ICT’s Research and Publications include short analyses and in-depth publications on a wide variety of topics including: terrorism, counter-terrorism, homeland security, radicalization process, cyber-terrorism, reviews from Jihadi Websites and insights from our database.
This paper outlines a psychosocial approach to suicide terrorist attacks. We develop this explanation in two consecutive stages. First, we offer a characterization of suicide terrorism from a psychosocial point of view, which involves a critical review of several hypothesis and ideas about the nature and causes of the phenomenon. Second, we address the multi-dimensional dynamic which is inherent to the development of any organized suicide terrorist campaign. We try to answer three critical questions: why terrorist organizations move their tactics to a martyrdom strategy; why individual may radicalized their attitudes at the point to become a suicide bomber; and why people would support suicide tactics.
The 'Qaedat Al Jihad' organization is currently undergoing a change in leadership, from the leadership of Osama Bin Laden to the leadership of his deputy Ayman Al Zawahiri, a change which in effect has / will cause a transition in the organization's strategy. This transition in strategy is leading the organization back to Zawahiri's old outlook while prioritizing the immediate enemy: moving focus away from mainly attacking the United States and western countries, and prioritizing attacks on "corrupt" Muslim regimes in the area, diminishing western influences in the Middle East, and intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Lebanese conflicts (including attacks on Jews the world over). Should the current multinational presence (and that of the United States in particular) in Iraq and Afghanistan not continue, the organization could shift from defensive to offensive and harm many American and western interests in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and even in the United States and Europe.
In order to achieve the desired political goal, the terrorist must first achieve a vital intermediate goal, which is the creation of an irrational and prolonged sense of anxiety amongst the target population.