Muslim Suicide Bombing Game: Terrorist Tactics Term Paper

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Muslim Suicide Bombing Game: Correlating Factors Showing the Prevalence of Suicide as a Terrorism Tactic

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Today, suicide bombings take place on a daily basis throughout the Middle East, and it is clear that the tactic has assumed a new level of importance for many terrorist organizations. It is not necessarily the religion directly but perhaps the corruption of the religion is used to by the terrorist organizations to recruit vulnerable subjects to commit terrorism. They are used as tool for terrorist groups to gain politically. The religion does play a role and there acts are justified (martyrs) but perhaps not much more than the other factors. If it was the religion they would all be doing it but they are not. But why is it so prevalent amongst Muslims today? All the factors the research identifies seem to fall under the umbrella of "belonging" or solidarity in terms of how it affects social inequality and oppression, including the use of perverted religion as a tool to further organizational goals. Although it is not possible to generalize about the religion, it is possible to discern how there are those who "corrupt" with movements and fatwas of the religion that are able to recruit these suicide bombers. To this end, this study develops a game theory model to determine and analyze human conflict in general and Muslim suicide bombers in particular. It also proposes a game based on game theory was used to define correlating factors of Muslim suicide terrorists and to help identify ways to stop them from killing themselves and others. A summary of the research, salient findings and relevant recommendations for policymakers at all levels are provided in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Background and Overview.

Term Paper on Muslim Suicide Bombing Game: Terrorist Tactics Assignment

The chances of a young person being recruited to become a suicide bomber for a terrorist organization in the Middle East today are greater than ever, and the recruiting tactics have become both more effective and the inducements more economically attractive for many young Muslims faced with few jobs prospects, fewer educational opportunities and perhaps a family wracked by poverty. In this regard, Cohn (2002) suggests that, "The killing of innocent civilians by suicide bombers must be roundly condemned. But individual terrorist acts by people living in hopeless despair cannot be compared to the State terrorism" (p. 25). Notwithstanding the political issues involved, the moral implications of using suicide bombers as a terrorism tactic are truly profound.

According to Ayman Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's chief lieutenant, Islamic extremists have established a list of terrorist principles in their book, Knights Under the Prophet's Banner (2001). This recent publication specifically proclaims that the Islamic extremist goals include the need to "move the battle to the enemy's ground to burn the hands of those who ignite fire in our countries"; also emphasized in this book is "the need to concentrate on the method of martyrdom operations as the most successful way of inflicting damage against the opponent and the least costly to the mujahideen in terms of casualties" (cited in Noor, 2003 at p. 200)

Because martyrdom is emphasized as a perquisite of service to Islam in the recruitment video, Noor (2003) suggests that it is also reasonable to assume that terrorist attacks in general and suicide attacks in particular will continue to represent a fundamental tool in the Muslim's arsenal in their war against the United States, United Kingdom and their interests at home and abroad.

In fact, this very point was emphasized by Suleiman Abu Gheith, a key spokesman for al Qaeda, who stated: "In rhetoric disturbingly reminiscent of the way that Palestinian terrorists describe their inevitable triumph over Israel Abu Gheith declared, 'Those youths that destroyed Americans with their planes, they did a good deed. There are thousands more young followers who look forward to death like Americans look forward to living'" (emphasis added) (Noor 2003, p. 200). There are also some powerful economic incentives available to young people that may not have other viable employment opportunities available, with some Muslim organizations and states compensating their families to the tune of thousands of dollars if they are successful in their suicide attempt (Patkin 2004). Furthermore, the act of suicide in this religious context is not viewed as suicide at all: "Suicide bombers are not suffering from clinical depression or emotional difficulties; they perceive themselves as fulfilling a holy mission that will make them martyrs. The action is not 'suicide' but rather 'martyrdom' and thus does not violate religious prohibitions against killing oneself" (Patkin 2004, p. 79).

According to Patkin, suicide bombing as a terrorism tactic was first introduced into Palestinian areas beginning in the late 1980s. "Hezbollah pioneered the use of suicide bombing, claiming responsibility for attacks on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut (1983)," Patkin advises, "the hijacking of TWA flight 847 (1985) and a series of lethal attacks on Israeli targets" (p. 80). Just as a number of other Islamist organizations do today, Hezbollah engages in both guerrilla warfare against Western military targets as well as terrorism activities that target civilian population (Byman 2003). There are some other discernible trends involved in suicide bombing as a terrorist tactics as well. For instance, membership in a terrorist group provides its members with a strong sense of camaraderie in the face of powerful external forces that are otherwise beyond the control of individual Muslims (Patkin 2004). According to this author:

The dynamics of the terrorist group shape individual behavior, giving many members a strong sense of belonging, of importance, and of personal significance. Suicide bombers often articulate a sense of personal, sacred mission. When Hezbollah introduced suicide bombing as a tactic in the mid-1980s, it soon became clear that the religious fervor of the bombers could help the organization compensate for its small numbers and inadequate military capabilities. (Patkin 2004, p. 80).

Furthermore, not only have a growing number of Islamic organizations resorted to the tactic, there has also been an increase in the number of volunteers - including females - and while the recruiting techniques have become more sophisticated, the planning for suicide missions has become less rigorous than in the past (Patkin 2004). Some of the Islamic extremist groups that have been known to use suicide bombing in the past include:


Islamic Jihad,


Palestinian Islamic Jihad,

Islamic Resistance Movement,

Umar al-Mukhtar Forces,

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and Salah al-Din Battalions (Patkin 2004).

Hamas, in particular, has embraced suicide bombing as a terrorism tactics in a major way. According to Thackrah (2004), "Their [Hamas'] favourite method of attack is suicide car bombing on 'soft' and military targets and individual suicide attacks. Hamas, works round family ties and some of its operations in Lebanon have been partially aimed at gaining freedom of imprisoned family members. The worry for counter-terrorists is that suicide bombers are not likely to be deterred by security measures which only threaten their lives once they have carried out an attack" (p. 112).

Although specific tactics and targets may differ from group to group, a common Islamist agenda that is shared by many of these organizations has resulted in a "second intifada" period during which suicide bombings have increased (Patkin 2004). According to Haddad (2004), "The beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada on 28 September 2000 led to a new wave of suicide bombings that dwarfed its predecessor in terms of number of attacks and human deaths. This ferocious and unremitting round of terror has caused a surge of conflicting interpretations of the motives of suicide bombers and the role of Islam as a facilitator of terrorism" (p. 337). This author emphasizes that the increase in the incidence of suicide bombing is a direct result of the deteriorating social and economic conditions and suggests that an increase in income per capita and a reduction in the unemployment rate would reduce the incentive for young people to take this route (Haddad 2004).

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. On September 11, 2001, there has remained a paucity of timely research concerning the inadequacy of the social and economic variables that can account for the increase in the incidence of terrorist activities in general and suicide bombing in particular. Based on the extant evidence, Haddad cites research that suggests, "Suicide bombers clearly are not motivated by the prospect of their own individual economic gain. Although it is possible that the promise of larger payments to their families may increase the willingness of some to participate in these lethal missions.... Their primary motivation instead results from their passionate support for the ideas and the aims of their movement" (2004, p. 337).

Other authorities, though, discussed… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Muslim Suicide Bombing Game: Terrorist Tactics.  (2007, February 18).  Retrieved August 15, 2020, from

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"Muslim Suicide Bombing Game: Terrorist Tactics."  February 18, 2007.  Accessed August 15, 2020.