Counter-Terrorism: Suicide Bomber Shortage


October 13, 2009: Morocco has recently arrested 24 people who were running a suicide bomber recruiting network in Morocco, Sweden and Belgium. The group had already recruited and transported at least twenty such volunteers to Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. The recruiting is done in mosques, poor neighborhoods and among expatriate populations in Europe, where young men (usually without jobs or education) can be convinced to become an Islamic hero by getting themselves killed as a "Holy Warrior." These networks not only recruit the bombers, but arrange for them to travel to the terrorist groups that will continue their indoctrination, equip them with a bomb vest or car bomb, and train them to carry out the attack. Increasingly, this just means getting the suicide bomber close to the target, then setting off the explosives by remote control. That's because the quality of these recruits has been declining. There's a reason for that.

Suicide bombing has become less popular in the Moslem world, for a variety of reasons. First, there is the fact that most of the victims tend to be Moslems, usually innocent civilians (including many women and children.) Then there is the futility of it all. The many attacks do not appear to have accomplished anything. Lastly, there are the many families that do not want to see a son going off to get himself killed like this.

All this has led to more tips for police, reporting real, or suspected, activity by recruiters. As a result, more and more of these networks are being uncovered and destroyed. There is a shortage of suicide bombers, and a growing use of incompetent bombers. This, in turn, has led to more bombers getting caught, or failing to detonate their explosives near the target.


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