Roots of Terrorism in the Term Paper

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Middle East countries, and also former colonies around the world, struggled to find their freedom and independence from any imperial forces. Therefore, being once again in charge of their own natural resources became "paramount to the extent that dictators and human rights abusers were supported"(Shah, 2000). People were sensitive to radical messages and a violent, anti-foreigners speech. Dictators and terrorist groups speculated that "weak spot" and provided the right set of words. Concentrating their message on the fight for liberation and independence from the "invasive" West, cleverly giving it a religious and profound spiritual meaning, fundamentalist rulers became popular and managed to take control over countries like Iraq, Iran or Syria, sponsoring the planning and performing of terrorist acts against symbols of Western civilization. Terrorism cannot do without the help of dictatorial regimes in the region, or without the tacit approval of the people, explained by the common religious beliefs and shared vision when it comes to foreign interference in their every-day life. So, one of the causes for the existence of terrorism is the constant support. For planning and executing a terrorist attack funds are very important. Therefore the financial, military or even informational support is crucial.

We talked about the exported terrorism, which "breathes" and acts beyond the Middle East territories, attacking Western targets such as Europe or the United States. Its roots are deep within the region's history, within their constant struggle against foreign domination and natural resources draining. The people's support for criminal regimes and dictators who harbor terrorist movements comes from their past, from their desire to be in control of what is rightfully theirs: land and resources.

And yet terrorism takes more than one shape. It is not only the war against foreign exploitation and colonization, but also the battle within, for land possession. The dispute over resources within the Middle East is not a modern issue. The scarcity of life-sustaining means, such as water or crop-friendly earth, has always generated tension and armed confrontation. Add to this ancient problem, the difference of opinion when it comes to spirituality (Judaism, embraced by the Israelites, co-exists with Islam, embraced by the vast majority of the Middle East countries), culture (a visible sympathy for Western values from Israel's part), politics (Israel is known and harshly criticized for its approach to the U.S.), and you have an explosive cocktail ready to burst.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a very present issue and a source of endless violence and tension in the Middle East. Also named the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is in fact a dispute over the land of historic Israel and Palestine (Microsoft Encarta Online, 1993-2006). The disputed territory, situated on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, is considered the homeland of the Jewish people who immigrated here from Africa (Egypt), starting with the 13th century BC (Microsoft Encarta Online, 1993-2006). The immigrating Jewish tribes later converged and formed the Israeli people who established in that area, after periods of ruling and being ru6led, the independent Jewish state called Judea. After the Roman invasion, the inhabitants of Judea were driven out from their homeland, becoming "a people without a land" (Microsoft Encarta Online, 1993-2006) and the territory was transformed in Roman province. When the Roman dominance ended, the Jews slowly started to return to the Middle East, but on Palestinian territories, which were evidently inhabited by the Palestinian people. The intention was to find an establishment for the Jewish people who were robbed of their land. Theodor Herzl, a Jewish journalist living in Austria, suggested, in the late 80s, the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine.

The land of Palestine was home of Arabs, in a large majority, and Jews. Some of the Jews living in Palestine were long established there, while other came from Europe to live close to the holy site in Jerusalem (Microsoft Encarta Online, 1993-2006). In time, a large number of Jews across Europe came to stay in Palestine. In order to establish their new home in Palestine, the Jew immigrants bought land and step-by-step forced the Arab peasants to relocate. This was the start of an increased Arabs - Jews contact (Microsoft Encarta Online, 1993-2006). After longs series of debates that followed, concerning the funding of an independent state of Israel on Palestinian territories, as requested by the Jewish people, the decision made by the UN was in favor of the Jews. In 1948, according to a resolution stating the partition of Palestine into two separate states, Israel and the Arab states, the Jews became entitled to create an independent state on Palestinian land, despite Britain's opposition to the UN ruling in this matter. And so the confrontation was on. The Arab nations surrounding Palestinian territory, and implicitly the new proclaimed Israeli state, began their attacks on the Jews as a fervent protest against Palestine's unjust divide. The support for Palestinians spread all across the Middle East, leading to violence and Palestinian-Israeli wars. Not being able to reach an agreement that would satisfy both parties involved had a profound negative impact on the fragile stability of the region. Attacks took the shape of terrorist displays, causing destruction and a large number of casualties amongst civilians on each side. This dispute over land was considered justifying enough for the birth and growth of terrorist cells in the region. Radical paramilitary movements joined forces in groups promoting terror, such as Hezbollah (Iranian-Syrian supported), committing crimes against non-combatants (civilians) in the name of justice and solidarity. Until now, all efforts in trying to close this conflict and stop the violence and terror in the Palestinian-Israeli matter have been without a positive result. It seem that the tacit support that the United States and the UN have given Israel, considering that the Jewish people have suffered a great deal during the Holocaust, and also the sympathy shown to those who unrightfully have been brutally punished for crimes they didn't commit or sins they didn't have, by all the Western civilization, have made matters worse in the conflict. The Arab world saw this Western support as an offense and as a statement against them, as a way of saying that the Jews are right and the Arabs are wrong. They perceived the Western approach to Israel as a threat to their own safety, as an acknowledgement and approval of things considered to be unfair and invasive by Muslims stating their fight for their long lost territories. From this issue rises another reason or explanation for Middle East terrorism deliberately targeting Western or pro-Western countries. This Arab solidarity in the name of freedom and holy justice mutated into sever forms of terrorism sustained by fundamentalist regimes in countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iran or Iraq. Terrorist cells such as Al-Qaida, led by Osama bin Laden, is believed to have been harbored in Afghanistan and financed by dictators such as Saddam Hussein or Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat. Add to that the fact that terrorist cells finance each other, are helping each other to perform ferocious attacks. The collaboration between different terrorist organizations is not the only source of income necessary to sustain terrorism and specific attacks. Money can even come from legitimate business, used by terrorists to support themselves and to complete their plans. For example, the FBI investigation on the terrorist attacks from September 11th, led to the discovery of a legitimate source of finance in the form of construction and plumbing companies ran by Al-Qaida members in Europe (Levitt, 2002).

When the United States became an economical and political force, they also became a key-payer in the Middle East conflicts. After Britain and France gave up control over much of the Middle East, after War World Two, being unable to afford their staying there as imperial power, the United States made their entrance (Global Connections, 2002). Their interest in the Persian Golf oil led to establishing strong business relationships with states like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. American energy resources depend highly on the Middle East region, as it is the largest deposit of oil in an easily extracted form in the world (Global Connections, 2002). As a very "thirsty" consumer, the U.S. imports large quantities of oil from Arab countries, thus nurturing the idea that their main interest is capitalizing every conflict and using every opportunity to take total control over oil resources in the region. This Arab people's fear of being once again under foreign domination is being used by totalitarian leaders to their advantage, who cultivate this fear and slowly manipulate it into anger and hate against American symbols. This intense manipulation helps fundamentalist movement to gain public support and material resources from public finances.

On September 11th 2001, the world was shock by the most ferocious terrorist attack in history. The United States suffered a great loss when thousands of people were killed as four passenger planes were hijacked and crashed into the Two Tours of the World Trade Center in New York, into a wing of the…

Sources Used in Document:


Global Connections -- the Middle East. (2002). Retrieved February 12, 2007, from PBS Web site:

Levitt, M., a. (2002). The Political Economy of Middle East Terrorism. MERIA Journal, 6(4). Retrieved February 11, 2007, from MERIA Web site:

Middle East. (1993-2006). Retrieved February 10, 2007, from Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Web site:

Shah, a. (2000). The Middle East. Retrieved February 10, 2007, from Global Issues Web site:

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