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Suicide Bombers

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The Middle East -- A Hotbed of Suicide Bombers


In many Muslim countries, unemployment runs high and the wealth generated by oil revenues trickles down like water in the Sinai. “Poverty and unemployment among Arabs are fundamental reasons for the spread of terrorism, an unusually enlightened Saudi prince said at the opening of a conference,” according to an AP report.


Saudi Arabia remains in the third world in terms of poverty even though its oil revenues provide a per capita GDP much higher than that in, say, Texas. The private owners of the oil wealth distribute it among the royal family members (19,000) while the population of Saudi Arabia, like Iraq, equals that of Texas (23 million).


“The very production of oil," says an AP report, "in otherwise underdeveloped societies often skews the local economy -- funneling vast wealth to a few and thus intensifying the preexisting antagonism between the haves and the have-nots.”


While Durkheim’s last three motives abound in the Middle East, fundamentalist religion adds a fanatic ‘altruistic’ motive to the mix, creating an apocalyptic cocktail in some Islamic societies.


In Muslim countries we find the suicide bomber for whom all four of Durkheim’s motives seem to work simultaneously.


National Public Radio reporter, Christopher Joyce, quotes a Palestinian psychiatrist as saying, “most of them [suicide bombers] are very nice, timid, introvert, have had a problem with power in their childhood, …personal experience with serious traumatic events in their lives…witnessing the helplessness of their fathers.” Joyce notes that terrorists groups use religious rites to create a sort of ritual bonding among bombers.


In USA Today, reporter Jack Kelley characterized suicide bombers from Jordan as young, sexually frustrated and “frustrated by the economic and political duress...”


Muslims are alienated and detached from their culture if they do not participate in mosques. Families sometimes support martyrdom as a successful fulfillment of the faith.


Thus, by altruistic martyrdom, terrorists win in many ways: they fulfill a perceived benefit for the entire community, gratify their own eternal salvation as well as sexual satisfaction with the promised 72 virgins they expect to meet in heaven--something the Prophet Muhammad promised after the Battle of Badr in the 7th century.


They find revenge in the injustices that they believe the infidels caused throughout history, such as American military presence, or European colonization. They attain notoriety in their community, all great improvements from their desperate poverty.


A defensive Jihad is legitimate and, for many, it is the duty of every Muslim when infidels encroach upon the Islamic territories, as the 7th century fundamentalist Khawarijites emphasized in the convoluted, confusing verses of the Koran.


In the Middle East, Muslim cultures often create all four of Durkheim’s motives simultaneously. Iniquitous distribution of wealth causing frequent high rates of unemployment, coupled with fundamentalist schools, these elements alone create a culture that encourages suicide bombing and aggression against any Western, infidel intrusion into Islamic territories.


In fact many people in the regions of Saudi Arabia hold burning resentment against the tyrannical monarchy which the US supports and defends for their petroleum partnership. In many ways, it's easier to attack the US or Europe than to attack a well fortified small group of Arab royalty.


Terrorism is a tactic of guerrilla warfare. It's a stateless enemy of insurgent revolt against a tyranny. As we now well know, it has nothing to do with a nation like Iraq. Only after the US invasion did suicide bombing become especially widespread and kamikaze in style.


Peaceful Solutions

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Mark Biskeborn is a novelist: Mojave Winds, A Sufi's Ghost, Mexican Trade. Short Stories: California & Beyond. Poetry & Essays. For more details: See Mark's stories on or wherever books are (more...)
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