Monday, August 09, 2004

Where have all the bombers gone?

For a piece of quality journalism not found at the BBC or New York Times go to the Jeruzalem Post. It goes into great detail about what motivates the suicide bombers, and what's been causing the drastic decrease in the number of attacks of late.
When Israel assassinated Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin this past March, critics warned that it would produce more men like Mukdi. But for all the talk about rage and root causes, there has not been a single suicide bombing in the past four-and-a-half months. That is because these terrorist acts are just a tactic of war, one that is on the decline.
The author recounts a number of interviews with would-be suicide bombers and their recruiters/handlers. It soon becomes clear that whatever does motivate them, grief and anger over the loss of relatives and friends is not often the main factor, if it is a factor at all. Much more important is the role of religion in their decision to "become martyrs".
Asked where he got the theological sanction to become a suicide bomber, Mukdi answers, "I listened to the Muslim preachers on television. They were my main authority."
As if he repeating an old lecture, he adds, "Dying for martyrs doesn't mean real death."
The dispatchers are a diffent breed. More pragmatic, coolly sending their own young men and women off to die, taking with them as many of the hated Jews as possible.
...I ask Barghouti if he would recruit his own parents to be suicide bombers, half-expecting a burst of righteous indignation at the question. But it does not come. Instead, he answers cryptically that becoming a shahid is an "individual decision" - implying that, if they so desired, he would send his own mother and father to die.
The article is long, but packed with relevant information. A must-read.


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