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War plays into hands of Islamic terrorists

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Although intelligence experts and U.S. officials are likely to point fingers at al-Qaida, evidence exists that unconnected Muslim individuals -- outraged by U.S. policy toward the Palestinians or Iraq -- can apparently be nudged by the inflammatory rhetoric of al- Qaida leaders to kill Westerners, particularly Americans. From the outset, Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants have used an anti-American message as an effective tool to recruit soldiers. In a recent audiotape broadcast on Al-Jazeera, a leading Arab TV station, bin Laden's chief deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, refers to a war against Iraq as having less to do with Mr. [Saddam Hussein] and more with consolidating U.S. hegemony over "the Arab-Islamic world" and Israeli "supremacy" in the region. This theme, which may be dismissed by U.S. officials as propaganda, is taken for granted by Arab commentators and civic leaders. The dominant Arab-Muslim narrative stresses that the coming war is intended to settle old scores and make Washington the arbiter of Arab destiny and resources, particularly oil. A U.S. invasion of Iraq, with large numbers of civilian casualties, would deepen the sense of victimization and defeat felt by Arab youths and make them inclined to join holy war cells of the al-Qaida variety. Thus the pool of recruits for militant causes would likely expand and swell the ranks of al-Qaida and other fringe Islamist groups.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/26222/

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