Terrorism in US, A New Prospective
by Nasser G. Dezfuli, April 20, 2013
In the past two decades, terrorist attacks have claimed the lives of many Americans and every time the Americans ask itself why and for what reason? Until now however, the American public has not received a convincing answer to its questions for the authorities.
The truth is that terrorism in the United States is rooted in the lifestyle of Americans: One is rooted in extremism of the right, which is a kind of American chauvinism propagated as nationalism; and the second arises from its counterpart left side that are concern about immigration rules and regulation.
The most important problem when dealing with right extremist terrorism in America – exemplified in the explosion in the Oklahoma State Building or the attack against a movie theater in Colorado leaving tens of people killed behind is that we Americans are less sensitive about it as compared with terrorism emanating from foreign sources or international terrorism.
In fact, we consider it a kind of domestic or national terrorism, but in reality, violence has become institutionalized in American culture through various means, notably Hollywood. Some foreign terrorist incidents too may be rooted in this issue. Explosion of the twin towers in New York and the attack against the Boston Marathon were both before depicted in Hollywood movies such as “The Towering Inferno” or the book titled “Heartbreak Hill” authored by Tom Lonergen.
In the Virginia Tech attack in 2007 leading to the killing of 32 students, professors and employees in the hands of a South Korean youth, the words uttered were exactly the words of a Chechen youth called Tamerlane: “I have no American friends and I do not understand them.”
Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, apart from invading Afghanistan and Iraq, the George W. Bush administration started – with its Western allies and a group of experts from the Middle East – an effort to identify the roots of terrorism which finally led to the Great Middle East project. An area encompassing mostly Islamic states from the Horn of Africa to the Balkans including Central Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
In this plan, the differences between cultures, the desire to emigrate from the East to the West because of dictatorial and corrupt regimes, were implicitly identified as the main reasons behind terrorism and a factor destabilizing internal security. Therefore, political reforms were recommended in Middle Eastern countries. Establishment of democracies in the region, emancipating the women, independence and self-rule, free elections, economic liberalism and social and political freedoms constituted the main pillars of such political reforms.
Experts involved in formulation of this project analyzing the official statistical data provided by Middle Eastern governments and reviewing the political, economic, social and security situations in these countries reached the conclusion that continuity of the state of affairs led by the authoritarian regimes of these countries would not result in anything but increased emigration to the West. The only way of forcing the rulers of these countries was revision of the behavior of those political regimes. Had this recommendation been followed back in 2005, today we would neither witness the Arab Spring revolutions, nor the wave of emigration and some terrorist attacks.
Reactions of regional states to the New Middle East on the other hand were interesting. Dictatorial regimes dependent to the Western block, ranging from Egypt to the Sheikhdoms of the Southern parts of the Persian Gulf, rather than taking the positive aspects of this plan – which could have prolonged their rule. They were claiming knowledge of the endogenous population, they resisted changing their political structures. Religious dictatorial regimes such as Iran, and secular states dependent on the Eastern block, such as Syria and Libya too considered it a conspiracy considered it a conspiracy following attacks against of Afghanistan and Iraq and targeted to topple their regimes and positioned themselves against it.
Now, eight years have passed since the plan was archived at the US Department of State. In the course of this time, several regimes in the Middle East have been changed as an effect of the Arab Spring, and the political vacuum in these states has led to anarchy, religious extremism, and increased emigration to the West, and different groups of people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Syria have emigrated to the United States and European countries to take residence. This is exactly what the New Middle East aimed at preventing. Violence and authoritarianism continues in most countries of the region and there is no sign of real change in these countries, not even by the new ruling elites.
The terrorist attack against the Boston Marathon was perpetrated by two youth brother called Tamerlane and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from Central Asia. The host country – the United States – has not denied them any help. The sons of a mechanic called Anzor from the Makhachkala of Dagestan whose brethren and sisters have sought asylum in the West looking forward to a brighter future, resided in Massachusetts famed for peacefulness and propagation of culture and education. Education at some of the best educational centers, and by giving scholarships to people who do not resemble their hosts. However, the hosts, even after the killing and wounding of almost two hundred people, still speak venerably about them. The adults of this family grew up in the tense atmosphere of the Middle East and the Caucasus, but had no inclination towards perpetrating terrorist acts. The children however, who grew up in the paradise of the United States, suddenly became terrorists. This is the factor which makes the problem more complicated, and necessitates a closer look at the phenomenon of terrorism in the United States. This is the issue about which one must look for a decisive answer based on reality, and not clichés.