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Spread of the jihadist movement in the ligh ethology and Darwinian security

FredParisFrance 61 / 7  
Jul 15, 2008   #1

Could you please read my essay and give me some feedback?

The prompt is:

The media has recently reported on a classified intelligence assessment, Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States. This intelligence assessment asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe. An opening section of the report, Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement, cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology. The report also states that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse. After reviewing the unclassified section of the above mentioned report, list the underlying factors are are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement. Additionally, discuss how the United States can counter these factors.

Thank you in advance


In the wake of the dramatic attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001, various American institutions have waged a war against terrorism. However, with insight, the US intelligence community has emphasized the counterproductive role of the cornerstone of this fight: the US invasion of Iraq. Indeed, declassified sections of the National Intelligence Estimate released in April 2006 have highlighted the fact that the global jihadist movement has benefited from the deterioration of the perception of US policies provoked by the Iraq war in Muslim communities in the Middle East and all over the world. The investigation of the primary factors fuelling the spread of the jihadist movement may permit to apply innovative solutions aimed at eradicating it, which are based on an ethological perspective. The United States may counter these factors thanks to the adoption of the framework offered by the nascent field of Darwinian security to design original means intended for preserving US citizens, values, and national interests without, on the first hand, exacerbating the initial hatred against the US, and bearing the opprobrium heaped by the international community, on the other hand.

First and foremost, the National Intelligence Estimate identifies four major reasons at the root of the dissemination of the jihadist movement in terms of number of followers and geographical distribution. First, Muslim activists tend to believe, rightly or wrongly, that the Western civilization's desire is to subjugate Muslims and Islamic nations, such as in Afghanistan. Furthermore, Muslim activists denounce a certain injustice against Muslim communities settled in non-Islamic countries resulting from the willingness to ignore their right to openly demonstrate their faith in their host country, even though this country does not authorize such behaviours for its nationals such as in France. Moreover, Muslim activists condemn the proliferation of corrupt elites in the political apparatuses of numerous Islamic countries. Second, Muslim activists take advantage of the US invasion of Iraq and, above all, of its subsequent occupation by western nations without the approval of the United Nations to wage a jihad (holy war) against these Christian crusaders who act all high and mighty in Muslim territories. Third, Muslim activists exploit the relative slowness of certain Muslim nations when it comes to reach the western economic, social, and political standards that set the guarantees of economic, social, and political stability on the international chess, such as in North African or sub-Saharan countries. Finally, US political, economic, and cultural influences all over the world clash with the traditional Islamic worldview and epitomize the pernicious effects of the West on Islam in the eyes of many Muslims. Therefore, Muslim activists benefit from many Muslims' fear of modernity and their aspiration to establish an Umma (community of Muslim believers) on a worldwide basis.

Although the National Intelligence Estimate distinguishes several methods to hamper the progression of the global jihadist movement, these measures only concentrate on proximate causes of terrorism. Indeed, albeit the US needs to address immediate security issues, the US intelligence community may find it constructive to adopt a different approach based on the examination of the ultimate causes of terrorism. In other words, since modern terrorism in the Middle East emerges from a long tradition of political activism dating as far back as the Jewish Zealots or the Shiite Assassins, one could ponder over two essential questions.

On the one hand, what is the terrorism's function when assessing its impact on the individuals' chances of survival and reproduction? For instance, why have Iraqi insurgents killed about six times as many Iraqi civilians as Americans? O'Hanlon and Campbell have also underscored this trend when examining the number of European colonizers and autochthonous civilians killed during several post-colonial wars in Africa and the Middle East (2007). Adopting the conceptual framework of evolutionary psychology, Kanazawa has assumed that terrorism, and suicide bombings in particular, might tightly be linked to intra-sexual competition between individuals belonging to a specific species (2007), given intra-sexual competition referring to the rivalry occurring between males to gain access to females. From this point of view, one assumes that Iraqi insurgents employing terrorism to eliminate their fellow Iraqi counterparts endeavour to eradicate most potential rivals who could interfere with their possibility to approach females. Consequently, the American administration might investigate and utilize socio-cultural levers to relieve these sexually induced tensions in Iraqi males. Without being up to liberalizing Islamic customs or menacing the traditional patriarchy of most Muslim countries, tensions engendered by the diverse forms of inter-sexual competition might also be defused through the augmentation of available females in areas ridden with terrorism. For example, PLO has proceeded this way to disband the Black September group. Another way to operate could be to the betterment of socio-economic conditions for women, such as an increased access to professional education and micro-loans for creating small businesses might be a first step in this direction.

On the other hand, what is the terrorism's phylogenic history? Stated simply: is terrorism only present among individuals belonging to the human species or is it employed by non-human species on hearth, as well? Taking into consideration that the Homo sapiens sapiens species pertains to the category of species of the animal kingdom having adopted dominance hierarchy, individuals frequently employ aggression as a means to ameliorate their status in the same way as other primates (Jurmain, 2007). Furthermore, competition among rival groups reveals gender differences in altruistic interactions. Indeed, Van Vugt, Cremer, and Janssen have spotlighted the fact that threats resulting from competition among rival groups elicit stronger responses from men than from women (2007). However, since they do not distinguish the difference between gender and sex in their research, one finds it difficult to recognize whether such corollaries are from socio-cultural or biological origin. Other species, such as many fishes, have developed a unisex reaction to predator attacks. Actually, preyed individuals release chemical alarm substances in water that are successfully analyzed by their conspecifics as warning signs thanks to naturally selected genes in those fishes (Chivers, Wisenden, Hindman, Michalak, Kusch, Kaminskyj, et al., 2007). Accordingly, a security solution aimed at diminishing the death toll in case of terrorists' identification in public places might be to couple CCTV networks with vaporizers spraying chemical compounds provoking a reaction of disgust when inhaled by potential targets. Thus, people circulating close to a probable perpetrator would rapidly be moved away from the villain without provoking waves of panic within the population. Blowguns paired with the CCTV network might project hypodermic needles to inject chemical inhibitors into terrorists' organism. Similar to crop spraying, the dissemination of those inhibitors on large scale, such as in Iraqi areas ridden with insurgents, might permit to maintain peace through a neat diminution in terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately, the definition of terrorism and its subsequent consequences on the adoption of counterterrorist strategies and tactics lie in the application of the political power currently accepted in mainstream US and world politics. Since the current views of terrorism reflect social constructs rising from various western and non-western worldviews, governments would have everything to gain by avoiding the, all too risky, traditional military and law enforcement settlements of these aggressions, which have already been criticized by the 2006 National Intelligence Estimate. Assuming that western governments would like to annihilate the current form of endemic Muslim terrorism once and for all, theoretical and applied research conducted on Darwinian security issues through the lens of ethology and evolutionary psychology could allow those governments to design practical applications aiming at defeating the violent eschatology conveyed by Islamic fundamentalists. Achieving this project would require to closely examine the elements undermining the survival (predators, resources, and homeostasis) and reproduction (resources, mating selection, intra and inter-sexual competitions) of people perpetrating or supporting the present wave of terrorism leaded by Muslim fundamentalists. However, it raises an important question: are western governments ready to contemplate the substitution of the traditional military and law enforcement way of waging war with a Darwinian approach of conflict? That is to say, are policymakers willing to adopt the scientific theory of evolution elaborated by Darwin and to reject religious considerations when war is broached?

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