Notes # 32 reading

Notes # 32 reading - The Strategic Logic of Suicide...

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The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism ROBERT A. PAPE the University of Chicago 1. Introduction a. Terrorist organizations are increasingly relying on suicide attacks to achieve major political objectives. b. The rise of suicide terrorism is remarkable, given that the total number of terrorist incidents worldwide fell during the period, from a peak of 666 in 1987 to a low of 274 in 1998, with 348 in 2001 c. The small number of studies addressed to suicide terrorism tends to focus on the irrationality of the act of suicide from the perspective of the individual attacker. i. They focus on individual motives—either religious0 indoctrination (especially Islamic Fundamentalism) or psychological predispositions that might drive individual suicide bombers 2. Why terrorist organizations are increasingly relying on this form of Attack? a. Although religious motives may matter, modern suicide terrorism is not limited to Islamic Fundamentalism. Islamic groups receive the most attention in Western media, but the world’s leader in suicide terrorism is actually the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a group who recruits from the predominantly Hindu Tamil population in northern and eastern Sri Lanka and whose ideology has Marxist/Leninist elements. b. Although study of the personal characteristics of suicide attackers may someday help identify individuals terrorist organizations are likely to recruit for this purpose, the vast spread of suicide terrorism over the last two decades suggests that there may not be a single profile. c. Suicide terrorism is an extreme form of “the rationality of irrationality,” in which an act that is irrational for individual attackers is meant to demonstrate credibility to a democratic audience that still more and greater attacks are sure to come. 3. Five principal findings a. Suicide terrorism is strategic. The vast majority of suicide terrorist attacks are not isolated or random acts by individual fanatics but, rather, occur in clusters as part of a larger campaign by an organized group to achieve a specific political goal. b. The strategic logic of suicide terrorism is designed to coerce modern democracies to make significant concessions to national self-determination. In general, suicide terrorist campaigns seek to achieve specific territorial goals, most often the withdrawal of the target state’s military forces from what the terrorists see as national homeland. c. During the past 20 years, suicide terrorism has been steadily rising because terrorists have learned that it pays. This pattern of making concessions to suicide terrorist organizations over the past two decades has probably encouraged terrorist groups to pursue even more ambitious suicide campaigns. d.
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2010 for the course IR 109 taught by Professor Heinz during the Spring '10 term at Rochester.

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Notes # 32 reading - The Strategic Logic of Suicide...

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