Ebook: Contemporary Suicide Terrorism: Origins, Trends and Ways of Tackling It
Suicide terrorism represents a tangible challenge to national, regional and global security. This much is not in question; but opinions differ, conceptually and normatively, as to its root causes, factors and motives.This book presents the research papers delivered at the conference ‛Contemporary Suicide Terrorism: Origins, Trends and Ways of Tackling it’ held in Astana, Kazakhstan, in September 2010. The conference was funded by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme, and provided a forum for dialogue and discussion between scholars and security practitioners from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Romania and Russia. The focus of the conference was on methodological and theoretical approaches to suicide terrorism researches. Topics addressed include: the effectiveness of suicide terrorism; the roots of suicide terrorism and its religious legitimation; the impact of new technologies on the radicalization process; terrorism and the drug trade; female suicide bombers; and migration, radicalization and disorder in the EU. Examples are drawn from experiences in the Maghreb, the West Bank and Gaza Strip in Israel, Dagestan, Romania, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The book conveys the spirit of tolerance, exchange of ideas, dialogue and convergence that dominated the conference. It offers a contribution to better understanding between societies and the fostering of a culture of peace and non-violence.
This book consists of research papers presented at the conference “Contemporary Suicide Terrorism: Origins, Trends and Ways of Tackling It” (23th-26th September, 2010). The conference took place in Astana, Kazakhstan, and was hosted by the Faculty of Social Science of Eurasian National University, L.N. Gumilev. It was funded by the NATO Science For Peace and Security Programme (ARW 983898).
The forum created an excellent environment for dialogue between scholars and practitioners belonging to the security communities of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Romania, Russia. While all participants agreed on the fact that suicide terrorism is a tangible challenge to national, regional and global security, they differed conceptually and normatively in their views about its root causes, factors and motives. These divergences formed the basis of a vigorous debate which could only happen within the neutral space of an academic activity. Scholars, army officers, security services experts and representatives from civil society took part. This book is the overall result of their efforts.
Among the main discussion topics were methodological and theoretical approaches to suicide terrorism researches.
In “Elements of a complex analytical approach to the suicidal jihadism”, Rachid el Houdaigui frames the debate : “Jihadism is often reduced by many observers to a simple revival of a strategy rooted in the political practice of traditional Islam. Thus, some see in the Islamist movements the pivot of the said revival, and consequently assimilate Jihadism to a religious phenomenon. Without denying the existence of a relationship between the interpretation of Islam and the cognitive motivation for jihadists, other direct variables deserve to be investigated because they shape the referential frame as well as the operating frame of these variables.”
Alexander Khramchikhin's contribution is entitled “Suicide terrorism as the most effective method of terrorism. Military and migratory aspects. Ideological basis of terrorism and struggle against it”. He states that it is not be possible to analyze suicide terrorism without analyzing terrorism as such, and that terrorism has to be mainly opposed in the fields of politics and psychology.
In the article “The suicidal terrorist assaults: an attempt at analyzing the theological and quasitheological aspects” Angel Mitrev raises a question about the roots of suicide terrorism and its religious legitimation. He insists that suicide terrorism has been transformed from a tool for provoking fear into a powerful strategy for modern warfare. However, this transformation is not the result of the implementation of Islam, but mainly a result of its instrumental use.
The valuable contribution of Reuven Paz “Contemporary suicide terrorism in an Islamic world: origins, trends, ways of tackling” offers a deep and detailed study not only of the classical topics in the field, but also of quite new phenomena: the impact of new technologies on radicalization processes would be an appropriate example. He examines the Jihadi Internet; including Jihadi use of the Internet, which he calls the “Open University for Jihadi Studies” and “one global madrassa”; the views of Jihadi scholars expressed on the Internet; and their main concepts disseminated through the global network. The paper ends with the analysis of a letter of instructions discovered after the September 11 attacks. A crucial question is asked. Are we facing a new breed of Islamist radicals here as a result of the consolidation of the Global Jihad in multi-national and multi-grouping cells of young people from Muslim communities in the west?
Many of the texts are focused on case studies. They explore suicide terrorism tendencies or the threats of such activities in Israel and Palestine, Iraq, the Maghreb, Dagestan and Kazakhstan, as well as in the EU.
The paper by Galit M. Ben-Israel and Marina Shorer-Zeltser “Telling a Story by Dry Statistics. Suicide Terror Attacks in Israel: (1993-2008)” offers an analysis of data from suicide terrorism attacks (167 case studies) which were carried out by terrorist organizations in the period 1993-2008, in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A description of these events is used as a key to understanding a unique Israeli phenomenon : that of the direct influence of terror attacks on internal Israeli politics. In this paper, we see case studies examined with the help of two methodological approaches. The positivistic approach helps to expose the official narrative of the events : namely, the chronological history of the case studies as portrayed in books and by the Israeli mass media. Then, using the interpretive approach, the alternative narrative, which represents an attempt to decipher the phenomenon of Israeli national symbols, is demonstrated.
In “The emergence of suicide terrorism in the Maghreb”, Carlos Echeverria applies just such a chronological and analytical approach to successful and unsuccessful suicide terrorist actions carried out either in the Maghreb countries or by Maghreb citizens abroad.
Alberto Moreno, in his paper “Trends in the insurgency in Iraq: The impact of suicide bombings in the period 2003-2006”, explains their consequences for the stability in the country. His excellent knowledge of the Iraqi political and cultural context allows him to draw some important conclusions about future developments in the field.
The paper by Tatyana Dronzina and Jorge Bolanos, “Dagestani female bombers”, has as its first objective the gathering of empirical information about women from the area who took the decision to die in the act of killing others. The authors argue that when national emancipation motives are not sufficient cause, female suicide choice has to do with the patriarchal structures of the society which impose a strict model of feminine identity rather than with any religious or secular political ideology. In order to check this hypothesis, the authors first delineate the regional and national context of the conflict, then present a short record of both male and female suicide acts. Finally, they analyze the factors of individual choice on the basis of reconstructions of the life stories of two successful and two unsuccessful female bombers.
Cristian Barna and Marian Zulean's “Jihadist suicide terrorism: challenges and strategies within the Romanian national security policy”, states that despite the fact that no major suicide terrorist act has taken place in Romania, the Romanian national security system is deeply involved in the global war on terror, not only in military operations abroad but also in furthering a better understanding of the phenomenon or in counterterrorist measures at home. The paper aims to describe terrorist activities in Romania, to analyze the phenomenon of suicide terrorism and to present the main strategies to tackle it.
Two articles about Kazakhstan form an interesting part of this book. We publish them together as they give an idea of how dynamic the developments in our research field can be. The contribution from Elena Nechaeva and Marina Onuchko is devoted to the factors reducing and preventing the radicalisation of religion. Their research is based on the results of a sociological survey and contains some recommendations based on the results obtained.
Botagoz Rakisheva's contribution “Suicidal Acts in the Republic of Kazakhstan: Chronology of Events” concerns cases of suicide terrorism in Kazakhstan in 2011. The author describes and analyses these on the basis of published materials, while looking to identify the main factors of the individual suicide choice.
Valerio de Divitiis' “Migration, Radicalisation and disorder in the EU: An Overview” states that radicalisation and violent extremism leading to terrorism are worrisome phenomena affecting Muslim populations living in or moving to the EU. According to him, law enforcement practitioners and academic experts' concern about this issue is increasing, and this is shaping the directives of policy-makers in accordance with changing views, and with the search for updated countermeasures to address social and security threats posed by terrorist intentions which originate from a violent modern interpretation of Salafist doctrine. Steps in the pursuance of shared EU counter-radicalisation goals need to continue to keep fundamental principles in mind, such as the effective implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and international legal standards encompassing the field of migration and international refugee law.
“Criminal groups, terrorists organizations and the drug trade in Kyrgyzstan”, by Zairbek Ergueshev, explores the relationship between these three phenomena, which are seen as major challenges to the national security of his country.
Our most sincere desire is that this book conveys to the reader the spirit of tolerance, exchange of ideas, dialogue, and convergence that dominated the conference. We strongly believe it could contribute to a better understanding between societies, and foster the culture of peace and non-violence in our changing world.
Rachid El Houdaigui
Jihadism is often reduced by many observers to a simple revival of a strategy rooted in the political practice of traditional Islam. Thus, some see in the Islamist movements the pivot of the said revival and consequently assimilate Jihadism to a religious phenomenon. Without denying the existence of a relationship between the interpretation of Islam and the cognitive motivation for jihadists, other direct variables deserve to be investigated, because they shape the referential frame as well as the operating frame of these variables.
It is not possible to analyze suicide terrorism without analyzing terrorism as such. From a military point of view, suicide attacks are an extremely effective type of political action. Above all, terrorism has to be fought in the political and psychological field.
The article raises questions about the roots of suicide terrorism and its religious legitimation. The author argues that suicide terrorism has been transformed from a tool for provoking fear into powerful modern warfare strategy. However, this transformation is not the result of the implementation of Islam, but mainly a result of its instrumental use.
The chapter is entitled “Suicide or Martyrdom: the roots of anger that motivated this volcano”, since it analyzes the Arab roots of this phenomenon; the socio-politico-cultural aspects of suicide/martyrdom; the intellectual reasoning for the phenomenon; and the significance of the Internet in encouraging martyrdom. The focus of the conclusions is on the socio-cultural model set by suicide bombing and bombers in the process of the idealization of Jihad.
The most modern and fanatic model of Jihad, which only developed in the last two decades, reflects a lot of rage which is directed and channeled towards a variety of enemies. On the surface of events it seems that the worst enemies of this model of Jihad are Western culture and politics, or in the language of the fanatic Jihadis – the Jewish-Crusader front. However, when you look at the bottom of this phenomenon you see a very deep hatred against the leaderships of the Arab states, their religious establishment, and most of the Arab and Muslim societies themselves. This rage developed and changed in reply to the question “who is the enemy?” Fanaticism led the most extremist Jihadis to find the enemy in everyone, primarily in the Arab and Muslim world, who does not accept their unique interpretation of Islam.
From here, the way to execute the fanatic Jihad against their own societies is short, extremely violent, merciless with no regrets, and full of anger. This worldview brought the fanatic Jihadis to view their struggle as most sacred, and one worth killing oneself for in a sacred act of martyrdom.
This paper presents an analysis of data of suicide terrorism attacks (167 case studies) which were carried out by terrorist organizations in the period 1993-2008, in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A description of these events is used as a key to understand a unique Israeli phenomenon, that of the direct influence of terror attacks on internal Israeli politics. In this paper, we will examine the case studies with the help of two methodological approaches. The first, the positivistic approach, will help us to expose the official narrative of the events, namely, the chronological history of the case studies as portrayed in books and in the Israeli mass media. Then, with the help of the interpretive approach, we will show the alternative narrative which represents an attempt to decipher the phenomenon of the Israeli national symbols.
This chapter provides a chronological and analytical approach to suicide terrorist actions and frustrated suicide terrorist actions implemented in the Maghreb countries or by Maghreb citizens abroad. It is not an exhaustive description and only the most relevant cases are included. We assume that what is more relevant in the framework of this international research workshop is to feed the subject in terms of trends.
This article is about the impact of human bombs on the political process in Iraq, which between 2003 and 2006 was the global centre of suicide terrorism. The profile of perpetrators is designed and the main characteristics of the missions are analyzed. The author argues that no single explanation on individual level can be found; the motivation behind the attacks is rather a mix of fanaticism, nationalism, personal trauma and religious fervour. The conclusion is made that suicide bombing is one of the main challenges to the political stability of the country.
This article is about Dagestani female bombers. Its first objective is to gather empirical information about women from the zone who decided to die while killing others. We argue that when national emancipation motives are not strong enough, female suicide choice has to do with patriarchal structures of the society, which impose a strict model of a feminine identity, rather than with any secular political ideology or religion. In order to check this hypothesis, we first describe the regional and national context of the conflict, then present a short record of male and female suicide acts. Finally, we analyze the factors of the individual's choice on the basis of the reconstruction of the life stories of two successful and two unsuccessful female bombers.
Despite the fact that no major suicide terrorist act has occurred on Romanian territory, the Romanian national security system is deeply involved in the global war on terror, not only in military operations abroad but also in understanding it, as well as in counterterrorism prevention at home. Intelligence data shows that there are some supporters of Islamic fundamentalist groups in Romania who are involved in intense Islamic fundamentalist propaganda under cover of religious gatherings, attempting to win new members by means of mutual relations between Muslim believers, mostly in the main university centres. This paper tries to describe terrorist activities in Romania, to analyze the phenomenon of suicide terrorism and to present the main strategies to tackle it. It is a case study based on a multi-disciplinary approach.
This article is a research into the factors reducing and preventing radicalization of religion and is based on sociological research - population poll. It contains conclusions and recommendations based on the conducted research findings.
The article is about the four suicide acts which took place in Kazakhstan in 2011. Suicide terrorism is a new phenomenon for the country. It appeared as a result of several internal and external factors such as a high rate of unemployment, socio-economic challenges, various unresolved problems of young people and the growing impact of radical ideologies, for example, Salafism.
The present work intends to sustain and stimulate reflection regarding radicalisation and violent extremism affecting the EU. Although the method applied is not exhaustive, this paper pursues the objective to contribute to the debate in view of elements facilitating radicalisation and recruitment that are harsh and consolidated plagues characterising the governance of some EU areas.
This paper is about criminal groups, terrorist organizations and drug trade and trafficking in Kyrgyzstan. It shows the results of the field work stage of a two year project carried out by the author. The main hypothesis is that in Central Asia, the bases of cooperation are settled among these three biggest players in the region's criminal market.