What Keeps Terrorism Alive

In this week marking the seventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terror attack on the United States, three noteworthy events related to the U.S. and the Middle East caught my eye: Al-Qaida's number two man Ayman Zawahiri released a new videotape; Republican Party vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin started her foreign policy education by meeting with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an extremist organization that puts Israeli interests above American interests; and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was meeting and dealing with the heads of state of Tunisia, Libya and Algeria, three of the most authoritarian figures in the world, not just in the Middle East.

Why is this worldwide web of extremism noteworthy? It helps clarify that the terrorism scourge persists because its root causes continue to thrive. Those causes are multiple, complex and ever changing, and relate primarily to events in four orbits: the Arab-Asian region, Europe, Israel, and American foreign policy.

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