Causes of Contemporary Suicide Terrorism

Economic Deprivation?

-         no evidence at macro or micro level

-         terrorists are usually from middle- or upper- class families

 Extremist Islamic Fundamentalist Ideology?

-           how to explain non-Islamic terrorism?

o       LTTE in Sri Lanka (secular/Hindu)

o       BKI in India (Sikh)

 National Independence/Anti-Occupation Effort

-         seek to overthrow colonial government

-         oust foreign occupation forces

-         Pape: terrorist goal is “to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland” (Pape, 38)


Pape’s Pre-conditions of Suicide Terrorism

-           Religious Differences Matter

o      suicide terrorism occurs when there is confessional nationalism.

-           Democratic target

-           Perceived foreign occupation

-           Nationalist rebellion

-           No prior concessions by target democracy


Why is Suicide Terrorism Effective?

-           ‘Occupied’ population supports the goals

-           Martyrdom reinforces the goal and social support

-           Deadlier than alternatives

o      Suicide attacks account for 3% of all terrorist attacks from 1980-2003 but account for 48% of deaths, excluding 11 Sep. 2001 attacks

o      12 deaths per attack v. <1 death average


Terror Campaigns to 2001

-           see Pape Appendix I for list through 2005