The Gordian Knot of Middle East Terrorism

(Washington Post) Colbert I. King - Since the signing of the Oslo agreements in 1993, suicide bombing missions against Israelis have numbered in the hundreds. Now, with increasing frequency, suicide terrorism is targeting Americans and U.S. interests in Iraq. What have we gotten ourselves into? Jessica Stern, a former Hoover Institution and Council on Foreign Relations fellow and currently a lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, spent years interviewing terrorists. Stern said it's pretty clear that poverty in and of itself does not cause terrorism. She said the most important elements "have to do with a feeling of humiliation and a desire for a clear identity, more than poverty or lack of education." If poverty were a prime cause of terrorism, Stern said, we would see a lot more of it in poor countries. "A person engaging in suicide murder has decided he or she can control more through his or her death than through life," she said.

2003-10-21 00:00:00

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