2008-02-02

Most suicide bombers not motivated by religion

What more than 95 per cent of all suicide terrorist attacks around the world have in common is not religion, but a specific political goal to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland or prize greatly. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, the central objective of every suicide terrorist campaign since 1980 has been to compel a democratic state with military forces on territory that the terrorists prize to take those forces out.
Interesting.

8 comments:

BLBeamer said...

Did you notice this article is nearly three years old? I am curious if the author of the study has refreshed his data since then? His conclusion "feels" right to me, but I would like something more current.

I am nearly certain, however, that these poor women were not motivated by religion - or politics.

I would be curious how many bombers are motivated by mere depravity or barbarism.

One Salient Oversight said...

What is depravity and barbarism for one side is bravery and honour for the other. Sad, but true.

CraigS said...

I remember hearing that many of the suicide bombers in Iraq actually come from Syria (but I have no reference for that). If it's true, then they can't be motivated by the desire to "free their homeland".

BLBeamer said...

This latest bombing particularly sickens me. How would you propose dealing with a side that views strapping bombs onto mentally handicapped women and detonating them in crowds using remote control as brave and honorable?

One Salient Oversight said...

The only time I ever see people wringing their hands and laughing evilly is on TV shows. The people who sent those particular people to their deaths most likely felt that their deaths were glorious and their cause just.

Of course they are completely wrong, but it is far more likely to believe that these bombers are motivated by beliefs which they consider to be justifiable and honourable than it is to believe that they did it because they like doing evil things.

And that, I believe, is the first step to understanding your enemy - never assume that they believe they are evil.

BLBeamer said...

I make no such assumption but I do wonder how you know it is "far more likely" to believe the bombers are motivated by ideals they consider virtuous. How can we be sure they don't just like chaos and destruction, because (to take one example) they believe it serves their ulterior motives of, say, criminal enterprise? Many criminals do not consider their crimes to be inspired of high ideals, and many have said as much.

I believe these bombers have revealed themselves quite plainly with such acts. My opinion of whether they view themselves as evil or not is irrelevant. Further, I doubt if they spend much time considering the question themselves.

People who will commit such depraved acts are depraved. Their acts define them and reveal them for what they are whether they believe themselves to be righteous or not.

One Salient Oversight said...

Their acts define them and reveal them for what they are whether they believe themselves to be righteous or not.

This is a truth that needs to be applied more broadly than it has been.

Dave Lankshear said...

Anyone see Syriana? There can be another powerful motive for the individual suicide bombers themselves — money for family that survives. As for those who orchestrate such crimes, I have no doubt that religion plays a large part of their motivation. Anyone out there actually sat down and read the Koran lately?