the Disillusioned kid: Terrorism Has Absolutely Nothing to do with Iraq, Part 2.
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Monday, July 25, 2005

Terrorism Has Absolutely Nothing to do with Iraq, Part 2.

Lenin links to a article by Scott Horton on the motivations of suicide bombers. Drawing heavily from University of Chicago associate professor of political science Robert A. Pape's new book Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Pape has researched the subject thoroughly and his conclusions are controversial, but merit close attention:
[In a radio interview Pape] said that after 9/11 he assumed the Koran might contain clues toward understanding what motivates a person to commit a suicide bombing. For his book, however, Pape started with the bombings themselves – every documented case between 1980 and 2004 – and noticed some suggestive common threads. Foreign occupation, it seems – not religion – is the core motivating factor behind suicide terrorism. From Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank to Sikhs in India, from the jihadists of 9/11 to the secular Marxist Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka – for all of these, it is "a nationalistic response."

Professor Pape says that while al-Qaeda terrorists are twice as likely to be from a country where radical Salafist/Wahhabist Islam is widely practiced, they are 10 times more likely to have come from a country that has U.S. troops stationed in it. In most cases, this foreign military presence is not hostile in a traditional sense, since the local governments have agreed to their stay. But according to a Saudi poll after 9/11, 95 percent of educated Saudi males between the ages of 25 and 41 agreed with bin Laden's goal of driving Americans off their holy land.
And there's more:
No suicide bombers have ever come from Iran, where there are no foreign troops. Iraq had never seen a suicide bombing on its soil before U.S. troops arrived in 2003. While Ayatollah Khomeini spent the 1980s criticizing American culture, many people agreed, but none resorted to suicide bombing. When bin Laden cited U.S. forces in the land of Mecca and Medina, men hopped on planes with knives.
At this point those who Lenin describes as "chronologists" would no doubt interject that September 11th took place before the invasion and occupation of Iraq. While being undeniably true, this argument also misses the point, as Horton makes clear:
As Harry Browne has pointed out, history does not begin on 9/11. In fact, American intervention in the Middle East dates back to 1919, when U.S. participation in World War I helped turn the entire region over to the British and the French, who then drew borders to their own liking for the states of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, what was Palestine, etc.

Since the Second World War, the U.S. government has dominated each of the Middle Eastern states at one time or another, and consistently a majority of them. It has supported bloody coups; backed fascist monsters like Shah Reza Pahlavi, Saddam Hussein, and Hosni Mubarak; armed and financed both sides of wars; propped up puppet kings, sultans, and emirs; and helped the Israeli government kill, steal, and destroy with our money. To top it off, it has now waged a bloody war and a terrible blockade of Iraq – all from bases in the "land of two Holy Places," the Arabian Peninsula.

There's even a few words for our own Jack Straw who, as Lenin observes, responded to a question about the motivations of the bombers in London noted, "[the terrorists] struck in Kenya, in Tanzania, in Indonesia, in the Yemen. They struck this weekend in Turkey, which was not supporting our action in Iraq. It is the terrorists who will seek any excuse whatsoever for their action":
The terrorists struck Americans in Kenya, Tanzania, Indonesia, and Yemen. Locals who were also killed were collateral damage, so to speak. As for the attack in Turkey, it was committed by our allies the Kurds. Why didn't Straw go ahead and mention the Mujahedin e-Khalq terrorist cult of Islamo-Marxists that the coalition of the willing sent into Iran to bomb civilians only a few weeks back?
The conclusions which follow from all this seem obvious, which is perhaps why our leaders have made such an effort to deny the role of occupation in motivating suicide bombers. An end to the occupations of Iraq is worth fighting for in its own right. That it is likely to make us safer in the UK is simply a positive (and in my opinion very desirable) side-effect. The same goes for Afghanistan, Palestine, Chechnnya and elsewhere.

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