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More Terrorism to Expect due to "Lost Honor" of Iraqi Sunnis?

"Desperate Iraqi Refugees Turn to Sex Trade in Syria" writes the New York Times:
“During the war we lost everything,” she said. “We even lost our honor.” She insisted on being identified by only part of her name — Umm Hiba means mother of Hiba. For anyone living in Damascus these days, the fact that some Iraqi refugees are selling sex or working in sex clubs is difficult to ignore. (...) Many of these women and girls, including some barely in their teens, are recent refugees. Some are tricked or forced into prostitution, but most say they have no other means of supporting their families. As a group they represent one of the most visible symptoms of an Iraqi refugee crisis that has exploded in Syria in recent months.
According to the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, about 1.2 million Iraqi refugees now live in Syria; the Syrian government puts the figure even higher. (...) Aid workers say thousands of Iraqi women work as prostitutes in Syria, and point out that as violence in Iraq has increased, the refugee population has come to include more female-headed households and unaccompanied women.
Personal Comment: How many Iraqis have turned or will turn to terrorism to take revenge for this "lost honor" of their people? Perhaps a new generation of disgruntled America-hating Iraqi Sunnis will grow up in the next decade. The perfect fodder for terrorist groups. The feeling of "lost honor" and the perception of humiliation in general are the number one motivation for terrorists. Harvard's Jessica Stern for instance writes:
For the last six years I have interviewed terrorists, trying to discover what makes people join a holy-war organization and what makes them stay. Although the terrorists have described a variety of individual grievances, there was one common thread: their overwhelming feelings of humiliation.
Of course, talking about terrorists' perceived humiliation does not mean that their hatred is justified. I am just saying that we need to be concerned about Iraqi Sunnis. For our own self-interest! This is not about having empathy with Saddam's clans. Not all Iraqi Sunnis were privileged.
My point is: We don't want Iraqi Sunnis to grow up hating the West and perpetrate terrorist attacks in the US and Europe in the next ten to twenty years.
Therefore, we should help them so that they don't feel humiliated because their relatives have to prostitute themselves in Syria. I assume the US is not helping Syria to deal with this refugee crisis because of Syria's support for Hezbollah etc, right? Perhaps the US should help Syria.
The United Nations could do more as well, but its agencies do not get much funding and are busy with even worse refugee crises in Africa and Asia. Europe should help Syria and Jordan as well. Some experts believe that Jordan might collapse due to the huge number of Iraqi refugees in addition to the many Palestinian refugees. What do you think?

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Pat Patterson on :

What will probably happen is the same thing that happened in Jordan once before, September 1970, when an ethnic or religious minority tried to overthrow the Hashemites. The rest of the population, who strongly resented first the Palestinians and now the Iraqis, will approve and participate in de jure armed attacks against the refugee camps. And like the Palestinians before them it will be the Iraqi refugees that will have to accomodate themselves to their status not the Jordanians. Abdullah and his father Hussein have modernized Jordan to the extent that unlike most Arab nations actually produces some of its own consumer goods and military hardware. Literacy has gone from 35% to 84% in 50 years and Jordan has been at peace and has strong economic and military ties with Israel since 1972. Jordan now stands as one of the few Arab countries that has made an attempt and somewhat succeeded in integrating large numbers of refugees into its economy and social fabric. However on Jordanian terms backed by a well-trained, well-equipped and loyal military and security force.

alec on :

The day the United States instituted 'democracy' in Iraq is the day we handed over power to the Shiite's. They are the majority in the population, but when voting blocs are basically rigid political representations for ethnic groups, things get more dicey. Given the fact that the Sunni's dominated Iraq under Saddam but now have the shortest stick in the power-sharing agreement between the three secretarian groups, it's pretty easy to see why this resentment would boil over into armed resistance. Oh, and dismantling the Sunni-dominated army and then refusing to rehire people from a professional military because of their previous political allegiances doesn't help either...

Pat Patterson on :

Again the United States, guilty of many stupidities, is held to a double standard. This time it is America's fault that destitute Sunni women are forced into prostitution. But when Sunni and the minority Shiite women in Afghanistan are now allowed to remarry and work and not have to prostitute themselves, then the feeble cry goes that the US is trying to establish Christian mores on a Muslim society. Plus you can't disband something as a military force if the bulk of the regular army is fleeing down the roads and levees half naked and unarmed from throwing away any signs of a military connection. Didn't Germany just within memory fire large numbers of teachers, policemen and other professionals because of their Party membership and association with the former DDR?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

For me, this is not about whether it is the US fault or not. The question for me is: What will be the consequences of this prostitution for the United States and Europe? More terrorism? I think so. Thus, it is in the US and European interest to deal with this refugee crisis. Re: Jordan: I don't share your relative optimism. Yes, they sort of managed to deal with the Palestinian refugees. Now there are plenty of additional refugees. Not sure, if they can cope with them. Yeah, maybe the military will kill them. I am sure the survivors will blame the US for creating the mess in Iraq that forced them to leave. Thats how they will probably see it. Or we will have a situation like in Lebanon, where Palestinian refugees continue to cause trouble.

David on :

"in Lebanon, where Palestinian refugees continue to cause trouble." I'm no expert on the region, but my understanding is that the camp Nahr al-Bared was always one of the most peaceful of the 12 refugee camps in Lebanon until it a radical jihadist cult - Fatah al-Islam - set up shop there. Don't forget that the approx. 400,000 Palestinian refugees live pretty much in abject misery in Lebanon. They cannot own property; they are forbidden to hold professional jobs - or even many unskilled jobs. The children cannot attend state schools, nor receive medical treatment from state facilities. The situation is very different in Jordan, as Pat describes above.

Don S on :

"I assume the US is not helping Syria to deal with this refugee crisis because of Syria's support for Hezbollah etc, right? Perhaps the US should help Syria." Perhaps the US is 'not helping Syria' for other reasons. One reason is that the issue you highlight has not had much visibility in the US. I certainly had not heard about it - or thought about what happened to the dependent womenfolk of dead Iraqi jihadis. Another reason is that 'helping Syria' is way too nebulous a goal. Help Syria do what? If the US were to hand Syria a wodge of cash (or anything which could readily be sold to raise cash) - what do you think it would be spent on? Helping Iraqi women live in dignity? Or (just possibly) supressing the Lebanese government and arming Hetzbolah? Helping the women is a reasonable goal - but it's what we engineers call a 'non-trivial problem' in the current political context - both in Syria and in the US. We could send social workers or aid workers to Syria to make sure the aid got to the intended recipients - would Assad & company accept that? Or would we have to use NGO's who are easy targets for a shakedown? Perhaps we just ought to naturalize the relatives of dead terrorists into the US and put them on AFDC. It would be a simpler solution - at least until the children grow up. Or do I mean blow up?

Don S on :

True. Do you think setting them up in the US and putting them on welfare is less humiliating than the current situation? More? I think it would be 'differently' humiliating - don't you?

Don S on :

One more little thing Joerg. Saddam Hussein and the Baathists murdered a whole bunch of Iraqis. Kurds and Shias mostly I presume. I assume that process left a lot of widows and orphans as well - refugees even. US government burden? US taxpayer burden? Why not German taxpayer burden? French taxpayer burden?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

The point in my post: If you don't want to get a 9/11 type attack perpetrated by Iraqi Sunnis, then you should find a way to help the refugees in Syria. The US is planning on flying to Mars. Surely, you can find a way to help the refugees. Work with some good NGOs or Red Cross/Red Crescent or UN. It is not more difficult than flying to Mars. And it is certainly less of a waste of money.

Don S on :

"The point in my post: If you don't want to get a 9/11 type attack perpetrated by Iraqi Sunnis, then you should find a way to help the refugees in Syria." It's not comparable to a Mars mission. I hadn't heard that a serious Mars mission is in the cards anyway. Humiliation is a strange thing, Joerg. The terrorists who drove the 9/11 planes were not the earth's downtrodden - they were the sons of the prosperous. My point is not that something shouldn't be done for these women and not that the US should take part in it. It's that things are a trifle more complicated than that in places like Damascus. It possibly would be easier in Jordan, but we don't wish to give aid and see it go to fund jihad instead of decency. My point is that there is unlikely to be a link between the poor women and another 9/11 because our experience is that the kind of people who plan and fund terrorist actions are unlikely to be the children of refugees. No they are far more likely to be the sex tourists from the Gulf states - and their children.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

1.) Have a look at the work of the UN Refugee Agency and several NGOs. They often do good work. The US can fund them more generously so that they help the refugees in Syria. The US can work behind the scenes to make sure the agencies and NGOs do good work. This is simpler than landing on Mars. 2.) I have not claimed that refugees will perpetrate the next 9/11. I know that terrorist leaders are usually at least middle class. Those terrorists feel that their people have been humiliated. They want to take revenge for that. In their twisted minds, they act on behalf of the poor and downthrodden. The same reason has motivated many middle class revolutionary leaders in European history. They claim to act on the poor. Thus, I tried to choose my words carefully, when I wrote in my post: [quote="JW"]How many Iraqis have turned or will turn to terrorism to take revenge for this "lost honor" of their people? Perhaps a new generation of disgruntled America-hating Iraqi Sunnis will grow up in the next decade. The perfect fodder for terrorist groups. The feeling of "lost honor" and the perception of humiliation in general are the number one motivation for terrorists.[/quote] How likely do you think it is that a group of Arabs will attack the US or Europe like on 9/11 and use the "lost honor" of Iraqi prostitutes or the humiliation of Iraqis in general as "justification"? I mean, it is often said that Bin Laden's main motivation for 9/11 was the US military presence in Saudi Arabia. It definitely was one of the top 5 reasons. Did you imagine in 1991 that the US military presence would lead to 9/11? I think only a few people saw that risk in 1991. Most people probably thought this would be far fetched. Thus, I believe it is justified to be concerned about the lost honor of Iraqi women in Syria.

Don S on :

I'm not as concerned with the honor of the women - seems to me that they are doing what they have to in order to support their families. No dishonor in that. The UN as a vector for aid is another matter. One has to carefully select the UN agency - UN personnel in the Balkans (and elsewhere) have a certain reputation for being part of the problem rather than part of the solution where it concerns prostitution. You and I disagree on two points, I think. My feeling is that succoring the women is worth doing on simple moral grounds because it is a right thing to do. The situation is complicated by the locale - western aid often goes astray in that part of the world and money intended for humanitarian relief or economic development goes instead into waging jihad (Palestinian Authority). I also believe that young Jihadis will find their motivation one way or another - the aid itself could be viewed as a cause for humiliation! The othr point of disagreement we might have is on the source. Seems to me that European would-be reformers often limit their efforts to uttering phrases beginning with 'The US ought to....'. You noted that Europe ought to do something also - but often that doesn't happen. If it's worth doing for the US - it's worth doing for Europe.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

We are not that far apart. I share your concern that the delivery of aid is often flawed. I am more optimistic that it can be improved, if there is an interest in it. So far it seems there is not an interest in helping the refugees in Syria. The US can help them clandestinely. Nobody needs to know that the help is coming from the US. Why do I ask first the US to help the refugees? Because the US is the preferred target to take revenge for this "lost honor". Europe is only second choice. Besides, most Europeans were against the Iraq war, which created this "lost honor" problem. The whole point of the Iraq war was to bring democracy and liberty in order to reduce Anti-Americanism in the Arab world. The Iraq war has not only failed to achieve all this, but actually made betters worse. Again, I am not repeating this to make the US look bad, but to stress this underreported and underestimated problem of the lost honor and humiliation, many Iraqi Sunnis, who made it abroad feel. We got to deal with the repercussions.

MN on :

"The whole point of the Iraq war was to bring democracy and liberty in order to reduce Anti-Americanism in the Arab world. The Iraq war has not only failed to achieve all this, but actually made betters worse." I totally agree with that, but I am not sure if that was actually the whole point of the Iraq War. Anyway, all this world need is PEACE!!!

Pat Patterson on :

We'll not only land on Mars but we'll probably have colonies and Tom Swift type solutions for water and atmosphere before we achieve any kind of peace in the Middle East.

MN on :

"Not every Iraqi Sunni are terrorists",I agree with that. I think the word "terrorists" is being used as a racial remark. People should stop crossing the limit to Freedom of Speech! PEACE.

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