Suicide Bombings

Suicide Bombings

Suicide Bombings

Suicide Bombings

Synopsis

In an age when the Western world is preoccupied with worries about weapons of mass destruction in terrorist hands, terrorists across many parts of the globe are using a more basic device as a weapon -life itself.

Suicide bombing has become a weapon of choice among terrorist groups because of its lethality and unrivalled ability to cause mayhem and fear, but what is the real driving force behind these attacks? For the first time, Suicide Bombings analyzes concrete data from The Suicide Terrorism Database at Flinders University, Australia, to explain what motivates the perpetrators. The results serve to largely discredit common wisdom that religion and an impressionable personality are the principal causes, and show rather that a cocktail of motivations fuel these attacks which include politics, humiliation, revenge, retaliation, and altruism.

Suicide Bombings provides a short but incisive insight into this much publicized form of terrorism, and as such is an informative and engaging resource for students, academics, and indeed anyone with an interest in this topic.

Excerpt

In an age when the Western world is preoccupied with fears about weapons of mass destruction in terrorist hands, in many parts of the world terrorist groups are turning to a more basic device as their weapon of choice – life itself. The use of life as a weapon – or suicide bombing – has become a weapon of choice among many terrorist groups because of its lethality and ability to cause mayhem and fear. Several prominent past and present leaders of Western democracies have often responded to the phenomenon by describing it as a manifestation of Islamic fanaticism explicable only by the irrationality of those who carry out the suicide attacks. The mass media, taking cues from such explanations, has reinforced this characterization by stereotyping the perpetrators as psychologically impaired and morally deficient, uneducated and impoverished individuals.

Such assumptions have fuelled the belief that acts of suicide terrorism such as the 9/11-type of attacks can be prevented only through the liberalization and democratization of Muslim societies. This was a key rationale used by the United States, the United Kingdom and their allies to garner public support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ironically, policies based on such assumptions are reinforcing irrational fears and fostering the development of foreign and domestic policies which are worsening the situation. Externally imposed policies of liberation, liberalization and . . .

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