November 29, 2005:
Some young Islamic radicals have been going to Iraq, not for suicide, but for sex. Islamic radicals all over the Moslem world have been exhorting young men to go to Iraqi and join the jihad against the foreign invaders. Many have answered the call, even those outside the Moslem world, especially in Europe. But in countries closer to Iraq, the objective for taking the journey is sometimes more sensual than suicidal. In Syria, where the poor economy creates few jobs for young men, the result is not much sex for these lads either. If you want to get married, you need a job. If you want to hire a hooker, you need money. If you try to get fresh with the girl next door, you're liable to get killed by her father or brothers. What's a horny young man to do? Well, there's always Iraq. For years, Syrians have looked with envy on oil rich Iraq. There were plenty of wealthy Iraqis driving through Syria, on their way to the pleasure palaces of Lebanon, or to spend their money on Syrian women, to feed the fantasies. After the United States invaded in Iraq in 2003, stories started circulating in Syria that Iraqi girls would put out for young foreign men who volunteered to fight the invaders. Failing that, it was said that prostitutes were much more abundant, and cheaper, than in Syria.
Unsubstantiated stories like this are common in the Arab world (and when they involve sex, are common the world over among young men.) So groups of young Syrians began going off to Iraq, partly to fight the hated foreigners, and partly to get a little trim. It turned out that it was a lot easier to get killed, then sexually satisfied, in Iraq. But many of the young fellows who survived and got back, were too ashamed to admit that there were no eager young women for them in Iraq, and hookers were no easier to find, or pay for, than in Syria. So the legend continued. The al Qaeda recruiters stayed out of it. Why screw up a great recruiting incentive.