Arab culture is very private. By western standards, easily offended. In these ways, it resembles the culture of Japan prior to the 1950’s. Both had been relatively isolated from much of the rest of the world for many centuries. (Japan more so) After oil was discovered in the Middle East, Arabs began to travel more. Early experiences during the 1940’s and 1950’s left Arabs who had visited the U.S. shocked by our decadence and lack of morality. Some of these individuals became openly hostile to the west in general and the United States specifically. This trend has been gaining strength ever since. The actions by the United States over the last 50 or more years is relatively unimportant to the Arab world compared to what the United States IS. What we represent.
Our legal and political systems are foreign to them. Their legal system is hostile to our systems. They find our openness insulting. Believing another culture to be far inferior in ideology can lead to serious underestimation of the opponent’s strength and determination. This can also lead to overconfidence regarding your own military ability. This is what occurred with Japan. The Arab-Israeli wars can be seen to demonstrate this as well.