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Thread: Suicide Attacks: weapon of the future?

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Suicide Attacks: weapon of the future?

    Readers maybe interested in visiting this well regarded an well connected Israeli website, prompted by their latest if lengthy piece of research.


    The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center is the educational and documentary center of the national memorial site of the Israeli intelligence community. It is located at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S.), at Gelilot near Tel Aviv, and specializes in information about intelligence and terrorism. It regularly releases exclusive information on its Internet site, both in Hebrew and English (http://www.terrorism-info.org.il), a large percentage of which is based on original Palestinian documents captured by Israeli forces.

    Ordinary People and Death Work:Palestinian Suicide Bombers as Victimizers and Victims

    Applying criminological/victimological concepts and theories, the study addresses the social processes involved in Palestinians" suicide terrorism and describes Palestinians" pathways to suicide bombing. The data are derived from in-depth interviews of 7 male and female Palestinians serving prison sentences in Israel for attempted suicide bombing. The social background, context, and experiences of the interviewees, including their recruitment, interactions with the organizations that produce suicide bombing, the tangible and intangible incentives and rewards that motivated them to become suicide bombers, their preparation for the mission, and the strategies employed by the organizations to sustain recruits" resolve to conform to the plan are described and analyzed. The implications of the findings for theory and public policy are drawn and discussed

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    Default Brit research

    The UK MoD has also compiled a very useful study on suicide bombers; however, the report is classified FOUO.

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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default Suicide Attacks: weapon of the future?

    We are all aware that suicide attacks have increased dramatically since 2001.

    We are all aware that modern suicide attacks began in Palestine/Levant during the 1980's.

    Civilizied peoples deplore, condemn and disdain suicide and suicide warfare.

    BUT, the real question is this: is suicide warfare effective? What is the purpose, method and intent? The end state?

    If effective then what are the counter-measures (and no 5.56, 7.62 and .50 cal are not effective counter-measures they are point defense and do not attack the root of the problem).

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I would date modern suicide terrorism to the Tamil Tigers in their fight for independence against the Sinhalese government in Sri Lanka.

    Dr. Robert Pape has written on suicide terrorism and its rationale. Wikipedia entry on the book that summarizes its arguments here.

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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default Pape

    Tequila: so you disagree with Pape? "Modern suicide terrorism began in Lebanon in the 1980s" (14)

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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default Pape's conclusion (summary)

    Ch. 12: A New Strategy for Victory
    Though “we” cannot leave the Middle East altogether, Pape asserts, a “strategy for victory” is available (237-38). U.S. should define victory as the separate objectives of “defeating the current pool of terrorists” and preventing a new generation from arising (238-39). He rejects Frum-Perle view that the root of the problem is in Islam (241-44). “Rather, the taproot is American military policy” (244). The notion that Islamic fundamentalism is bent on world domination is “pure fantasy” (244-45). An attempt by the West to force Muslim societies to transform “is likely to dramatically increase the threat we face” (245). He calls for a policy of “‘off-shore’ balancing”: establishing local alliances while maintaining the capacity for rapid deployment of military forces (247-50).

    (Tequila thanks for the link, via Wikipedia)

    WE now have a resevoir of US and Coalition Troops who have faced this threat. What methods to counter work? Does Pape's analysis still hold water?
    Last edited by TROUFION; 02-27-2007 at 02:27 PM.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I'd say Hizbullah beat the LTTE to the punch, but the LTTE really molded effective suicide terrorism in the 1980s. How many suicide bombers has Hizbullah used compared to the LTTE? Also, the LTTE I'd argue has been far more effective.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Weren't the Kamikazes somewhat first ?

    Perhaps a tad earlier than 1980 ?

    Kamikazes were the most common and best-known form of Japanese suicide attack during World War II

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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default Yes and no

    Yes the Kamikazi came first, BUT after 1945 the next round of suicide attacks came in the 1980's, hence the "modern suicide attacks" or better phrased "current threat from suicide attacks."

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Thanks Troufion !
    May have to get the book.

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    Council Member Tc2642's Avatar
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    Default RE: Assassins?

    Interesting to note that it was the Ismali's who first came up with the suicide attacker, cira 8th century.

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    Suicide bombing is simply a tactic, along the same line as IEDs - and both have been used to varying degrees of success in the COE. However, as has been noted repeatedly, it is often referred to as a "strategic tactic", as it's impact can be distributed far beyond its immediate messy consequences by the broadcase media and virtual comms.

    Personally, I feel it is pointless to look at a "root of the problem" for suicide bombing per se - we need to look to the root of the conflict and move from there. Each region where suicide bombing has been used to any significant degree has to be looked at in its own unique context - although there are certainly similarities.

    We're dealing with the issue in Iraq (unprecedented numbers) and Afghanistan, then we have the LTTE as mentioned, the phenomenon of the Chechen "Black Widows" as well as female suicide bombers used by the Marxist PKK, and, of course, the spectrum of Palestinian suicide bombings. There are other examples, but my point is that to treat any or all of these situations in an identical manner is a mistake.
    I'd say Hizbullah beat the LTTE to the punch, but the LTTE really molded effective suicide terrorism in the 1980s. How many suicide bombers has Hizbullah used compared to the LTTE? Also, the LTTE I'd argue has been far more effective.
    Hezballah moved on from suicide bombings to refining their use of IEDs in their campaign against the IDF and SLA in South Lebanon (as well as more conventional military raid/ambush tactics), whereas the LTTE has continued to use suicide bombers across the spectrum.

    FYI, aside from buying the book, here's Pape's article from the Aug 03 issue of American Political Science Review: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism
    ...Perhaps most important, the close association between foreign military occupations and the growth of suicide terrorist movements in the occupied regions should give pause to those who favor solutions that involve conquering countries in order to transform their political systems....
    In sum, at the tactial level, we've developed an entire spectrum of countermeasures, identified indicators and continue to train and raise awareness of our soldiers and LE professionals. However, threat TTPs continue to evolve in the face of our countermeasures - there will never come a point when we are completely protected from suicide bombers or IEDs. When it comes down to it, the ultimate solution is what the community here at SWC has long been pushing - improved implementation of effective COIN. Make your list of buzz-words regarding interagency cooperation and building governance capabilities - as Troufion stated in his post at the head of this thread, addressing root causes means more than killing bad guys.

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    Default Human bombs and PR

    At their heart, human bomb attacks are explosive public relation events that strike at "strategic" pizza parlors and ice cream vendors. As noted above, Hezballah has moved to more effective tactical defensive measures against Israel's forces. There has to be some irony in the fact that Hezballah's rocket attacks against Israel killed fewer people than their human bomb attacks did especially on a per attempt basis.

    Most terror attacks are for the purpose of grabbing media attention. They are acts of impotence meant to make governments look impotent, and too often the media follows that script.

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    Default Smart Weapons

    Regardless of what our adversaries are called they have established a precedent with a technology that is hard to counter and defeat. It is extremely effective because it generates media coverage. The Tactics used by the terrorists have evolved because they utilize what generates media attention to sway public opinion.

    Terrorism's goals are to directly and indirectly influence FEAR.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TROUFION View Post
    Ch. 12: A New Strategy for Victory
    Though “we” cannot leave the Middle East altogether, Pape asserts, a “strategy for victory” is available (237-38). U.S. should define victory as the separate objectives of “defeating the current pool of terrorists” and preventing a new generation from arising (238-39). He rejects Frum-Perle view that the root of the problem is in Islam (241-44). “Rather, the taproot is American military policy” (244). The notion that Islamic fundamentalism is bent on world domination is “pure fantasy” (244-45). An attempt by the West to force Muslim societies to transform “is likely to dramatically increase the threat we face” (245). He calls for a policy of “‘off-shore’ balancing”: establishing local alliances while maintaining the capacity for rapid deployment of military forces (247-50).

    (Tequila thanks for the link, via Wikipedia)

    WE now have a resevoir of US and Coalition Troops who have faced this threat. What methods to counter work? Does Pape's analysis still hold water?
    The problem IS Islam, and it's desires to prevent their (often primitive, tribal) culture being obliterated by a pervasive and invasive western culture.

    The idea that US military policy is the basis for Islamic aggression is a cop-out.

    Islam sees a good offense as being the best defense, in cultural terms.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    120mm - Can you expand on your thesis? I disagree in pretty much every way, but I'd like to hear more about your argument.

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    Council Member Mondor's Avatar
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    Default Islam a Culture?

    Islam is part of a culture but is not in and of itself a culture. If in doubt, just change out the word Islam for Christian. I know that the "Christian culture" of Brazil is pretty different than the "Christian culture" of England.

    Again, religion is a component of a culture not a stand alone culture. Don't make me tell the board's Anthropologist on you.
    It is right to learn, even from one's enemies
    Ovid

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondor View Post
    Don't make me tell the board's Anthropologist on you.



    ....now there's a warning I haven't heard before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondor View Post
    Islam is part of a culture but is not in and of itself a culture. If in doubt, just change out the word Islam for Christian. I know that the "Christian culture" of Brazil is pretty different than the "Christian culture" of England.

    Again, religion is a component of a culture not a stand alone culture. Don't make me tell the board's Anthropologist on you.
    Muslim would answer to you: “Islam is religion, is culture, is universal idea and is way of life.”

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    Default Different looks on Islam ...

    Just be careful not to confuse LOCAL/TRIBAL customs, which sneak in local understanding of what is Islam. Great examples would be Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya…

    Afghanistan is full of pervasive look on bad behavior toward women (local/tribal customs according to Ahmed Rashid-man who knows that good- I recommend both his books), and mentality that was changed under decades of warfare and wahabi/salafi influence:

    Bosnia was and still is open, multicultural society, always closer to European life style then to Arabic way of life, keeping Islam in sphere of private life, never forcing others into it. Even during they war when they felt abounded by Europe and US simple because they were muslims dying under serbian (christian) shells.

    War in Chechnya started like a public resistance and war for liberation. Once again, Muslim populous was abounded by “freedom loved” and “democratic West” so they got help where they could… Arabs and they wahabi/salafi look on Islam. Let’s not forget, Wahabism is just ONE sect in Islam.

    Anyways, my point is that Islam is not what many people today think that Islam is. There are many local customs and beliefs, behaviors that got mix and people there think that is Islam and they behave that way.

    Compare Afghans and Taliban, and they appalling behavior toward woman while Islam when started rise up against killings of baby-girls just because Arabs in those time used to buried female babies just for being born - female!? Islam put end to that. And that same thing is still happening in China and Korea (not sure if those people are Buddhist or Christians, but they are not Muslims).

    We may here discuses difference of suicide bomber killing civilians in restaurants or pilots killing villages with bombs, but ultimately there is no difference between innocents. I don’t think that those people care for different labels like “terrorism” and “preemptive strikes” and “collateral damage”. There is just they pain, tears and blood.


    =========================================
    I recommend these books by Ahmed Rashid:
    Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia
    http://www.amazon.com/Taliban-Milita...e=UTF8&s=books

    Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia
    http://www.amazon.com/Jihad-Rise-Mil...e=UTF8&s=books
    Last edited by Sarajevo071; 02-27-2007 at 09:15 PM.

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