EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Opposing terrorism, especially jihadist terror, has become a continuous security obligation of the US, Europe, and of course Israel. Still, too little serious analytic attention has been directed towards identifying remedies for such perils. These remedies should build upon an understanding of terrorism as a tool in the search for personal immortality.
While counterterrorism specialists correctly devote considerable attention to the influences of martyrdom and jihad, not much cogent analysis has explored jihad’s deep underlying promise of power over death. Ultimately, it is the appeal of that promise that can determine the success or failure of terrorist movements. How, then, can this most exhilarating appeal be countered?
Any purposeful policy response must be theoretical and knowledge-based, not merely anecdotal or narrowly deductive. Whoever the jihadist enemy of the moment may be, the true struggle is never just about territory, sovereignty, geography, or democracy. Always, whether we are referencing fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, the West Bank, or Gaza, the jihadist enemy seeks something much more compelling and personal.
That special “something” is life everlasting.