Life as a Weapon: The Global Rise of Suicide Bombings
By: Riaz Hassan (author)Paperback
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Suicide bombing has become a weapon of choice among terrorist groups because of its lethality and ability to cause mayhem and fear. But who carries out these acts, and what motivates them? By undertaking analysis of the information in the most comprehensive suicide terrorism database in the world, Life as a Weapon seeks to question and in turn undermine the common perception that the psychopathology of suicide bombers and their religious beliefs are the principal causes. Instead, the book presents a cocktail of motivations that drive suicide bombers, and explains how their actions achieve multiple purposes - community approval, political success, liberation of the homeland, personal redemption or honour, refusal to accept subjugation, revenge, anxiety, defiance. Since the configuration of these driving factors is also specifically related to the circumstances of political conflict in each different country, it is only through gaining understanding and knowledge of these conditions that appropriate policies and responses can be developed that will protect the public and counter the scourge of suicide bombings.
Life as a Weapon is a pivotal text in the discussion surrounding suicide bombings, and as such it is of relevance to undergraduate students, postgraduates, and researchers working in areas such as Security Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Terrorism, Criminology and Political Science.
Riaz Hassan is Emeritus Professor at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia. His research interests include suicide terrorism, housing, and Muslim Societies. His recent books include Faithlines: Muslim Conceptions of Islam and Society (Oxford University Press, 2004) and Inside Muslim Minds (Melbourne University Press, 2008). He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and a member of the Order of Australia.
Foreword Acknowledgements Introduction: Life as a Weapon Cato's suicide; Crucifixion death of Jesus Christ; The Martyrs of Cordoba; The Jewish Zealots and Sicarii; The Order of Assassins; Japanese traditions of the political and military sacrifice; Outline of the book Chapter 1: Global Trends in Suicide Bombing 1981-2006 The Flinders University Suicide Terrorism Project; Incidence of suicide bombings and fatalities, 1981-2006; Suicide bombings by country; Suicide bombings and other forms of terrorism; Lethality of suicide bombings; Targets and types of suicide bombings; Concluding remarks Chapter 2: Explaining Suicide Bombings Explanations focusing on individual characteristics and motivations; Suicide bombing as organizational imperative and strategic weapon; Societal conditions: repressive occupation, humiliation and altruism; The social construction of altruism Chapter 3: Suicide Bombings in Iraq Iraqi insurgency; Iraqi Nationalists; Iraqi Islamists; Darnah, Libya: A mini Martyrdom Central; FUSTD Suicide Bombing Profile: Iraq; Targets of suicide attacks; Types of suicide attacks; Biography of an Iraqi suicide bomber; Baghdad Badr attack; Concluding remarks Chapter 4: Suicide Bombings in Israel and Palestine The Oslo Accord; The Al-Aqsa Intifada I; Palestinian suicide bombings; Main sponsoring orgainzations; Hamas; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades; Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; The Al-Aqsa Intifada II; FUSTD Suicide Bombing Profile: Israel and Palestine; Type of suicide attacks and targets; Two case studies of suicide bombers; Concluding remarks Chapter 5: Suicide Bombings in Pakistan The Islamization program; The occupation of Afghanistan; Post-9/11 developments; Suicide bombing campaigns; What attracts young Pakistanis to militancy?; Learning to be suicide bombers; Biographies of a suicide bomber and a recruiter/facilitator; FUSTD Suicide Bombing Profile: Pakistan; Concluding remarks Chapter 6: Suicide Bombings in Afghanistan Protagonists in the Afghanistan conflict; Resurgence of the Taliban; Configuring the conflict; FUSTD Suicide Bombing Profile: Afghanistan; The incidence of suicide attacks 2001-06; Weapons and regions of suicide bombing; Who are Afghanistan's suicide bombers?; Insights from UNAMA interviews; Cross-border dimensions of insurgency; Concluding remarks Chapter 7: Suicide Bombings in Sri Lanka History of the Conflict; The LTTE and Suicide Bombings; FUSTD Suicide Bombing Profile: Sri Lanka; Tamil Tigers: Two Profiles; Concluding remarks Chapter 8: Suicide Bombings: Homicidal Killing or a Weapon of War? Suicide and Suicide Bombing; War and War Killing; Killing in War and Terrorism; War Killing and Murder; Good Death Bad Death; Concluding remarks Epilogue Suicide bombers are not mad; A strategic weapon, tactic; Driven mainly by politics, not religion; Humiliation aids sub-culture of suicide bombing; Sometimes driven by revenge and retaliation; Altruistically driven action; Countering suicide terrorism
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