The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Wright, Lawrence

Alfred A. Knopf, 2006

p. 38

In June of 1967 Israel defeated Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq—all within six days.  In fact Israel wiped out the air forces of the other nations mostly in one afternoon.  Israel’s victory was crushing to her Muslim opponents, who had believed that God was on their side in the long struggle with Israel.  Obviously they had displeased God somehow.  “The profound appeal of Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt and elsewhere was born in this shocking debacle.  A newly strident voice was heard in the mosques” calling Muslims back to “the pure religion.”  Once again, shame had become a powerful motive.

pp. 158-59

In the summer of 1990 Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia, custodian of a gigantic oil supply.  At the request of the Saudi government and out of its own national interest, The United States sent forces to meet the threat.  The sight of U.S. and allied troops gathering in Saudi Arabia—these Western infidels with their filthy feet trampling  on everything—was humiliating to Osama bin Laden and to many other Muslims.  We need Jews and Christians to defend us?  Shameful!  “That many of these foreign soldiers were women only added to their embarrassment.  The weakness of the Saudi state and its abject dependence on the West for protection were paraded before the world, thanks to the 1,500 foreign journalists who descended on the Kingdom to report on the buildup to the war.  For such a private and intensely religious people, with a press that had been entirely under government control, the scrutiny was disorienting,” kindling “a combustible atmosphere of fear, outrage, humiliation, and xenophobia.”  One more powerful reason to hate and punish the U.S.