If you wish to draw line, I would say that the broader population that support Islamic terrorists would really have to be the population of poor or undemocratic Islamic societies.
Keep in mind, there were folks from some of the not-so-poor Islamic countries on the WTC plains.
I think the more precise what of stating this: support for terrorism is spread accross all Islamic communities and is most concentrated among Palestinians and the poorer Islamic communities.
Indonesia and Pakistan are a big portion of that population, so it's certainly not limited to the Mideast.
you can make a decent case the Pakistan invented modern Islamic fundamentalism. Still The focus of the US as an enemy of Islam comes mostly from the people most affected by the founding of Israel via the Balfour agreement.
Well, popular support for the US is relatively strong in countries such as Turkey, Kuwait, and the UAE, with more democratic governments, prosperous populations and more liberal presses while popular resentment is strong in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
UAE and Kuwait were founded largely to concentrate resources into exceptionally rich countries. Without the US military,those countries simply would cease to exist I'd imagine.
Right now, the Arabs that support terrorist action can make a real simple case: there have been far more Arab casualties in the recent hostilities than US casualities, even with 911 taken into the count.
I may be wrong, but I don't think they've made that case, at least in the context of being more humane than the US.
Humane is not by concept here. I think that the Arab nations of the middle East see that their entire region was destabilized by the Balfour agreement and the US's support of Israel and the process of globalization.
Now, just looking at Operation Desert Storm alone, there were over 100,000 casualties. I think the number here from the perspective of the more militant Arab elements is much higher because they'd generally include the casualties of many of the smaller wars in that region fought since WW I because they don't think the boundaries that were created by the western powers were done with an eye to stabilizing the region.
Remember that according to Islamic extremists, non-muslims are Infidels who are to be either conquered or killed. Either would serve Allah's will.
I think that is a bit overstating the case here. As I understand it, infidels should be given a real chance to convert if at all possible.
Furthermore, once terrorists have weapons of mass destruction, they'll have two initial options. Use it in secrecy or announce that they have it and use it as a threat.
There is a third possibility here:
Goad the US into a series of actions that alienate much of world opinion, and then respond with attacks on the US that are highly destabilizing because they attack key symbols are but are regarded as restraine responses by the bulk of folks in the world long term.
In actuality, if biological weapons are found inside a country whose government is friendly to the US, the US will force those governments to seize them and turn them over to US authorities.
My own image is that the governments of those countries may sincerely try to stop terrorism--but they simply aren't able to do so.
So what the terrorists really face is a use it or loose it situation, and I think they'll use it.
I think you underestimate how well/long these folks can keep a secret.
Will that attack allow terrorists to topple friendly governments and incite war against the US?
When the "friendly governments" start getting toppled, I expect it will happen suddenly and in several countries at once.
Even if they are able to achieve such goals, they will have lost their weapons of mass destruction, and they will lose the conventional war that will follow.
The big option for winning Islamic militants have is to get the US embroiled in a war with other countries at the same time. The US military is relatively small, and if it gets stretched thin, then the US will have problems.
It's not just a matter of popular opinion. The terrorists have had the upper hand in the battle for hearts and minds in the Mideast for a long time. An astounding high percentage of people in Saudi Arabia and Egypt support them.
I think what these folks would like is an overwhelming consensus among muslims from Morrocco to Indonesia. I think there are elements that would like a lot more cooperation among muslims in a variety of dimensions.
However, populations don't just act because they are mad. They will also need to have the capability to do so, which they don't.
You say that with such certainty. I think these folks have a few nukes, just not that many, and they are playing their cards very, very close to the vest.
Furthermore, the American public and possibly American allies will be galvanized into large scale ground war by the possibility of attack by a biological weapon.
If the biological weapon is in fact clearly identifiable as such-it might not be readily apparent what is happening here(i.e. a slow acting biological weapon that creates mobidity rather than mortality).
In any case, the US will, in Israel, a most capable and willing proxy force, which is why US support for Israel must continue to be strong.
Keep in mind, the US his highly dependent on Israel for intelligence in the Middle east. The US has little way to be sure Israeli's are telling the truth.
The extremists see themselves as the rulers of a future Islamic state. They will not risk facing a war of conquest, WWII style,by the US and its allies.
I suspect they have well developed plans to handle that eventuality-or at least those _really_ in charge do(I don't think the hard-core fundies are running the show, but those that do run the row in that part of the world sometimes find fundies useful.
History has shown that US leaders acquire more power during times of dire crisis. Examples are Lincoln during the Civil War, over 500,000 Americans dead in a population much smaller than it is today, Wilson in WWI, FDR in WWII. LBJ's Imperial Presidency during Vietnam.
The US government is designed to fortify executive power during times of crisis.
The US is much different country than it was under Lincoln, and a major all out War involving Islamic powers could involve a lot more casualities on a per capital basis than the civil war.
The only chance that terrorists have is to critically wound the US before it has time to act.
I think this might be done by getting the US into other conflicts and a prolonged policy of destabilization which may already be underway.
I'd check out what the PLA has been talking about in this regard in Unrestricted Warfare.
If terrorists were able to paralyze the US, their standing in countries with rigid authoritarian regimes, will soar since the population respects strength and power. They can then start toppling governments and setting up theocracies.
I tend to agree with this point.
This is their greatest chance at winning, which is why I'm so sure they will use WMD if they get them.
The question is when and how, for these folks, timing is everything. They will also take great pains to make the US look like the immoral agressive nation-at least in the future history books.
If we get into biological warfare, then that's absolutely not the case. The casualty figures could reach 10s of millions with Smallpox, and billions around the world with the use of reengineered chimera viruses that the Soviet Union and lately Russia have worked on.
Yes, but the US/EU don't have the numbers of the Islamic world. 100 Million casualties in the EU/US, the society collapses. 200 Million casualties in the Islamic world, lots of the same faces would be in power. If the US has those kinds of casualities, it comes out of the blue. In the Islamic world, the leadership just says, we've been telling you this would happen all along-don't trust the infidels.
Especially since, in biological warfare, neither the attackers nor the defenders may be capable of limiting the transmission of the weaponized agent.
there are tricks in that regard, but I suspect the Islamic countries are way behind in that arms race.
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