Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Middle Eastern Terrorism: From Black September to September 11

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Middle Eastern Terrorism: From Black September to September 11

Article excerpt

Middle Eastern Terrorism: From Black September to September 11. By MarkEnsalaco. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. 318 pp. $39.95.

In Middle Eastern Terrorism, Ensalaco of the University of Dayton describes the evolution of modern terrorism from the pioneer actions of the Palestinian organizations, through the Iranian-backed Shiite groups, to al-Qaeda.

Palestinians often appear as precursors and inventors of modern transnational terrorism: airplane hijacking, hostage taking, and attempts at suicide terrorism. The passage from Palestinian to Iranian-backed terrorism is embodied in Imad Mugniyah, who went from being a member of Yasser Arafat's Force 17 to head of Hezbollah's terrorist apparatus responsible for killing the largest number of Americans before 9/11.

Although not clearly expressed, the book's main conclusion is that the successes of global terrorism result not from legitimate national or religious grievances but from an "intricate web of [Arab] state sponsorship to Palestinian terror," as well as Iranian support for Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiites. Inconsistently, Ensalaco declares al-Qaeda to be "my stifyingly different because it acquired a global reach without state sponsor" after mentioning Sudanese and Afghan support of the organization.

Ensalaco argues that the United States and Western Europe did not effectively challenge the threat of Middle Eastern terrorism and the states supporting it, thus permitting it to develop into a strategic threat. …

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