March 23, 2004 | Broadcast

The News on CNBC

And Juliette, let me start with you. How serious should we take this threat from Hamas? What does it really mean that they say they’re going to target the U.S.?

KAYYEM: I think it more likely means Hamas is a more focused group, most of its activity has been in the Middle East, that it might do one of two things. Target U.S. citizens and U.S. sites abroad. I don’t think they have a sort of long-arm reach here in America.

Or worse yet, link with groups that we don’t think they’ve been linked with before, such as al Qaeda and other militant Islamic groups, and do something like what we saw in Spain, right? You had, in Spain you had a sort of a domestic group, ETA, possibly linking with al Qaeda.


KAYYEM: So we, I think what we might see is, with the outrage on the Arab street, much more sort of looser affiliations with traditional — I mean, Hamas has a political agenda, it’s not like al Qaeda. Whatever you…

SEIGENTHALER: Well, I was just going to say, Walid, you know, you think about, there are people in this country sympathetic to the Palestinians, and there are plenty of people in this country who ask the question, Why hasn’t Hamas struck sooner in this country?

PHARES: Well, because, as Juliette said, Hamas was very specific as to not to go beyond the limits of Palestine or Israel. They had a strategy that they applied for 20 years. Now things may change, but not…

SEIGENTHALER: Have they changed, really?

PHARES: Not dramatically. I think, as Juliette said as well, what may happen is that al Qaeda operatives may strike on behalf of Hamas and sometimes without even consulting with Hamas in retribution to what happened in Israel and Gaza.

SEIGENTHALER: I want to talk, Juliette, for a moment about what we talked about last week. We were on this program speaking of what was going on in Pakistan. It appeared that the Pakistani forces had surrounded what we thought was Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Now, it appears now that’s not true. And you suggested last week that you didn’t think they had caught this guy. What made you say that?

KAYYEM: It seemed too convenient for the Pakistanis to have him at the moment that Colin Powell is there, that he, Colin Powell is giving all sorts of money and defense weapons.

My theory of counterterrorism and counterintelligence, having been in the field, is clearly what we shouldn’t know anything as the American public and the press until it happens afterwards. So any time you hear that we’re five feet away from bin Laden or 10 feet away from al- Zawahiri…

SEIGENTHALER: Don’t believe it.

KAYYEM: … don’t believe it. There’s likely a political agenda involved.


KAYYEM: And it probably won’t happen in the end.

SEIGENTHALER: I’ve got, I’ve got less than a minute, Walid. I want you to jump on this one, solve all the problem in one minute. But we do have terrorism going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Israel, now a threat of terrorism in the United States. How does the U.S. fight this?

PHARES: Well, first of all the United States must understand that it is at war with terrorism, and there are other dimensions of the United States to engage in, such as basically engage in the media warfare, engage in supporting anti-terrorist groups in the region, supporting democratization. Of course this is long term, but this will be the only alternative to what the terrorists are trying to do.

SEIGENTHALER: Walid Phares and Juliette Kayyem, good to see you both and thanks for coming back tonight.