22 September 2017

The Little Known Tort Of Harming Others With A False Tax Return

It isn't every day that I discover a new tort after having practiced law for more than twenty years. So, it bears mentioning. I've been aware of the underlying improper tactic for a long time, but didn't know about the statutory remedy for it until now. The basic concern is that you can cause a tax mess for someone if you create a Form 1099 or K-1 which you issue to someone to them saying that they have earned income when they haven't, and there are very few limits on creating a 1099 or K-1 in the first place. 
[Internal Revenue Code] Section 7434(a) provides: “If any person willfully files a fraudulent information return with respect to payments purported to be made to any other person, such other person may bring a civil action for damages against the person so filing such a return.” . . . 
[There is a] surprisingly large amount of case law on this section to address a variety of common issues that arise in these lawsuits. For a good overview of these issues see Stephen's useful blog post here.
From TaxProf Blog.

20 September 2017

The Marshmallow Test Results Have Improved Over Time

Children, on average, are significantly better at delaying gratification in the "marshmallow test" than they were 50 years ago. The abstract of the new paper is as follows:
Have children gotten worse at their ability to delay gratification? We analyze the past 50 years of data on the Marshmallow test of delay of gratification. Children must wait to get two preferred treats; if they cannot wait, they only get one. Duration for how long children can delay has been associated with a host of positive life outcomes. Here we provide the first evidence on whether children’s ability to delay gratification has truly been decreasing, as theories of technology or a culture of instant gratification have predicted. Before analyzing the data, we polled 260 experts in cognitive development, 84% of who believed kids these days are getting worse or are no different. Contrary to this prediction, kids these days are better able to delay gratification than they were in the past, corresponding to a fifth of a standard deviation increase in ability per decade. 
The magnitude of the change is comparable to that of the Flynn effect that was observed in the same time period, i.e. a secular increase in average IQ over time. As the introduction in the body text of the paper explains:
All cognitive abilities have undergone secular increases over the past century (Flynn, 1984). The increase generally runs between 2.3–3 points of overall intelligence per decade (around 1/5 of a standard deviation; Trahan et al., 2014).
The reason for this not known and this empirical result contradicts conventional wisdom in the field.

Some examinations of the Flynn effect have pointed to the improvements mostly coming from a reduction in the number of people scoring at the low end of IQ tests, rather than an improvement at the top, suggesting that a decline in developmental disabilities, perhaps due to better pre-natal care and reduced pollution (e.g. from lead exposure) or improved nutrition, could be a factor, which might also apply to the Marshmallow test improvements over time, even if the Marshmallow test implicates cognitive abilities orthogonal to IQ that involve different brain processes.

Notably, another mention of the related concept of "attention" has remained constant over time in a study comparing results in 1983 to those in 2012, despite increasing diagnosis of attention deficit disorder conditions.

18 September 2017

Word of The Day: Lakh

A lakh (/ˈlæk/ or /ˈlɑːk/; abbreviated L; sometimes written Lac or Lacs) is a unit in the Indian numbering system equal to one hundred thousand (100,000; scientific notation: 10^5). In the Indian convention of digit grouping, it is written as 1,00,000. For example, in India 150,000 rupees becomes 1.5 lakh rupees, written as ₹1,50,000 or INR 1,50,000. 
It is widely used both in official and other contexts in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It is often used in Indian, Pakistani, and Sri Lankan English. In Pakistan, the word lakh is used mostly in local languages rather than in English media.
From Wikipedia based upon an encounter with it here.

Another notable insight, from the same source, is this: "The word lakhi is commonly used throughout Tanzania to denote 100,000 shillings and is likely to have entered the Swahili language from Indian and Pakistani immigrants."

A related term is Crore (= 100 lakh = 10 million).

U.S. Liberals Share The Same Ideas More Than Conservatives

Do liberals or conservatives have more agreement in their political attitudes? 
Recent research indicates that conservatives may have more like-minded social groups than do liberals, but whether conservatives have more consensus on a broad, national level remains an open question. 
Using two nationally representative data sets (the General Social Survey and the American National Election Studies), we examined the attitudes of over 80,000 people on more than 400 political issues (e.g., attitudes toward welfare, gun control, same-sex marriage) across approximately 40 years. 
In both data sets, we found that liberals possessed a larger degree of agreement in their political attitudes than did conservatives. Additionally, both liberals and conservatives possessed more consensus than did political moderates.
Peter Ondish, Chadly Stern, "Liberals Possess More National Consensus on Political Attitudes in the United States: An Examination Across 40 Years" Social, Psychological and Personality Science (September 14, 2017 ).

This is contrary to what has been conventional wisdom had been until quite recently (perhaps since 2015 when apparent fractures in the conservative coalition started to become more apparent in the election campaign).

11 September 2017

Mexican Migration Surge Unlike To Recur

Trump's wall is an idea that has been obsolete for a long time.

Net migration from Mexico to the U.S. has been approximately zero for a decade.

One reason that it is not likely to recur because Mexico no longer has a rapidly growing population.

A Short 9-11 Observation

Sixteen years ago, in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, I was convinced as were most people, that the lives of my infant and two year old would be defined by a world wracked by terrorism.

This isn't what happened. In the subsequent sixteen years, there has been more domestic terrorism in the U.S. than there has been Islamic terrorism, and phenomena like gun violence, police brutality, the gay rights movement, and global warming have all had more of an impact on my children's lives than the kind of terrorism that gave rise to 9-11.

Yes, the U.S. is still fighting the war in Afghanistan that begun with 9-11 and our involvement in Syria and Iraq at this point is justified by the same legal authority that provides a basis for the ongoing war in Afghanistan. But, those conflicts have remained "small wars" that have managed to remain at the periphery of American life.

09 September 2017

Quote Of The Day

Even if he betrays me, I'd be O.K. with it.

- Vampire Knight anime (English dubbed), Season 2, Episode 3.

It is hard to image loyalty greater than that.

07 September 2017

Autism and mtDNA?

A new study finds a link between mtDNA clades and autism prevalence. While there is a plausible biochemical mechanism by which this link could arise, based upon other work I've seen on inheritance patterns in autism, I'm quite skeptical of the result.
The current study analyzed these mtDNA lineages among 1,624 patients with autism and 2,417 healthy parents and siblings, representing 933 families in the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). Using data from genome-wide association studies on this AGRE cohort previously performed by the Center for Applied Genomics at CHOP, they determined patterns of functional mtDNA variants associated with ASD risk that emerged over human history. 
The study team found that individuals with European haplogroups designated I, J, K, O-X, T and U (representing 55 percent of the total European population) had significantly higher risks of ASD compared to the most common European haplogroup, HHV. Asian and Native American haplogroups A and M also were at increased risk of ASD. 
These findings support the idea that an individual already predisposed to ASD based on their mitochondrial haplogroup may develop the disease when additional genetic variants or environmental insults occur that lower mitochondrial function, impair OXPHOS, and alter brain activity.
Among the reasons to be skeptical: the p-value is only 0.04 so it looks like p-hacking by carefully choosing results bins after the fact; the sample size is exaggerated because the samples are not independent, the characterization of the mtDNA haplogroups involved is non-standard (mtDNA haplogroup O is Australian aboriginal, so a European haplogroup O-X makes no sense; there is no mtDNA haplogroup HHV and instead there are two separate ones H and HV); the odds ratios aren't huge; mtDNA clades are strongly ancestry informative and could be tracking differences in diagnosis rates or ancestry correlated autosomal traits; these are very broad categories that aren't phylogenically coherent.

More evidence of p-hacking in this paper flows from the fact that a 2013 study with a similar design and only modestly smaller sample size found no significant association between mtDNA haplogroup and autism risk and did not show the autism-mtDNA links for  any of the specific haplogroups reported on in the 2017 paper, despite having a similar, although moderately smaller sample size in terms of independent individuals (818 cases and 1641 controls). The abstract of that paper and its citation are as follows:
Despite the increasing speculation that oxidative stress and abnormal energy metabolism may play a role in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and the observation that patients with mitochondrial defects have symptoms consistent with ASD, there are no comprehensive published studies examining the role of mitochondrial variation in autism. Therefore, we have sought to comprehensively examine the role of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation with regard to ASD risk, employing a multi-phase approach. In phase 1 of our experiment, we examined 132 mtDNA single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genotyped as part of our genome-wide association studies of ASD. In phase 2 we genotyped the major European mitochondrial haplogroup-defining variants within an expanded set of autism probands and controls. Finally in phase 3, we resequenced the entire mtDNA in a subset of our Caucasian samples (∼400 proband-father pairs). In each phase we tested whether mitochondrial variation showed evidence of association to ASD. Despite a thorough interrogation of mtDNA variation, we found no evidence to suggest a major role for mtDNA variation in ASD susceptibility. Accordingly, while there may be attractive biological hints suggesting the role of mitochondria in ASD our data indicate that mtDNA variation is not a major contributing factor to the development of ASD.
Hadjixenofontos, A, et al., "Evaluating mitochondrial DNA variation in autism spectrum disorders." 77(1) Ann Hum Genet. 9-21 (2013 epublished November 6, 2012) doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1809.2012.00736.x. (Open access).

Another lack of association between ASD and mtDNA variation was found in a 2011 study. The 2011 and 2013 studies combined have as large a sample size, if not larger, than the 2017 paper.

So, two of three studies have found a lack of association and the one that did find the association has a p value of 0.04 which is not statistically significant after considering look elsewhere effects given that at least three such studies have been done.

Background on sibling shared autism risk can be found here. All siblings with the same mother have the same mtDNA. The odds ratio for siblings of ASD affected individuals to have an ASD is 9.4-14.7 which is much greater than the odds ratio associated with sharing an mtDNA haplogroup.

Ideally, mtDNA associations would be studied at maximal sub-haplogroup detail, in light of a phylogeny of the haplogroups implicated, and excluding cases where a de novo mutation was likely such as in cases of advanced paternal age, as well as cases where a paternal inheritance was likely due to sub-clinical or clinical ASD symptoms in the father.

The abstract and citation to the new paper are as follows:
Importance Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterized by impairments in social interaction, communication, and repetitive or restrictive behavior. Although multiple physiologic and biochemical studies have reported defects in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in patients with ASD, the role of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation has remained relatively unexplored. 
Objective To assess what impact mitochondrial lineages encompassing ancient mtDNA functional polymorphisms, termed haplogroups, have on ASD risk. 
Design, Setting, and Participants In this cohort study, individuals with autism and their families were studied using the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange cohort genome-wide association studies data previously generated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. From October 2010 to January 2017, we analyzed the data and used the mtDNA single-nucleotide polymorphisms interrogated by the Illumina HumanHap 550 chip to determine the mtDNA haplogroups of the individuals. Taking into account the familial structure of the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange data, we then determined whether the mtDNA haplogroups correlate with ASD risk. 
Main Outcomes and Measures Odds ratios of mitochondrial haplogroup as predictors of ASD risk. 
Results Of 1624 patients with autism included in this study, 1299 were boys (80%) and 325 were girls (20%). Families in the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange collection (933 families, encompassing 4041 individuals: 1624 patients with ASD and 2417 healthy parents and siblings) had been previously recruited in the United States with no restrictions on age, sex, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Relative to the most common European haplogroup HHV, European haplogroups I, J, K, O-X, T, and U were associated with increased risk of ASD, as were Asian and Native American haplogroups A and M, with odds ratios ranging from 1.55 (95% CI, 1.16-2.06) to 2.18 (95% CI, 1.59-3) (adjusted P < .04). Hence, mtDNA haplogroup variation is an important risk factor for ASD. 
Conclusions and Relevance Because haplogroups I, J, K, O-X, T, and U encompass 55% of the European population, mtDNA lineages must make a significant contribution to overall ASD risk.
Dimitra Chalkia, et al., "Association Between Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup Variation and Autism Spectrum Disorders" JAMA Psychiatry. (Published online August 23, 2017). doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.2604

05 September 2017


One of the behind the scenes things that lawyers spend a fair amount of time doing is triage evaluation of potential clients.

Few people other than lawyers in private practice have such a keen appreciation for the myriad situations that may involve legal issues to some extent, but for which they are not cost effective solutions, or even for which they are not effective solutions at all.

Private attorneys are excellent solutions to some kinds of problems (e.g. unpaid debts owed by solvent debtors), and are horrible solutions to many other kinds of problems.

01 September 2017

Heritability Estimate For Schizophrenia

About 79% of schizophrenia variance is explained by genetics.

A Short History of Modern Terrorism

A prepared a fairly extensive answer to a question at Politics StackExchange about the history of modern terrorism. I'm reprinting my answer in this post.

Short Answer

Modern terrorism as we understand it today originated in the late 1960s and has gradually spread across different movements as a tactic, including Islamic terrorism movements, since then.

The rise of this tactic in the Middle East more or less coincided with its appearance in places like Ireland, Continental Europe and Sri Lanka by non-Islamic forces and with the rise of asymmetric warfare tactics in the Vietnam War.

This tactic arose for military reasons, because alternative means of conventional warfare became less viable.

These tactics were used at all, in the Middle East, initially, as emerging fundamentalist Islamic movements fueled by rising literacy the removed the intermediation of formally trained religious leaders interpreting religious texts. This grass roots fundamentalist Islamic movement (in the sense of getting back to fundamentals of religious texts with less interpretation) arose as what was seen as a widely unifying less corrupt means to counterbalance the twin opponents of Israel on one hand, and secular leaning totalitarian communist and absolute monarchs that were perceived as oppressive, on the other. The absolutist regimes grew indifferent to the masses whose fundamental economic productivity lagged behind rising wealth from oil facilitated by OPEC at first, while those with access to oil wealth prospered.

The regimes against which Islamic terrorism was directed came to power in a manner that arose from missteps in the process of breaking up the Ottoman Empire and flawed process of facilitating Zionism without unduly disrupting pre-existing residents in a massively disruptive way that led to multiple rounds of war. 

Long Answer

There is more than one meaningful answer to your question considered at different levels of remoteness and with different kinds of causation. Obviously, this answer could stretch to many books in length. This answer attempts to hit the most pivotal high points and to demonstrate what was happening by example where possible.

The Long War Of Ottoman Succession

To some extent, almost all of the conflicts in the Middle East are partially traceable to the poor job that was done partitioning the Ottoman Empire, which was dismantled by the winning "Great Powers" following World War I. As Wikipedia summarizes at the link in this paragraph (references omitted):
The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire led to the rise in the Middle East of Western powers such as Britain and France and brought the creation of the modern Arab world and the Republic of Turkey. Resistance to the influence of these powers came from the Turkish national movement but did not become widespread in the post-Ottoman states until after World War II.  
The League of Nations mandate granted French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon and British Mandate for Mesopotamia (later Iraq) and British Mandate for Palestine, later divided into Mandatory Palestine and Emirate of Transjordan (1921-1946). The Ottoman Empire's possessions in the Arabian Peninsula became the Kingdom of Hejaz, which was annexed by the Sultanate of Nejd (today Saudi Arabia), and the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen. The Empire's possessions on the western shores of the Persian Gulf were variously annexed by Saudi Arabia (Alahsa and Qatif), or remained British protectorates (Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar) and became the Arab States of the Persian Gulf.   
After the Ottoman government collapsed completely it signed the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920. However, the Turkish War of Independence forced the European powers to return to the negotiating table before the treaty could be ratified. The Europeans and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey signed and ratified the new Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, superseding the Treaty of Sèvres and solidifying most of the territorial issues. One unresolved issue, the dispute between the Kingdom of Iraq and the Republic of Turkey over the former province of Mosul was later negotiated under the League of Nations in 1926. The British and French partitioned the eastern part of the Middle East, also called Greater Syria, between them in the Sykes–Picot Agreement. Other secret agreements were concluded with Italy and Russia. The Balfour Declaration encouraged the international Zionist movement to push for a Jewish homeland in the Palestine region. While a part of the Triple Entente, Russia also had wartime agreements preventing it from participating in the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after the Russian Revolution. The Treaty of Sèvres formally acknowledged the new League of Nations mandates in the region, the independence of Yemen, and British sovereignty over Cyprus.
This doesn't tell the full story, however.

The trouble is that the new regimes were despotic. The process frequently put minority factions in positions of power over majorities. The process allowed those in power to be corrupt and ignore the popular will. The process did not accurately draw lines reflecting ethnic human geography in the region splitting ethnic groups between states and creating ethnic minorities that were oppressed.

But, for half a century, this fragile arrangement nonetheless held together more or less, until it was really stressed as colonial powers withdrew their control voluntarily in favor of local despots who had previously been restrained by colonial oversight, starting mostly around 1960. It took only a few years for the legacy regimes to prove unstable and be replaced by more stable, totalitarian arrangements.

The Anti-Israel Movement

Shifting multi-national coalitions of Middle Eastern countries attempted to wipe out Israel, after it gained formal international recognition in the wake of the Holocaust of World War II, in a succession of short wars including an Arab invasion of Israel in 1948, the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, a failed attempt to recapture the Golan Heights in 1973, and other shots fired in anger which history does not dignify with formal names. Needless to say, they all failed.

Many Middle Eastern countries adopted a formal policy favoring the elimination of the state of Israel, and the Arab League, founded in 1945, had long organized opposition to Israeli treatment of Palestinians on a regional international level.

President Carter the brokered the Camp David Accords in 1978 which secured buy in from Israel's neighbor, Egypt, to not invade or try to wipe out Israel, in exchange for military and civilian economic aid and a desire for a more lasting peace. This resulted in a 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. The United States used its influence in a similar, but less formal way to disabuse Saudi Arabia (which does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel) of its desire to eliminate the State of Israel around the same time. More or less, that peace has held since then.

But, the legacy of having almost all of the sovereign states of the region formally declaring Israel to be their enemy deserving destruction or at least woefully opposed due to its treatment of the Palestinians, the cause of the ill treated Palestinians displaced by Zionist migration of Jews to Israel, and a shift towards religious fundamentalism discussed below, all legitimatized those who turned to terrorism as a tactic to use against Israel in this ongoing territorial and religious clash of international proportions.

Terrorist attacks in Israel start to surge in the late 1960s:

enter image description here
The Fall of Western Style Societies In The Middle East

While the partition of the Ottoman Empire set the stage for later terrorism in the modern sense, though in the 1960s and 1970s countries like Afghanistan, Lebanon, Egypt and Iran had moved very far in a Western direction under monarchies or socialist regimes, were relatively free of organized internal violence, and were experiencing expanding economic and expression rights for their citizens, although most regimes were still fundamentally either one party regimes or monarchies.

For example, in 1964, the monarch of Afghanistan instituted a new liberal constitution that was supposed to transition the country from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament, a strict regulation of daily life according to fundamentalist readings of Islamic law was relaxed.

enter image description here
A park in Afghanistan in the 1970s

These economies also tended to be somewhat hollow with weak fundamentals propped up with revenues from oil resources for which high prices were maintained by the OPEC oil cartel, formed in 1960, which provide prosperity that could support a liberal lifestyle.

A Conservative Religious Revival

One of the important consequences of this process, however, as described by my Islamic studies professors in college from first hand knowledge and intensive scholarship, was that the rate of literacy among "the masses" dramatically increased. This allowed large swaths of the population that previously had access to Islamic religious writings mediated through religious scholars who embedded those writings in interpretive doctrines that mitigated how they were applied in practiceto read them directly, to interpret them without the long religious tradition associated with them in a very literal way, and to become self-appointed religious leaders. This is explained here:
What would become Protestantism was inextricably linked to the advent of mass literacy, as a growing number of believers were no longer dependent on the intercession of clerics. With the New Testament translated for the first time into German and other European languages, the faithful could directly access the text on their own.  
The Muslim world, by comparison, has already experienced a weakening of the clerics, who, in being co-opted by newly independent states, fell into disrepute. In Europe, the decline of the clerical class and mass literacy laid the groundwork for secularization. In the modern Middle East, these same forces coincided with political Islam’s ascendancy. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood disproportionately drew its leadership from the professional sectors of medicine, engineering, and law. The movement, founded in 1928, was decidedly non-clerical and, in some ways, anti-clerical. In the 1950s, Cairo’s al-Azhar, the Arab world’s preeminent center of Islamic thought, was co-opted and politicized by Gamal Abdel Nasser’s regime, the Brotherhood’s chief antagonist.  
The much more literalist Salafis also had little time for the religious establishment. The premise of Salafism was that centuries of intricate and technical Islamic scholarship had obscured the power and purity of Islam, as embodied by the Prophet Muhammad and his companions. Salafi leaders told their followers that the Quran’s meaning could be accessed by simply reading it and following the example of the Prophet. Salafism—and for that matter groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS—would be inconceivable without the weakening of the clerics and the democratization of religion interpretation.
Then, existing conservative theological movements such as Salafi Islam (often with support from wealthy elites from Saudi Arabia and from elites in other Arab Muslim monarchies), who had resented and opposed the Westernization of these societies for their corruption and immoralitystepped in to lead the emerging grass roots movement.

Of course, the process is far more complex than this thumbnail sketch, and is influenced by a lot of complex internal structure of the relationship between different factions within Islam.

The transition bore strong similarities to the rise of Evangelical Christianity in the United States where independent, not very well educated grass roots revivalist preachers sought to return Christianity to its fundamentals after they were freed of the constraints and clergy dominated filter of religious knowledge to the masses and interpreted Christian religious texts literally based on their own readings of them without regard to later religious traditions in the Second Great Awakening.

The U.S. and the U.K. supported these movements at first, as Wikipedia explains (references omitted from quotation):
During the Cold War following World War II, some NATO governments, particularly those of the United States and the United Kingdom, launched covert and overt campaigns to encourage and strengthen fundamentalist groups in the Middle East and southern Asia. These groups were seen as a hedge against potential expansion by the Soviet Union, and as a means to prevent the growth of nationalistic movements that were not necessarily favorable toward the interests of the Western nations. By the 1970s, the Islamists had become important allies in supporting governments, such as Egypt, which were friendly to U.S. interests. By the late 1970s, however, some fundamentalist groups had become militaristic leading to threats and changes to existing regimes. The overthrow of the Shah in Iran and rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini was one of the most significant signs of this shift. Subsequently fundamentalist forces in Algeria caused a civil war, caused a near-civil war in Egypt, and caused the downfall of the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan. In many cases the military wings of these groups were supplied with money and arms by the U.S. and U.K.
A more detailed timeline of this involvement can be found in this 2006 article.

Needless to say, the U.S. and U.K. came to regret their support of these movements later on.

The current generation of people carrying out Islamic terrorist attacks in Western countries also carry some common characteristics; they are:
second generation; fairly well integrated at first; period of petty crime; radicalisation in prison; attack and death – weapons in hand – in a standoff with the police. 
Another characteristic that all western countries have in common is that radicals are almost all “born-again” Muslims who, after living a highly secular life – frequenting clubs, drinking alcohol, involvement in petty crime – suddenly renew their religious observance, either individually or in the context of a small group. . . . 
In almost every case, the processes by which a radical group is formed are nearly identical. The group’s membership is always the same: brothers, childhood friends, acquaintances from prison, sometimes from a training camp. The number of sets of siblings found is also remarkable. 
the radical preachers’ rhetoric could basically be summarised as: “Your father’s Islam is what the colonisers left behind, the Islam of those who bow down and obey. Our Islam is the Islam of combatants, of blood, of resistance.” 
Radicals are in fact often orphans . . . or come from dysfunctional families. They are not necessarily rebelling against their parents personally, but against what they represent: humiliation, concessions made to society, and what they view as their religious ignorance.
These men aren't crazy. These men see themselves a bit like Batman, wealthy men using their power and education to secure what they see as justice outside the law, or if less affluent, like the demon hunting brothers of Supernatural, or as medal of honor candidates who are heroes willing to put their lives on the line for the cause.

The cause, in turn, is born of religious revival in response to bad, foreign influenced local regimes, and the methods flow from the futility of trying to achieve their ends with either politics or a conventional military force.
Regime's Response To The Rise Of Islamic Fundamentalism

Different regimes responded to rising fundamentalist Islamic religious sentiment in different ways.

In Afghanistan, a 1973 coup to remove the monarchy was followed by a communist coup in 1978, followed by "imprisoned, tortured or murdered thousands of members of the traditional elite, the religious establishment, and the intelligentsia. The government launched a campaign of violent repression, killing some 10,000 to 27,000 people and imprisoning 14,000 to 20,000 more, mostly at Pul-e-Charkhi prison." The Communist regime led to a Soviet invasion in 1979, and Afghanistan anti-communist forces, some of the more effective of which were Islamic fundamentalist with Saudi Arabian support, were important players in a civil war that continued with only brief interruption until the 2001 arrival of U.S. forces in the wake of the 9-11 attacks. Terrorism was a tactic there against various other factions including the U.S. and its allies into the present.

In Lebanon, a civil war broke out on religious lines in 1975 and continued until 1990.

In Iran, protest movements in 1977 and 1978 gave rise to Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979. This was followed in short order by the Iran-Iraq War from 1980 to 1988 in which new tactics including suicidal "human wave attacks" by people with explosives indoctrinated to be martyrs, widespread attacks on civilian targets, and the use of chemical weapons, set precedents about acceptable means that were then widely adopted elsewhere in smaller scale terrorist attacks as part of asymmetric warfare.

Iraq tried to prevent terrorism from breaking out not by "joining them" as the Iranian Revolution's regime did, but by imposing a totalitarian regime that muted ethnic and religious tensions somewhat at the cost of forcing people to chafe under its own regime's unpopular restrictions.

In Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey, secularly inclined military forces and one party regimes clamped down on dissent to prevent political movements that they didn't control from emerging and suppressed religious political movements.

Syria became a one party regime in 1963 that was controlled by a comparatively liberal and pro-Western Alawite minority that had been favored during the French League of Nations mandate of Syria. It intervened in a Jordian-Palestinian Civil War in 1970 that gave rise to official Syrian support of the PLO which engaged in anti-Israeli terrorism when it withdrew in 1970.

Tactics used in one conflict spread to others, for example in the bombing of U.S. forces in Beirut in 1983.

Wealthy, often unemployed but religiously educated lesser members of the royal family in Saudi Arabia held spread ultra-conservative Salafi Islamic approaches to Sunni Islam throughout the Middle East as a way to counter corrupt secular communist regimes in the region thus expanding their own worldview as well: "Salafi groups ... began developing an interest in (armed) jihad during the mid-1990s."
Bottom Line

So, while the source of modern Islamic terrorism in the Middle East has somewhat deep political roots, it can really be traced to a religious reaction of the rise of Israel on the one hand, and secular communist Western leaning regimes on the other, starting around the late 1960s and early 1970s and escalating over time since then.

In Europe and the United States, a primarily Middle Eastern Islamic terrorism phenomena spread via immigration to countries that were destinations of immigrants by minorities who favored radical action in a larger movement largely directed a local, Western supported corrupt and oppressive tyrants in their homelands. This started to become more common in the early 2000s, following a brief low point in European based terrorist activity (see the chart below).

The rise in Islamic terrorism in the West (Europe and the U.S.) in the 2000s pretty much boils down to deliberate policy choices made by a couple of international jihadist organizations: the al-Qaedaterrorist organization and the thinly linked subsequent Islamic State organization.

Islamic terrorist tactics spread beyond the Middle East to places like Libya, East Africa, the Sahel zone of Africa, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, largely following the model of Middle Eastern jihadists.
Caveats And A Larger Global And Historical Context

Terrorism is not and never has been exclusively or primarily Islamic. It is really just one type of asymmetric warfare which has been more common historically than the wars between equally matched forces in international wars that dominate the history books.

But, starting around the late 1960s, asymmetric warfare became the truly dominant means of conflict internationally because technologies like machines guns, tanks and warplanes made conventional warfare between well equipped government forces and ill equipped insurgent forces futile. The total and rapid victory of the U.S. and its allies against Iraq in the Gulf War in Iraq from 1990 to 1991, cemented this widespread belief.

Also, the threat of mutual assured destruction in a nuclear war during the Cold War discouraged international conflicts in which a nuclear power such as Russia, the U.S. or China sided with a party to the conflict.

The antiquity of terrorism is illustrated, for example, by the term assassin, which derives from derives from what we would call today a Shia Islamic terrorist group ca. 1000 CE, with roots in Northern Persia fighting back against both Crusaders and Sunni Islamic oppressor regimes.

Terrorism was a central tool in the conflict between the English and the Irish in Ireland and later once Ireland gained independence, in Northern Ireland. "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland which were heavily marked by terrorist activity started around 1969.

Basque and Northern Italian separatists in Europe turned to terrorism. The first terrorist attack attributed to the Basque ETA was in 1968. The Red Brigades championing Northern Italian autonomy engaged in terrorist attacks starting in the 1970s.

Modern terrorist attacks have continued at a slow and steady rate by various factions of the day in Europe (mostly domestic autonomy movements) since the 1970s and fell off towards the end of the 1990s.

enter image description here

Image via Datagraver.

Terrorist tactics were widespread in Sri Lanka in connection with a 26 year civil war between Tamil forces and the government that continued from the early 1980s through 2009.