Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Motivation and Success in Terroristic Jihad

"Organizations adopt suicide attacks to strengthen their support structures, extend their life spans and boost or preserve status."
"I've been working on this topic for more than a decade and there hasn't been a strong consensus. Post 9/11, the theory that emerged, inspired by Robert Pape at the University of Chicago, was that foreign occupation was the cause of suicide attacks. For reasons probably related to ideology, journalists and academics accepted his theory, even though it had little empirical support."
Benjamin Acosta, assistant professor, Louisiana State University
Quran (61:10-12) "O ye who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous Penalty? That ye believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that ye strive (your utmost) in the Cause of Allah, with your property and your persons: That will be best for you, if ye but knew! He will forgive you your sins, and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity: that is indeed the Supreme Achievement." This verse was given at the battle Uhud and uses the Arabic word, Jihad. 
Dr. Acosta has published a new paper in which he points out that 123 militant groups were involved in planning and carrying to fruition 5,305 suicide attacks which had the effect of killing over 40,000 people in the years between 1980 to 2015. This year alone saw suicide attacks taking place in Afghanistan, Belgium, France, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Turkey, along with others in Africa where other Islamist jihad units are installed, claiming allegiance to Islamic State

Studies carried out in 2005 and beyond began to lock in to findings that clearly indicated that hypothesis so popular among news media and government authorities that it was occupation and poverty and other indices of oppression and indigent conditions that led people to commit to violent jihad were quite simply wrong. What the drivers of violent jihad are identified with is Islam itself, with its culture of martyrdom that elevates choosing to die for a sacred cause a sublime motivation.

All the more so when, in the course of achieving martyrdom, the suicidist with the explosives in a vest or in a vehicle further distinguishes his or her devotion to Islam by taking out as many non-Muslim, and often enough Muslim lives as possible, to present as sacrifices to Islam. The incentive is sacrifice; on the one hand of the life of the martyr, glorifying Islam, magnified by the success realized in public slaughter of innocents.

Dr. Acosta's theory is that organizations focus on two major goals; outcome manifesting as goals relating to the purpose of the organization, and survival. Where suicide attacks make survival achievable while diminishing the chances that outcome goals will be realized. Organizations, he points out, of a militant nature, observe trends which they must choose to adapt to, or run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

If public notice is given to a certain trend, to remain viable in the eyes of the public which is the mainstay of the organization, that trend must be seen to be present within the organization, to attract survivable numbers of adherents. At one time it was the guise of the "international revolutionary", succeeded by the "urban guerrilla", and then it was "hijackings" and "hostage takings" that presented as the highlighted trend attractive to followers.

All of which seems to trivialize the motives of those who decide to join such organizations committed to violence, jihad and Islamist supremacy. Yet if the final goal of Islamist supremacy is achieved, the motivation and the modus operandi is hardly debatable. Small organizations committed to jihad take pains to emulate the successful exploits of the larger groups whom they wish to be accredited to, and they can achieve this if they draw the attention of the large group which will acknowledge and claim them as an adjunct if they are sufficiently vicious in their atrocities.

At the same time when the jihadi groups commit to slaughter it becomes clear that their violence is of a nature that cannot be negotiated with. There is nothing to negotiate. A bargaining partner has the single choice of capitulation since the adversary it is challenged by has already committed the utmost mortal offence against humanity. Which leads Israel, for example, to state: "We have no negotiating partner anymore. They've proven that they're willing to kill themselves to kill us. How can we then sit down and talk to them?"

In this way, obviously the jihadists have nowhere to go and no one to seek out with whom to negotiate terms of any kind of agreement or settlement; they have obviated the opportunity to reach any kind of solution that might satisfy both parties to a grievance. And on the other hand, because they are prepared to sacrifice everything to achieve their goal, they are persuasive to others equally committed as they are - and since Islam makes jihad a basic requirement for the faithful, their survival is assured.
Quran (9:111) - "Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme."

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