Counter-Terrorism: Hillbillies From Hell

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May 11, 2006: Egyptian counter-terrorism police have killed the man they believe to be the leader of the crew that carried out the three bombings of Sinai resorts last month. The dead man, Nasser Khamis al Mallahi, was a local lad who went off to the big city to get a college education. He did, but came back bitter about the sorry state of Egyptian politics, his career prospects, and life in general. Mallahi turned to Islamic radicalism, recruited some of his buddies and formed a terrorist cell. No al Qaeda connection, except in spirit. Actually, al Qaeda was not solely the brainchild of Osama bin Laden. The "al Qaeda" he formed in 1988 was not much to talk about until Egyptian Islamic terrorists, fleeing a government crackdown in the 1990s, hooked up with bin Laden in Afghanistan. The Egyptians provided experience, and managerial talent that took al Qaeda to another level, and September 11, 2001.

The Islamic terrorists in Egypt had the usual complaints. Corrupt and ineffective government left most Egyptians poor and uneducated. Socialism was tried in the 50s and 60s, and failed. Democracy was tried, corrupted, and wasn't working either. The elections were a joke, and rigged to keep any real opposition out. So now Islamic radicalism seemed the way to go. Killing lots of civilians, especially children and tourists, turned the population against the 1990s terrorists. The current crew are largely Bedouins from the Sinai. The Bedouins have long been the hillbillys of the Arab world, even though the Prophet Mohammed considered himself one (actually, Mohammed was a townie, not a true Bedouin nomad). As such, Bedouins get not, or not much, respect. Egyptians have been looking down on Bedouins for thousands of years. Thus a bunch of radicalized Bedouin terrorists, killing lots of Egyptians at an Egyptian owned and operated resort town, is not expected to increase popular support for Islamic radicalism.

 


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