• Diplomacy, Not Imperialism: The Key to a More Peaceful Future


    The title of this post is the message I have been trying to get across to many proponents of US intervention in Middle Eastern countries. This post is a response to a fellow Skeptic Ink blogger, The Prussian, about how to best solve the conflicts raging in the Middle East. His post is a response to an earlier post of mine about how to achieve that. His most recent piece is a response to my response.

    I’d like to begin by stating that I can understand where The Prussian is coming from. As it so happens, I’m very good at seeing things from other vantage points and I can understand his views on the issue. However, my views are informed by facts and historical context, in which The Prussians do not appear to be. I believe he sees the Arab world as a violent, irrational place, filled with people that cannot be rationalized with. Therefore, bombing and killing them all is our only choice. At least this is what his view sounds like according to his writings on the subject.

    With this post (and all previous ones) I’ve tried to dispel these misunderstandings and show that the Arabs, by and large, are not that different from you or me. Obviously, there are those minority of extremists, but those are not the people I’m talking about, but I lay out a plan of action against these people – and it doesn’t involve carpet-bombing an entire civilization in order to do it.

    When you use such extreme tactics, such as war, countless innocents are needlessly killed and I cannot understand this viewpoint, no matter how hard I try. But, as I demonstrate below, there is a more effective way. A more moral and humane way that doesn’t leave lifeless bodies in our wake.

    I hope that my point will come across more effectively than it did previously. However, that requires that The Prussian take a step back and look at the larger picture. I will try to explain that picture now.

    Imperialism is the Ultimate Issue

    Undergirding many of these terrorist attacks is the issue of imperialism. Yes, I’m sorry to have to break it to you, but the US is an imperialist nation (Obama even said as much in front of the UN about a week ago, saying that he would use any means necessary, including military force, to acquire oil) and this is the broader picture that many don’t seem to see. While the US no longer has colonies, per se, what it does have is its “colonies” of over 725 military bases that span thirty-eight countries. In 2001 alone the number of both military and civilian personnel that remain on these bases is approximately 531,227 people. [1]

    The host nations (“host” is putting it mildly since many places, such as the Middle East, the US used its military force to place bases in the region against the desire of the population during many of its recent conflicts, such as in Iraq) that have its land usurped by the US military industrial complex which then then foists oftentimes very one-sided Status of Forces Agreements (or SOFA) which essentially cedes that part of the land entirely to US control and jurisdiction. Two experts on SOFA, Andrew Wells and Rachel Cornwell, write,

    Most SOFAs are written so that national courts cannot exercise legal jurisdiction over U.S. Military personnel who commit crimes against local people, except in special cases where the U.S. ,military authorities agree to transfer jurisdiction.” [2]

    There are many examples of injustice due to these “agreements” with host nations, however I will cite only a few to save on time. My sources contain more examples if you feel so inclined to research these incidents yourself. To quote Chalmers Johnson,

    In Korea, [criminal] suspects still get handed over to local authorities only after being convicted by a U.S. military court. Similarly, in Italy, the American fliers charged in 1998 with flying so low that their jet cut a ski-lift cable, plunging twenty skiers to their deaths, were returned to the States for a military trial where, to the outrage of Italians, they were exonerated of responsibility. [3]

    For those who may argue that these bases are there to ensure peace, I would remind you that the rationale for these bases has changed over time. First, the excuse was to contain the Communist threat. Next, it was to contain terrorist threat and it seems the US has mightily seized on this rationale for its current imperialist adventures. These are mere excuses to expand the US empire and sphere of control and influence. To give one example, in April of 1997 the US Secretary of Defense William Cohen said that the US intended to “keep its forces stationed in Korea even if the two Koreas reunite.” [4] There is no reason for this. Therefore, it stands to reason that the only reason for the military presence in Korea, as elsewhere, is purely due to the US’s imperialist ambitions. And, as I quoted Obama above, he has come out and admitted this.

    The unpleasant role of the US in the world is long and varied but more often than not, it is to the determent of the local populations and a boon to the US. Where is the fairness or purpose in that?

    Terrorism is Often a Response to Imperialism

    The video I posted in a comment to an earlier post was posted only as further evidence of what I’ve said in the past: that many terrorist actions were a response to US imperial actions, such as the invading of Middle Eastern lands for oil that the video mentioned as a reason for the attack upon the mall. Of this video The Prussian writes,

    In a nutshell, the difference between us is that AA believes that atrocities like the Kenya mall attack should lead us to accede to the killers demands and betray our friends, while I say that they should lead us to redouble our support for our friends and shoot the killers like rats.
    Now I know what will be said: “Who said anything about betraying our friends?” Unfortunately, that is what the practical flip side of pandering to the jihadists is. That is most obvious in the case of Israel, but it is a case that remains real across the board. I have spoke with no end of secular Hindus from India who are filled with baffled rage at the US’s continued indulgence of Pakistan. A similar point regards AA’s comments on this atrocity, where he emphasizes the West’s support for Kenya’s smashing of the Islamic Courts Movements. Now, he infers that “the US should change its policy”, by laying off the Al Shabab, and presumably cutting support for Kenya’s fight against them.
    That will be seen by Kenya and Christian Africa as betrayal, pure and simple. President Obama’s brother, Shabik Obama, has come on record saying that he is appealing to his brother to keep the faith. Those are simple and powerful words – and if Obama fails to come through on them, I will think even less of him than I do already.
    The belief that the only choice is to “win hearts and minds” in the Muslim lands leads to suicidal acts of stupidity, the attempts to build democracy in this part of the world, the relentless flattering of thuggish “community leaders”, the ongoing flow of aid, the refusal to switch our oil dependency, continued flow of unchecked Islamic immigration etc.

    Firstly, I do not see the point in responding to the video since it had nothing to do with my post. I merely posted it to further drive home my point that US actions cause these kinds of violence. I in no way advocate allowing people to needlessly harm others. What I want to see is the cycle of violence to stop, and those who advocate further violence, like the Prussian, are simply prolonging the conflict, leading more violence and more death to innocent people. I cited evidence of this fact in my last post.

    The US’s past and current imperialist actions are a direct cause of these acts. The Prussian has it entirely backwards. It is not that I want to give free reign to terrorists to commit atrocities. I call on the US to change its tactics because these very tactics the US employs to “fight terrorism” is what causes these acts of retribution. This, along with the US’s past and current imperialist actions, as was cited in the video. I’ve already discussed in several previous posts what I view as a more effective and moral solution. However, in brief, I advocate a law enforcement approach, which has been proven effective countless times over the years to capture violent people.

    Now, as I noted in the previous post of mine, many of these hangovers from the US’s imperialism, such as its military bases and troops stationed permanently there, are a direct cause of violence and it is this I think the US should abandon, pack up their billions of dollars worth of bases and personnel, and this would help put a stop to much of the violence. In addition, if the US wants oil, it should enter into negotiations with Middle Eastern governments, as it did in the in the early 1900’s, rather than invade a country, take over their oil fields, and simply take it by force.

    Many Actors, Many Motivations

    I am well aware that these issues are not the only issues causing violence in the Middle East. I am also well aware of the religious conflicts, particularly in Iraq at the moment. I think an irony that must be stressed is that it was the US invasion that created much of this sectarian violence in the first place. [5]

    It must be remembered that religious extremists are a minority in the Middle East. If you take on a large bombing or drone campaign, who are you killing? Sure, you might kill several extremists (as the US has) but at the same time, you will also end up killing many innocent people. This causes many issues. One of which is you give motivation to those who may have been on the fence, or hostile to the extremists, and oftentimes these victims of US attacks join radical groups simply to seek revenge for the killing of loved ones. Second, by killing many innocents and destroying a town’s infrastructure, you also destroy any hope of gaining stability in the region, further causing disorder and providing opportunities for the extremists to come in and try to take over. These are all very bad outcomes, but it is precisely what has been occurring in the Middle East because of these war-like tactics the US has engaged in. Military force is not a reliable solution to this conflict.

    The Prussian continues with an argument he’s used before. He writes,

    No, there is no restraint, no quarter, no peace, no mercy for such people. The US should be sending some of its drones to support the Nigerian Christians in shooting this lot like rats. And if the argument is “we can’t just keep on doing this, it’ll inspire more terrorists”, let me assure you that they will be shot like rats too.

    As I pointed out in my last piece, this use of all out war and murder will only lead to more violence (I even cited a government document admitting the same!). Regarding this argument, I’ve actually responded to it in an earlier post about the drone war, though I did not cite where I found the argument, since it is fairly common. You can find my legal and moral arguments in the section titled “This is WAR: “[T]here was ‘before’ 9/11 and ‘after’ 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves come off. ” – Cofer Black, 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, September 26, 2002

    Needless to say, The Prussian’s choice of tactics will only lead to more deaths and more violence. Even more disturbing is the stark similarity with this view to that of the neocons is frightening. When George W. Bush occupied the White House and it was suggested that the Bush administration begin a dialogue with Iran and Dick Cheney replied, “We don’t speak to evil.” [6] Similarity, neocon nutcase Ann Coulter said of the Middle East: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.” The Coulter quote, with the exception of forced conversion to Christianity, is eerily similar to The Prussian’s statement above. And it is just as inhumane and counterproductive. How in the hell did this ludicrous neocon war nonsense creep into the general population? Let alone that of supposedly liberal, intelligent atheists? Any atheist who says such a thing sounds exactly like the right-wing reactionaries just quoted. Of course, I realized exactly this odd (and frightening) phenomenon several months ago, when I mentioned it in a previous post.

    He continues,

    This is not about the US. Please look at any of my weekly Jihad round ups and explain to me how these are all down to US policy.
    Is it US policy why the Islamic fanatics just killed twenty six students? Is it US policy why they murdered in East Timor? Is it US policy why they cut Theo van Gogh’s throat? Is it US policy why they killed two million Christians and Animists in the Sudan? Is it US policy why they try to destroy India?
    This is about more than you. Get with it.

    Obviously. And I said as much in my last response but it appears he has ignored it. I wrote,

    I’m sorry my post bothered him so much, but perhaps he should have tried to understand why I wrote it, rather than jumping to conclusions. There are two reasons why I focused so much on the US’s relationship with the Middle East. 1) The debate that has taken place has mainly surrounded the US’s drone attacks in the region. Is any other country currently in the Middle East employing drones that have been killing hundreds of innocent civilians? No. Therefore, I rightfully tried to take a look at relations between the US and the Middle East in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, because clearly more violence isn’t doing anything to help the situation. 2) I focused on what were the main complains of the Arab world and the vast majority of them cited issues with the US and their foreign policy.

    As I alluded to earlier, I understand very well that not all attacks are due to US actions abroad, but a large part of them are, particularly those directed toward the US, which again, has been my main focus because, as I noted above, the issue being discussed was drones and I was writing my post in that context. I had hoped I explained myself as clearly as possible my reasons for focusing on what I did, but I suppose not. Or perhaps it is a case of cognitive dissonance.

    He continues,

    AA says that he is sorry that I’m irritated about this, but there is a parochial tone that works on my nerves. Given my quotation of the violent anti-Semitism of the New York imam, AA comments:

    He was clearly referring to his anti-Jewish views and attacking Jews specifically (likely due to the rivalry that has existed between the two groups for decades because of the Jewish state’s treatment of the Palestinians). He was also discussing the anti-Muslim violence and discrimination that occurred after the 9/11 attacks. He was in no way referring to grievances done to him by the US as The Prussian makes it appear.

    Leaving aside the gratuitous dig whereby anti-Semitism is justified because of Israel (as though Islamic anti-Semitism hasn’t existed for over a millennium), AA misses that that was exactly the point I was making. The tides of Jihad wash against many shores more bloodily than they do against the United States’. Now, if you wanted to argue that this isn’t any of the US’s business, it has to look to its own affairs – okay, I’d say that was contemptible, and ignores that the US has always been a beneficiary of the other Western nations, as well as that of the globe, but it would still be, just about, defensible.

    However, in point of fact – vide the support for Pakistan, vide the ongoing Saudi relationship, vide Kerry running his ignorant yap… Neutralism just isn’t an option here. It’s a matter of whose side you’re on.

    If, as he says, his argument was essentially to cite this single individual, from an obscure interview, to somehow “prove” that Arab hostility towards Israel is not due to their treatment of the Palestinians, I do not know what to say to such myopia. Finding one obscure interview doesn’t automatically wipe out the years and years of quotes one could cite, showing that Arab emotions are highly charged due to how the state of Israel treats the Palestinians. It must also be understood that anger towards Israel is often bundled with anger towards the US because the US supports Israel militarily.

    Finally, I should note that his alleged anti-Semitic views may not even be due to actual anti-Semitism. It may be he was simply lashing out in anger at Jews, saying whatever insults came to mind, due to his feelings about the Palestinian issue. But all this is speculation since we cannot read his mind and he doesn’t elaborate on why he said what he said about the Jews in the interview. Oftentimes, those who criticize the critics of Israelis or Israeli policy wrongly conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

    He continues,

    The fact that this begins and ends with religion.
    AA makes a projection that doesn’t hold water: the distinction between religion and politics. However, in Islam, religion and politics have always been one and the same – year one of Islam is the hijrah, which marks the dawn of Islam as a political project. AA focuses on what he thinks of as political points – but, to the believing Muslim, matters such as the West’s permission of homosexuality and usury are every bit as much political. AA dismisses my point that the Al Qaeda declaration of war against the West included a section on Bill Clinton’s promiscuity:
    After this he also claims that former president Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades was a reason bin Laden decided to attack the US. Unfortunately, he cites no sources, and I’ve never heard of such a thing. I think I can safely dismiss this argument because resorting to speculation isn’t convincing.
    I am tempted to respond that someone who hasn’t done his reading isn’t very convincing… There is a very small book, easily obtainable and cheap at the price: The Al Qaeda reader. If you go and read it, you will find exactly that quotation, along with a whole number of other lines. You will also find Zawahiri declaring that “democratic Muslim” means about as much as “Christian Muslim” – such a person is an “apostate infidel”. You will also find out that Zawahiri explicitly says that deposing an impious regime is justified – mandated – rebellion against an Islamic tyrant is not.

    It’s not just all about religion. I do not see how this fact can be denied, and I do not know how many times it will take to get it through so many peoples’ thick skulls. It’s not just about religion.

    Yes, religion certainly is a factor, but many of the most common reasons are purely political, having to do with the US’s foreign policy. I suppose I could return his volley about my lack of reading and argue that he clearly is ignoring many of the stated reasons for the attacks even in his very own sources (ie. The Al Qaeda Reader).

    I found the letter by bin Laden explaining his motivations cited in The Al Qaeda Reader titled, “bin Laden’s ‘letter to America,” and even here he makes clear the political nature of his grievances. As a matter of fact, his first stated grievance is: “Because you attacked us and continue to attack us. ” I don’t think it could get much clearer.

    Having said this, he also does cite religious issues as well. However, it appears that this is all The Prussian is able to see. But what about the killing of men, women, and children (“It will suffice to remind you of your latest war crimes in Afghanistan, in which densely populated innocent civilian villages were destroyed, bombs were dropped on mosques causing the roof of the mosque to come crashing down on the heads of the Muslims praying inside.”), the support of Israel, and their brutality against the Palestinians (“These governments have surrendered to the Jews, and handed them most of Palestine, acknowledging the existence of their state over the dismembered limbs of their own people.”), and the theft of Middle Eastern resources (“You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of you international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world.”)? Many of these reasons I’ve cited – and more – are all there. But he ignores each and every one of these obviously policy related grievances. Perhaps he ought to re-read the letter to get a fuller picture of the grievances listed.

    I’ve never denied that there is a religious element to this conflict, but the majority of the Arab world’s stated grievances are over US foreign policy. If The Prussian were being honest with himself he would see that this is not just about religion. The Arabs do have several legitimate grievances that must be dealt with if this conflict -between east and west- is to have an end.

    As far as bin Laden being angry over Clinton’s sexual misconduct that was a stated grievance, one that I hadn’t come across before. Thank you for pointing it out. However, I think it would have helped had he cited his sources the first time. I searched the internet for quite some time looking for this connection between Clinton and bin Laden and the only thing I found were news reports about bin Laden’s alleged plot to kill Clinton.

    One final point on the political vs. religious justifications. A book I’ve read that details these and many other foreign policy grievances by the Arab world, was actually read by Osama bin Laden and he had this to say about it:

    If you have a genuine will to achieve security and peace, we have already answered you.
    If Bush declines but to continue lying and practicing injustice [against us], it is useful for you to read the book of “The Rogue State”, the introduction of which reads: If I were a president, I would halt the operations against the United States.
    First, I will extend my apologies to the widows, orphans, and the persons who were tortured. Afterwards, I will announce that the US interference in the world’s countries has ended for ever.

    The full text of Blum’s is as follows:

    “If I were the president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize – very publicly and very sincerely – to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. I would then announce that America’s global interventions – including the awful bombings – have come to an end. And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but – oddly enough – a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims and repair the damage from the many American bombings and invasions. There would be more than enough money. Do you know what one year of the US military budget is equal to? One year. It’s equal to more than $20,000 per hour for every hour since Jesus Christ was born.
    “That’s what I’d do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I’d be assassinated.” [7]

    Blum’s books, of which I own most, are filled with the immoral foreign policy decisions of the leaders of this country over the last several decades that has often lead to acts of retributive violence against the West. I looked into The Prussian’s recommended book. I extend to him the same offer. Read several of Blum’s books and then you will understand many of these actions that the US has carried out that are immoral.
    Earlier he had argued,

    AA makes a projection that doesn’t hold water: the distinction between religion and politics. However, in Islam, religion and politics have always been one and the same – year one of Islam is the hijrah, which marks the dawn of Islam as a political project. AA focuses on what he thinks of as political points – but, to the believing Muslim, matters such as the West’s permission of homosexuality and usury are every bit as much political.

    The Prussian has horribly misunderstood what I argued. In my original post I wrote:

    Contrary to the US propaganda it is not a “hatred” of Western values or democracy or even freedom that causes much of the Muslim world to hate the US. As a matter of fact, the bulk of the Arab world want precisely that: democracy and freedom.

    The study I linked to demonstrated that the vast majority of the Muslim world wanted democracy. It appeared to me that The Prussian simply ignored this fact and locked his sights on only one aspect of what Muslims want: Islam in Political Life. He was attempting to argue that Islam and Democracy were two entirely incompatible ideas, arguing that Muslims want their religious beliefs (which can often be anti-democratic) to be a core part of their political process.

    I responded by citing scholarly literature describing Muslim countries that were also democratic and the complex issues involved, given the sometimes fundamentalist views of some Muslims. Of course, despite their highly religious society democratic values still existed. This fact completely refutes his claim that the two cannot co-exist.

    While I agree it can be a tricky situation, this really all depends on the level of religious devotion of the society. Given that extremists are a minority, there is no reason democratic values cannot thrive in an Islamic country (as they in fact have).

    In this reply, he has ignored these facts once again and restates his original argument. Yes, Middle Eastern politics and religion are are often bound together, but that is not the point. The point is at what level of religiosity is Islam anti-democratic and at which level of religiosity are democratic values still upheld, given the very religious nature of the society (ie. how much religious freedom is there, personal freedom, etc.)?

    The Prussian continues,

    I am getting increasingly tired of these snide little asides. This is that parochialism once again. The 9/11 attacks were horrible, but the cartoon riots enabled Islam to have a de facto veto over freedom of expression throughout the Western world. Which of these is the more dangerous, civilizational speaking? This is also the basis for my pessimism about Muslim desires for freedom – if Muslim minorities in already democratic societies can effectively assault the most important freedom we have, what are the chances that the Islamic heartland desires liberty?

    I stand by what I had said. My posts were about the US’s relations with the Middle East, which has nothing to do with Denmark. I’m sorry that he doesn’t care for someone dismissing his arguments, but when they miss the point of someone’s argument I don’t know what else to say. However, if he’d like to discuss religious extremists let’s discuss it and what we can do about it in more detail.

    As I alluded to earlier, a military campaign is not the way to handle religious extremists. Bombs, drones, etc. all cause massive causalities and destruction of both civilian and government infrastructure. This obviously causes mass amounts of civil war, poverty, medical emergencies, and numerous other depressing outcomes for the inhabitants who may become a victim to such attacks.

    It must be remembered that religious extremists have a minority of support. [8] The best way to handle this group of fundamentalists is to isolate them. Don’t bomb entire villages, killing many innocents. That only makes the surrounding population feel sympathy for the extremists and it often leads to new recruits who want revenge. If you aid the majority of people out of poverty, show them true democratic reform, and they will aid in isolating the extremists. Bombing and drones will not accomplish this. There is not a military solution to this problem. Not if you want to see a possible end to the conflict. Violence only begets violence. Even the US government said the same thing! A DoD report said,

    Historical data show a strong correlation between US involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States. […] When evidence pointed to Libya as the culprit behind the LaBelle Disco bombing in Berlin, which killed two US soldiers and injured many, the United States retaliated with an air strike in April 1986 against specific Libyan targets in Tripoli. The popular belief for years was that this US attack suppressed Libyan activity in support of terrorism. However, an examination of events in subsequent years paints a different picture. Instead, Libya continued, through transnational actors, to wage a revenge campaign over a number of years as summarized in Figure 2. (pg. 15)


    War will not work. Hate will not work. Ignorance of the facts will not work. Diplomacy and smart, targeted, and limited actions to suppress aggressors, and bring genuine help to the majority of the population, are the best tools to fight extremists.

    I’ve tried to demonstrate over and over again the wrong-headed views that have been promulgated the last several years. These views come from right-wing extremists, like Dick Cheney and other neocons, and somehow this ludicrious viewpoint has gone largely mainstream, even though it violates every domesitc and international law known to man.

    This is not about “appeasing terrorists.” It is about diplomacy and treating fellow human beings with respect.

    I can hear it now: “Why should we treat them with respect, when they try to kill us!? Are you nuts??!!”

    The US began these long series of conflcits with its many covert operations in the Middle East that toppled elected leaders, and invaded and killed innocent civilians, while taking control of their land’s resources, and supporting other imperialist nations, like Israel.

    This historical context must be understood in order to understand the various disputes and conflicts that are now taking place. I do not condone violence by any side, but to understand the violent episodes of blowback that have befallen the United States, it’s important to understand this history. The US has much to apologize for and it unfortunately continues to make the same mistakes in believing that war is always the answer. Well, I think several decades of war and blowback and more war and more blowback has proven this strategy to be be entirely unworkable.

    1. The Sorrow of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, by Chalmers Johnson, Henry Holt & Co., 2004; 154

    2. Ibid.; 36

    3. Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, by Chalmers Johnson, Henry Holt & Co., 2004; 44

    4. Ibid.; 128

    5. Prior to the US invasion, the region was somewhat stable, as far as sectarian strife went under Saddam Hussein. Prior to the US invasion and the Taliban takeover due to said invasion, women actually had rights under Hussein’s secular government. In addition, this sectarian strife was “rare to non-existent under Saddam Hussein, when Shias and Sunnis regularly intermarried and Muslims […]” (America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy: The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else, by William Blum, Zed Books, 2013; 324) Prior to the US invasion, “the country had a government that was relatively progressive, with full rights for women; even a Pentagon report of the time testified to the actuality of women’s rights in the country. And what happened to that government? The United States was instrumental in overthrowing it. It was replaced by the Taliban.” (The Anti-Empire Report: America’s other glorious war, January 3rd, 2009 – accessed 9-30-13) Even United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said the same thing in 2006, that Iraq was better off before the US invasion. He said, “They had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, ‘Am I going to see my child again?’”

    6. Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U.S., by Trita Parsi, Yale University Press, 2007; 248

    7. The Anti-Empire Report: How I spent my 15 minutes of fame, February 14th, 2006 – accessed 9-30-13

    8. In the study I cited previously there is a chart depicting the level of support for such extremist groups in the Middle East, such as al Qaeda, Taliban, Hamas, and Hezbollah. The break down is as follows.

    Turkey: 10% support for Hamas; 6% support for Hezbollah; 6% support for al Qaeda; 7% support for Taliban.

    Egypt: 39% support for Hamas; 20% support for Hezbollah; 19% support for al Qaeda; 19% support for Taliban.

    Jordan: 44% support for Hamas; 29% support for Hezbollah; 14% support for al Qaeda; 10% support for Taliban.

    Lebanon: 30% support for Hamas; 40% support for Hezbollah; 2% support for al Qaeda; 2% support for Taliban.

    Tunisia: 50% support for Hamas; 46% support for Hezbollah; 16% support for al Qaeda; 12% support for Taliban.

    Pakistan: 15% support for Hamas; 15% support for Hezbollah; 13% support for al Qaeda; 13% support for Taliban.

    As I said previously, historical context must be understood to understand the current conflicts. All The Prussian sees when he looks at many of these percentages is a large support for terrorists. However, look at which groups have more support, like Hamas and Hezbollah. In the Arab world’s eyes they see these groups as freedom fighters, who were created to help free the Palestinians from the oppressive Israeli state. But even support for these so-called “freedom fighters” does not rise above 50%, and most of the population in most of the countries looked at have much less support than that.

    NOTE: At the request of “The Prussian” I have deleted all comments on this post.

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    Article by: Arizona Atheist