Suicide Attack

Suicide attacks--increasingly recurrent phenomena--destabilize and terrorize local populations while bringing widespread attention to insurgencies throughout the world. By exploring the motives behind this inexpensive, effective tactic, RAND has provided useful and timely information to military, police, intelligence, and security services on addressing and countering this type of threat.

  • Content

    Program Examines European Defense and Security Issues

    RAND Europe's Defence & Security team covers key issues such as equipment acquisition, personnel policy, and domestic and international security issues.

    Feb 3, 2014

  • Research Brief

    Predicting Suicide Attacks: Characteristics of Bombings in Israel

    The threat of suicide bombings in the United States and elsewhere prompted the Department of Homeland Security to develop a method for predicting the determinants of suicide bombing attacks. This brief describes an assessment of how geospatial and sociocultural characteristics may help predict the timing and targets of terrorist attacks.

    Nov 7, 2013

  • Research Brief

    Using Behavioral Indicators to Detect Potential Violent Acts

    Provides an overview of research on how observable behavioral indicators might be used to detect potential violent attacks, such as by suicide terrorists or those laying improvised explosive devices.

    Aug 23, 2013

  • Report

    Assessing Multiple Data Points Can Help in Predicting Suicide Attack Targets

    Analysis of data on suicide attacks in Israel suggest that assessing sociocultural, political, economic, and demographic factors in addition to geospatial data enhances the ability to predict future suicide attack targets.

    Feb 18, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Economic Conditions and the Quality of Suicide Terrorism

    The authors discuss the correlation between economic conditions, the characteristics of suicide terrorists, and the targets they attack.

    Jan 1, 2012

  • Blog

    What Al Qaeda Is Thinking Now: Defanged, but Desperate to Show They're Still in the Fight

    There may be some spontaneous acts by individuals enraged by Bin Laden's death who are inspired to follow him into martyrdom. But these are the spasms of reaction, not planned retaliatory operations, and will not demonstrate that Al Qaeda can survive Bin Laden, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    May 4, 2011

  • Journal Article

    Counter-Suicide-Terrorism: Evidence from House Demolitions

    Examines whether house demolitions are an effective counterterrorism tactic against suicide terrorism. We link original longitudinal micro-level data on houses demolished by the Israeli Defense Forces with data on the universe of suicide attacks against Israeli targets

    Jan 1, 2010

  • Journal Article

    The Economic Cost of Harboring Terrorism

    The literature on conflict and terrorism has paid little attention to the economic costs of terrorism for the perpetrators.

    Jan 1, 2010

  • Testimony

    Going Jihad: The Fort Hood Slayings and Home-Grown Terrorism

    In testimony presented before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Brian Michael Jenkins assesses the tragic and disquieting events at Fort Hood in the context of terrorist violence in the U.S. and the Muslim American community .

    Nov 17, 2009

  • Blog

    Is Iraq Safe Yet?

    The Obama administration's decision to withdraw the bulk of United Sates troops from Iraq over the next 19 months has sparked fears that Iraq will once again plunge into the wide-scale and debilitating violence that it endured from 2004 to 2007. Those fears are, for the most part, overblown, writes Lowell Schwartz.

    Mar 5, 2009

  • Journal Article

    Female Survival Calculations in Politically Violent Settings: How Political Violence and Terrorism Are Viewed as Pathways to Life

    This article seeks to demonstrate that evolutionary theory provides intriguing insights into two phenomena that observers find difficult to understand: political violence and female political violence.

    Jan 1, 2009

  • Blog

    Backlash Against Terror

    The recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, are part of a disturbing trend across the Muslim world of groups that target civilians in the name of Islam. Less visible to Western eyes, but potentially just as significant, is a growing backlash among Muslims who condemn such attacks as unethical, writes ...

    Dec 21, 2008

  • Blog

    In Iraq, a Different Kind of Drama Stages a Message of Reconciliation

    While female suicide bombers in Iraq have been getting all the headlines, a very different cadre of women has emerged on the scene with the opposite goal of forging peace and paving over the sectarian differences. Above all, these activists want to take back the streets and neighborhoods of their country, write Edward O'Connell and Cheryl Benard.

    Dec 18, 2008

  • Blog

    Terrorists Have to Be Lucky Once; Targets, Every Time

    The 9/11 tragedy was a catalyst that accelerated the pace of the changes in the UK security model that were already occurring due to the waning threat of terrorism from the IRA and the growing threat from those who espoused an ideology of violent jihadism. The changes took place in three main areas, writes Lindsay Clutterbuck.

    Nov 30, 2008

  • Blog

    Probing Why Women Kill in Iraq

    A significant emphasis has been placed on female suicide bombers' tactical success, and efforts to determine why they kill focus on al-Qaida's recruitment of women. But little attention is paid to the personal motivation women have for killing themselves and dozens of innocents around them, writes Farhana Ali.

    Aug 7, 2008

  • Blog

    Dressed To Kill: Why the Number of Female Suicide Bombers is Rising in Iraq

    Muslim female suicide bombers are on the rise.... But for those of us who have studied the phenomenon, the assaults should not come as a surprise, writes Farhana Ali.

    Jul 30, 2008

  • Report

    Improving Outcomes in Iraq Depends on Better Tracking of Violence Against Iraqis

    A formalized system of data collection will help monitor the extent and type of violence against Iraq civilians and will help improve U.S. counterinsurgency efforts.

    May 21, 2008

  • Blog

    Finding Common Ground in an Uncommon Nation

    Cheryl Benard and Ed O'Connell write about their time in Syria discovering creative outlets in media, such as how a director in a country known for defending terrorism could produce "entertainment" that portrayed quite the opposite.

    Mar 19, 2008

  • News Release

    U.S. Failed to Monitor and Adapt to Insurgent Trends in Iraq

    The inability of the United States to monitor insurgent trends in Iraq and apply new counterinsurgency tactics led many Iraqi civilians to side with sectarian groups, propelling the country to the brink of civil war.

    Mar 11, 2008

  • Blog

    Afghanistan: Why Canada Should Stay

    There is a growing movement in Canada to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, illustrated by such newspaper headlines as: "Is it time to go?" and "Canada must leave Afghanistan." Such a move would be a tragic mistake, writes Seth G. Jones.

    May 7, 2007