There has never been a time that terrorism has been so high; not only in the United States, but all around the world. The most concentrated areas of terrorist attacks are in and around the Middle East. Places like Israel, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, to name a few, see terroristic attacks with almost daily consistency. In addition to these countries, there are increasing tensions in and around the Middle East as a result of the Arab Spring. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria all have seen the effect of the Arab Spring, and these affects are spilling over to other nations around the area and across the world.
Why Is Terrorism More Frequent In Certain Areas of the World
It is well understood that terrorism is more prevalent in and around the Middle Eastern Region, but why? There are two prevailing theory's that may shed light on an answer to this question. First, many believe that inequality and economic poverty are the root cause that drives acts of terrorism (Goldstein, 2005). The second theory and one generally agreed upon in the United States, is the idea that a lack of political freedom and general human rights has caused marginalized groups to lash out in acts of terrorism (Goldstein, 2005). This idea seems to be the most prevalent, and could explain the current upheaval of governments in the Middle East. While many people in the Middle East desire to achieve equality and human rights, there are those who see countries like the United States and Israel as threats to their current way of life and belief system. This in turn fosters acts of terrorism against these nations. The reason that there are fewer acts of terrorism in the United States is that terrorists do not have the means to reach the United States as frequently as they do in areas near their area of origin. Thus, acts of terrorism are more frequent within a localized region of the world, against targets that affect the part of the world the terrorist feels hostility toward.
Commonality of Terrorist Targets
Most terrorist targets have one thing in common, high profile areas that make a statement and garner attention. Terrorists carry out their violent activities targeting particular areas or an infrastructure that is likely to result to massive loss and instill fear to the public and its government. Take for example the failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli jetliner in Kenya at the same time that terrorists bombed a hotel in Mombasa (Ross, 2002).There were 271 people on board the plan being attacked, not to mention all the people in the Israeli owned hotel (Ross, 2002). The fact that it was targeted at Isralie targets solidifies that these attacks are meant to shake government officials, and the fact that there were so many people affected shows proof of intimidation. Typically, terrorists associate Israel and the United States together, so these acts are generally aimed at targets that effect both countries. In December of 2004, al Qaeda claimed responsibility for an attack on the American Consulate in Jeddah (Global war on terror, 2004). The statement made by the terroists were geared toward both The United States and Israel; stating that "the Crusader infidel alliance, America, Israel, and its henchmen were marching against muslims" (Global war on terror, 2004).
If al Qaeda can be taken at their word, it would seem that their agenda is to be free from Western and Israeli influence, but can this be the root cause? Is the root cause of terrorism,as the United States believes, political opression? Thomas Jefferson once said, "enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression's of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day" (Jefferson, 1816). Thus, the position of the United States has been if they give Middle Eastern peoples the means to become self sufficient, terrorism will cease. (Goldstein, 2005). On the same note, the determination must be made between those who desire freedom from oppression, and those who are influenced by their government. It is believed that many acts of terrorism are commited in order to maintain solidarity in the group that they are in rather than for any noble purpose (Jamoul, 2011). This could explane the many suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks in Iraq over the years between 2004 and the present.