Beyond Terror and Martyrdom: The Future of the Middle East by Gilles Kepel

By Gilles Kepel

On the grounds that 2001, dominant worldviews have clashed within the international enviornment: a neoconservative nightmare of an insidious Islamic terrorist danger to civilized lifestyles, and a jihadist fable of martyrdom in the course of the slaughter of infidels. around the airwaves and at the floor, an ill-defined and uncontrollable struggle has raged among those opposing situations. lethal pictures and threats—from the televised beheading of Western hostages to image photographs of torture at Abu Ghraib, from the destruction wrought by way of suicide bombers in London and Madrid to civilian deaths by the hands of yank profession forces in Iraq—have polarized populations on either side of this divide. but, because the famous center East pupil and commentator Gilles Kepel demonstrates, President Bush’s struggle on Terror mask a posh political schedule within the heart East—enforcing democracy, having access to Iraqi oil, securing Israel, and looking regime swap in Iran. Osama bin Laden’s demand martyrs to stand up opposed to the apostate and hasten the sunrise of a common Islamic country papers over a fractured, fragmented Islamic global that's waging conflict opposed to itself. past Terror and Martyrdom sounds the alarm to the West and to Islam that either one of those exhausted narratives are bankrupt—neither efficient of democratic swap within the heart East nor of harmony in Islam. Kepel urges us to flee the ideological quagmire of terrorism and martyrdom and discover the phrases of a brand new and optimistic discussion among Islam and the West, one for which Europe, with its increasing and stressed Muslim populations, could be the proving flooring. (20081127)

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The rest of the world, including much of the West, criticized the United States harshly for incarcerating suspects, interrogating and torturing them, and refusing to allow them to seek justice before an impartial court of law. Bowing to this pressure, around two hundred detainees considered to have no value were released in 2004 and 2005. A good number of them had Western passports and were citizens of countries whose representatives wanted to know why they were being held without due pro­cess.

In the early years of the twenty-first century, Iran’s secularized urban middle classes deliberately tweaked the Islamic morality preached by the Khomeinists and showed no attachment to the regime—but were still too weak politically to take action. Those who supported it came primarily from the bazaaris and the disinherited—pious urban classes and poor youths who depended for their survival on oil revenues redistributed by the theocracy after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Near the end of Khatami’s presidency, the freedom granted liberal Iranians by the reformists in power alienated these urban youths, who feared that liberalization would deprive them of the social privileges and economic support they received in exchange for backing the mullahs.

S. forces by surprise, using methods for which the military was unprepared— improvised explosive devices, booby traps, suicide bombings, kidnappings, and beheadings. Pressure to interrogate prisoners in ­order to obtain intelligence concerning the resistance became especially intense, and the military started to apply the methods of Guantánamo to the situation at Abu Ghraib. Most of the inmates turned out to be merely common criminals who knew little or nothing about the insurgency. Yet the need for rapid, useful confessions in the fight against terrorism encouraged their jailers to “soften them up” before interrogation.

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