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April 15, 2006

What We're Up Against

Today's LAT has a chilling feature article profiling a suicide bomber who murdered 132 Iraqis with a car bomb outside a clinic in Hillah on February 28th, 2005.

Raed Mansour Albanna was born to a middle class family in Jordan. He studied to be a lawyer, though never succeeded in establishing a viable practice. Supported by his well-to-do family, he came to the US on a tourist visa early in 2001 and lived in LA for nearly two years, working as a pedicab driver at Ontario International Airport and enjoying Hollywood's club scene. Raed assimilated easily into American life, and made lots of friends in LA.

On 9/11, he was working at the Airport, according to another pedicab driver and friend. As everyone crowded into an airport bar to watch the horrors of that day unfold, Albanna reported to turned to his friend in anguish, denying that all moslems were like the attackers of 9/11 and that "Not all of us hate America."

For no apparent reason, about a month before he left to return home to Jordan, he began to attend a mosque and pray five times a day. His family were also surprised at his new found religious observance.

He was 32 years old when he triggered the bomb that killed himself and 132 innocent Iraqis.

What happened to convert this apparently harmless young man into a religious fanatic? Did he meet some Imam in LA who started on this path to death and destruction?

Like many of the 9/11 plotters, he was well-educated, from a good family, and had a largely secular upbringing. He also, like many of the 9/11 terrorists, felt that he had let his family down by failing to find a good job or career to justify his family's investment in his education. This sense of personal failure made him an easy target for recruitment into nihilist terror.

Given the vast numbers of well-educated, unemployed or under-employed young arab men throught the stagnant economies of the mideast, there are many more potential jihadist recruits out there. Even worse, there could be many of them right here in this country today. Not a pleasant thought at all.

April 15, 2006 at 11:25 AM | Permalink


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Posted by: J. Mark English | Apr 17, 2006 8:58:40 PM

Makes me recall Norman Mailer's novel on Lee Harvey Oswald, Oswald's Tale. How a loser who entertains grand notions of himself being "an instrument of history" can, in fact, become just that. At least in his perfervid mind.

Great post. I'm linking to it.

Posted by: a superfluous man | Apr 20, 2006 6:22:05 AM

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