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AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE
SUICIDE TERRORISM -
A TACTICAL WEAPON WITH STRATEGIC EFFECTS
Hewett S. Wells, Major, USAF
A Research Report Submitted to the Faculty
In Partial Fulfillment of the Graduation Requirements
Advisor: Dr Lewis Griffith
Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
Distribution A: Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited
The views expressed in this academic research paper are those of the author and do not
reflect the official policy or position of the US government or the Department of Defense. In
accordance with Air Force Instruction 51-303, it is not copyrighted, but is the property of the
United States government.
Military professionals must recognize suicide terrorism as a tactical weapon employed by
transnational terrorists targeting strategic effects. As presented herein, suicide terrorism is a
violent, politically motivated attack, carried out by a person who blows himself/herself up with a
chosen target, employed by a terrorist organization to intimidate a target audience, gain
supporters, and ultimately coerce an opponent. The dramatic increase in suicide attacks presents
a disturbing trend and is an immediate threat to operations in Iraq. While it may be convenient
to categorize suicide terrorist organizations as psychotic or religious fanatics, much of the
research today concludes suicide terrorism arises from broad-based nationalist liberation
movements. With this premise, it is possible to recognize how culture, religion, and nationalistic
interests as motivating factors along with the operational advantages of suicide bombings
provide an organizational rationale for considering suicide terrorism as a viable militant tactic.
However, suicide attacks only spread in countries where the population is receptive to the tactic
and individuals are willing to execute the attacks. Individual motivations, organizational
strategies, and societal conflicts converge to create an environment where suicide bombings can
exist as part of a terrorist movement. Therefore, a supportive social environment has a decisive
influence on a terrorist organization’s decision to adopt suicide terrorism and its ability to
employ the tactic as part of its movement. Furthermore, when communities endow suicide
bombings with a positive image, people who are highly committed to a cause or faced with a
crisis are more likely to volunteer for a suicide mission. From this perspective, military
professionals may begin to better comprehend some strategic implications of suicide terrorism as
part of the Global War on Terrorism; namely, suicide terrorism justified by a radical ideology
and supported by a global community and the ramifications of military force in counterterrorism.
Disclaimer ....................................................................................................................................... ii
Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... iii
Contents ......................................................................................................................................... iv
INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... 1
SECTION 1: SUICIDE TERRORISM -- A GROWING THREAT ............................................. 3
Defining Suicide Terrorism ........................................................................................................ 3
Suicide Terrorism -- An Increasing Trend and Immediate Threat ............................................. 5
SECTION 2: ORGANIZATION LOGIC TO SUICIDE TERRORISM........................................ 8
The Motivational Factors for Suicide Terrorism ........................................................................ 9
Operational Advantages of Suicide Terrorism ......................................................................... 14
SECTION 3: CONDITIONS NECESSARY TO SUPPORT SUICIDE TERRORISM ............. 16
Organizational and Community Interdependence .................................................................... 16
Individual Motivations for Conducting a Suicide Attack ......................................................... 19
SECTION 4: STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS FOR THE GWOT.............................................. 21
Suicide Terrorism Justified by a Radical Ideology................................................................... 22
Suicide Terrorism Supported by a Global Community ............................................................ 24
Judicious Use of Military Force................................................................................................ 25
Notes ............................................................................................................................................. 27
Bibliography ................................................................................................................................. 30
Violent terrorism is threatening states’ security and interests across the world and has
become a transnational threat. For the United States, the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks
against the World Trade Center and Pentagon were a rude awakening into this dilemma. In
response to these attacks, the United States declared a Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The
Department of Defense (DoD) describes the GWOT as a war against violent extremism that
presents a threat to the United States, its allies, and their interests. The enemy is a transnational
movement of extremist organizations, their state sponsors, and non-state supporters. The Al-
Qaida Associated Movement is an example of this movement.1 Recognizing its position as a
hegemonic power, the United States forged an asserted effort to align the major powers of the
world against this threat. The United States National Security Strategy (NSS) of 2002 and
subsequently 2006 represent a declaration of United States focus, intent, and priorities in this
regard. The 2006 NSS opens with a distinctive recognition that US national security, the most
fundamental state interest, is at the forefront of this strategy. President Bush’s preamble states,
“we must maintain and expand our national strength so we can deal with threats and challenges
before they can damage our people or our interests”.2 In addition, the global nature of the threat
is recognized, “our national strength…rests on strong alliances, friendships, and international
institutions, which enable us to promote freedom, prosperity, and peace in common purpose with
others”.3 Under the declaration of GWOT, the DoD conducted and continues to conduct military
operations to disrupt and destroy the global terrorist structure; leadership, financial and
communication networks, membership, resources, training camps, sponsorship, and support.
While these operations have had some measure of success, the effectiveness of these operations
to reduce the terrorist threat on US security and national interests is questionable. Furthermore,
US military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is a heavy-handed strategy, which can incite
resistance and feed the terrorist cause. It is from this context that military professionals must
study the complex and determined enemy they face in the long war on terror.
The idea that the main goals of any terrorist organization in causing harm to a
civilian population is actually to draw attention to the group’s demands, create an
atmosphere of fear in the victimized society and, as a result, bring about policy
changes, has been known in the literature for many years. The devastating nature
of suicide terrorism has multiplied the effect of terrorism on individuals, societies
and political systems, and thus created a grave, new and immediate challenge for
It is clear the leaders of this transnational terrorist movement are willing and able to use
violent terrorism as a tool to influence and coerce state actors. Moreover, the steady rise in
suicide terrorism over the past 25 years, the unprecedented lethality of the 9/11 suicide attacks,
and the dramatic surge in suicide operations over the last few years present a clear and present
threat to US national security. Therefore, military professionals must recognize suicide terrorism
as a tactical weapon employed by transnational terrorists targeting strategic effects. To build this
perspective, it is necessary to understand the growing and immediate threat suicide terrorism
presents, appreciate the organization logic for employing suicide attacks, and recognize the
conditions necessary for suicide terrorism to exist. From this perspective, military professionals
may begin to better comprehend some strategic implications of suicide terrorism as part of the
Global War on Terrorism. Three strategic implications introduced here are suicide terrorism
justified by a radical ideology, suicide terrorism supported by a global community, and the
ramifications of military force in counterterrorism.
SECTION 1: SUICIDE TERRORISM -- A GROWING THREAT
Defining Suicide Terrorism
The United States State Department has defined terrorism as “premeditated, politically
motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or
clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”5 This definition has two
deficiencies when used in the context of this paper. First, identifying only noncombatants as
targets for terrorism is very limiting and eliminates cases where sub-national groups target
military or target both military and civilians. Furthermore, it reduces considerations for a
terrorism strategy with little differentiation between military or civilian targets. Second, it is
contradictory to state terrorism is politically motivated violence usually intended to influence an
audience. This suggests terrorists may engage in violent acts simply to execute violence with no
intent or purpose.
Robert Pape, University of Chicago Professor of Political Science and author of Dying to
Win, provides an alternative definition for terrorism as “the use of violence by an organization
other than a national government to intimidate or frighten a target audience,” while recognizing
the broad purpose of terrorism is to “gain supporters or coerce opponents.”6 Similarly, the DoD
defines terrorism as “the calculated use of unlawful violence…intended to coerce or to intimidate
governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or
ideological”.7 These definitions avoid limiting the victim of the violence and directly establish
the coercive nature of terrorism. Pape expands his definition by categorizing terrorism as
demonstrative, destructive, or suicide, which is a worthwhile distinction to emphasize.
Demonstrative terrorism is the least aggressive form of terrorism as the objective is to
avoid serious destruction or harm that could undermine sympathy for the terrorist cause. The
intent is often to publicize a cause, recruit more activists, demonstrate resolve toward grievances,
or gain attention from soft-liners on the other side or third parties who might exert pressure on
the other side. The desire is a lot of people watching not a lot of people dead. The next
category, destructive terrorism, is more aggressive as the objective becomes coercing opponents
with the threat of injury or death. The method seeks to inflict harm on members of the target
audience while balancing the risk of losing sympathy and support for the cause. The final
category, suicide terrorism, is the most aggressive form. This method pursues coercion even at
the expense of angering not only the target audience but neutral communities as well. It is worth
noting that coercion can be an aim of any of these forms of terrorism; however, coercion is the
paramount objective of suicide terrorism.8
If war is the extension of politics by other means, terrorism has become the
extension of war by other means. As suicide terror has proven relatively
successful in the Middle East or places like Sri Lanka, there has been an upsurge
in the number of regions, countries and non-state actors that utilize it as a tactic in
their nationalist struggles against (real or perceived) foreign occupations.9
Therefore, this paper recognizes suicide bombings as a “violent, politically motivated
attack, carried out…by a person who blows himself or herself up together with a chosen target.
The premeditated certain death of the perpetrator is the precondition for the success of the
attack.”10 In the conduct of a violent act, the attacker kills others while at the same time killing
themselves. The attacker does not expect to survive the mission and employs a method of attack
that requires them to die in order to succeed. Further discussion on this point follows later in the
paper regarding operational advantages. Suicide attacks are not a new phenomenon; however,
this paper will limit the discussion to the past quarter century. Many contemporary scholars in
this field establish the 1983 terrorist attacks against the US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon
as the beginning of the modern era of suicide terror.11 Recent trends, 1980s to present, suggest
suicide attacks are increasing at an alarming rate, both in raw numbers and geographical
Suicide Terrorism -- An Increasing Trend and Immediate Threat
The dramatic increase in suicide attacks presents a disturbing trend. While it is possible
to find slight discrepancies in the data, the intent here is not to challenge or deconflict the
reporting of suicide terrorist attacks. This method of attack and the organizations employing it
complicates data gathering. For example, Pedazur explains the challenges in studying suicide
attacks in Iraq and Chechnya are due to restrictions on the media coverage of the events,
complexities involved in deciphering the organizational structure underlying the attacks, and
difficulties in verifying the identity of the perpetrators of each incident.13 Therefore, the
following high-level view of suicide attacks offers a reference point to the increasing trend and
immediate threat. Presenting the data gathered by four prominent authors in the field of suicide
terrorism emphasizes the dramatic increase in suicide attacks the past few years. In addition, it is
necessary to recognize the data set these authors used to develop their theories and draw
conclusions. Much of the work is complementary; however, some new conclusions are
emerging from the most recent surge in suicide attacks.
Ami Pedahzur, as documented in Suicide Terrorism, compiled a database of suicide
attacks that begins on 19 March 1977, the day of the assassination of Congo President Marien
Ngouabi, and concludes on 22 February 2004 with the explosion of a suicide terrorist on a
Jerusalem bus in Israel. This database captured 418 suicide assaults, in 29 different countries,
carried out by 25 different organizations.14 Of note, Pedahzur states the long-term view of
suicide attacks challenges the assumption that civilian targets are the objects of terrorist interests.
Specifically, the data shows 44.1 percent of attacks were against military and police installations
compared to 42.6 percent against civilian targets.15 This reinforces the distinctions made in the
definitions above and the need to include military and civilian targets when analyzing this aspect
Pape compiled a database of suicide attacks between 1980 and 2003, which captured 315
attacks. Represented in his data is a decreasing trend of overall terrorist incidents from 666 in
1987 to 348 in 2001. However, suicide terrorist attacks have increased from three per year in the
1980s to 10 per year in the 1990s. Suicide attacks jumped to 40 in 2001, 48 in 2002, and 65 in
2003,17 where Pape’s initial research stopped (fig. 1).
1980s 1990s 2001 2002 2003
Figure 1. Pape’s data, suicide bombings annualized by decade compared to annual attacks
for 2001-2003. (Adapted from Pape, Robert Anthony. Dying to Win : The Strategic Logic of
Suicide Terrorism. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 2005: 253-264).
Mia Bloom, in Dying to Kill, presents her findings on suicide attacks slightly differently
but also presents a dramatic increase in the number of incidents over the past 25 years. Bloom’s
research captures five attacks per year between 1981 and 1990, 16 per year between 1991 and
2000, and 90 per year between 2001 and 2003. Bloom specifically cites 43 suicide attacks in
2000, 80 in 2001, 91 in 2002, and 98 in 2003 (fig. 2).18
100 90 91 98
1981-1990 1991-2000 2001-2003 2000 2001 2002 2003
Figure 2. Bloom’s data, suicide bombings annualized by decade compared to annual attacks
for 2000-2003. (Adapted from Bloom, Mia. Dying to Kill : The Allure of Suicide Terror.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2005: 200)
Scott Atran, reporting in the spring 2006 Washington Quarterly and able to include data
through 2005, shows how the last few years present an even more dramatic surge. Specifically,
as compared to Bloom’s data, Atran shows the annualized data for the 21st century has increased
to 180 suicide attacks per year. Specifically, he cites 81 suicide attacks in 2001, 91 in 2002, 99
in 2003, 163 in 2004, and an alarming 460 in 2005 (fig. 3).19
200 180 163
81 91 99
1981- 1991- 2001- 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
1990 2000 2005
Figure 3. Atran’s data, suicide bombings annualized by decade compared to annual attacks
for 2001-2005. (Adapted from Atran, Scott. “The Moral Logic and Growth of Suicide
Terrorism.” The Washington Quarterly, 29, no. 2 (April 2006): 128-129.
The fatality rates of these attacks are also troubling. While suicide attacks account for
only three percent of all terrorist incidents, they represent 48 percent of all fatalities tied to
terrorist activities between 1980 and 2003. The 9/11 attack, which killed 2,955 people, is clearly
an anomaly in the historical data; however, al Qaeda conducted 15 suicide attacks in 2002 &
2003 killing 439 people.20
Isolating the data to operations in Iraq shows the immediate threat. Bloom reports there
were 40 suicide attacks against American forces in Iraq during the first year after the war. From
March to June 2004, when US occupation formally ended, there were 30 more. By the fall of
2004, suicide bombings had become an almost daily occurrence against American forces and
Iraqi civilians.21 Similarly, Bunker and Sullivan documented suicide bombings in Iraq. Their
article states the Associated Press reported 24 suicide bombings between 29 March 2003 and 19
March 2004 resulting in at least 660 people killed. However, Bunker and Sullivan’s data was
slightly different, recording 54 suicide attacks during the same period resulting in 813 people
killed and 2,154 injured (numbers include the suicide bombers).22 These suicide attacks in Iraq
stimulate the insurgency and undermine attempts to secure and stabilize the country.23
SECTION 2: ORGANIZATION LOGIC TO SUICIDE TERRORISM
Faced with the dramatic increase in suicide terrorism and immediate threat it poses to
operations is Iraq, military professionals must consider the motivational factors, operational
advantages, and necessary conditions for terrorist organizations to employ suicide bombing
attacks. While it may be convenient to categorize suicide terrorist organizations as psychotic or
religious fanatics, much of the research today concludes suicide terrorism arises from broad-
based nationalist liberation movements. With this premise, it is possible to recognize the
organizational logic to employing suicide terrorism from studying how culture, religion, and
national interests as well as the operational advantages of suicide bombings combine as driving
factors that motivate organizations to employ suicide terrorism tactics.
The Motivational Factors for Suicide Terrorism
Culture is one factor that helps explain the political behavior of terrorist organizations.
Murden describes culture as the customs, norms, and genres that define the identity of an
individual or a society.24 Borum, in Psychology of Terrorism, presents a similar view with “the
immaterial or social dimensions of culture, that is, the unique collection of social roles,
institutions, values, ideas, and symbols operative in every group, which radically conditions the
way in which members see the world and respond to its challenges.”25 This concept can expand
to civilizations as the broadest form of cultural identity. Murden argues that the West challenged
the culture and social order of many societies and gave rise to struggles between civilizations.
Specifically, “the West has been the dominant civilization in the modern age, and all other
civilizations have had to deal with its influence”.26 Murden concludes that religious
fundamentalism emerged from this struggle and is the fundamental cause of international
terrorism in many parts of the world.27 From this perspective, religion is a powerful cultural
driver, underlying a struggle between Western and Islamic civilizations, which leads to terrorism
as an Islamic fundamentalist response to western influence and liberal capitalism. However,
culture alone does not fully account for the scope and magnitude of a terrorist movement but
better explains the underlying conditions of poverty, corruption, ethnic and religious conflicts,
and social inequality that are necessary to recruit forces and gain support. Pedahzur supports this
position asserting that cultural factors are not responsible for the widespread legitimacy suicide
terrorism requires. Alternatively, under certain political, economic, and social conditions, a
cultural society reveals a predisposition toward supporting this tactic.28 Building on this
perspective, current research recognizes nationalistic interests as a significant motivational factor
explaining suicide terrorism as political actions within terrorist movements.
An interest view of terrorism reveals control of prized territory as a primary driver for the
political actions of terrorist organizations. Pape, in Dying to Win, concludes that suicide
bombings are tactical actions, organized in operational campaigns, driven by a common secular
and strategic goal to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from prized
territory.29 Pape compiled a database of 315 suicide attacks from 1980 to 2003 and determined
terrorist organizations completed 13 suicide terrorist campaigns between 1980 and 2003.
Hezbollah conducted five suicide attacks in 1983 to drive the United States, French, and Israeli
forces out of Lebanon. The mid-1980s, Hezbollah conducted two campaigns totaling 31 suicide
attacks to force Israel to abandon the West Bank and Gaza. Hamas also targeted Israel with four
campaigns in the mid-1990s totaling 18 attacks. The 1990s included two campaigns by the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) totaling 69 attacks in an effort to
compel Sri Lanka government to accept an independent Tamil homeland. LTTE conducted a
third campaign for this cause in 2001 with six attacks. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)
conducted one campaign in 1996 and one in 1999 battling for independence from Turkey.
Finally, the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) conducted attacks against Indian leaders in
Punjab in 1995 for Sikh independence. Five campaigns remain active. For example, Al Qaeda’s
campaign against the United States and its allies to pressure withdraw from the Persian Gulf
region began in 1996. Other active campaigns include the Chechens against Russia, Kashmirs
against India, and various Palestinian terrorist groups against Israel. The most recent campaign
by Iraqi rebels against the United States and its allies began in August 2003 to drive the United
States out of Iraq.30
From Pape’s interest view, suicide terrorist attacks are part of a coercion campaign, each
a series of attacks that the terrorist leaders explained as aimed at gaining specific political
concessions from a named target government, and which continued until the terrorist leaders
deliberately abandoned the effort. He presents three general patterns in the data to support his
conclusions. First, nearly all suicide terrorist attacks occur as part of organized campaigns, not
as isolated or random incidents. Pape traced 301 of the 315 attacks to large, coherent political or
military campaigns with only five percent as random or isolated attacks. Second, the target state
of every suicide terrorist attack has been a democracy; generally considered soft and especially
vulnerable to coercive punishment. The United States, France, India, Israel, Russia, Sri Lanka,
and Turkey have been the target of almost every suicide attack in the past two decades. Third, a
strategic objective of the suicide terrorist campaigns is to maintain political self-determination by
compelling a democratic power to withdraw from the territories they prize.31 Therefore, the
increasing trend of suicide attacks over the past 25 years suggests terrorist groups are
increasingly relying on suicide attacks to achieve major political objectives. Of note, Pape
concludes that less than 50 percent of the attacks are associated with Islamic fundamentalism.32
Although religion may not be the root cause, terrorist organizations use religion as a tool for
recruiting and in other efforts in service of the broader strategic objective as discussed below
regarding conditions necessary to support suicide terrorism.
Consistent with these findings, Pedahzur states, “Contrary to the assumption held by
many Westerners who believe that suicide terrorism is a phenomenon primarily by religious
zealots…today it is quite evident that these attacks are, for the most part, organizational
undertakings.”33 Pedahzur concluded that 95 percent of suicide attacks were devised by some
organizational structure as part of a well-planned and organized network that continued to
operate effectively over a period of time; similar to Pape’s campaign structure. The decisive
majority of conflicts were territorial and involved ethnic or nationalist groups opposing the
presence of foreign military forces on homeland or native soil.34 Additionally, nearly 70 percent
of the suicide terrorism events targeted democratic countries or at least countries that uphold
fundamental democratic properties (e.g. Israel). Terrorists consider democratic countries more
vulnerable because their public is not willing to endure protracted and relentless security threats.
Furthermore, terrorist groups assume that democratic countries, in contrast to other authoritarian
countries, will tend to be more restrained in their reactions towards an organization that employs
suicide tactics supported by a population that condones or supports such acts.35
Bloom also supports this position, concluding, “Suicide terror is not linked to any
particular region, culture, or religion and should not be viewed purely as an Islamic phenomenon
even in so many of the groups engaged in suicide terror happen to be Muslim.” Bloom cites the
suicide terrorism in non-Islamic contexts like Latin America and Sri Lanka to counter the view
of suicide terrorism as the clash of Western versus Muslim cultures or civilizations or as
something inherently perverse in the Islamic faith.36 Similarly, Pedahzur cites cases that
challenge a direct association between fundamental Islam and suicide terrorism. For example,
the PKK is a secular, separatist organization in Turkey. Also, the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) includes many Christian
members influenced by Marxist and nationalist ideologies.37 Both Bloom and Pedahzur
emphasize the Tamil Tigers as an extreme nationalist group, who never touted a religious or an
ideological struggle, which challenges a requisite tie between suicide terrorism and radical Islam
and instead recognizes secular motivations.38
Through her research, Bloom observed terrorist groups appear to use suicide bombing
under two conditions: 1) when other terrorist or military tactics fail, and 2) when a terrorist
organization is in competition with other terrorist groups for popular or financial support.39
Bloom contends suicide attacks generally occur in the second stage of conflicts, not as an initial
tactic or strategy. The Chechens’ struggle for independence from Russia is a good example of
the evolution toward suicide operations. The wars in Chechnya began with intense battles in
1994 and 1996. The Chechen rebels waged a terrorist campaign in Moscow in 1999, which
drove a harsh response by Russia. It was not until July 2000 that Chechen rebels initiated a
Based on Bloom’s second condition, suicide bombing is a coercive bargaining tactic due
to competition among rival organizations to outbid another organization for community support.
Under conditions of group competition, there are incentives for groups to ramp up the violence in
order to distinguish themselves from another organization.41 If the domestic environment
supports the use of suicide terror, an insurgent group that chooses not to use the tactic may lose
market share and popularity. A specific example of this condition is evident in the case of
Hamas. In 1999, 70 percent of Palestinians had faith in the peace process and support for Hamas
and suicide bombing fell to its lowest point ever. Hopeful the peace process would yield positive
results, the bombings did not resonate for the majority of Palestinians who preferred statehood
and peace to violence and continued occupation. However, poor performance by the Palestinian
Authority and leadership corruption hampered improvement to the daily lives of most
Palestinians. As a result, the Islamic Jihad and Hamas reemerged to initiate a new cycle of
violence in November 2000 and Hamas shifted the focus of its effort to martyrdom operations to
raise its profile and win external support.42 This case also demonstrates an important
interdependence between suicide terrorism and the supporting community, addressed in more
Therefore, culture, religion, and nationalistic interests have a role in motivating
organizations to employ suicide terrorism. In addition, the operational advantages of suicide
attacks suggest some organizational rationale for considering this a viable militant tactic.
Operational Advantages of Suicide Terrorism
Militant organizations with limited conventional capabilities pursue unconventional
operations out of necessity. If guerilla warfare proves inadequate to achieve their nationalist
aspirations, other methods are considered. If proper conditions exist, the organization may revert
to terrorism and in some cases suicide terrorism.43 Suicide bombing campaigns co-exist with
regular insurgent tactics (non-suicidal bombings, shooting ambushes, stabbings, assassinations,
For the supporting organization, suicide attacks require little training and equipment
compared to fielded forces and conventional military operations. Suicide attacks are cheap,
difficult to predict, and can produce a high kill ratio. Suicide is essential to the lethality of the
attack as the attacker’s purpose is to die and to kill the maximum number of people from the
opposing community or target audience. In addition, the horror factor of this tactic increases the
attack’s psychological effect. Delivery mode can be personnel, vehicle, aircraft, or boat.45 In
Pedahzur’s study, 53.3 percent of the attackers detonated an explosive belt directly attached to
their body, 25.1 percent drove a car rigged with explosives, 5.3 percent drove a car, 4.5 percent
carried a handbag, 4.1 percent activated explosive boats, 3.3 percent detonated hand grenades,
and 1.7 percent used a booby-trapped bicycles.46 Comparatively, the September 11, 2001 attacks
were unique in both method and lethality.
The targets of suicide attacks may be civilian or military personnel, national leaders,
police forces, a transit system, or infrastructure. As compared to non-suicide bombings, a
suicide attack has a smaller window of vulnerability, reducing the opportunity to find, move, or
disarm the device. The attacker is stealth-masked until detonation, which allows precise delivery
to the target and allows attacking harder targets. The attacker can make last-minute adjustments,
requires no escape route or capture-avoidance measures, and may act without fear of
punishment. This tactic also ensures operational security as there is no one left to interrogate.
Similarly, there are no wounded comrades to place logistical strain on the organization and
supporting community.47 A suicide attack can threaten a military target that is immune to
ordinary insurgent or guerrilla tactics; e.g. crashing a vehicle through a secured checkpoint. It
may also offer opportunities to assassinate prominent leaders not accessible by other tactics. In
addition, attacking large numbers of civilians can create generalized fear and panic across the
The terrorist organization can reap multiple benefits on various levels without incurring
significant costs.49 A completed suicide attack demonstrates an individual’s complete dedication
to a group and its cause, which inspires others and can add legitimacy to the organization. In
addition, the attack sacrifices one member, or in some cases a few, yet enables the organization
to recruit many more or mobilize a community to support the movement. The community views
the suicide attack as the ultimate sacrifice for an organization with no other avenues to resolve
their grievances. Bloom suggests, somewhat perversely, that the suicide attacker is acting out
the drama of being the ultimate victim and claims for their cause the moral high ground.50
Perhaps the most troubling operational advantage is the element of surprise is clearly
with the attacker, which allows them to exploit counterterrorism measures.51 The terrorists will
always have the advantage of picking the time, place, and manner of their attack. Even if a
target community is able to consolidate good strategic intelligence about the terrorist groups,
their objectives, the capabilities and methods they might use, it is very challenging to obtain
tactical intelligence about the date, place, and method of attack. Operational cells tend to be
small, secretive, and suspicious toward outsiders. They are ruthless toward anyone suspected of
betrayal and highly conscious of operational security. Therefore, it is difficult to gain
intelligence specific enough to prevent an attack.52
Therefore, by combining the motivational factors and operational advantages it is
reasonable to conclude there is some rational organizational logic to the use of suicide attack
campaigns in asymmetric conflict.”53 However, employment of suicide terrorism as a tactic
within a terrorist movement is contingent on community support and individuals willing to
execute a suicide attack.
SECTION 3: CONDITIONS NECESSARY TO SUPPORT SUICIDE TERRORISM
Suicide attacks only spread in countries where the population is receptive to the tactic and
individuals are willing to execute a suicide mission. If this tactic resonates positively with the
population the terrorist organization represents, it will help mobilize support for the organization.
If not, the tactic will fail.54 Suicide bombings create martyrs for the society from which the
group recruits new members. In a supporting environment, recruiting new suicide bombers is
not difficult and martyrdom is a bond that holds an insurgency together.55 Therefore, there exists
interdependence between the terrorist organization, the surrounding community that supports the
terrorist movement, and the motivations of individual suicide bombers.
Organizational and Community Interdependence
Mohammed Hafez, in Rationality, Culture, and Structure in the Making of Suicide
Bombers, concludes that individual motivations, organizational strategies, and societal conflicts
converge to create an environment where suicide bombings can exist as part of a terrorist
movement. He used a case study of Palestinian suicide bombers in Al-Aqsa uprising to illustrate
the interdependence and the complex nature of suicide terrorism.56 At the organizational level,
suicide attacks become a method of resistance based on an imbalance of warfighting capabilities.
Hafez’s findings support earlier conclusions that equating suicidal violence solely with Islamic
or religious fundamentalism is a mistake. Strategic considerations in the context of asymmetric
power drive terrorist organizations to employ the suicide tactics.57 However, an organizational
strategy based on cost-benefit calculations of suicide operations versus conventional or guerrilla
warfare will not be successful without individuals willing to execute the attack. At the individual
level, religious appeals of self-sacrifice with martyrdom are instrumental in motivating suicide
attacks. Persecution and injustice drive acts of redemption and religious obligation.
Nonetheless, organizations committed to a suicidal strategy with willing volunteers are
dependent on communities that embrace and revere martyrdom operations. For this to occur,
three conditions are necessary. First, societal cultural must encompass belief systems, symbolic
narratives, and historical traditions that justify and celebrate martyrdom. Second, legitimate
authorities must promote or acquiesce to extreme violence, to the point of justifying the killing of
innocent civilians. Third, the community must feel a deep sense of victimization and threat. The
community fosters a culture of martyrdom through ritual and ceremony. Therefore, broader
political and cultural context in a society inspire volunteers with visions of martyrdom, led by an
organization that deems suicide bombings an effective strategy against a more powerful enemy.
According to Hafez, “Militant organizations, no matter how ideologically savvy and politically
astute, cannot generate high rates of volunteerism for suicide attacks without the presence of
cultural and political opportunity structures, as well as existential threats in embattled
Pedahzur, in Suicide Terrorism, similarly concludes that suicide terrorism is dependent
on a spiraling feedback process between an organization and its constituency. A terrorist
organization requires community support to sustain a suicide campaign; therefore, the
community must view suicide terrorism as a positive phenomenon. A protracted, violent conflict
that takes a high toll on the community can serve as a breeding ground for suicide terrorists.
However, a fundamental precondition is an underlying cultural value placed on death that is less
threatening than the perception of death held by cultures that are more Western.59 According to
Pedahzur, “Culture shapes the way we perceive reality. A culture which perceives martyrdom as
a virtue has the potential to incite people in certain situations to do almost anything in order to
attain this goal.”60 Therefore, instead of a specific culture or religion solely responsible for
suicide terrorism, Pedahzur suggest an evolution of a culture of death. This culture of death
emerges in a community that experienced a long period of hopelessness, fostered by an
organization that offers a way out of the predicament through the ultimate sacrifice.61 According
to Pedahzur, social support for activating suicide bombers is contingent upon a three-phase
process.62 The process begins with feelings of discrimination and despair across a large part of a
society with fierce hostility toward the oppressor. Next, the terrorist organization attempts to
mobilize these feelings and introduces a strategy that includes inflicting significant pain on the
oppressor while forcing it to change its policy. Finally, the reaction of the target audience will
determine if social support is abandoned or reinforced.
Therefore, a supportive social environment has a decisive influence on a terrorist
organization’s decision to adopt suicide terrorism and its ability to employ the tactic as part of its
movement. The social environment also influences the individual who decides to join the
organization and commits to executing a suicide mission. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer
or single motivation to explain why people become suicide terrorists.
Individual Motivations for Conducting a Suicide Attack
From a Western perspective, it is easy to view a suicide attacker as irrational, psychotic,
or a religious fanatic. Focused studies and research suggest this is misguided. Dr Randy Borum,
Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health and Law Policy for the University of
South Florida, led a project to analyze and synthesize reports in scientific and social science
literature pertaining to the psychological and/or behavioral dimensions of terrorist behavior.
Borum, in Psychology of Terrorism, concludes that violent terrorism is not a product of mental
disorder or psychopathy and terrorists are not dysfunctional or pathological. Psychopathology
has proven to be only a modest risk factor for general violence, and all but irrelevant to
understanding terrorism.63 Borum drew his conclusions from across the field of study. For
example, Crenshaw concluded in 1992 “the idea of terrorism as a product of mental disorder or
psychopathy has been discredited.”64 More recently, McCauley (2002) and Sageman (2004)
agreed that serious psychopathology or mental illnesses among terrorists are relatively rare, and
not a major factor in understanding or predicting terrorist behavior.65 Borum stresses the
difference between the clinical phenomenon of suicide and the motivation and dynamics for
choosing to engage in a suicide terrorist attack. This position is supported by Israeli psychology
professor Ariel Merari, “In the majority, you find none of the risk factors normally associated
with suicide, such as mood disorders or schizophrenia, substance abuse or history of attempted
suicide.”66 Similarly, Silke concluded in 2003, “There is no indication that suicide bombers
suffer from psychological disorders or are mentally unbalanced…their personalities are usually
quite stable.”67 For example, testimonies collected from Israelis who survived a suicide attack
and witnessed the last moments of the suicide bomber before the explosion, reported the
bombers to be calm, quiet, even smiling.68
However, terrorists often have common life experiences that serve as individual
motivational factors. For example, childhood abuse, trauma, perceived injustice, and humiliation
are often prominent.69 Furthermore, injustice, identity, and belonging often co-occur in terrorists
and may strongly influence decisions to enter terrorist organizations and to engage in terrorist
activities.70 Moreover, when communities endow suicide bombings with a positive image,
people who are highly committed to a cause or faced with a crisis are more likely to volunteer for
a suicide mission.71
Pedahzur classified suicide bombers into two main groups; 1) members of an
organization or social network, and 2) volunteers/recruits specifically targeted for a suicide
mission. The precipitating motivational factors compelling an individual to conduct a suicide
attack are different between these two groups; however, they are not mutually exclusive.
Individuals tightly bound to an organization or social network are committed to a cause, an
ideology, their comrades, a leader, or some combination of these factors. The organization
reinforces the attacker’s commitment and becomes a driving motivational factor.72 This
emphasizes the role of social networks and pre-existing social bonds between people committed
to a common cause in generating radicalism and terrorism leading to suicide attacks.73
Alternatively, a volunteer’s motivation stems from a real or perceived crisis. The crisis may be
at the personal level ranging from a financial trouble and emotional turmoil to revenge for the
loss of a loved one or painful acts inflicted by an oppressor. On the other hand, the crisis may be
at a community level, driven by a sense of hopelessness or frustration with a static or
Bloom similarly views suicide bombers in two distinct categories. Some suicide bombers
possess a strong commitment to the welfare of the organization or community and are a product
of a terrorist organization in a self-perpetuating subculture of martyrdom. Other suicide bombers
are educated outsiders, driven by a sense of humiliation or injustice, who are personally
motivated to volunteer. The Black Widows in Chechnya are a prime example of suicide
bombers who seek personal revenge for the loss of a loved one. Others seek honor and view
martyrdom as an opportunity to be remember or to reward remaining family members with
increased social status. Others seek religious purity.75
While individual motivations may vary, military professionals must recognize that “like
other soldiers, suicide bombers are following orders, participating in a warfare campaign
intended to overwhelm an enemy and rack up military victories…therefore, it is perhaps more
important to focus on those who instruct the terrorists to die rather than on the actual suicide
bombers themselves.”76 Even more troubling for the GWOT, Atran states that, “In times of
crisis, every society routinely calls on some of its own people to sacrifice their lives for the
general good of the body politic. For militant jihadists, crisis is constant and unabating, and
extreme sacrifice is necessary as long as there are nonbelievers (kuffar) in the world.”77
SECTION 4: STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS FOR THE GWOT
As presented herein, suicide terrorism is a violent, politically motivated attack, carried
out by a person who blows himself/herself up with a chosen target, employed by a terrorist
organization to intimidate a target audience, gain supporters, and ultimately coerce an opponent.
The dramatic increase in suicide attacks presents a disturbing trend and is an immediate threat to
operations in Iraq. While it may be convenient to categorize suicide terrorist organizations as
psychotic or religious fanatics, much of the research today concludes suicide terrorism arises
from broad-based nationalist liberation movements. With this premise, it is possible to recognize
the organizational logic to employing suicide terrorism. Culture, religion, and nationalistic
interests as motivating factors along with the operational advantages of suicide bombings
provide an organizational rationale for considering suicide terrorism as a viable militant tactic.
However, suicide attacks only spread in countries where the population is receptive to the tactic
and individuals are willing to execute the attacks. Individual motivations, organizational
strategies, and societal conflicts converge to create an environment where suicide bombings can
exist as part of a terrorist movement. A supportive social environment has a decisive influence
on a terrorist organization’s decision to adopt suicide terrorism and its ability to employ the
tactic as part of its movement. Furthermore, when communities endow suicide bombings with a
positive image, people who are highly committed to a cause or faced with a crisis are more likely
to volunteer for a suicide mission.
Suicide terrorism in a regional context is the foundation for many of the theories and
conclusions supporting this paper and across the field of study today. Historically, suicide
terrorism has been part of a regional struggle and confined to the motivations and political goals
of a terrorist organization within that conflict. However, the transnational terrorist movement
presents a new paradigm from which to consider the strategic implications of suicide terrorism.
Suicide Terrorism Justified by a Radical Ideology
The motivational driver for transnational terrorism is a radical ideology. Ideology is a
common and broadly agreed upon set of rules to which an individual subscribes that helps
regulate and determine behavior.78 Macridis and Hulliung contend that ideologies “incite people
to political action…infuse passion and call for sacrifice.”79 They define political ideology as “a
set of ideas and beliefs that people hold about their political regime and its institutions.”80 They
offer five building blocks to explain what drives political movements based on culture or
identity; namely the individual, nature of truth, individual and society, political authority, and
equality and property. It is from these ideological building blocks that terrorist organizations are
able to establish legitimacy, solidarity, simplify communication, move people into action, and
gain emotional fulfillment. The violent use of force to drive far-reaching social, economic, and
political objectives would categorize the transnational terrorist movement as a radical ideology.81
Analyzing the role of ideology in terrorists’ target selection, Borum holds a similar view that
ideology helps to provide “the moral and political vision that inspires their violence, shapes the
way in which they see the world, and defines how they judge the actions of people and
institutions.”82 Furthermore, “the way ideology controls behavior is by providing a set of
contingencies that link immediate behavior (e.g. violence) to distant outcomes (e.g., new state,
afterlife reward).”83 Borum concludes that three general conditions are necessary for an ideology
to support terrorism. First, the ideology must provide a set of beliefs that guide and justify a
series of behavioral mandates. That is, terrorists must develop justifications for their terrorist
and violent actions. Second, those beliefs must be sacred, neither questionable nor questioned.
Third, the behaviors must be goal directed and seen as serving a meaningful cause or objective.84
Radicalized Islam with recognized/accepted declarations of fatwa meets the
characteristics and conditions outlined above. Furthermore, from a Muslim perspective, US
foreign policy in the Middle East has been viewed as anti-Islamic for decades.85 Scheuer, in
Through Our Enemies’ Eyes, suggests, “The truth lies in the enemy’s mouth when he says the
motivation for attacking America comes from a belief that US policy threatens Islam’s
survival.”86 Scheuer concludes, the philosophy driving the transnational terrorist movement is
slowly harnessing the two most powerful motivation forces in contemporary international affairs
-- religion and nationalism.87 Therefore, organizational strategies, societal conflicts, and
individual motivations are converging driven by a radical ideology and transnational terrorist
movement to justify, rationalize, and glorify suicide terrorism in support of their cause.
Suicide Terrorism Supported by a Global Community
Based on the most recent surge in suicide attacks, Atran is very critical of Pape’s
territorial conclusions. “Whereas they once primarily consisted of organized campaigns by
militarily weak forces aiming to end the perceived occupation of their homeland…suicide attacks
today serve as banner actions for a thoroughly modern, global diaspora inspired by religion and
claiming the role of vanguard for a massive, media-driven transnational political awakening.”88
Recognizing this shift leads to a situation where the transnational terrorist movement is less
dependent on territory and immediate community support, which is enabled by globalization.
Griffith acknowledges the challenge of defining globalization but settles on “the process
of establishing and developing interactive, multi-member networks that operate across
transnational distances.”89 For most state actors, globalization has dramatically increased the
speed of communication, information exchange, and transportation increasing access to
resources and markets. Similarly, technology has reduced the constraints of geography and time
providing new opportunities for international cooperation and partnerships. Unfortunately, these
benefits of globalization have also afforded new opportunities to transnational terrorism. For the
United States, the interconnectedness of the world through globalization has reduced the safety
of borders for state security.90 The terrorists leverage globalization to operate with increased
freedom from boundaries and geography. Unlike a state with vulnerable structure and
leadership, a global network can exist without hierarchy and structure, which has proven more
difficult to influence or combat.91 As Naim stated, “The persistence of Al Qaeda underscores
how hard it is for governments to stamp out stateless, decentralized networks that move freely,
quickly, and stealthily across national borders to engage in terror.”92
Enabled by the Internet, this determined and evolving enemy has proven the ability to
communicate, coordinate, and operate in a globally-disbursed, cell structure. Maura Conway
concedes no conclusions for whether the worldwide web has increased or decreased terrorist
acts; however, online activities have clearly improved the ability to raise funds, lure new faithful,
and reach a mass audience.93 Transnational terrorist organizations are still dependent upon
community support for suicide activities; however, globalization has allowed a global
community to emerge. In this environment, suicide terrorists are not constrained to motivate,
recruit, and train within a specific community fueled by a regional conflict. This recognizes an
evolution in motivation, organization, and calculation of suicide terrorism.94
Judicious Use of Military Force
The 2006 National Security Strategy provides the focus, intent, and prioritization of the
US national efforts to address the challenges presented by this transnational terrorist movement.
In addition, the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism further defines the long-term
approach for advancing democracy and short-term actions for preventing attacks and denying
terrorist advances.95 The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report describes how the DoD is
shifting its focus from traditional capabilities toward irregular, catastrophic, and disruptive
challenges.96 Furthermore, the National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism
identifies six military objectives that require direct and indirect military approaches to pursue
desired end-states.97 However, as this strategic guidance becomes operational plans and actions,
it is essential to consider the nature of this threat, the motivations driving terrorist actions, and
the limitations of traditional military forces against this threat. Accordingly, the US must be
judicious in the use of its traditional military instrument of power. As stated by Gen Pace,
success will require the coordinated efforts of all US instruments of power and “in fact, the
principal thrust, must come from instruments of national power and influence outside the
Department of Defense.”98
Heavy-handed counterterrorism tactics might be effective in the short term, but tend to
inflame public opinion against an occupying force.99 US foreign policy and military strategy
must consider that heavy-handed counterterrorism tactics, such as the preemptive attack on the
supporters of terrorism, is likely to backfire and mobilize greater support for the transnational
terrorist movement.100 Furthermore, US strategy must recognize this terrorist movement is
committed to a lengthy and costly war of attrition. “Al Qaeda’s victories, and those of its allies
and supporters, are acts of war aimed at strategic objectives, motivated by faith, and conducted in
a manner appropriate to the attackers’ skills and resources.”101 The longer this war lasts, the
greater chance of radicalizing sentiment against the United States, undermining US international
alliances, and targeting the will of American people.102 As one challenging aspect of this long
and complicated war, suicide terrorism is a politically destabilizing and psychologically
devastating form of terrorism.103 Therefore, military professionals must recognize suicide
terrorism as a tactical weapon employed by transnational terrorists targeting strategic effects.
(All notes appear in shortened form. For full details, see appropriate entry in the bibliography.)
1. United States, CJCS, “National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism,” 4.
2. United States, The White House, “The National Security Strategy of the United States of America,” ii.
3. Ibid., ii.
4. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 182.
5. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 3.
6. Pape, Dying to Win, 9.
7. United States, CJCS, “National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism,” 37.
8. Pape, Dying to Win, 9.
9. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 126.
10. Ibid., 76.
11. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 1 and 166; Pape, Dying to Win, 14 and 129; Borum, Psychology of Terrorism, 32;
Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 45-46. Atran, in “Mishandling Suicide Terrorism,” cites the December 1981 bombing
of the Iraqi embassy in Beirut (pg 68).
12. Pape, Dying to Win, 14.
13. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 104.
14. Ibid., 204.
15. Ibid., 18.
16. Ibid., 19. Attacks against civilians: Hamas 74.3 percent; Fatah 68.6 percent; Palestinian Islamic Jihad 61.9
percent; Sunnite groups in Iraq 46.7 percent; PKK 43.8 percent; al Qaeda 31.3 percent. Attacks against soldiers and
police: Hezbollah 88.2 percent; LTTE 71.9 percent; Chechen rebels 60.9 percent.
17. Pape, Dying to Win, 253-264.
18. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 200.
19. Atran, “The Moral Logic and Growth of Suicide Terrorism,” 128-129.
20. Pape, Dying to Win, 6.
21. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 169.
22. Bunker and Sullivan, “Suicide Bombings in OIF,” 74.
23. Ibid., 79.
24. Murden, “Culture in World Affairs,” 152.
25. Borum, Psychology of Terrorism, 42.
26. Murden, “Culture in World Affairs,” 152.
27. Ibid., 155.
28. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 29.
29. Pape, Dying to Win, 4.
30. Ibid., 15.
31. Ibid., 4.
32. Ibid., 17.
33. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 12-14.
34. Ibid., 13. Struggle of Hezbollah and other Lebanese organizations opposed to American, French, and Israeli
military presence in Lebanon. The Palestinian campaign against Israeli control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Tamil minority struggle in Sri Lanka to seize sovereignty from the Sinhalese majority in areas where there is a
Tamil dominance. For the Kurdish minority’s battle in Turkey for independence in Turkish Kurdistan. For
Chechens’ fight for independence from Russia. Kashmir region campaign for independence. Recent addition of
American presence in Saudi Arabia and Western military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq.
35. Ibid., 14.
36. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 133.
37. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 23-24. Many cases underscoring the problematic aspects of trying to form an
exclusive affinity between radical Islam and suicide terrorism. Shiite suicide terrorism in Lebanon first half of
1980s; Muslim and secular, occasionally even communist, in their ideology; Syrian regime and nationalist motives.
PKK separatist group, Muslim faith but secular org with left-wing worldview and anti-colonialist ideas. PFLP and
PIJ many Christian members, marked by a fusion of Marxist and nationalist ideologies. Fatah (central faction of the
PLO). Primary example against is Black Tiger squad of the LTTE, prominence of a nationalist-ethnic element is
much more evident than the religious element. Not all directed at Western objectives but rather gov’t of Asia and
38. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 45; Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 24.
39. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 1.
40. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 111-112.
41. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 94.
42. Ibid., 26. Objectives of suicide bombing are thus multiple and may reinforce or undercut each other Directed
against the international opponent to get out of the “homeland,” against the domestic rivals to achieve dominance,
and/or against a negotiated settlement to which they might not be party to spoil the peace. (Bloom, Dying to Kill, 96)
43. Pape, Dying to Win, 187.
44. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 79.
45. Bunker and Sullivan, “Suicide Bombings in OIF,” 72-73.
46. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 15.
47. Bunker and Sullivan, “Suicide Bombings in OIF,” 72-73.
48. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 77.
49. Ibid., 76.
50. Ibid., 77.
51. Bunker and Sullivan, “Suicide Bombings in OIF,” 72-73.
52. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 181.
53. Silke, A. (2003). The psychology of suicidal terrorism. Silke, A., Ed. Terrorist, victims, and society:
Psychological perspectives on terrorism and its conscequence (pp. 93-108). London: John Wiley, in Borum,
Psychology of Terrorism, 33. Also Pape, Dying to Win, 20.
54. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 78.
55. Bunker and Sullivan, “Suicide Bombings in OIF,” 74.
56. Hafez, “Rationality, Culture, and Structure in the Making of Suicide Bombers,” 180.
57. Ibid., 181.
58. Ibid., 181.
59. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 153.
60. Ibid., 165.
61. Ibid., 180.
62. Ibid., 32.
63. Borum, Psychology of Terrorism, 30.
64. Crenshaw, M. (1992). Decisions to use terrorism: Psychological constraints on instrumental reasoning.
International Social Movements Research. 4:29-42, in Borum, Psychology of Terrorism, 30.
65. McCauley, C. (2002). Psychological issues in understanding terrorism and the response to terrorism. Stout, C.
E., Ed. The psychology of terrorism: Theoretical Understandings and Perspectives (pp. 3-29). Westport, CT:
Praeger Publishers.) and (Sageman, M. (2004). Understanding Terror Networks. Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press, in Borum, Psychology of Terrorism, 30.
66. Borum, Psychology of Terrorism, 33.
67. Ibid., 33.
68. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 180.
69. Borum, Psychology of Terrorism, 40.
70. Ibid., 26.
71. Pedahzur, Suicide Terrorism, 166.
72. Ibid., 125.
73. Ibid., 130.
74. Ibid., 125.
75. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 86-88.
76. Friedman, What Motivates Suicide Bombers?, 8.
77. Atran, “Mishandling Suicide Terrorism,” 83.
78. Borum, Psychology of Terrorism, 40.
79. Macridis and Hulliung, “Political Ideologies,” 166.
80. Ibid., 162.
81. Ibid., 163-171.
82. Borum, Psychology of Terrorism, 45.
83. Ibid., 45.
84. Ibid., 41.
85. Scheuer, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes, 19.
86. Ibid., 296.
87. Ibid., 28.
88. Atran, “The Moral Logic and Growth of Suicide Terrorism,” 128.
89. Griffith, Defining Globalization, 3.
90. Griffith, Actors & Drivers, 2.
91. Naim, “The Five Wars of Globalization,” 6.
92. Ibid., 1.
93. Conway, “Nitro to Net,” 21.
94. Atran, “The Moral Logic and Growth of Suicide Terrorism,” 128.
95. United States, Executive Office of the President, “The National Strategy for Combating Terrorism,” 9-17.
96. Rumsfeld, Quadrennial Defense Review Report, 19.
97. United States, CJCS, “National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism,” 23-24.
98. Ibid., 21.
99. Bloom, Dying to Kill, 174-175.
100. Ibid., 100.
101. Scheuer, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes, 209.
102. Atran, “Mishandling Suicide Terrorism,” 69.
103. Atran, “Mishandling Suicide Terrorism,” 67.
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