But this analysis debunks the Bush argument that at least the Iraq War is attracting terrorists to Iraq instead of the US, as if there is a finite number, and we can kill enough to resolve the problem.
This study was done by examining interrogations of captured foreign fighters in Iraq, and background investigations of suicide bombers in Iraq.
The history of past insurgencies including our own failed war in Vietnam show that this is asinine. Every time to you kill someone, you inspire a brother, or cousin, or neighbor to take up arms. And if the war itself is obviously unjust it can attract sympathizers from outside even to the point of taking up arms, as the Israelis and Saudis are noting.
We had something similar happen with a terrorist here in the US about 150 years ago. John Brown was a well-known anti-slavery activist who raided slave-holding farms to liberate their slaves. When he tried to seize weapons from the Harper's Ferry armory, he was caught and hung. Rather than quell the anti-slavery movement, it galvanized it (the original lyrics of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" were about Brown's death). Within a few years, the Civil War followed because Lincoln said he would not allow slavery to spread into anymore new states.
The same thing happened to the French in Algeria. A French director made an extremely realistic movie, The Battle of Algiers, about the insurgency against the French. At the very end, the French capture the leader of the rebels hiding in a hole in a wall, and say "at last, we have broken the back of the rebellion." As the screen fades to black, the words that crawl up the screen say the rebellion continued, and a few years later, the French were forced to leave.
Just because people aren't white (or as white as us), don't speak English, and put up with a dictator for decades, doesn't mean they are stupid or less human than us.
The Boston Globe
Study cites seeds of terror in Iraq
War radicalized most, probes find
By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | July 17, 2005
However, interrogations of nearly 300 Saudis captured while trying to sneak into Iraq and case studies of more than three dozen others who blew themselves up in suicide attacks show that most were heeding the calls from clerics and activists to drive infidels out of Arab land, according to a study by Saudi investigator Nawaf Obaid, a US-trained analyst who was commissioned by the Saudi government and given access to Saudi officials and intelligence.
A separate Israeli analysis of 154 foreign fighters compiled by a leading terrorism researcher found that despite the presence of some senior Al Qaeda operatives who are organizing the volunteers, ''the vast majority of [non-Iraqi] Arabs killed in Iraq have never taken part in any terrorist activity prior to their arrival in Iraq."
Obaid said in an interview from London that his Saudi study found that ''the largest group is young kids who saw the images [of the war] on TV and are reading the stuff on the Internet. Or they see the name of a cousin on the list or a guy who belongs to their tribe, and they feel a responsibility to go."
Other fighters, who are coming to Iraq from across the Middle East and North Africa, are older, in their late 20s or 30s, and have families, according to the two investigations. ''The vast majority of them had nothing to do with Al Qaeda before Sept. 11th and have nothing to do with Al Qaeda today," said Reuven Paz, author of the Israeli study. ''I am not sure the American public is really aware of the enormous influence of the war in Iraq, not just on Islamists but the entire Arab world."