While we oppose them at every turn, wouldn’t it help us protect ourselves if we tried to understand what’s behind the terrorist threat? Are they merely insane? Or do they have what they consider good reasons? What motivates them?

Understanding isn't agreeing or forgiving, but it is a critical tool to use in combating Terrorism.

Why they hate the West.

Here's an analogy to help. Consider if France (or perhaps Russia) invaded the UK and put a puppet in Downing Street and supported the new regime with money, weapons, and helped set up a secret police.

Then they forced the UK to merge with Belgium and Spain, despite different culture, language, and traditions. Would that make you at least a little upset? Would that motivate UK "terrorists?"

After a century being pulled apart by colonial powers, major oil deposits were discovered in Iran and the UK along with the US set up a series of puppet governments culminating in Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who controlled the country through his secret police and the support of the US until he fled the country. Voting doesn't help so why not asymmetric warfare (terrorism)?

Iraq and the hard place.

In the 20's another oil-rich region is unstable and both the UK and the US think it would be easier to control if several feuding groups were forced under the same government.

They had good reason since they feared the U.S.S.R. would move in if they didn't, but it motivated terrorists.

There were three major regions which were combined to form Iraq. One was predominantly Sunni Muslims, another was mostly populated by Shia Muslims, and the third group making up about 20% of the population are Kurds who are only nominally Muslims, with some turning to Zoroastrianism.

(If you thought you understood the mid-East explain who Zoroaster was.) More motivation for Terrorists?

A big problem (among many others) with the new country is that Sunnis hate Shia and vice versa, while both distrust the Kurds - this is all about religion which history tells us always motivates the most vicious rivalries.

Saddam Hussein was born in Tikrit a Sunni Muslim in a Sunni region.

He maintained a brutal control of his people, even using poison gas on Kurds, but also strongly favoured fellow Sunnis over the larger Shia population. The US supported Hussein and his vile, murderous sons Uday and Qusay for years until he invaded another oil-rich kingdom (possibly because he got mixed signals from his US handlers). Now the Shia hate the west because we helped suppress them under Hussein. The Sunnis hate us because we overthrew their government. The Kurds actually support us. Saudi Arabia is Sunni, Iran is mostly Shia which is why Iraq and Iran were at War for years. Yet more motivation.

Famous commentator Noam Chomsky has some answers, “One way to sharply reduce global terrorism is to stop carrying it out.

The most extreme global terrorism campaign now under way [3 years ago] is Obama’s drone attacks on suspects and nearby civilians.” If you kill a lot of innocent women and children their relatives are likely to become annoyed. some turn to terrorism.

Saudi Arabia

Most of the 911 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, as was Bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, they had lots of support from within Saudi Arabia (according to Rand Paul and members of the US “911 Commission.” What's their motivation?

The Saudi royal family keeps power with a welfare state and support for radical Imams who sponsor fanatical Wahhabi schools which some say promote terrorism but which others strongly deny.

So, why do Saudi terrorists hate the west?

The problem is, once again, religion - Saudi Arabia has most of the sacred sites for Islam.

If you are C of E and there's a Muslim military force camped beside Church House. Would you object? The US has military bases in Saudi Arabia and the entire country is seen as a holy place to Muslims. That's motivation for terrorists.

Trump says Obama was too weak on ISIS. Here’s what Noam Chomsky has to say about President Donald Trump.