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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Iran hatred towards the USA

Iran today (2000s) obviously hates the USA. Why is that? This video, I think, explain that well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f90j7Q7_atU&feature=related

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Viewing Islamic terrorism from a historical perspective.

William Beeman, a anthropologist at Brown, wrote an essay discussing terrorism from a historical perspective.

Why Middle Eastern Terrorists Hate the United States

The Bush administration's projected war on terrorism is designed to eradicate and delegitimize terrorists. Both aims are futile. The grievances of the terrorists who committed the horrendous attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 have deep and persistent roots going back more than 150 years. The terrorists harbor a hatred that will not die, and their grievances cannot be delegitimized through military attacks.

Middle Eastern opposition to the West is far from being a phenomenon invented by Osama bin Laden, or the Taliban, or for that matter Iran, Iraq or the Palestinians. It has grown consistently since the beginning of the 19th Century as an effective oppositional force both to the West and to local secular rulers. Western powers were blind to Middle Eastern opposition forces throughout the 20th Century because they were overshadowed by great power rivalry during this period.

The original leader of the opposition to the West was Jalal al-Din al-Afghani (1838-1897). Called the "Father of Islamic Modernism, Al-Afghani was educated in Iran, Afghanistan and India. He traveled throughout the Islamic world promulgating an "Islamic reform movement." Using an Islamic ideology helped him to transcend ethnic differences in the region, and preach a message all would understand. He sought to mobilize Muslim nations to fight against Western imperialism and gain military power through modern technology. Al-Afghani claimed that Britain, France and Russia in particular were operating in collusion with Middle Eastern rulers to rob the people of their patrimony through sweetheart deals for exploitation of natural and commercial resources in the region.

As a direct result of the efforts of Al-Afghani and his followers, groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood evolved throughout the region. These groups generally espoused three methods in their political and religious activity: personal piety coupled with evangelism, religious modernization, and political resistance to secular regimes.

The Western nations have committed a litany of crimes against the Muslim world according to the Islamic opposition. After World War I, the Middle Eastern peoples were treated largely as war prizes to be divided and manipulated for the good of the militarily powerful Europeans. The British and the French without consent or consultation on the part of the residents created every nation between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf for their own benefit. This increased the resentment of the fundamentalists against the West and against the rulers installed by Westerners.

After World War II, the Cold War conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union fought over the Middle East nations like children over toys. Governments such as those of Egypt, the Sudan, Iraq, and Syria were constantly pressed to choose between East and West. The choice was often prompted by "gifts" of military support to sitting rulers. With ready sources of money and guns in either Washington or Moscow, Middle Eastern rulers could easily oppress the religious fundamentalists who opposed them. This added still further to the anger of the religious reformers. At this point the oppositionists abandoned political action through conventional political processes and turned to extra-governmental methods-terrorism-to make their dissatisfaction felt.

The United States became the sole representative of the West after 1972, when Great Britain, poor and humbled, could no longer afford to maintain a full military force in the region. Anxious to protect oil supplies from the Soviet Union, Washington propped up the Shah of Iran and the Saudi Arabian government in the ill-fated "Twin Pillars" strategy. This ended with the Iranian revolution, leaving America with a messy patchwork of military and political detritus. When Iran went to war with Iraq, the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein to prevent Iran from winning. Anxious about Soviet incursions into Afghanistan, it propped up the Taliban. These two monstrous forces--Saddam and the Taliban--are very much an American creation.

The final blow came when America finally had to confront its former client, Iraq, in the Gulf War. Americans established a military base on Saudi Arabian soil-considered sacred by pious Muslims. Saudi officials had been resisting this move for years, knowing that it would be politically dangerous both for them and for the United States. This action was the basis for Osama bin Laden's opposition to the United States.

All of this meddling only confirms the century-old assertion that the West was out to rob the people of the Middle East of their prerogatives and patrimony. The current revolutionaries in the region, including bin Laden, have political pedigrees leading directly back to the original reformer, Al-Afghani. Willy-nilly, the United States keeps reinforcing these old stereotypes. It is essential that we find a way to break this pattern, or we will be mired in these troubled relations forever.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Terrorism in Algeria

Recently, their has been much terrorism in Algeria. Basically, Islamists linked to al-Quaeda are fighting against the government.

However, we might ask why such people are fighting against the government. A little bit of research makes the answer clear: the government of Algeria is a repressive, dictatorial government, and most of the terrorism their is state-sponsored.

The government is in office because it blocked the democratic election in which it would have lost to mainly Islamic–based groups. That set off the current fighting. Similar things go on throughout the region. So when you have a government that does not allow the elected leaders to govern, you have such conflicts.

The Islamic insurgents are fighting against the government because they government would not allow free elections, which would make the Islamists in charge.

Also, the Algerian government is conducting much state-sponsored terrorism that is makings the insurgents even more angry. And the France provides much of the weapons and military equipment that Algeria uses for repression and terrorism against its people.

Sources:

Economist article on Algeria
Report on human-rights abuses in Algeria


Algerian Islmists' concept of democracy, by Yahia Zoubir, a scholar on Islam.

The New War Against Terror

In this essay, Noam Chomsky, the renown intellect at MIT, talks about terrorism and the war on terror. He gives insights to reasons for terrorism, and the Western response.

Click here to read the essay

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What Leads Some Ordinary Arab Men and Women to Approve of Terrorist Attacks Against the USA?

Mark Tessler and Michael D. H. Robbins ( both of the Department of Political Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) have completed an exhaustive research study on this question. The 320 page report, published in the "Journal of Conflict Resolution," concludes that:

Findings from representative national surveys in Algeria and Jordan show that neither religious orientations, judgments about Western culture, nor economic circumstances account for variance in approval of terrorist acts against U.S. targets. Alternatively, in both countries, approval of terrorism against the United States is disproportionately likely among men and women with negative judgments about their own government and about U.S. foreign policy. Taken together, these findings suggest that approval of terrorism is fostered by negative attitudes toward actors considered responsible for the political and economic status quo. Given that Algeria and Jordan have had different experiences with respect to terrorism and also differ in demographic, political, and economic structure, identical findings from these dissimilar countries suggest that the observed relationships are not country specific and may apply more generally.

What can be concluded from this interpretation is that support for terrorism against the United States does not flow directly from discontent with personal or even societal circumstances but rather from perceptions about who or what is responsible for the status quo and that this is the case among younger persons in particular. As emphasized, this pattern has emerged with striking similarity in two Arab countries that differ greatly in character and experience, thus increasing confidence in its accuracy and generalizability.

The researchers conclude that US foreign policy of promoting and defending repressive Muslim regimes is promoting terrorism, not 'Islamic fundamentalism." Muslims blame the US for supporting such regimes and helping oppressing democratic movements and support terrorism for opposing the US.

You can read the entire report

In PDF format
or
In HTLM format

Women suicide bombers

A recent op-ed in the New York Times discusses why women become suicide bombers. The reason, it turns out, is the same reason why men become bombers: because they oppose a foreign intrusion, and/or want to seek revenge. Not surprisingly, the reason is never for purely religions reasons.

In fact, their are many secular suicide bombers, as this article explains. Religion (Islamic fundamentalism) is not a factor.

This is the article: Behind the Woman Behind the bomb

FOUR more Iraqi women carried out suicide bombings in Iraq this week, bringing to at least 27 the number of such attacks this year in that country involving female terrorists. Anyone reading the newspapers or watching television has been treated to a flurry of popular misconceptions about the root causes of female suicide terrorism.

Women, we are told, become suicide bombers out of despair, mental illness, religiously mandated subordination to men, frustration with sexual inequality and a host of other factors related specifically to their gender. Indeed, the only thing everyone can agree on is that there is something fundamentally different motivating men and women to become suicide attackers.

The only problem: There is precious little evidence of uniquely feminine motivations driving women’s attacks.

I have spent the last few years surveying all known female suicide attacks throughout the world since 1981 — incidents in Afghanistan, Israel, Iraq, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Uzbekistan. In order to determine these women’s motives, I compared the data with a database of all known suicide attacks over that period compiled by the Chicago Project on Suicide Terrorism.

This research led to a clear conclusion: the main motives and circumstances that drive female suicide attackers are quite similar to those that drive men. Still, investigating the dynamics governing female attackers not only helps to correct common misperceptions but also reveals important characteristics about suicide terrorism in general.

To begin with, there is simply no one demographic profile for female attackers. From the unmarried communists who first adopted suicide terrorism to expel Israeli troops from Lebanon in the 1980s, to the so-called Black Widows of Chechnya who commit suicide attacks after the combat deaths of their husbands, to the longtime adherents of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam separatist movement in Sri Lanka, the biographies of female suicide attackers reveal a wide variety of personal experiences and ideologies.

Likewise, while stories of young, psychologically disturbed women being coerced into their attacks makes for compelling news (and rightly emphasizes the barbarity of the terrorist organizations), they represent a small minority of cases. For example, female suicide attackers are significantly more likely to be in their mid-20s and older than male attackers.

Additionally, claims of coercion are largely exaggerated. For instance, the well-publicized claims that two women who killed dozens in blowing up a Baghdad pet market were mentally retarded were later revealed to be unfounded.

Blaming Islamic fundamentalism is also wrongheaded. More than 85 percent of female suicide terrorists since 1981 committed their attacks on behalf of secular organizations; many grew up in Christian and Hindu families. Further, Islamist groups commonly discourage and only grudgingly accept female suicide attackers. At the start of the second intifada in 2000, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder of Hamas, claimed: “A woman martyr is problematic for Muslim society. A man who recruits a woman is breaking Islamic law.” Hamas actually rejected Darin Abu Eisheh, the second Palestinian female attacker, who carried out her 2002 bombing on behalf of the secular Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

So, what does motivate female suicide attackers? Surprisingly similar motives driving men to blow themselves up on terrorist missions.

For one, 95 percent of female suicide attacks occurred within the context of a military campaign against foreign occupying forces, suggesting that, at a macro level, the main strategic logic is to create or maintain territorial sovereignty for their ethnic group. Correspondingly, the primary individual motivation for both male and female suicide bombers is a deep loyalty to their communities combined with a variety of personal grievances against enemy forces.

Terrorist organizations are well aware of the variety of individual motives for male and female attackers. As such, recruitment tactics aimed specifically at women often involve numerous, even contradictory, arguments: feminist appeals for equal participation, using a suicide attack as a way to redeem a woman’s honor for violations of the gender roles of her community, revenge, nationalism and religion — almost any personal motive that does not contradict the main strategic objective of combating a foreign military presence.

All secular organizations that employ suicide bombings have used female attackers early and often. For instance, 76 percent of attackers from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey have been women, as have 66 percent of those from Chechen separatist groups, 45 percent of the Syrian Socialist National Party’s and a quarter of those from the Tamil Tigers.

Religious groups only came to realize the strategic value of female bombers after seeing secular groups’ success. For example, in a 2003 interview, a female Al Qaeda agent calling herself Um Osama told a Saudi newspaper that “the idea of women kamikazes came from the success of martyr operations carried out by young Palestinian women in the occupied territories.”

Why use women?

Paradoxically, the strategic appeal of female attacks stems from the rules about women’s behavior in the societies where these attacks take place. Given their second-class citizenship in many of these countries, women generate less suspicion and are better able to conceal explosives. Moreover, since female attacks are considered especially shocking, they are more likely to generate significant news media attention for both domestic and foreign audiences.

In a similar vein, my research showed that women were much more likely than men to be used for single-target assassination suicide attacks. Perhaps the most famous of these was the 1991 assassination of India’s prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, by Thenmuli Rajaratnam, a Tamil Tiger. Although women make up roughly 15 percent of the suicide bombers within the groups that employ females, they were responsible for an overwhelming 65 percent of assassinations; one in every five women who committed a suicide attack did so with the purpose of assassinating a specific individual, compared with one in every 25 for the male attackers.

Yes, many female suicide terrorists are motivated by revenge for close family members or friends killed by occupation forces. But so too are males. Indeed, there are so many known instances of personal revenge driving both sexes to strike, and so much missing data about the friendship and extended family circles of suicide attackers, that it is simply impossible to say one sex cares more about others.

So, how can we defend against the spate of female suicide attacks in Iraq? The logical first step is to better screen women at key security checkpoints. Coincidentally, American officials recently started a “Daughters of Iraq” program to train Iraqi women to search for female attackers. However, the program is unlikely to have a substantial effect for three reasons: First, the program is very small; only about 30 women initially graduated from the course, and each is expected to work only a few days a month. Second, since the root cause of suicide terrorism appears to be anger at occupying forces, we risk blowback if we are seen as trying to buy loyalty from Iraqi women. Third, the fact that religious groups changed their position on employing women attackers illustrates their willingness to develop new tactics to overcome security measures — thus efforts like the Daughters of Iraq are probably stopgap measures at best.

In the long run, decreasing female suicide attacks depends upon an American strategy that minimizes the presence of United States troops in what Iraqis consider their private sphere, while simultaneously providing material support that will improve the quality of life for all Iraqis. For now, however, given the strategic desirability of female attackers, we’re likely to see an increasing number of Iraqi women killing themselves and their countrymen in an effort to end what they see as the occupation of their nation.

Lindsey O’Rourke is a doctoral student in political science at the University of Chicago.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Why dies Osama bin Laden hate the USA and other Western nations?

Osama bin Laden is arguably the most cruel and dangerous terrorist. It would be interesting, then, to ask what, exactly, he is angry about, what is he fighting for.

Bin Laden, in his 1996 fatwa (declaration) entitled "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places," identified several grievances that he has about Saudi Arabia, the birthplace and holy land of Islam. Bin Laden says these grievances about Saudi Arabia (and I quote directly from the fatwa):

“(1) The intimidation and harassment suffered by the leaders of the society, the scholars, heads of tribes, merchants, academic teachers and other eminent individuals;

(2) The situation of the law within the country and the arbitrary declaration of what is Halal and Haram (lawful and unlawful) regardless of the Shari'ah as instituted by Allah;

(3) The state of the press and the media which became a tool of truth-hiding and misinformation; the media carried out the plan of the enemy of idolising cult of certain personalities and spreading scandals among the believers to repel the people away from their religion, as Allah, the Exalted said: {surely- as for- those who love that scandal should circulate between the believers, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and in the here after} (An-Noor, 24:19).

(4) Abuse and confiscation of human rights;

(5) The financial and the economical situation of the country and the frightening future in the view of the enormous amount of debts and interest owed by the government; this is at the time when the wealth of the Ummah being wasted to satisfy personal desires of certain individuals!! while imposing more custom duties and taxes on the nation. (the prophet said about the woman who committed adultery: "She repented in such a way sufficient to bring forgiveness to a custom collector!!").

(6) The miserable situation of the social services and infra-structure especially the water service and supply , the basic requirement of life.,

(7) The state of the ill-trained and ill-prepared army and the impotence of its commander in chief despite the incredible amount of money that has been spent on the army. The gulf war clearly exposed the situation.,

(8) Shari'a law was suspended and man made law was used instead.,

(9) And as far as the foreign policy is concerned the report exposed not only how this policy has disregarded the Islamic issues and ignored the Muslims, but also how help and support were provided to the enemy against the Muslims; the cases of Gaza-Ariha and the communist in the south of Yemen are still fresh in the memory, and more can be said.”

Bin Laden wants to overthrow the Saudi monarchy (and now other Middle East governments) and establish an "Islamic state" according to Shari'a law (Islamic Hole Law), to "unite all Muslims and to establish a government which follows the rule of the Caliphs [Muslim religious leaders who once governed the Ottoman Empire]." We might add that his vision calls for an extremely strict version of Islam, but perhaps not as strict as the version being implemented in some Middle Eastern governments today. (Middle Eastern governments today are extremely repressive, have horrible human rights records, and are monarchical.)

However the US and other Western nations are supporting such regimes (in addition to killing Muslims through sanctions, wars, covert operations, bombing, and such) such as Saudi Arabia that bin Laden wants to overthrow.Thus, according to bin Laden, Muslims must fight against such "oppressors" by killing Americans (and other people), including innocent people. According to this line of thought, if the US and other Western governments could get out of the Middle East, then repressive and "un-Islamic" regimes could be overthrown, and the only way to get Western governments out of the Middle East is to attack the citizens of those countries.

This is one of the main reasons bin Ladan hates the US and other Western governments. However, the other reason is because of the Muslims that Western governments have killed. He explaned this is his 1998 fatwa.

In his 1998 fatwa entitled, Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders bin Laden identified three grievances (and I quote) against the US:

First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples. (1)

If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it. The best proof of this is the Americans' continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless.

Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million... despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation. (2)

So here they come to annihilate what is left of this people and to humiliate their Muslim neighbors.

Third, if the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula. (3)
Some extra notes by me:

(1) Here he is talking about US troops in Saudi Arabia (the holy land of Islam), and about the gigantic amount of oil drilled their that is sold to the US, which he considers wasteful and an exploitation of the resources.

(2) Here he is talking about the 1990-2003 UN sanctions on Iraq, which was sponsored by the US and the UK. It might be recalled that the sanctions were partly responsible for killing an estimated 1 million innoccent Iraqis, half of them being children. (Estimates go as high as 1.5 deaths , and as low as 170,000 deaths among children.) In fact Denis Halliday, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Baghdad at the time, resigned from the UN in protest of the sanctions, saying: "I don't want to administer a programme that satisfies the definition of genocide.

(3) Finally, he is talking about Israel which he says is occuping neighboring Muslim land and opressing the Palestein people.

References: (click to read)

1996 bin Laden fatwa, provided by PBS
Description of bin Laden's plans (by FAS)
Description of bin Laden's plans (by Juan Cole)
Bin Laden overthrow Saudi regeme
1998 bin Laden fatwa, provided by FAS
Iraq sanctions (1990-2003) on Wikipedia
Israel-Palestein conflict on Wikipedia


Bin Laden, then, is fighting against these greviences discussed above. Although the main stream media says that bin Laden is fighting against Western governments because of their "freedoms,"
their is absolutly no evidence of this. All the evidence (from speeeches and writings) indicate that bin Laden is fighting against Western natios because they support repressive Middle Eastern governments and kill Muslims.

Why do terrorists hate the USA?

A major question that people have been asking is "Why do terrorists hate the USA?" This, of course, is a complex question. William Blum, a US foreign policy expert, has a explanation:

From his article "Myth and Denial in the War on Terrorism":

Let us look at some actual cases. The terrorists responsible for the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 sent a letter to the New York Times which stated, in part: "We declare our responsibility for the explosion on the mentioned building. This action was done in response for the American political, economical, and military support to Israel the state of terrorism and to the rest of the dictator countries in the region."[5]

Richard Reid, who tried to ignite a bomb in his shoe while aboard an American Airline flight to Miami in December 2001, told police that his planned suicide attack was an attempt to strike a blow against the US campaign in Afghanistan and the Western economy. In an e-mail sent to his mother, which he intended her to read after his death, Reid wrote that it was his duty "to help remove the oppressive American forces from the Muslims land."[6]

After the October 2002 bombings in Bali, Indonesia, which destroyed two nightclubs and killed more than 200 people, one of the leading suspects told police that the bombings were "revenge" for "what Americans have done to Muslims." He said that he wanted to "kill as many Americans as possible" because "America oppresses the Muslims".[7]

In November 2002, a taped message from Osama bin Laden began: "The road to safety begins by ending the aggression. Reciprocal treatment is part of justice. The [terrorist] incidents that have taken place ... are only reactions and reciprocal actions."[8] That same month, when Mir Aimal Kasi, who killed several people outside of CIA headquarters in 1993, was on death row, he declared: "What I did was a retaliation against the US government" for American policy in the Middle East and its support of Israel.[9] It should be noted that the State Department warned at the time that the execution of Kasi could result in attacks against Americans around the world.[10] It did not warn that the attacks would result from foreigners hating or envying American democracy, freedom, wealth, or secular government.

Similarly, in the days following the start of US bombing of Afghanistan there were numerous warnings from US government officials about being prepared for retaliatory acts, and during the war in Iraq, the State Department announced: "Tensions remaining from the recent events in Iraq may increase the potential threat to US citizens and interests abroad, including by terrorist groups."[11]

......

Jimmy Carter told the New York Times in a 1989 interview:

"We sent Marines into Lebanon and you only have to go to Lebanon, to Syria or to Jordan to witness first-hand the intense hatred among many people for the United States because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers -- women and children and farmers and housewives -- in those villages around Beirut. ... As a result of that ... we became kind of a Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful. That is what precipitated the taking of our hostages and that is what has precipitated some of the terrorist attacks."[14]

Colin Powell has also revealed that he knows better. Writing of this same Lebanon debacle in his 1995 memoir, he forgoes clich├ęs about terrorists not believing in democracy:

The USS New Jersey started hurling 16-inch shells into the mountains above Beirut, in World War II style, as if we were softening up the beaches on some Pacific atoll prior to an invasion. What we tend to overlook in such situations is that other people will react much as we would.[15]

(For references and full article, please visit the article)

According to Blum, Islamic terrorists hate the USA for all its bombings and killings, not for all its "freedoms."

Also, the US government seems to agree with this view: By early 2006, America’s National Intelligence Assessment on terrorism concluded that the Iraq conflict was “breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement”.

Source: The Economist