Evolution of terror

In Iraq, the initial achievements of (Islamist) terrorism can be traced; there is probably no prospect of an end to the Muslim culture of terror for the time being

Since the first gross terrorist attacks by internationally operating Islamist terrorists, there have been significant strategic shifts following the war in Afghanistan and eventually Iraq. Obviously, the terrorist groups, strengthened by the wars and the occupation, feel more and more obliged to take into account sympathizers with their attacks and to justify their actions. The choice of victims is also more precisely adjusted in terms of political impact.

In the first crude attacks on the two U.S. embassies in Africa, or even on 11.9. 2001 on the WTC and the Pentagon spoke alone the act for itself, which spread over the media. The perpetrators and masterminds did not take responsibility and therefore only love to speculate and speculate about themselves and their motives to. However, since Osama bin Ladin had called in an interview for jihad against the U.S. and the Arab regimes close to it, and since thousands of people continued to be trained for terror in Taliban Afghanistan, the suspicion that bin Ladin and his al-Qaida network were behind the spectacular attacks was obvious. This also made him an adversary of George Bush and a prominent figure, both hated and admired.

Still has "al-Qaeda", whoever that may be, as long as the name is more than a designation for loosely connected individuals and groups, not known to a concrete attack, even if bin Ladin and others have justified and called for jihad through terrorist attacks. Normally, confessions of attacks came from groups that were attributed to al-Qaida by auben. However, there were already numerous Islamist groups involved in regional struggles, such as in Palestine, Chechnya, Bosnia, Kashmir and the Philippines, and they were in contact with each other. However, as soon as groups become established and usually also compete with other groups for influence and support among the population, the formation of an identity also leads to the creation of a new identity "Power balance" and a reasoning context of whatever kind is necessary.

Even after the war and the occupation of Iraq, which opened another field of struggle against the USA after Afghanistan, there were still many attacks and assaults in which the perpetrators remained anonymous and did not consider it necessary to justify their actions. While there is a need to precisely delineate the perpetrators and their backers and to identify suspected hierarchical structures and chains of command as in normal organizations. It is possible, however, that the insurgent groups were too disparate and unorganized in the first period after the war’s declared end, or that there were no broad common goals beyond fighting the occupying forces and those cooperating with them.

From anonymity to confession and legitimation

But why is it that for some time now, with the attacks and kidnappings in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, there has been a rationale and a confession of? This certainly has something to do with the fact that the various groups are trying to distinguish themselves more strongly from one another and that at least the regional groups want to secure their influence, while at the same time their interests are drifting apart. Only to spread fear and terror around themselves, because in principle anyone can become a victim of an attack, even if the bombs are directed against the "Enemies" (occupation forces and alleged collaborators) leads to the fact that most people withdraw any support and simply want security. For non-regionally based groups fighting internationally for the expansion of an Islamic state and the overthrow of authoritarian or Western-aligned regimes, the audience addressed by the media-strategically staged attacks is global, but consideration must also be given to the local population in order not to fall into isolation.

In addition, however, the new media strategy of some groups to reach out to the public via websites and online publications and to document the terrorist attacks or kidnappings themselves is certainly also decisive, in order to feed them to the media as material and thus to attract greater attention. Pictures are easier to feed into the image-hungry media than texts and longer excerpts. However, because then not only the propaganda of the act but also pictures of it are used for advertising, the immanent logic also makes it necessary to "correct" Establish context so as not to lose all prestige with those whose recognition or understanding one is seeking to gain or recruit. If one gets into a context of justification, the victims and targets of the attacks must also be legitimized, which will probably prohibit more and more attacks that are only vaguely aimed at the chosen opponents, but kill and injure random people present (ghosts of reality).

Terror and media

One of the groups that have long adopted the media strategy of video messages and amed responsibility for attacks and kidnappings is the terrorist group "Tawhid wal jihad", which is said to be led by al-Sarkawi and close to al-Qaeda (Terrorist Media Strategy). For a long time, it had been aiming for a new level of explosion with the presentation of three Turkish hostages and the threat to behead them, which took place in time for the NATO summit. Traditionally, there was still a demand that the Turkish government and companies cease their activities in Iraq within three days and withdraw. But then there was also the threat to the Turkic people to stage crude demonstrations against Bush and Nato. This, of course, made the media impact of the terrorists strong, but at the same time made the majority of the Turkish people, who were against the war in Iraq, accomplices or blackmailed.

This could not go well. Quickly, the terrorists, especially since they are isolated from the other insurgents in Iraq itself, obviously realized this and tried to make the best of the demonstrations, which took place but were not very rough, in their sense, which reversed the original sense of their explosion. The hostages were released, as they were shown in a new video broadcast again by al-Jazeera, although the government had rejected the demand. This is done for the Muslims in Turkey and because of the demonstrations. The hostages had previously pledged to no longer fight for the "Unbelievers" to work. Other Turkic hostages are also to be freed, as the companies that employ them had pledged to stop working with the Americans.

In the meantime, a text, allegedly from al-Sarkawi, who in the meantime has been built up as a rough opponent and is staging himself in this way, is circulating on the Internet, which makes the legitimation strategy even clearer. "Every Muslim is our brother", the letter of Yassin Musharbash is quoted in Spiegel Online. "We want the Muslim community in every place to know that we have never killed a Muslim and will not do so." On the other hand, a wide distinction is drawn between Muslims: "The Muslim American is our beloved brother, the incredible Arab our hated enemy." After all, the Muslim who cooperates with the enemy is a disbeliever and can be killed with it.

However, Sarkawi is probably typical of the ignorance of the terrorist scene. No one female, although they just reported his arrest once again and immediately denied whether Sarkawi is actually still alive. According to rumors he is already dead. He is not even really called that, but Ahmed al-Khalayleh – which would make him a Jordanian of Palestinian origin. Does he have one leg or two legs? Sarkawi is a phantom, a media phantom, also or just because he was declared the main enemy of the USA in Iraq and thus the successor of Hussein or even bin Ladin. Sarkawi is referred to as al-Qaeda’s stooge in Iraq, but there is also talk of him and his group competing with bin Ladin and al-Qaeda – and has been since the time both were in Afghanistan.

Alongside this search for a justification of terror through a clear distinction – incidentally also provided by U.S. President Bush – between "We" and the "Others", through a more accurate selection of victims and a promotional strategy for a unifying community of Muslims across all differences, anonymous attacks and assaults continue in Iraq, which was declared sovereign yesterday. Another Islamist terrorist group, again documented by a video that al-Jazeera did not broadcast in its entirety, allegedly murdered U.S. soldier Keith Maupin, who had been captured in April, by shooting him. This was reportedly done as revenge for what the Americans had done to Muslim martyrs.

Terrorism as a career?

It seems to be largely unclear how the resistance and terrorist groups operating in Iraq are connected or even compete with each other. The only thing that is certain is that there are different interests of a local, regional and international and, moreover, ideological nature that are difficult to reconcile and make it clear that Iraq is a country that is difficult to pacify. The rough conflicts between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds have not yet taken place, nor have those between liberal, left-wing or Islamist currents. The militant groups are first looking to find their place. The installed central power was allowed to face at least the same problems that can be observed in Afghanistan. And the danger is that the Islamists, with their dream of a state of God, will continue to grow stronger if they continue to present their backward-looking utopia as a "Liberation" can sell.

An end to terrorism, even if coalition forces were withdrawn, is not in sight; on the contrary, a further buildup could come about as a result of competition among groups and their links with criminal organizations and the underground economy. This will be the case especially if unemployment and poverty continue to be the fate of large parts of the population and the USA tries to influence the fate of the Muslim countries by force.

Moreover, it should not be forgotten that resistance and terrorism are also in certain situations of hopelessness a possibility to fill life with meaning and to rub out of boredom. For most people, the transition to terrorism does not take place in one fell swoop, but step by step, through many circumstances and experiences, which then seem to justify extreme and criminal actions.

And just when terrorists are declared the main enemy and their deeds become the top topic on the global stage, the temptation was allowed to rise to find a career here that would lead to prominence and thus recognition through attention. This is precisely what seems to have become the principle of our societies. If you were to call them an attention society rather than a knowledge society, you could see that even the Islamist terrorists are in tune with the times. They, too, are not necessarily concerned with achieving the idealistic goals they claim to be aiming for, but rather with short-term, egotistical success and prominence. Perhaps Islamism is not the problem, at least not for the young, educated, middle-class terrorists.


With the new tactic of distinguishing between Muslims and non-believers, the terrorists are right in line with some Muslim clerics in Iraq, as portrayed by Islam Online. While attacks against the members of the occupying power in order to expel them are quite legitimate and covered by religion, attacks on the people are not "innocent" Civilians. Professor Mohammad Mahrous Al-Azami, a member of the Muslim Scholars Association (MSA), feels in particular that his shift should not be the target of attacks: "The killing of innocent civilians, especially university professors, imams and scholars, is forbidden by Islam and contradicts important international agreements and the essence of humanitarianism."

Sheikh Ahmad Hassan Al-Taha, another member of the MSA, declared that attacks on Iraqi civilians and foreigners, if they do not help the occupiers, are not rightful, moreover, they became rejection between Iraqis and work into the hands of the enemies.

Sheikh Othman Mohammad Gharib Al-Hashimi, a professor at Imam College and Imam of Al-Barkah Mosque in Baghdad, makes this point even more clearly. According to him, there are three categories for actions of resistance. "Legitimate and sometimes obligatory" are attacks on the occupiers. If civilians become the target "completely forbidden". The third category is about the weighing of advantages and disadvantages, "when occupation forces use civilians as cover or protection".

And the recent attacks in Iraq, which caused many civilian casualties, are "foreign forces", if not conspiracy-theoretically impute to the Americans. This damaged the reputation of legitimate resistance groups and created conflict among Iraqis. The fact that the terrorist groups are now trying to escape isolation by changing their strategy may, against this background, once again become more comprehensible.

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