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World Conflict

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            It cannot be denied that the world today in its “coldest” sense is in a state of conflict as displayed by the tension going on between Western civilization and the Middle East, and within Middle East nations themselves. Even if it sounds quite biased or judgmental, these skirmishes have always been linked in one way or another to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Pan-Islamic terrorism. After the 9/11 incident which annihilated the World Trade Center and threatened the Pentagon, the American nation as well as the world beyond America have felt tensed as to the next uncertain clashes that could possibly take place. Attributing these unpleasant happenings to some terrorist organizations existing worldwide, it is generalized that the common ground among all these world conflict is Islamic supremacy or terrorism in the name of religion combined with political, economic, social, legal, ethical, psychological and cultural reasons.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is part of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is an ongoing dispute between two peoples: Jewish Israelis and Arab Palestinians, who both claim the right to sovereignty over the Land of Israel/Palestine in whole or in part (“Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” 2007, para. 1). The territories under dispute include the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem .This disagreement did not happen “overnight” so to say. It can be traced back to about a century filled with political dissent and ajar aggression. As a fragment of the Arab-Israeli conflict, it desires to establish the State of Israel as a modern nation while granting independence to a number of Arab countries and to sanctify the relationship between these two opposing parties, allegedly Israel and the Arab communities. Many efforts to foster mutual co-existence have been done, however, no solid resolution to promote this end has been made since inequality in political rights and terrorist attacks are still existent. Israel therefore is struggling amidst the fact that it is the only Christian-dominated nation in the Middle East.

Pan-Islamic Terrorism

Meanwhile, guided by a fundamentalist perspective, Pan-Islamic terrorism or World Islamic Front has espoused a global threat not only to the United States but to other advanced nations as well. Between the mid-1960’s and the mid-1990’s, the number of fundamentalists’ movements of all religious affiliations tripled worldwide (Ranstorp, 1996, para. 4). The actions of these Muslim groups are said to be highly inspired for the love of the religion, Islam, as manifested both religiously and politically. The ethno-religious conflict arising hereon is difficult to comprehend because of the mixture of factors including social and cultural unity amidst globalization embedded by a historical heritage as well as the controversies of political and economic repression, social disparity and turmoil, which are evident in most religious terrorists today.

Because of the threatening dominance of the West, the extremist groups sense the need to protect their religion from secularization by means of Islamic jihad — “a defensive doctrine, religiously sanctioned by leading Muslim theologians and fought against perceived aggressors, tyrants, and “wayward Muslims” (Ranstorp, 1996). In this dogma, any method or manner to defend one’s identity and religion (in this case the Islamic society) from external material and modern influences can be rationalized as illustrated by the 9/11 assault against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Among these Islamic terrorist organizations existing today include the Al-Qaeda, Fatah al-Islam, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Lashkar-e-Toiba. All these Islamist groups formulated their own tactics and strategy to spread large-scale threat all over the world by bombing, hijacking, kidnapping, executions and other newer forms of warfare which are substantially motivated to defend Islamic ideology and theology from Western supremacy.

The Connection between the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Pan-Islamic Terrorism

Given these descriptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Pan-Islamic terrorism in the Middle East and practically worldwide, the connection between these movements lie on the “crisis mentality” that has been induced by their environment. By crisis mentality, it is a frame of mind wherein these terrorists radicalized their thoughts because of the pressure to secure their religion, which is Islam, from outside forces. The rise of these religious terrorists cannot be attributed to religion alone but to a multiple complex grounds embodying social, political, economic, cultural, psychological, spiritual, legal and ethical dimensions. According to Hezbollah’s ideologist, Sheik Fadlallah, “When Islam fights a war, it fights like any other power in the world, defending itself in order to preserve its existence and its liberty, forced to undertake preventive operations when it is in danger.” Furthermore, Article 8 of the Hamas’ manifesto exemplifies that jihad is the path of war and that “death for the sake of Allah is its most sublime belief.”  With this philosophy, it can otherwise be said that these extremist groups will use the power in the context of war to fight for their religious identity whatever the means.

To explain it socially, politically and culturally, these drastic measures may have come from discrimination and personal sufferings in their locality especially in areas where Muslims are the minority. These people have implanted in their minds that they are being singled out and prejudiced. Because of the dominating ruling order and intensified by pride, they resort to Islamic jihad to compensate for their insecurities and defend their rights and privileges however you may call that. From a political standpoint, the decision to organize these religious groups to steer away from secularization and modernization by the West, may have increased their feeling of being marginalized, oppressed and social outcasts. If the cause for alienation comes from within a particular nation, it could be that overriding political parties have rejected Islamic rights

and autonomy such as the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thus this threat of secularization and internal political disputes in part have contributed in catalyzing religious extremists to emerge and strive for clandestine and open aggressiveness and hostilities.

Religiously speaking, the irony of these Islamic terrorists is that the name of their organizations all present religious authority and historical validity possibly to make an excuse for their actions especially to their disciples and converts. To cite an example, there is Hezbollah which literally means “Party of God.” By providing a concrete theology, the Islamist groups can successfully obtain more followers. Spiritually, these religious leaders have inculcated in the minds of the activists that their imperatives are for Islam and thus blessing their terrorist acts and their so-called sacred causes. A model of this is Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution in Iran. This incident has inspired the formation of the Hezbollah based in Lebanon but Israel’s attack in 1982 had automated its physical organization.

            In terms of ethics, these extremists considered total isolation and persecution from their enemies unethical which is why they zeroed in on tyranny to initiate proliferation of violence as legal, using it as a defense of their Islamic faith and people. These views eventually led to the creation of militant, dictatorial and fanatical recruits among present-day Islamist groups composed of young and literate members in contrast to the stereotyped uncivilized and disgraced members of the Islamic community. It is not merely the strength of arms and the ability to go into battle that are considered here but the intellectual capacities of the fighters as well.

The Western Foreign Policy and Proliferation of Terrorism

It appears to most people these days that terrorism is something new and novel. But historically, terrorism in whatever form it may take, has already existed way back centuries ago. However, “in the late 20th century, terrorist activity accelerated” (Brink, 2005). Most of these undertakings were solely attributed to the interventionist policy of the West particularly the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. Among the nations found to be directly advancing terrorist groups include Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Cuba, and North Korea. In fact, after years of Israeli-Palestine dispute, some Middle East organizations have exerted efforts in eliminating U.S. military services and those behind it away from Israel. Some are even espousing to exterminate Israel itself from the Middle East. Thus, the manifestation as to how these so-called “terrorist basins” purely detest U.S. arbitration to the problem.

Western countries have displayed varying reactions towards global terrorism. One of these responses included the establishment of an extensive Anti-Terrorist Coalition supported by Germany, Great Britain and the United States. What is reported by media is the American and British intercession to solve the threatening situation making these dominating countries “look like heroes.” But contrarily, Western Foreign Policy have always been a major factor in the upsurge of Islamic extremism in that most of these courses of action are viewed as partial and biased on the part of the Muslim community. Taking the case of the 9/11 attacks.

The Twin Towers and the Pentagon were representations of American power being centers of US economic and military sovereignty. Yes, the al-Qaeda members declared themselves guilty of the assault of the two detonated infrastructures for the purpose of voicing out their ideological goals. But does the United States’ retaliation by destroying the al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and their Taliban government justify their “revenge”? One nation attacking another nation can be considered a terrorist act. If this logic serves it right, then the United States can be considered a terrorist for destroying Afghanistan and defends the assault by saying it was an obligation to protect the American people regardless of the American soldiers who die in battle when in fact, these deaths can be avoided by peaceful reconciliation. Now it is a clash between a so-called “ideology” of the Afghans and a so-called “obligation” for the Americans. Who is the real terrorist now?

            The denouncement of Western Foreign Policy as seen by the growing incidences of extremism simply shows that there is something missing in this policy. To deal with this worldwide dilemma, the root causes must be given relief, not merely the smaller and obvious signs and symptoms of the problem. Like a disease, it must be given permanent and effective medication. The reality now is actually that the West never listens to the cries of the East. The West implemented policies thinking they are applicable to all nations without considering individual differences of each. The countries outside the West have their own social structure and institutional foundation which is entirely unique. The West seems to fail in recognizing this and advance their own courses of action which may be inapplicable to said regions.

Given these circumstances, it is needless to question why terrorist proliferation due to Western Foreign Policy is subsisting. The West should understand that they should not only think about what is good for their own countries but what is good for most, if not all, countries. This does not imply, however, that the West cannot instill its own policies. What is of the essence here is the elimination of prejudice and discrimination which is very eminent in Western Foreign Policy. These bigotries are evident by the representation of Middle East countries by Western media. These nations are dominated by Muslims which are also criticized by the West. According to Islam for Today (n.d.),

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West. Nevertheless, the West has many stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam that are due to the media, prejudice, and ignorance. Islam is often looked upon as an “extremist”, “terrorist”, or “fundamental” religion. Many people hate Islam and do not want to acknowledge its true teachings. In many cases, the media’s reports about Islam are incorrect due to ignorance (para. 1).

Because of these inaccurate information delivered by Western media to the public, many people all over the world despised Islam and Muslims.

Technological Advancement among Terrorist Organizations

Terrorism though can be drawn historically for centuries can still be appreciated at its finest during the modern times since in most part, its proliferation can be materialized only through mass media because this is where people can be best informed. It can also be generalized as a vicious battle between non-state organizations and modern states which are struggling for supremacy and world domination. With the rise of and subsequently the need for globalization, communication technology has become an important instrument to hasten transactions among countries and communities, near or far. There is clear, factual evidence that Islamic terrorist groups are using information technologies to facilitate propaganda, recruitment and training, fundraising, communications, and targeting operations (Institute for Security Technology Studies, n.d.). By and large, the terrorists engage in psychological warfare in the web by gathering data and statistical records, advertising and publicity, e-networking, strategic planning and synchronization of activities among members. To relate it with current internet technology, terms such as “web of terror” and “E-jihadists” have been adopted to refer to those jihad advocates who take advantage of the internet to further their terrorist movements.

            To spread their message, terrorists create chat rooms, blogs and video games where budding recruits could possibly be motivated to join their organization by going on orientation and training in their designated camps. Though this method of recruitment is not that efficient, it is still useful to some extent in terms information drive. Researchers claim that most recruits are actually members of group studies or training participants wherein the terrorist guiding principles are taught and are said to have “brainwashed” the newcomers. There are now more than 40 active terrorist organizations worldwide, according to United States Institute of Peace (USIP), including several in each of the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and Asia (Noyes, 2007). Every one of these groups has at least one website where they take on a multi-lingual approach of cyber-interaction. Some even use codes and secret language in communication. Nevertheless, an English translation of their messages is made available for the English-speaking audience. An example of online videogame representing terrorist campaign is “Quest for Bush” while “Jihad University” illustrates a virtual training in the internet.

Taking the case of al Qaeda, this worldwide pan-Islamic terrorist network is paving its way to overpower the icons of modern capitalist societies such as the incidents that happened in New York and Washington during the 9/11 attacks in 2001 of the World Trade Center and The Pentagon, respectively. These two structures are not the only targets but many other symbolic edifices anywhere in the world. In June 2004, al Qaeda’s “command center” in South Waziristan was ransacked wherein high-technology gadgets and equipment were confiscated including computer laptops, printers, CD burners and video apparatus which indicated that terrorist organizations nowadays rely on technological advancement in furthering their worldwide crusade.

In communication, al Qaeda has set up websites and other online services for web surfers by presenting attractive gimmicks or offers and by staying connected to popular internet sites as MySpace. According to Pakistani intelligence sources, the use of free and anonymous e-mail services such as Yahoo! or Hotmail by al Qaeda operatives is widespread (cited in Debat, 2006). The messages to be spread are not actually sent but saved as Drafts to prevent external intrusion. After which, the persons concerned open the same account by sharing the same password and then the “word” is then passed on. Online training is also active for al Qaeda to continue its operations thus the term “virtual training ground” for incoming members of the terrorist organization. Finally, one of al Qaeda’s most significant accomplishments is that from its formation in 1988, it has become the “main tree” which facilitated linkages among its branches — the smaller and minor jihad groups and communities all over the world. During the recent years, al Qaeda made use of the web to disseminate information and propaganda to all jihad advocates.

In conclusion, world conflict is still a very broad area needed to be explored. Terrorist organizations have their own reasons for pursuing their missions and visions. The Israeli-Palestine conflict had a very long history therefore it also takes a long time to resolve the issue of Israeli ownership. Pan-Islamic terrorism broadens because the campaigners have their own beliefs for doing such brutal acts. With the advent of globalization, political issues have become more complicated. A greater understanding of the situation must be assumed to continue living harmoniously with each other. As of the moment, what is important is that our leaders never ceased to explore how to go about our worldwide dilemmas.


Brink, P. (2005). Terrorism and Western Foreign Policy. Retrieved August 23, 2007, from http://ia300202.us.archive.org/3/items/Terrorism_and_Western_Foreign_Policy/TerrorismandWesternForeignPolicy.html

Debat, A. (2006). Al Qaeda’s Web of Terror. Retrieved August 23, 2007, from http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1706430&page=1

Institute for Security Technology Studies (n.d.). Examining the Cyber Capabilities of Islamic Terrorist Groups. Retrieved August 23, 2007, from http://www.ists.dartmouth.edu/TAG/cyber-capabilities-terrorist.htm

Islam for Today. (n.d.). Islam and the Western Media. Retrieved August 23, 2007, from http://www.islamfortoday.com/media.htm

“Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” (2007). Retrieved August 20, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli-Palestinian_conflict

Karsh, E. (2006). Pan-Muslim Friction. Retrieved August 20, 2007, from http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/middleeast/Pan-Muslim_Fiction.asp

Noyes, K. (2005). Web of Terror, Part 1: Extremists Take to the Net. Retrieved August 23, 2007, from http://www.technewsworld.com/story/58176.html

Press Association. (2005). Foreign Policy spurs Muslim Extremism. Guardian Limited. Retrieved August 23, 2007, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,12780,1639511,00.html

Ranstorp, M. (1996). Terrorism in the Name of Religion. Retrieved August 21, 2007, from http://www.ciaonet.org/wps/ram01/

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