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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why less Arabs support suicide bombings

Neo-neocon (it's worth checking out the link just to see her picture with the green apple in her mouth!) follows up on a Real Clear Politics article by Michael Barone in which he reviews a series of recent Pew Polls.
One small and somewhat tangential detail of Barone’s column caught my eye, and that was this:
…the Pew Global survey showed sharply reduced numbers of Muslims saying that suicide bombings are often or sometimes justified as compared with 2002. That’s still the view of 70 percent in the Palestinian territories. But that percentage has declined from 74 percent to 34 percent in Lebanon, from 43 percent to 23 percent in Jordan, and from 33 percent to 9 percent in Pakistan.

That’s quite a trend. What does it represent?

She comes up with an answer which is almost a bullseye:

My theory is quite simple: the targets of suicide bombings have changed since 2002. Back then, during the height of the Second Intifada, suicide bombings were mainly directed against Israel. Now their victims are mostly Arabs.

I’m unable to find a website detailing the exact figures comparing the demography of suicide bombing targets, then and now. And, of course, it depends on how one defends “suicide bombings.”

In a certain sense, 9/11 was a suicide bombing (or at least a suicide attack), but it’s not usually conceptualized that way. The term, and the public perception of it, is usually limited to the sort of modus operandi that was popularized by the Palestinians vis a vis the Israelis: explosives in a backpack or strapped to the body, or an explosion-laden car with driver still in it, detonated in a crowd of innocent people in a public or semi-public place, destroying both the victims and the perpetrator in one horrific moment of carnage designed to strike fear and trembling into the heart and mind.

Back in 2002 we were treated to statements by public figures such as Egyptian psychiatrist Dr. ‘Adel Sadeq, chairman of the Arab Psychiatrists Association and head of the Department of Psychiatry at ‘Ein Shams University in Cairo, who glorified the “ecstasy” of suicide bombers and praised them as a tool of the defeat of Israel (watch the video here to view Sadeq’s peculiar affect, and see my previous post about him here, containing a fuller transcript of his words).

That was then; this is now. Israel’s security fence is in place and has had its intended effect: a tremendous drop in the number of suicide bombings in Israel in the last few years.

Well, sort of. The 'security fence' is not completely in place yet and while it has helped reduce suicide bombings I believe that what has really kept the suicide bombers from entering Israel's large cities has been the concerted IDF action that takes place nightly in Judea and Samaria - action that the Olmert-Barak-Livni government is considering suspending - or may in fact have suspended - as a 'gesture' to 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen.

It also only partly explains why 70% of 'Palestinians' (a number that ought to give Israeli politicians some pause in making 'concessions' but probably won't) still favor suicide bombings. On the one hand, much fewer 'Palestinians' are dying in suicide bombings than Iraqis, and that might be keeping the approval percentage high. On the other hand, much fewer Israelis are being killed in suicide bombings (bli ayin hara - warding off evil eyes) which makes you wonder why the 'Palestinians' haven't tired of trying yet. Maybe the 70% number can be explained as 'wishful thinking'?

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