Counter-Terrorism: Fear Of Foreigners


May 23, 2014: Fear of foreigners is often a major reason why some Moslems embrace Islamic terrorism. But increasingly it’s not just the presence of foreign soldiers that inspire Islamic terrorists to kill, but the presence of foreign Islamic terrorists who are seen as unwelcome rivals and worthy of death. This is not a new problem but it is becoming more common. This sort of thing not only creates internal problems for Islamic terrorists but the governments that Islamic terrorists are fighting often accuse the terrorists of bringing in a lot of foreigners and pointing out that is a bad thing. Yemen recently accused the al Qaeda organization in Yemen of being 70 percent foreigners. Al Qaeda denied the 70 percent figure but not that they had a lot of foreigners. 

This animosity between local and foreign Islamic radicals was quite vivid in 1990s Afghanistan. There a religious movement (the Taliban) sponsored by a few tribes in the south ran most of the country during the late 1990s. One of their key combat units were foreigners (the al Qaeda brigade) and Pakistani volunteers. These foreigners were used to punish Afghans who, while Islamic conservatives, refused to follow Taliban orders.

After the Taliban was run out of Afghanistan in late 2001 the “foreign terrorist” problem showed up again In 2007 in South Waziristan, a region of Pakistan along the Afghan border that was the scene of fighting between local tribesmen and Uzbek members of al Qaeda, This left nearly sixty dead, most of them Uzbek. Out of respect for their Islamic conservative attitudes, and connection to Osama Bin Laden, the Uzbeks had been allowed to settle in the area in 2002. Several hundred Uzbeks, and Islamic militants from other parts of the world, congregated in the area, married local women, and drifted away from the terrorism business. Unfortunately, they drifted towards crime and banditry. This brought them into growing conflict with nearby tribes, and now all-out war. The Uzbeks, and their allies, are good fighters, but vastly outnumbered.

In most countries, especially Moslem ones, foreigners, especially armed and zealous ones, are highly suspect.



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