View Full Version : Suicide attacks - Iraq

09-19-2008, 01:09 PM
Hi folks,

I'm currently engaged in a project (academic/open source) looking at suicide attacks (specifically organisational capability to mount different attacks against different types of target).

As part of this I'm interested in exploring the mechanics and TTPs of groups employing this tactic and I was wondering if council members had any pointers to useful public sources concerning the operation of suicide attack cells in Iraq (and possibly Afghanistan, though I've already got some good material there). There seems to be a bit of a gap on the Iraqi front (or I'm looking in the wrong places - hence the request).

One of the few books published on the subject (Hafez, M 'Suicide Bombers in Iraq', USIP, 2007 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Suicide-Bombers-Iraq-Strategy-Martyrdom/dp/1601270046/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221829529&sr=8-1)) doesn't really delve into this beyond discussing who might be responsible and what they target. The most useful thing I've found thus far on Iraq is an article in Defense News (Grant, G 'Inside Iraqi Insurgent Cells: Captured Terrorist Intel May Help Defeat IEDs', Defense News, 1 August 2005). Also some of the CTC's Harmony materials are useful re: recruitment etc.

Anything in the public domain regarding organisational structures, recruitment/ training/motivation, ISR, device procurement/construction, logistical support, deployment and media exploitation (or frankly anything else) would be gratefully received.

Thanks in advance,


09-19-2008, 03:16 PM

I wrote an article for SWJ magazine last spring that describes how AQ successfully cleared and occupied a town in Diyala Province. The article is mostly focused on the organizational, recruiting, and operations of AQ, but suicide attacks were used as a shaping tactic. Hopefully, this article is helpful. It may help serve as a start point for you.



The Break Point: AQIZ establishes the ISI in Zaganiyah (http://smallwarsjournal.com/mag/2008/04/the-break-point-aqiz-establish.php)

09-19-2008, 06:18 PM

Many thanks.

An interesting article, not least because it places the use of the tactic in the context of an overall operation (i.e. taking and controlling the town) - to date I've been thinking almost exclusively about the tactical aspects, rather than the wider operational/strategic agenda/objectives of groups.

A couple of tantalising little snippets in there too:

The training camps operated in a five sequential phases: Phase One: Traffic Control Points, Phase Two: Basic Rifle Marksmanship, Phase Three: Infantry Tactics, Phase Four: Explosives, and Phase Five: Martyrdom Operations.


On 10 November, AQIZ overran the IP station with a spectacular attack consisting of a Suicide Car Bomber followed by an infantry assault.

The latter is another aspect I am interested in. Is this the AQIZ equivalent of a combined arms* attack? And as such does it represent a higher degree of organizational capability? Interesting also because its the first time I've seen a mention of such an assault being successful (i.e. they overran the outpost).

Thanks again for taking the time.


*Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_arms) definition: Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects.

09-20-2008, 07:17 AM
TRy this link: http://www.iiss.org/conferences/counter-terrorism-series/female-suicide-bombing-and-europe/

The speakers work might just help, especially that by the Israeli speaker. A quick thought over breakfast.

david bfpo

09-22-2008, 03:36 PM

Much appreciated.


10-06-2008, 08:22 PM
The CTC at west point has some great documents. The Sinjar Papers discuss much about recruiting.


10-06-2008, 08:31 PM
Yep, I've downloaded the CTC material you refer to - just have to get round to processing it now.



Abu Buckwheat
11-27-2008, 09:40 PM
Sorry I am late to your request. PM me I have LOTS of information from research on my last book.