Suicide Strategy

What explains the appeal of suicide attacks in Iraq? For one thing, using oneself as a weapon can be a relatively effective tactic against an enemy with far superior firepower. And extremist Muslim suicide bombers believe that their sacrifice guarantees them "martyrdom" and a passport to paradise. (That said, suicide attacks aren't unique to Islamist insurgencies. Sri Lanka's mostly Hindu Tamil Tigers have probably conducted more such attacks than any other single group.)

In Iraq most suicide attacks are thought to have been carried out by foreign fighters. Insurgent commanders tend to view Iraqi fighters as more valuable alive: they have...

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