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Suicide Terrorism in Iraq: A Preliminary Assessment of the Quantitative Data and Documentary Evidence

NCJ Number
Studies in Conflict & Terrorism Volume: 29 Issue: 6 Dated: September 2006 Pages: 531-559
Mohammed M. Hafez
Date Published
September 2006
29 pages
This study provides a preliminary assessment of suicide terrorism in Iraq.
Even though it is too early to make conclusive findings about who the suicide bombers are, where they come from, and what motivates them to die in Iraq, there are some reasonable conclusions that can be made from available quantitative data, as well as the documentary evidence produced by insurgents as to why some groups deploy suicide terrorism in Iraq. A major finding of this study is that suicide terrorism in Iraq is carried out by groups that cannot compete in any future political and institutional alignments in Iraq’s new coalition politics. The intent of suicide terrorism is to produce system collapse, sectarian warfare, and a failed state. Suicide attackers rely heavily on vehicle-born bombers and they are eager to attack following counterinsurgency operations or during major political developments in the country in order to show they are not defeated. Suicide attacks do not appear to be abating. Suicide attacks in Iraq became more frequent as the insurgency developed and after the removal of major figures associated with the old regime. This paper provides a preliminary assessment of suicide terrorism in Iraq, shedding light on why some groups in the insurgency employ suicide attacks, while others do not. 13 figures, 34 notes, and 1 appendix