Why Is It So Hard to Find a Suicide Bomber These Days?
Foreign Policy takes a look at why there haven’t been more attacks in the U.S. as well as the mindset of of those who are attracted to the idea of of jihadism & martyrdom, and what sorts of tactics are used to draw them in.
It’s a long read, but well worth it, IMO.
The rental car turned onto the sidewalk behind the registrar’s office and rolled slowly down the brick path between a dining hall and the English department, a few steps from my office. “Beyond Time,” an upbeat German dance song, played on the car’s stereo. The driver, Mohammed Taheri-Azar, had just graduated from the University of North Carolina three months earlier, so he knew the campus well. Beyond the dining hall was a plaza known as the Pit, where students were hanging out at lunchtime on a warm winter day in early 2006. Taheri-Azar planned to kill as many of them as possible.
He brought no weapons except a knife, some pepper spray, and the four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle he had rented in order to run people over without getting stuck on their bodies. […]
If terrorist methods are as widely available as automobiles, why are there so few Islamist terrorists? In light of the death and devastation that terrorists have wrought, the question may seem absurd. But if there are more than a billion Muslims in the world, many of whom supposedly hate the West and desire martyrdom, why don’t we see terrorist attacks everywhere, every day?
Islamist terrorists ask these questions, too. In their view, the West is engaged in a massive assault on Muslim societies and has been for generations, long preceding 9/11. This assault involves military invasions, political domination, economic dependence, and cultural decadence — and, they believe, it is reaching new heights of aggression each year. Islamists offer a solution: the establishment of Islamic government. Revolutionary Islamists offer a strategy to achieve Islamic government: armed insurrection. Terrorist revolutionaries offer a tactic to trigger insurrection: attacks on civilians. These attacks are intended to demoralize the enemy, build Muslims’ self-confidence, and escalate conflict, leading Muslims to realize that armed insurrection is the sole path to defend Islam.
But Islamist terrorists worry that things haven’t worked out as planned. Acts of terrorism have not led Muslims to revolt. Leading terrorists regularly complain: Why aren’t more Muslims resisting the onslaught of the West? What more provocations do they need before they heed the call to arms?
The late Osama bin Laden frequently sounded this theme. “Each day, the sheep in the flock hope that the wolves will stop killing them, but their prayers go unanswered,” he declared in May 2008. “Can any rational person fail to see how they are misguided in hoping for this? This is our own state of affairs.” Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, his successor as al Qaeda’s leader, have infused their statements with a triumphal, inspirational tone, but their disappointment shows through. “There is no excuse for anyone today to stay behind the battle,” Zawahiri lectured in a video released on the Internet in 2007. “We continue to be prisoners, restrained by the shackles of [mainstream Islamic] organizations and foundations from entering the fields of battle. We must destroy every shackle that stands between us and our performing this personal duty.”
A 2008 al Qaeda recruitment video laments, “My brother in Allah, tell me, when will you become angry? If our sacred things are violated, and our landmarks are demolished, and you didn’t become angry; if our chivalry is killed, and our dignity is trampled on, and our world ends, and you didn’t become angry; so tell me, when will you become angry?” It concludes with a taunt aimed at those not man enough to join the jihad: “So live as a rabbit, and die as a rabbit.”
Other terrorists have issued similar insults in their attempt to goad Muslims into revolutionary activity. “What is wrong with the Muslim Ummah today?” the Pakistani militant group Harkat ul-Mujahideen complained on its website. “When the Kuffar [non-Muslims] lay their hands on their daughters, the Muslims do not raise even a finger to help them!” Abu Musab al-Suri, a widely read strategist of Islamist revolution, called it “regrettable” that so few Muslims — only one in a million by his reckoning — have committed themselves to jihad in Afghanistan.
These are not necessarily new laments: Proponents of violent jihad have insulted and guilt-tripped their fellow Muslims for decades. Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian revivalist who inspired a generation of Islamic movements, went so far as to declare in the 1960s that “the Muslim community has been extinct for centuries.” Only a revolution that establishes Islamic government will entitle Muslims to call themselves “believers.” […]
Why al Qaeda Is Unlikely To Execute Another 9/11