web analytics
November 25, 2014 / 3 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



After Bin Laden What Do Jihadi Terrorists Still Seek?


Beres-Louis-Rene

            Even with Osama bin Laden gone, al Qaeda operatives, some actively collaborating with more-or-less kindred groups, are planning terror attacks against the United States. These attacks could conceivably involve chemical and/or biological weapons. 
            What about a nuclear “dirty-bomb”? We know that such a weapon, perhaps less likely, is nonetheless already on various “drawing-boards.”  We also understand that if it should be made operational, any such fusion of selected nuclear materials with conventional high-explosive would probably produce instances of mass disruption, rather than mass-destruction.
             But we should begin at the beginning. What, exactly, do Jihadi terrorists still seek? This core question may at first appear silly, frivolous or even contrived. Yet, the usual answers are almost always superficial. Never, it seems, are we genuinely willing to probe this complex query seriously, with applied intellect, and with utterly non-partisan analytic resolve.
            All Islamist terrorists want to transform pain into power.  This transformation is not always easy, because the correlation is not always proportionate.
           Some truths are counter intuitive. It is even possible that inflicting the most excruciating pain upon victims would diminish terrorist power, while causing less overwhelming pain would enhance terrorist power.
             Jihadi terrorist groups have learned from the torturer.  They understand that pain, to be purposeful, must point toward death, but that it must not always kill right away. This is not to suggest that terrorists do not seek to produce large numbers of dead Americans, but rather that leaving alive many American witnesses who will then themselves fear consequent annihilation is an integral part of this particular enemy’s “choreography.”
            Imitating the torturer, the Jihadi terrorist plans to take what is private and incommunicable, the pain contained within the boundaries of the sufferer’s own body, and manipulate it to further shape the behavior of  “others.”  A defiled form of theater that extracts public influence from the most intimate depths of privacy, Jihadi terrorism twists and amplifies pain within the individual human body to influence many others who live outside that body. Thus violating the inviolable, it shouts with an unspeakable cruelty, not only that “You are not immune!  but also, “Your most personal horror can be made public!”
            We still hear from various educated quarters that those “martyrs” who plan to slay Americans have a recognizably political motive.  Surely, we are instructed, these killers do not kill gratuitously.  Rather, they kill to “recover the land,” to “reclaim our rights,” to “prevent foreign intervention,” to “acquire self-determination,” to “rid us of tyrants, apostates, blasphemers,” etc. Their alleged and vocalized grievances are legion, but they are also effectively beside the point.
           In the end, what really matters is to attain Paradise, and thereby to avoid the “torments of the grave.” Jihadi martyrs, alone, are “guaranteed” to honorably bypass all such incomparable torment. It is, as we in the West seem never truly to understand, an utterly sacred promise of unimaginable seriousness. For the Jihadis, violence (against unbelievers) and the sacred are inextricably and perpetually linked.
            Where do we go from here?
            Even after bin Laden, Washington confronts a masquerade.  The declared motive of the Jihadi perpetrator is always only a fiction.  The torturer tortures because he enjoys torturing. The terrorist terrorizes with a primal and visceral, not political, delight.
            The torturer typically cannot be stopped by answering his questions.  The martyrdom-seeking terrorist, lascivious with a privileged ecstasy that fuses sex, violence and immortality, cannot be slowed by surrender to his demands. This is because the means of terror-violence are not only justified by the ends; they are themselves a palpable source of personal satisfaction.  
            The Jihadi terrorist and his victims experience pain and power as opposites.  As the victims’ suffering grows, so does the power of the terrorist.  As the power of the terrorist grows, so does the pain of his victims. 
            For the bystanders, each blast of pain is a mock execution, a stunning reminder of continuing vulnerability, and a tangible denial of ultimate power, which is always power over death.
            So long as the enemy is rational, every terrorist escalation in the magnitude of terror will follow from meticulously calculated correlations of pain and power.  The oft-heard observation that “terrorists have no reason to escalate” is simply the facile product of very fragile syllogisms.
           
            The pain caused by terrorism, a pain that confers power upon the terrorist, begins within the victim’s private body, and then spills out more widely into the general body politic.  Wanting the two realms to become indistinguishable, the Jihadi terrorist understands that it is not enough that his victims feel pain.  This pain must also be felt, vicariously but meaningfully, by all those who might still themselves become victims. 

           For President Obama, after successfully eliminating  Osama bin laden, this should now become a conceptual understanding of immediate concern. In the final analysis, it will prove far more important than the success of any particular operational calculations.

                                                               

 

Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971), Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is the author of many major books and articles on terrorism, nuclear strategy and nuclear war. These include publications in International Security (Harvard); World Politics (Princeton); The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists; Nativ (Israel); The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs; Parameters: The Professional Journal of the US Army War College; Special Warfare (DoD); Studies in Conflict and Terrorism; Strategic Review; Contemporary Security Policy; Armed Forces and Society; Israel Affairs; Comparative Strategy; Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law; and The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence. Professor Beres’ monographs on security issues have been published by The Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel); The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies (University of Notre Dame); The Graduate Institute of International Studies (Geneva); and the Monograph Series on World Affairs (University of Denver). Dr. Louis René Beres was born in Zürich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945.

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “After Bin Laden What Do Jihadi Terrorists Still Seek?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Pro-ISIS Group Says ‘Use Ferguson Flames to Fuel Terror in America’
Latest Indepth Stories
Red Line Obama

“What’s a line between friends?”

West_Bank_&_Gaza_Map_2007_(Settlements)

Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates

Thousands of rabbis pose in front of Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn on Sunday during the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.

A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.

Arabs create opening for terrorists to walk the security wall between Ramallah and Jerusalem and Ramallah.

The pogroms in Chevron took place eighty five years ago, in 1929; the Holocaust began seventy-five years ago in 1939; the joint attack of Israel’s neighbors against the Jewish State of Israel happened sixty-six years ago… yet, world history of anti-Semitism did not stop there, but continues until today. Yes, the primitive reality of Jews […]

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

“Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

Arab opposition to a Jewish State of any size was made known by word and deed in the form of terror

Operation Moses: First time in history that non-blacks came to Africa to free blacks from oppression

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/after-bin-laden-what-do-jihadi-terrorists-still-seek/2011/06/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: