The Issues of Last Week’s Terror Attacks

The Issues of Last Week’s Terror AttacksThe Issues of Last Week’s Terror Attacks

The most dangerous and troubling among the terror attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait, France, Egypt and Yemen in the past week are probably the Kuwait and Egypt attacks.

The bombing of a major Shia mosque in Kuwait City by a young Saudi man and the assassination in Cairo of the Egyptian public prosecutor show the ease with which ordinary citizens in those countries can move about, cross borders and kill at will.

They also affirm that heavy security and spreading the wealth by munificent governments are unlikely to check the spread of this terrible new scourge of violence by Islamic State and others, Rami G. Khouri wrote for Agence Global.

Equally troubling is the simplistic response of British Prime Minister David Cameron after 30 British citizens were killed in the Tunisia attack, signaling a continuing lack of appreciation among leading western governments of the full spectrum of reasons why ordinary young men suddenly turn into vicious killers.

This is mirrored in the policies of other western powers like the US and France, who cannot seem to grasp the connection between the time and effort that leaders put into selling or giving arms to Arab autocrats and the parallel continued expansion of anti-western militancy by militant criminals like those who carried out the attacks this week.

As long as western and Arab power structures refuse to delve fully into the long but clear causal cycle of political and socioeconomic factors that transform ordinary young men into global terrorists, including some of the policies of those same Arab and western powers, we are all destined to suffer more and more attacks in the years ahead.

The Kuwait and Cairo attacks are especially troubling for several reasons. The Saudi national who bombed the mosque in Kuwait has been identified as Fahd Suleiman Abdulmohsen al-Qaba’a, a Saudi in his early twenties who flew to Kuwait via a connection in Bahrain last Friday morning.

The real worry here is multi-faceted: He was a Saudi Arabian national, was not on anybody’s watch list as a potential terrorist, moved around the Persian Gulf region at will, entered the mosque easily, and deliberately assaulted both the Shia Kuwaitis in the mosque and the legacy of Shia-Sunni coexistence that has always been particularly evident in Kuwait.

The Kuwait attack should set off major alarm bells about the continued radicalization and sectarian extremism of youth in some Arab countries, and the need to understand more precisely why this happens. This is especially perplexing in wealthy states that have recently suffered anti-Shia mosque bombings like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Similarly, the killing of Egypt’s public prosecutor in Cairo on the eve of the second anniversary of the overthrow of the country’s first freely-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, suggests that the tough anti-terror measures introduced by the government of the ex-army chief turned-president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi have not adequately contained political violence in the country.

The combination of reasons that drive ordinary Arab citizens into the arms of killers should be identified. This same challenge has stumped Arab and western authorities for decades now, though any Arab teenager could probably explain in five minutes what ails them, and channels some of them into criminal acts.