Other Names: Suicidal terrorists
Nature: Suicide terrorists are even more careless of life than other forms of terrorists because they have already committed to sacrifice their own life.
Background: Suicide terrorism has inherent tactical advantages over conventional terrorism: It is a simple and low-cost operation (requiring no escape routes or complicated rescue operations); it guarantees mass casualties and extensive damage (since the suicide bomber can choose the exact time, location, and circumstances of the attack); there is no fear that interrogated terrorists will surrender important information (because their deaths are certain); and it has an immense impact on the public and the media (due to the overwhelming sense of helplessness).
Incidence: The prevalence of suicide terrorism during the last two decades of the 20th century testifies to its gruesome effectiveness. It has formed a vital part of several terror campaigns, including Hezbollah's successful operation against the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the mid-1980s, the 1994-96 Hamas bus bombings aimed at stopping the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and the 1995-99 Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) struggle against Turkey. The formation of special suicide units within the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) army in Sri Lanka has added an atrocious dimension to the civil war on that devastated island. In addition to killing hundreds of civilians, soldiers, and high-ranking officers since 1987, LTTE suicide terrorists have assassinated two heads of state: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India in 1991 and President Ranas-inghe Premadasa of Sri Lanka in 1993. Sri Lanka's current president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, recently lost sight in one eye following an assassination attempt that killed at least 24 people. The simultaneous 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanza-nia, which took the lives of nearly 300 civilians, were a brutal reprise of the 1983 tragedies in Lebanon.
Counter Claim: Our enemy possesses the most sophisticated weapons in the world and its army is trained to a very high standard. We have nothing with which to repel killing and thuggery against us except the weapon of martyrdom. It is easy and costs us only our lives. Human bombs cannot be defeated, not even by nuclear bombs. (Islamic Jihad).
Problem Type: G: Very specific problems
Date of last update 15.09.2001 – 00:00 CEST