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Mia Bloom examines the use, strategies, successes, and failures of suicide bombing in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe and assesses the effectiveness of government responses. She argues that in many instances the efforts of Israel, Russia, and the United States in Iraq have failed to deter terrorism and suicide bombings. Bloom also considers how terrorist groups learn from one another, how they respond to counterterror tactics, the financing of terrorism, and the role of suicide attacks against the backdrop of larger ethnic and political conflicts.

Dying to Kill begins with a review of the long history of terrorism, from ancient times to modernity, from the Japanese Kamikazes during World War II, to the Palestinian, Tamil, Iraqi, and Chechen terrorists of today. Bloom explores how suicide terror is used to achieve the goals of terrorist groups: to instill public fear, attract international news coverage, gain support for their cause, and create solidarity or competition between disparate terrorist organizations.

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She contends that it is often social and political motivations rather than inherently religious ones that inspire suicide bombers. In her chapter focusing on the increasing number of women suicide bombers and terrorists, Bloom examines Sri Lanka, where 33 percent of bombers have been women; Turkey, where the PKK used women feigning pregnancy as bombers; and the role of the Black Widows in the Chechen struggle against Moscow.

The motives of individuals, whether religious or nationalist, are important but the larger question is, what external factors make it possible for suicide terrorism to flourish?

Luckily, Israel was already developing its own fields and was able to switch over, but it could have been very bad news. In Pakistan, a recent attack on a couple of power pylons shorted out the power supply of more than million people for several days. Yes, you read that number correctly.

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Jihadists don't usually think this way, but when faced with easy targets of opportunity they do have the ability to capitalize on them. I think the threat is overestimated because these attacks aren't usually scary, even though they're destructive- jihadists tend to follow the rule of cool and aim for flashy rather than what's necessarily the most effective. Terrorism is an enormously counter productive tactic to begin with, and many of their attacks, such as the recent school attack in Pakistan, are so poorly thought out that they border on insanity.

If you think about it, parking a couple of cars on the Brooklyn Bridge and walking away could do millions of dollars of damage to the economy for the cost of a parking ticket. But terrorists wouldn't think of that as a good tactic. I enjoyed the podcast, but Levitt is incorrect that economists don't have a lot to offer on the topic of terrorism.

How about Non-State Vs. I have 4 deployments to combat zones, of which I was directly engaged with non-state actors. An interesting debate is whether Terrorism should be prosecuted by Law Enforcement or Military. Since terrorist groups have matured, grown and mutated into larger more dangerous groups, shouldn't we?


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I can't tell a single strategy that has proven effective. I believe that it is because we think within the confines of an existing construct. Time to re-evaluate and change the storyline.

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Causes & Explanations of Suicide Terrorism: A Systematic Review

I suggest a Black water type mercenary. No need, there are plenty of people on the ground that we can support. Blackwater costs money, the Kurds will do it for free. The current strategy of air support for local ground forces was enormously effective in Libya and more recently in Kobane, and is slowly reversing the tide of the war against ISIL.

The Kurds have come back from being on the brink of encirclement and destruction, and actually reached the outskirts of Raqqa today. The best part about this strategy is that it's really cheap compared to an occupation and doesn't have the same radicalizing effect- in fact, people seem to actually appreciate our help.


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  4. Since Libya I've been convinced that this is the magic bullet for fighting jihadist groups, and so far it seems to be working. Fingers crossed. Robert Pape conveniently edited out some salient facts that did not fit with his thesis that negotiation and compromise are more effective in dealing with terrorism than force. He manages to cite the prolific use of suicide terrorism by the Tamil Tigers as evidence that such terror is not religious in it's basis.

    Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy: Inside a school for suicide bombers

    He then conveniently omits the fact that there is no more terrorism in Sri Lanka because the Tamil Tigers have been completely defeated by the Sri Lanka military very brutally in fact. This omission removes all of his credibility as a unbiased scholar in my eyes. So, what if Steve chairs a commission dedicated first to discuss the ways to terrorize, as an economist.

    Then work backwards in ways to prevent it and identify the symptoms as they are happening? Wouldn't the payments be at least some kind of indication that financial hardship plays some role in the decision of whether or not to attack? Pape claims that most people are incorrect in their assumption that most suicide attacks are motivated by 'religion' like most left-wing professors, he's afraid to say the "I" word. He cites as an example of this the suicide attacks carried out in Sri Lanka.

    Good news is, anyone can query the suicide database he has complied.

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    You owe it to yourself to run your own query. As expected you'll confirm your suspicions that the vast majority of suicide attacks are carried out by Islamic terrorists. The host of the show either didn't bother to fact check Pape himself or was complicit in providing disingenuous facts to its listeners concerning suicide bombers. This show could have been so much more. You really failed us on this one. Having read the comments and listened to the show, I'm very skeptical of the conclusion that the "root" cause of suicide terrorism is occupation.

    Moreover, suicide attacks are only a small portion of all terrorist attacks. Does Pape think that all terrorist attacks have a similar "root' cause? Does he think if Israel left the West Bank, and the US removed any troops from the Middle East, terrorist attacks would end or even lessen? I believe there are many other deep pathologies that motivate these terrorists.

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    And how does a country right a wrong committed 50 or years ago? Quote from The Muslims are Coming! Reformists criticize the crude generalizations of the culturalists-their assumption that Islam can only be interpreted as a doctrine of fanaticism and their counterproductive alienating of Islam from the West.