A Sister Trope to Western, African and Far East Asian Terrorists, Middle Eastern Terrorists are terrorists who are based in the Middle Eastnote to carry out guerrilla and terrorist attacks against domestic/foreign governments and interests alike. They can be based in other places, but the majority of the manpower is made up of nationals who are from the Middle East. They can be used as mooks, usually working alongside other types of terrorists and criminals, as long as they share the same objectives and interests.
In fiction, they mostly operate under Terrorists Without a Cause, La Résistance, Knight Templars, or are placed under Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters. In other instances, they can operate as a lone wolf-type terrorist without being tied to any known terrorist group, something a bit like a Middle-Eastern version of the Right-Wing Militia Fanatic. Due to the recent string of attacks attributed to Middle East-based terrorist groups from the 1990s (including the 9/11 attacks and the recent attacks on Europe attributed to ISIS in France and Belgium), it can come under Unfortunate Implications if handled clumsily.
Some stereotypes associated include the use of shemaghs or black balaclavas, communist-made weapons/gear and verses from the Koran to justify their actions, including the phrase Allahu Akbar.note
Creators can draw inspiration from Real Life sources and cases where terrorism has occurred in the Middle East, the vast majority of them falling under Islamist groups, making The Fundamentalist a common character among their ranks regardless of their exact "flavour". Sometimes, they can also include ultranationalist/Communist (or an odd mixture of both as some nationalist and pan Arab factions were Soviet aligned), Christian fundamentalist groups, Jewish fundamentalist (especially if the story is set in Israel) or some obscure cult.
Compare Western Terrorists, which consists of terrorists who are born/raised in Western countries from the Americas to Europe, including Australia and New Zealand, African Terrorists, which consists of terrorists who are born/raised in the African continent and Far East Asian Terrorists, which consists of terrorists who are born/raised in the Far East region of the Asian continent.
Compare and contrast with Arab Oil Sheikh, which is a possible source of how Middle East-based terrorists get help in terms of funding.
- Black Lagoon has Ibraha, a veteran of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hezbollah before he moved to the Philippines to join forces with the Abu Sayyaf with a Filipino Islamist group known as the Protectors of the Islamic Front. The anime version never mentions Ibraha's past affiliations.
- Canaan has Alphard, a mercenary turned terrorist as the head of The Snakes when she executes a terror attack in Shanghai. It's worth noting that the titular protagonist is also a Middle Eastern mercenary and the aforementioned Alphard is her Arch-Enemy.
- In Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn, an explosion that took place in the downtown area of Cenancle Island was credited as a terror attack and framed Sahar Schehara as the mastermind.
- Holy Terror has The Fixer take on Al-Qaeda terrorists.
- The DC universe has Qurac, located in the said region. It's known publicly to be a rogue nation for sponsoring terrorists. In the late 1980s Qurac-backed terrorists appeared as villains in Suicide Squad and Adventures of Superman.
- The Punisher has Saracen, a mercenary terrorist from the Middle East as one of his recurring enemies in the Marvel Universe. He was purely money-motivated, however, and at one point rather cheerily brushes off a client's comment about how "un-Arab" he comes off as after Saracen mentions that he has only one wife to whom he is completely faithful.
- Tintin: Land of Black Gold has armed gunmen working for Sheik Bab El Ehr. Armed saboteurs were seen destroying oil pipelines. Turns out they're being hired by Dr. Muller.
- US Agent is introduced fighting Middle Eastern terrorists in Nick Spencer's Captain America run.
- Terrorists in a fictional Middle Eastern country try to prevent girls from being educated in an early issue of Mark Waid's Champions.
- American Sniper follows Chris Kyle's career in the US Navy when he was deployed in Iraq, engaging Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
- Blackhat has Elias Kassar, a Lebanese Christian mercenary terrorist who used to fight in the Lebanese Civil War alongside fellow Lebanese Christians under the Kataeb Regulatory Forces.
- The 1986 Chuck Norris action film The Delta Force has an airliner hijacked to Beirut by the New World Revolutionary Organization. It's largely based around the Iranian hostage crisis combined with wishful thinking and Stuff Blowing Up, filmed almost entirely in Israel.
- Executive Decision features a group of Middle Eastern terrorists who have gotten their hands on some Deadly Gas. Their leader is captured early in the opening act, and the second in command and his team hijack a 747 en route to DC.
- Inside Man has the bank robbers dress all their hostages in the same uniform to disguise themselves. When a hostage, Vikrham, is pushed out the bank doors, SWAT officers pat him down to discover a brown-skinned man with a dark beard and black turban. They react as if he is a terrorist, assuming he's wired with a bomb and taking him down and stealing his turban. Vikrham is a Sikh and quite peeved with the police for violating his rights.
- The Siege is a 1998 film about an Islamic terrorist group that attacks New York City, and the American government's heavy-handed response including internment camps and torture. It became a lot Harsher in Hindsight after 9/11.
- The Kingdom (2007) has the FBI assisting the Saudi Interior Ministry investigate a terrorist attack in Saudi soil.
- London Has Fallen has the US military conduct an air strike on a terrorist cell in Yemen. At the same time, most of the terrorists operating in London are from the Middle East.
- In Team America: World Police, most terrorists are stereotypical Middle Easterners who talk in Arabian-sounding gibberish ("Derka derka Muhammad Jihad!"). One prominently featured group is based in Egypt, near the Pyramids of Giza. However, the Big Bad, a fictionalized version of Kim Jong-Il, is from North Korea.
- True Lies as Crimson Jihad as the Big Bad, which has acquired nuclear warheads and demands the withdrawal of US forces from the Persian Gulf. Their leader, Salim Abu Aziz, is actually said to have been thrown out of other terrorist movements because they thought his methods were too extreme.
- Sicario: Day of the Soldado: Yemeni terrorists infiltrate the United States through the Mexican border to bomb a shopping mall in Kansas City. The U.S. government declares a dirty war on the cartels that control human trafficking in response. However, it's later discovered that the Yemeni terrorists attempting to cross the border are separate from the Kansas City bombers, who are a home-grown cell.
- The Tom Clancy novels that feature Jack Ryan Jr. involve him and "The Campus" in halting terror attacks being orchestrated by "Umayyad Revolutionary Council". Most of its members are based in Europe. In the Ryanverse, the URC was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks instead of Al-Qaeda.
- The Sum of All Fears has PFLP terrorists being assisted by the American Indian Movement and the Red Army Faction in smuggling an Israeli-made nuclear device to American soil to use it in a WMD attack on Denver. The movie version has the PFLP and their allies removed due to the production crew's thoughts that an Islamist terror attack in North America would be impossible. They were proven wrong after 9/11.
- In The Year 2050: America's Religious Civil War features weekly suicide bombings, despite the US reaching majority Arabic Muslim demographics and winning sweeping election victories. In fact, the President of the United States has to order the bombings be stopped to fool the remainder of the country into thinking Islam is a religion of peace, reminding them that lying to infidels is A-OK. It's... not a very nuanced kind of book.
- Victoria while lacking the terror angle as such, does feature every nation and sect in the Middle East banding together to invade Massachusetts, committing numerous atrocities such as crucifying Christians who won't reject their faith, and selling others into slavery, while getting hardly anything out of this expedition. The protagonists, though, get theirs back, first through a genetically engineered plague, then by the end of the book banding together all Christendom for a new Crusade.
- The Blacklist has Zal Bin Hasaan, an Iranian terrorist who was on Reddington's blacklist and is responsible for multiple bombing attacks in the Middle East.
- Blindspot has the brief Syrian terrorist group known as the Ahmadi Family. There's also mention of Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
- A subplot in Bosch has a money launderer being investigated for funneling money for ISIS and Hezbollah terrorists.
- Blue Bloods has the NYPD investigate cases where they confront Al-Qaeda terrorists.
- Fauda has an Israeli Army Mista'arvim unit conduct operations against HAMAS.
- Grimm has Marwan Hanano, a mercenary terrorist used by Black Claw to do assassination operations.
- Homeland has the CIA investigate USMC veteran Nicholas Brody in order to figure out if Palestinian terrorist Abu Nazir turned him into a terrorist.
- The episode "Catch and Release" in Madam Secretary deals with an American Muslim terrorist named "Jihadi" Judd as the face of ISIS.
- In the NCIS series, NCIS agents confront terrorists from Al-Qaeda and ISIS. They usually engage a lone wolf terrorist every once in a while.
- In Quantico, the bombing attack on Grand Central Station has law enforcement suggest that ISIS terrorists may be the mastermind. Except that it's someone who trained at Quantico.
- The first season features a subplot where the Amin twins investigate a Middle East-based terrorist cell led by Hamza Khouri. They were killed off by FBI SWAT/HRT teams while they were looking for Alex, who was "rogue" at the time.
- One episode has MI5 and the police take on Kurdish nationalist terrorists when they conducted a siege on the Turkish embassy.
- Another case has MI5 investigate an assassination attempt on a novelist by Path of Light, a Palestinian terrorist group based in the West Bank.
- An unnamed Iraqi terrorist group hatched a plan to use sarin gas on the London Underground system, akin to the 1995 attacks on the Tokyo Metro subway system.
- Zaf later goes undercover as part of a case against an Al-Qaeda cell in London.
- Part of the show's Myth Arc has the bad guys conduct false flag attacks to make it look like VEVAK was going to conduct terrorist attacks in Britain.
- Prisoners of War has three Israeli Army soldiers kidnapped by armed Arab fighters before they were released from captivity.
- Sleeper Cell has FBI agent Darwyn al-Sayeed infiltrate an Al-Qaeda cell operating in Los Angeles.
- Throughout 24, CTU confronts various terrorists from the Middle East, most of them being a mixture of lone wolves and Islamist groups.
- Subverted in the BBC remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). A conspiracy theorist is being targeted by a number of different factions, including a white power group, some government Men In Black, and a group of middle-eastern men led by a guy with a badass eyepatch. They bluff their way into the hotel where the conspiracy theorist is staying and leave a mysterious package in the restaurant... which turns out to contain a peace medal that they've come to present him with.
- The West Wing has several episodes that deal with Qumar, a rogue nation that sponsors terrorist operations.
- Tyrant has the Caliphate and its armed wing, The Army of the Caliphate as an Expy to ISIS.
- Ultimate Force involves the SAS in taking out an Al-Qaeda cell that occupied the Italian Embassy.
- 428: Shibuya Scramble has Alphard masquerading as the fake Canaan responsible for a biological attack on Shibuya.
- Alpha Protocol has Michael Thorton investigate Al-Samaad to figure out if they were involved in taking down a civilian jetliner. Turns out that an American defense contractor helped them with weapons in order to fuel tensions in the Middle East.
- The first Army of Two game has Salem and Rios working together to take on Al-Qaeda terrorists.
- Battlefield 3 has the People's Liberation and Resistance, an Iranian ultranationalist terrorist group that overthrow the legitimate Iranian government after an earthquake wrecked most of the country, allowing its leader Faruk Al-Bashir to take control with help from sympathizers in the Iranian military. They were the culprits for using a nuke in downtown Paris. Although Solomon was the culprit.
- Solomon, according to the novel, is said to be of Lebanese origin. He currently threw his lot with the PLR after he defected from the Afghan Mujahideen, the Soviet and American militaries.
- Command & Conquer: Generals has the Global Liberation Army, or GLA. They have become so powerful, that they actually have a more conventional military in addition to their terrorist tactics. They have armored forces, bio-weapons arsenal, and even a small airforce (which is used to deliver said bio-weapons). Also because they specialize in not being seen and terrorist and guerilla tactics, they are the only faction in the game that does not need any power for their base (they will need it for American and Chinese buildings they capture though).
- Insurgency: The game is set in an unnamed Middle Eastern Country and features the titular insurgents, motivated by Occupiers out of Our Country, battling an American Security Forces (that is heavily implied to be a Private Military Contractors).
- The first Modern Warfare game has Khaled Al-Asad, a populist rebellion who launched a coup in a Middle Eastern country and execute President Yasir Al-Fulani, working together with Makarov by providing manpower to his forces.
- Splinter Cell Blacklist has Fourth Echelon take on Engineer terrorists in Iraq. Otherwise, it's averted since the rest of the Engineers are recruited worldwide.
- The 2010 Medal of Honor (2010) and its sequel Medal of Honor: Warfighter is one of the last mainstream videogames that invoking this trope.
- IS Defense a turret game by Destructive Creations where the player fight the ISIS, is possibly the last videogame that invokes this trope.
- In Decker, there are Middle Eastern terrorists, often referred to as the Taliban ("Talibund"), Al-Qaeda, or ISIS, interchangeably, that serve as the main antagonists in a number of episodes.