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Brenden West
Professor Deadrick
English 102
06 May 2016
Rise of Terrorism in the Middle East
In many cases, terrorism is a tool used to further political
and/or religious ideologies. Terrorism has been used by many
people and groups as a license to kill. The rise of terrorism in
the Middle East is quite evident. The first groups to popularize
terrorism as a tool are the Palestinian factions that arose back
in 1968 as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Following this popularization, many groups such as Al-Qaeda and
ISIS have used similar tactics. A study from the Institute for
Economics and Peace found that Iraq leads the world in total
deaths caused by terrorism (Institute for Economics and Peace 9).
Afghanistan comes in third, Pakistan in fourth and Syria in fifth
(Institute for Economics and Peace 9).

Ranked out of hundred and

twenty four nations, the U.S. comes in thirty fifth place

(Institute for Economics and Peace 10). Each nation is given a
score between zero and ten depending on the impact of terrorism
in each country. Clearly, terrorism has a greater impact on
countries in the Middle East.

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While ISIS seems to receive the majority of media coverage,
there are plenty of terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Middle
East. The U.S. Department of State has listed the following as
terrorist organizations: Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, and Palestinian
Liberation Front (U.S. Department of State 1). Those are just
three groups from a long list of terrorist organizations that
operate all around the Middle East. Many people wonder who is to
blame for the rise of terrorism in the Middle East. The U.S. has
certainly earned the title of the worlds police officer. Yet,
many people question whether or not the U.S. is responsible for
the rise of terrorism in the Middle East. While the U.S. may not
be free from blame, it is by no means completely responsible for
problem at hand. The U.S. is only partly responsible for the rise
of terrorism in the Middle East.
The Middle East is a volatile region of the world and is no
stranger to conflict. Terrorism thrives in regions such as the
Middle East for this exact reason. So it comes as no surprise
that the Institute for Economics and Peace found a direct
correlation between terrorism and political violence (Institute
for Economics and Peace 5). In the past decade, the U.S. has
undeniably played a direct role in Middle Eastern politics.
However, the rise of terrorism in the Middle East may be traced
back to the late 1960s.

From 1968-1979, Israeli forces and

Palestinian radicals were embroiled in conflict. In an article by

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John Moore, the author explains that Israels attempts to form a
unified state were met by Palestinian nationalist and
revolutionary movements. These secular movements such as Al Fatah
and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
began to employ the use of terrorism to target civilians. Moore
explains how Palestinians burst onto the global scene in the
following excerpt:
These Palestinian groups became a model for numerous secular
militants, and offered lessons for subsequent ethnic and
religious movements. Palestinians created an extensive
transnational extremist network -- tied into which were
various state sponsors such as the Soviet Union, certain
Arab states, as well as traditional criminal organizations.
By the end of the 1970s, the Palestinian secular network was
a major channel for the spread of terrorist techniques
worldwide (Moore 1).
As mentioned before, terrorism thrives in volatile regions. The
conflict between Israeli and Palestine has led to a rise in
terrorism in the Middle East. To this day, Israel and Palestine
have not reached a solution. As a result, terrorism continues to
thrive in the region. As a matter of fact, Israel claims that
Palestinians are using a new kind of terrorism. In an article by
William Booth and Ruth Eglash, the authors report one hundred and

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twenty attacks and attempted assaults by Palestinians against
Israelis (Booth and Eglash 1). These attacks occurred from
October to December in 2015. A majority of the attacks followed
the same theme where a knife-wielding Palestinian assaults
Israeli military personnel and/or citizens. Whether motivated by
ideological, political, economic, or social reasons, terrorism
thrives due to unresolved conflicts.
By far the strongest weapon that any terrorist organizations
processes is their ideology. ISIS has effectively used this
weapon to draw in new recruits from around the world. ISIS, like
many terrorist organizations, base their ideology off a twisted
view of world. While the U.S. is partly responsible for the rise
of terrorism in the Middle East, it cannot be blamed for the
creation of such a radical ideology. ISIS continues to recruit
new members to what it calls the caliphate. With global
domination in mind, ISIS looks to recruit as many members as
possible. Judy Woodruff, a reporter for PBS, says, the number
of foreign fighters traveling to Iraq and Syria has dramatically
increased over [2015] (Woodruff 1). This surge of fighters has
led to the continuation of violence in and around ISIS held
regions. Between January of 2014 and October of 2015, nearly
19,000 civilians were killed in Iraq (Shah and Hume 1). While
these deaths are a part of the Iraq-ISIS conflict at large, most
of the deaths have been attributed to ISIS (Shah and Hume 1).

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ISIS is a defiant force, but lacks an air force and a navy. As a
result, ISIS will have quite a difficult time achieving world
domination. However, ISIS has been able to conduct operations
beyond its borders. ISIS boasted this ability by launching
attacks in both Paris and Brussels. In some cases, the radical
ideology that ISIS has popularized is enough to inspire loan wolf
attacks. In San Bernardino, California, a married couple carried
out an attack that left fourteen people dead. While not
considered members, the shooters are said to be supporters of
ISIS (Karimi, Hanna, and Basil 1). ISIS has been able to convey
its message on a global scale thanks to social media and other
forms of modern communication. Terrorist organizations use
radical ideologies as a weapon, which has contributed to the rise
of terrorism in the Middle East.
There is no denying that the U.S. is partly responsible rise
of terrorism in the Middle East. The U.S. led invasion of Iraq in
2003 resulted in an increase in terrorist activity. Before the
invasion, only 65 deaths from terrorism were reported in Iraq
from 1998 to 2002 (Institute for Economics and Peace 20).
Following the commencement of the war in 2004, the number of
deaths increase by a factor of five (Institute for Economics and
Peace 20). Clearly, U.S. involvement in Iraq led to a rise in
terrorism. The war lasted approximately eleven years, resulting
in tens of thousands of deaths. However, the U.S. war with Iraq

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is just one of many conflicts that has ensued in the Middle East.
In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan only to enter into
a decades long conflict called the mujahedeen war. This war
stimulated the rise and expansion of terrorist groups (Moore 1).
The disintegration of the Soviet Union also worked in the favor
of terrorist organizations in the Middle East. The Cold War era
left behind advanced conventional weapons and power vacuums that
enabled terrorists to operate on an even larger scale (Moore 1).
The Soviet Union has definitely contributed to the rise of
terrorism in the Middle East. In recent news, the Syrian civil
war has also added fuel to the fire. The civil war kicked off
back in March of 2011 after pro-democracy protestors were fired
upon by Syrian troops (Rodgers, Gritten, Offer, and Asare 1). As
the fighting rages on, a multitude of forces battle for control
in the region. As a result of the conflict, ISIS has been able to
gain control in various parts of Syria. Like the Soviet Unions
mujahedeen war, the Syrian civil war does not belong to the U.S.
Conflicts in the Middle East, no matter who is involved,
contribute to the rise of terrorism in the Middle East.
Critics argue that the U.S. is completely responsible for
the rise of terrorism in the Middle East. A third party
organization known as Amnesty International claims to be
independent of any political ties, economic, and/or religious
interests. Made up of volunteers from around the world, Amnesty

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International is well known for criticizing countries like the
U.S. for their role in conflicts. In the case of the U.S.,
Amnesty believes that Pentagon contracts were responsible for the
huge influx of weapons into Iraq (Amnesty International 1).
Hinting at the U.S. led invasion of Iraq, Amnesty claims that the
flow of weapons from the U.S. to Iraq increased in 2003, and then
again from 2011 to 2013 (Amnesty International 1). Amnesty goes
on to say that terrorist groups like ISIS will rise as a result.
The U.S. leads the world in defense spending and arms dealing.
Amnesty International brings up a valid point about the need for
better arms regulation. However, the U.S. is by no means the only
country to have in-avertedly supplied terrorists. Weapons and
vehicles belonging to the U.S., European Union, and Russia have
all been identified in the hands of ISIS (Ellyatt 1). After all,
the U.S. is just one of many countries that has conducted
military operations in the Middle East.

Another flaw in the

oppositions argument is that the U.S. supplied ISIS with

weapons. The Iraqi forces were responsible for the weapons, but
could not fend off ISIS. Again, the U.S. is partly to blame for
providing the weapons, but the Iraqi forces failed at the
tactical level to protect their weapons.
The U.S. is partly responsible for the rise of terrorism in
the Middle East. The volatility in the Middle East, combined with
the radical ideologies found there, as well as the long history

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of conflicts makes the region a breeding ground for terrorist
organizations. The U.S., Russia, and a number of other countries
all share the blame. World leaders must acknowledge the crisis
that is terrorism in the Middle East. Clearly, countries are able
to come together to achieve a common objective. Bombing campaigns
led by the U.S. and Russia in Syria and Iraq have worked to push
ISIS back (U.S. Department of Defense 1). Attacking from the sky
is a distinct advantage that first world countries have against
ISIS. However, recent reports have shown that the U.S., Russia,
and serval other countries have sent in ground troops. In the
past, the Soviet Union did not benefit from deploying ground
troops in Afghanistan. Similarly, the U.S. did not benefit from
deploying ground troops in Iraq. Therefore, more emphasis should
be placed on the bombing campaign as it is a distinct advantage
against ISIS. But when the smoke clears, there is still an
ideology. ISIS and other terrorist organizations follow radical
ideologies that cannot be defeated with bombs or guns. In the
short run, air strikes and ground forces work well to contain the
enemy. However, the long run needs to be addressed and the only
way to do that is through diplomatic efforts. The world needs to
come together and address the issue of terrorism in the Middle
East. World leaders need to discuss better ways to combat the
recruitment efforts of terrorist organizations. Finally,

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diplomatic efforts should be ramped in countries like Syria and
Iraq where terrorism is thriving.

Works Cited
Amnesty International. "Iraq: 'Islamic State' Atrocities Fuelled
by Decades of Reckless Arms Trading." Iraq: 'Islamic State'

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Atrocities Fuelled by Decades of Reckless Arms Trading.
N.p., 8 Dec. 2015. Web. 01 May 2016.
Booth, William, and Ruth Eglash. "Israelis Are Calling Attacks a
'new Kind of Palestinian Terrorism'" Washington Post. The
Washington Post, 25 Dec. 2015. Web. 01 May 2016.
Ellyatt, Holly. "How US and Russian Arms Fell into ISIS' Hands."
CNBC. N.p., 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 01 May 2016.
"Foreign Terrorist Organizations." U.S. Department of State. U.S.
Department of State, 14 Jan. 2016. Web. 01 May 2016.
Institute for Economics and Peace. "Global Terrorism Index
2015."Economics and Peace. N.p., Nov. 2015. Web. 01 May
Karimi, Faith, Jason Hanna, and Yousuf Basil. "ISIS: San
Bernardino Shooters Were 'supporters'" CNN. Cable News
Network, 05 Dec. 2015. Web. 01 May 2016.
Moore, John. "The Evolution of Islamic Terrorism: An
Overview." PBS. PBS, Sept. 2001. Web. 01 May 2016.
"Operation Inherent Resolve Targeted Operations Against ISIL
Terrorists." Special Report: Inherent Resolve. U.S.
Department of Defense, 31 Mar. 2016. Web. 01 May 2016.
Rodgers, Lucy, David Gritten, James Offer, and Patrick Asare.
"Syria: The Story of the Conflict - BBC News." BBC News.
N.p., 11 Mar. 2016. Web. 01 May 2016.

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Rodgers, Lucy. "Syria: The Story of the Conflict - BBC News."
BBC News. BBC News, 11 Mar. 2016. Web. 01 May 2016.
Shah, Khushbu, and Tim Hume. "19,000 Civilians Killed in Iraq in
21 Months: Report." CNN. Cable News Network, 19 Jan. 2016.
Web. 01 May 2016.
Woodruff, Judy. "The Number of Foreign Recruits to the Islamic
State Is Booming, but Not in the U.S." PBS. PBS, 08 Dec.
2015. Web. 01 May 2016.