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Middle Eastern Terrorism

From Black September to September 11

By Mark Ensalaco

Publication Year: 2011

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

Since the first airplane hijacking by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in September 1970, Middle Eastern terrorists have sacrificed innocent human lives in the name of ideology. From Black September to the Munich Olympics, to the embassy bombing in Beirut, to the devastating attacks of September 11 and beyond, terrorism has emerged as the most important security concern of our time.

"Where did this come from?" Inspired by a student's question on the morning of September 11, 2001, Mark Ensalaco has written a thoroughly researched narrative account of the origins of Middle Eastern terrorism, addressing when and why terrorists started targeting Americans and American interests and what led to the September 11 attacks.

Ensalaco reveals the changing of motivations from secular Palestinian nationalism to militant Islam and demonstrates how competition among terrorists for resources and notoriety has driven them to increasingly extreme tactics. As he argues, terrorist attacks grew from spectacle to atrocity. Drawing on popular works and scholarly sources, Middle Eastern Terrorism tells this story in rich detail and with great clarity and insight.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Dedication Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. 1-7

In September 1970, a month that came to be known as Black September, terrorists belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) simultaneously hijacked three passenger jets bound for the United States in the skies over Europe. Alert air marshals prevented...

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1. No One Heard Our Screams or Our Suffering

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pp. 8-28

In the spring of 1967, Lyndon Johnson was agonizing over the escalating war in South East Asia. It had been nearly two years since he announced the fateful decision to commit U.S. combat forces in South Vietnam in order to defeat the Viet Cong guerrillas fighting to liberate South Vietnam...

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2. Revolutionary Violence Is a Political Act, Terrorism Is Not

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pp. 29-46

The year 1972 was an election year in the United States. Richard Nixon, who had come into office in 1969 amid mounting protests against the interminable war in Vietnam, already the longest in U.S. history, was seeking a second term. Nixon’s foreign policy agenda was ambitious...

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3. Much Blood Will Flow, Not All of It Ours

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pp. 47-67

The year 1972 was a year of terrible violence; 1973 would be worse. The year began triumphantly for Richard Nixon, who took the oath of office for a second time in January. The electoral returns the previous November seemed to vindicate the career of one of the more controversial politicians...

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4. Peace Would Be the End of All Our Hopes

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pp. 68-91

The year 1974 began with the Nixon administration in the throes of the Watergate scandal. Nixon’s abuse of power, coming when American society was already torn by the Vietnam conflict, shook American confidence in the integrity of government. Nixon resigned office on 9 August...

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5. We Accept to Live with You in Permanent Peace

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pp. 92-121

In the summer of 1976, Americans celebrated two hundred years of independence, and in the fall they went to the polls to elect the nation’s thirty-ninth president. It was the final year of Gerald Ford’s presidency and Henry Kissinger’s dominance of U.S. foreign policy. The Ford...

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6. We Will Get Slaughtered Down There

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pp. 122-150

In January 1980, Jimmy Carter entered an electoral year and the final year of his presidency. The historic triumph at Camp David in September 1978 and the conclusion of a formal peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in March 1979 seemed to validate Carter’s foreign policy idealism...

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7. America Will Never Make Concessions to Terrorists

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pp. 151-185

Ronald Reagan began 1984 without fear that the disasters that befell the Americans in Lebanon in 1983 would ruin his chances for reelection in November. The electorate did not blame errors of presidential judgment for the bombings of the U.S. embassy in April or the slaughter of...

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8. The Real Enemy is America

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pp. 186-213

George Herbert Walker Bush took the oath of office in January 1989 as investigators collected the wreckage of Pan Am 103 strewn over the Scottish countryside. When he left office four years later, he could speak confidently about the advent of ‘‘a new world order freer from the threat...

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9. Kill Them on the Land, the Sea, and in the Air

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pp. 214-232

In 1996 Bill Clinton became the first Democrat to win reelection since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Democratic Party’s icon, earned a second term a half century earlier. Clinton’s second term would be troubled, despite his domestic and foreign policy achievements: the...

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10. Today, Our Nation Saw Evil

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pp. 233-263

George W. Bush entered the White House in January 2001 after the most controversial election in four decades. Twenty-five days before the November elections, Al Qaeda suicide bombers aboard a small skiff blasted a hole in the USS Cole in a Yemeni port, killing seventeen U.S...

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pp. 264-274

President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress on the night of 20 September, 2001, as rescue workers sifted through a million tons of debris at ground zero, once the site of the World Trade Center. ‘‘On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war’’ the..


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pp. 275-300


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pp. 301-305


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pp. 307-315


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pp. 317-318

E-ISBN-13: 9780812201871
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812221350

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2011