"‘Fighting Them Over There’"
Assaf Moghadam has an interesting article in January’s CTC Sentinel (pdf), tracking shifting trends in suicide attacks worldwide. Dating the inception of modern suicide terrorism to the early 1980s and its use by Lebanese Hizballah, the “tactic was soon copied, first by other militant Lebanese groups, and subsequently by Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and several Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
In contrast to the final two decades of the 20th century, however, most suicide attacks in the first decade of the 21st century have been employed by al Qa’ida and associated movements that have adopted a Salafi-jihadi ideology.
Moghadam also presents a pretty shocking statistic:
Iraq accounts for 1,067 suicide attacks in the period under review — “a number that accounts for more than half (54.8%) of all suicide attacks since 1981. The sheer volume in which this tactic has struck Iraq is even more impressive since no suicide attacks were recorded in Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.
Understand, this is what George W. Bush’s strategy of “fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” entails. Luring terrorists to Iraq to blow themselves up in markets and mosques wasn’t some tragic side-effect of Bush’s plan, it was in fact a component of Bush’s plan. Let’s not pretend to be confused when Iraqis fail to show appropriate gratitude.