Sept 11, 2001: Terrorists, attributed to Usama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, hijack 4 US flights and destroy the World Trade Center towers in New York City and damage the US Pentagon in Washington D.C.
Sept 12, 2001: POTUS declares the launch of a “War on Terror,” while most Islamic terrorist organizations consider the war ongoing, with prior strikes against US embassies in Africa and other US interests abroad.
Sept 16, 2001: POTUS establishes, by executive order, the Agency For Enforcement of Presidential Directives (AFEPD), commonly pronounced ‘aphid.’ AFEPD is immediately organized from operational elements from the Department of Treasury, CIA, and FBI. The Agency’s head is the Vice President, and receives an initial black-line budget of $356 million. AFEPD activities are highly compartmentalized, with small operational teams identified only by their call sign and generally unaware of the activities of other teams.
Oct 2001: US forces, including CIA members, begin actions in Afghanistan, resulting in the fall of the Taliban government within months and the installation of a pro-US administration.
Jan 2003: POTUS signs into law the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
While DHS integrates much of the nation’s intelligence gathering and operational areas, AFEPD is completely independent.
March 2003: US-led coalition forces invade Iraq, toppling the secular government and installing a pro-US administration. While the military victory is swift, a low-level insurgency lead by al-Qaeda and former regime elements forms within 6 months.
Nov 2004: Yassir Arafat, longtime leader of the Palestinian Authority and ostensible spokesman for the Palestinian people, dies after a prolonged battle with mysterious illnesses.
Arafat’s death is largely assumed to be a joint Mossad-AFEPD operation.
Feb 2006: Hamas, the long-standing terrorist organization funded by Iran, wins a landslide election in the Palestinian territories.
March 2006: al-Qaeda terrorists attack oil refineries and loading platforms in Saudi Arabia, marking the first significant terrorist attacks against US oil interests inside the Kingdom. The royal family responds with an unprecedented internal security crack-down, which hardens the resolve of anti-Saud forces but drives them underground.
July 2006: The US, British and Israeli ambassadors press the United Nations to take action regarding Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The UN Security Council, lead by the French and German ambassadors, calls instead for a Mideast summit, with no date established, sponsored by the UN to “finally resolve the deep issues that face the Mideast.” The Israeli ambassador, before storming from the building, declares “Loyal to history, Europe has again turned its back on the Jewish state on the eve of a Holocaust. This time the Jewish nation has the means to defend our families and God-given lands.”
February 2007: Addressing the UN General Assembly from the podium in New York City, the ambassador for the Islamic Republic of Iran declares that “the greater Islamic Nation must be treated with the proper respect due our faith and as a nuclear superpower.” Western nations view the statement as tacit admission that Iran has processed enough uranium to build one or more nuclear warheads, and lacks only the final processes of assembly and delivery structure to complete a nuclear arsenal.
March 2007: NATO nations (excluding Germany) begin to rapidly deploy large numbers of soldiers to a stabilizing Iraq as peacekeeping forces, while the British and US forces in Iraq begin to redeploy toward the Iraq / Iranian border in order to pressure the Iranian government to reconsider it’s continued progress in nuclear programs. US and British ships begin aggressively patrolling the Iranian coast in the Persian Gulf. General William Barker, head of allied forces in the Persian Gulf, declares “US and British forces are prepared to face any challenge that might require us to respond to Iran.” Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf are increasingly subject to search and seizures by allied navy.
May 2007: Iran’s president declares “the Jews in Washington and Tel Aviv are preparing for a war to snuff out our Republic and religion. Allah will show them no mercy, and the people of Islam are the willing tool of their ruin.”
May 26, 2007: The Israeli prime minister rises to address the United Nations General Assembly for what is supposed to be a 30-minute speech. Instead, in a terse 4-minute statement, he points his finger angrily at the Iranian delegation and declares that “the Jewish state will not live under threat of nuclear obliteration. If the world will not act, we shall.”
May 29, 2006: Israeli jets bomb 6 alleged nuclear facilities across Iran with US-made bunker-buster bombs, reducing the facilities to rubble and killing scores. Across the Middle East, tens of thousands of angry demonstrators take to the streets, organized by the governments and calling for all Muslims to “drive Israel into the sea.”
June 6, 2006: In a coordinated series of three car bombings, the AFEPD six-member team Leo, based in Basra, Iraq is killed and their safe house destroyed. Media outlets note the attacks are unusual because Basra has largely remained non-violent since the beginning of the US occupation of Iraq. In Tehran, Iran, the Iranian Foreign Minister telephones the French ambassador (who unofficially represents US interests in Iran) to express “sympathy for the American losses in Basra.” The message is notable for two reasons. First, Iran has never before expressed sadness for American difficulties in neighboring Iraq; and secondly, the phone call was ended three minutes before the coordinated bombings in Basra began.
Summer 2007: The Iranian-backed Hamas government in the Palestinian territories begins a concerted campaign of suicide bombers inside Israel. The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) respond by completing the ‘security fence,’ which completely seals off the former occupied territories and using lethal force against anyone approaching the barriers.
The US presidential primary election season begins to take shape, although the first-in-the-nation Iowa primary will not be held until January 2008.
December 12, 2007: Six Democratic Party candidates for president gather in Memphis for a televised Town Meeting. In the audience of select democratic activists and reporters is Dr. David Mutar, a naturalized US citizen from Jordan, with his 8-year old son. Dr. Mutar carries what appears to be a large camcorder. Dr. Mutar stands in line for 36 minutes to ask the candidates a question during the debate: “Senator Clinton, my son here is 8 years old. What can I do tonight to make the world a safer place for him?” At the conclusion of the televised meeting, most of the candidates remain on stage to shake hands and answer the remaining questions of reporters. When Dr. Mutar asks the candidates to gather around his son for a picture, they oblige. At 10:42 pm, Dr. Mutar raises the camcorder to his eye, looks at his smiling son and the candidates in the viewfinder, mutters a short prayer, and presses the record button. Dr. Mutar, his son, 4 candidates and 56 other people are vaporized in the resulting explosion.
Within 3 minutes, the video feed is transmitted on every television network in the world. In that brief moment, the US political process is thrown into chaos and the Western nations are reminded of their vulnerabilities before a focused enemy.
December 16, 2007: POTUS signs an executive order increasing the AFEPD operational budget by $431 million dollars. The order also includes 8 directives for action.
January 9, 2008: The Al-Jazeera media network airs an audio tape from Usama Bin Laden claiming credit for the attack that killed “the corrupt men who would lead America,” and vowing that the defeat of “America and the Zionist state” is at hand.
January 22, 2008: In his final State of the Union address, President George W. Bush declares that the ‘War on Terror’ has moved into the shadows, and that “the foes of Liberty and Right have not been vanquished, but have simply adapted and made plain their evil.” He asserts that “while we near the end of the beginning in Iraq and Afghanistan, we must take the fight to those who sponsor terrorists against us and our way of life.”
January 24, 2008: In Capital Hill briefings, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announce that new arrangements with NATO will provide an additional 35,000 foreign soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, freeing up more US forces to “focus on the threats of Iran and North Korea.”
February 5, 2008 “Super Tuesday”: Across the southern United States, in the Democratic election primaries, voters elevate Illinois Senator Barak Obama (a populist and isolationist) as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president. States deliver the Republican nomination to Arizona Senator John McCain.
Present Day: July 14, 2008
Just as in September 2001, American public opinion has shifted sharply, calling for increasingly strong and dramatic action to counter the threats presented by terrorist organizations and state sponsors of terrorists.
President George W Bush enters the last six months of his term.
The Democratic convention, scheduled to open in 21 days in Denver, is in disarray, with seven of the nine active candidates killed in the July 5 suicide attack. Senator Obama sits solidly atop an isolationist and populist coalition, while party chief Howard Dean works behind-the-scenes to deliver the nomination to an anyone-but-Obama candidate.