08 August 2006

Suicide attacks

Robert A. Pape has done a systematic survey of suicide attacks from 1980 to 2003. The results are astonishing.
The data show that there is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any one of the world’s religions. In fact, the leading instigators of suicide attacks are the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a Marxist-Leninist group whose members are from Hindu families but who are adamantly opposed to religion. This group committed 76 of the 315 incidents, more suicide attacks than Hamas.
It turns out that suicide terrorists do have a lot in common, though: they're all connected with movements trying to get a democratic state to withdraw from some piece of territory. With Hamas, this is transparent, as it is with the Tamil Tigers, but this even applies to 9/11—al Qaeda wants US troops out of the Muslim world, particularly Saudi Arabia.

I may have to read the man's book.

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