The most common example of modern terrorism refers to that of the attacks on September 11th 2001 when a group of 19 men attacked The United States Of America with four hijacked aeroplanes. These men were part of an organisation called Al-Qaeda and 15 of those 19 men were Saudi Arabian. The four planes were flown into some of the USA’s most powerful, militant, and economical buildings: Two were flown into the World Trade Centre, one into the Pentagon, and another crashed into the small town of Shanksville but was believed to be heading for the White House, some 230 miles off.
There were believed to be many motives of the attacks, most of which were based around economical, political, religious and social beliefs. In 1933 an American expedition to Saudi Arabia ended with vast sums of oil discovered. This then lead to America and Saudi Arabia creating a partnership in 1938 to create the company ARAMCO; (Saudi Arabia would pump out its oil and sell it to America). Source 1 and 2 shows that this trend has carried on through to 2001; Saudi Arabia is the biggest exporters of oil, while the USA is the biggest consumer.
After this setup, more countries in the Middle East started to sell their oil on and compete with each other, which in turn caused tensions to rise in the Middle East. By 1990 oil became such a wealthy business that Iraq invaded Kuwait for their oil supply and the first gulf war broke out in the area. Tensions had risen so high, it was found that Saudi Arabia was spending its money made from oil on extra troops in its country. This meant that the country’s economy was falling. Kuwait has also been heavily accused as being a country which was taken by the West to provide it with its needs.
The area on which Kuwait lies is the richest source of oil per square meter. Source 1 shows that Kuwait is the third largest exporters of oil in Persia, yet source 3 shows that they are over 120 times smaller than Saudi Arabia. This was a motive for the terrorists because they believed that America had too much influence in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. However economic influence was not the only type of influence the attackers opposed to, the political involvement in the gulf war has been accused of creating unrest in the Middle East.
In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait claiming that Kuwait had Iraqi historical background and that the part of land that Kuwait lays was unjustly taken by the West at the end of the Second World War to supply them for their needs. Before the invasion, Kuwait was under the control of Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom and America had a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait due to their successful oil trades. As Iraq invaded Kuwait however, both America and Saudi Arabia realised they could not afford to lose Kuwait.
Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi politician and leader of Al Qaeda, then offered Kuwait thousands of Saudi troops to help fight the Iraqis. However 3despite this offer, Kuwait decided to put America in charge of The Gulf War. “It has become clear that the rulers are not qualified to apply the religion and defend the Muslims. In fact, they have provided evidence that they are implementing the schemes of the enemies of the nation and religion and that they are qualified to abandon the countries and peoples.
This was a motive for the attackers because both Saudi Arabia and America needed to keep Kuwait on their side for political position in the Middle East and Kuwait’s preference of America over Saudi Arabia shows that America had too much influence over Kuwait. However Kuwait is not the only country in the Middle East with American influence and involvement. Israel’s political position has been criticized for over half a century. Before the Second World War, Palestine maintained the strip between Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.
However in 1948, Israel was given official borders inside Palestine towards the North West. By 1949 Israel held the majority of the strip and after the war in the 1960’s against Egypt and Syria, Jerusalem was transferred over from Palestine to Israeli territory. 5Source 5 shows that even to the present day, land has continued to grow for Israel and shrink for Palestine. This was a motive for the attackers because the influence from America on Israel had left millions of Palestinians feeling like they have been prosecuted of their own land.
The reason for this influence has been argued that the two dominant religions of the countries have clashed in the area for centuries and it was only after America’s involvement that things have changed dramatically. The main religion for Israel is Jewish and the main religion for Palestine is Muslim. Both of the countries have felt like they have been exploited over time as the land holds precious religious sites in the area. This means that official borders have been hard to settle.
Source 6 shows the biggest example of this problem in the area; it shows The Temple of Mount Or Haram Al-Sharif, which is where the West Wall and the first Jewish Temple is placed. It also hosts the Dome of the Rock which is one of the holiest Islamic sights. The two sights are just 100 meters apart so it would be impractical to separate the borders. America and the West have been blamed for the increasing success of Israel over Palestine as America and Europe hold an extremely large Jewish population, far more than Muslims, so whenever the UN decide to make a new proposition over the problem, it tends to be biased towards Israel.
For example the UN made an unpopular decision in the 1980’s to only allow Jews into the Temple of Mount and keep the Muslims out as there was too much hatred. “It has become clear that the West in general and America in particular have an unspeakable hatred for Islam”6 This was a motive for the terrorists because the loss of sites to other borders can be a huge downfall to a country. The Dome of the Rock is one of the most religious sites in Islamic religion, meaning it is also one of the best tourist sites. This means the loss of the site can cripple a countries economy.