and its indiscriminate destruction becomes a everyone’s goal - we will have terrorism in Paris, London, New York, Berlin, and Vatican.'
The Interviewer: "There is a point of view that by committing terrorist acts, ISIS provokes a ground operation, to have a great battle against the West in Syria..."
Kedmi: "Who said this nonsense?"
Interviewer: - "Well, different people..."
Kedmi: - "Well, they’re all equally uneducated. USA needs no provocation to attack or invade any country of the world, be it Vietnam, Grenada, Iraq, Libya, or Serbia - they could always find a reason and a pretext.
Well, another way of putting it is that as long as they had a real reason, they could always find plenty of pretexts.... "
Interviewer: -" It's about what ISIS is trying to do... "
Kedmi: -" ISIS not trying to provoke anything. ISIS is doing what terrorists always do. The theory of political terror has been written in the 19th century. Re-read Nechayev or Bakunin and compare. All the same. No need to reinvent the wheel.
This is how things are. Terrorists do what they will. They carry out a rational policy according to their objectives and capabilities. But when we are dealing with terror - we start haggling: "How can we profit from it? Which terrorist is beneficial to us today?"
The West has plenty of smart guys like that. Like our [Israeli] ministers, who say that Hamas is not the worst option for us. For us, the worst option would be autonomy. So we need to keep Hamas in power. Hamas is a terrorist organization, and we’re being told we have to deal with them! A “truce” - five years, ten years!
A former USA general says – instead of just dealing with Al-Qaeda, why don’t we form an alliance! Well? Who cared about that? So, as long as this continues ... "
Interviewer: "In response [to Paris attacks], can the French start a ground operation?"
Kedmi: "As in, do they have the military capability, or the political will?
The French army is quite capable. They have special forces. They have the Foreign Legion. As I have already said, if the French were what they used to be, or what they want to be, by this morning the Foreign Legion would be in Raqqa, and French paratroopers would be in Mosul.
But they are not. There are no troops - French or German or American ... Except CIA [weapons smugglers]... Their government officials are not even thinking about it. Their priority number one is reducing the damage to their political careers, and getting political dividends for deceiving the public with impressive statements. That is the game they’re playing now. So in Antalia, all we can study is what idiotic expressions and empty appeals will be put forth. That’s it."
Interviewer: "Should we in Israel take any special measures?"
Kedmi: "We do not need anything unusual to protect us or to fight terror. Shabak is a professional security service, the army is quite professional.
If the Israeli government decided that Hezbollah, Hamas and Jaysh al-Islam, the main terrorist organizations, must be destroyed - not simply disrupted, but physically eliminated - then we could talk about changing the situation. But our government does not have enough, either gray matter or testosterone... Or both. We have everything else we need.
We keep bargaining with Hamas ... Hamas is a terrorist organization, it has no right to exist. When Hamas becomes a non-terrorist political party - then negotiate. Hezbollah has no right to exist, as a terrorist organization. If they want to be a political party in Lebanon, or one of the Lebanese militias ... That's their business. Like the three or four Christian militia groups in there... Then, fine. Even if they want to fight Druze or Christians – that would be an internal Lebanese problem.
But those who are engaged in international terrorism in other countries ... the Taliban and such ... they need to be physically destroyed.
And if we do not make this move... And we will not – the Israeli government has failed to take this step, due to its mental and other weakness ... Then terror will continue.
Then we will have to solve another problem. How do you live with terrorists? Not how to get rid of terrorists – but how to live next to them...
The whole world, all the politicians are solving one impossible problem. Worse than any mathematical puzzle: “How do we live with terrorists?”
You want use terrorists? You’ll have to live with them. From Paris to Vatican and London.
In Antalya, they are discussing specific acts of terror. Not how to fight terror in general...
We can discuss their discussions. But that is not interesting.
I don’t think any real results will come from these discussions ... From Antalia, or from other gatherings of these “world managers”. One merely needs to look at where they got us, so far.
And we are the ones that put them in charge. Each of us, in our countries".
Original Video (not translated):
* Another Kedmi interview here. Also worth noting that he is forever banned from entry to Russia (due to being foreign ex-secret service, ostensibly).
** The Russian president was blamed for loss of life during both hostage rescues. However, it is worth noting that the Russians had to deal with terrorist groups that had dozens of fighters, were very heavily armed, placed multiple explosive devices around the hostages, and did not give Russians much time to respond. Under those circumstances, Russian special forces performed admirably, rescuing most hostages and dying to save the children in Beslan.
*** When Chechen "caliphate" was defeated, many of the terrorists were allowed to hide in the West. Since then, they have been coming back to fight the same fight - in Ukraine, or in Syria. Or simply fighting the infidels in their new homelands.
**** For example, French jets destroyed Gaddafi's convoy, leaving the wounded ruler to be killed by extremists.
Woth noting that under him, Libya was by far the most prosperous country on the continent, according to UN data. And until NATO intervention under false pretenses, his army was winning the war against islamists and foreign proxies.
After the country was destroyed, many were left without a way to support themselves and turned to living by the gun. Libyan mercenaries and weapons flooded into neighboring Syria, where ISIS was formed - and soon, that Golem came after its creators.