CJ451 – Suicide Bomber Justification Paper Instructions
Suicide bombing is one of the most popular terrorist tactics used today. While most of the world sees this tactic as barbaric and cannot understand why anyone would agree to using this tactic, there is a school of thought that justifies its use.
Riaz Hassan is an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Sociology, Flinders University. In January 2010, he wrote a piece titled Life as a Weapon: Making Sense of Suicide Bombings.
1. In a well-written paper:
o a. Write an essay outlining the justifications for suicide bombing as discussed by Mr. Hassan. In addition find an example of an actual suicide terrorism incident, describe the circumstances and compare and contrast those circumstances with M. Hassan’s piece.
Suicide Bomber Justification – Sample Paper
Justifications of Suicide Bombing according to Mr. Hassan
There has been a growing shift in use of technological weapons as a means of attack by the terrorist groups. A more potent and strategically effective form of attack; the human body, has increasingly been used. According to Mr. Hasan, the increasing use of suicide terrorism owes much to the political phenomenon, contrary to the widely held belief of religious fanaticism.
Most suicide bombers are people of sound mind, and mostly educated unlike popular belief that they are mad. Majority of the suicide bombers tend to be young individuals with no connection to the psychological disorders. According to the author, there is no research that has established a link between the socioeconomic and personality of suicide bombers with any demographic, socioeconomic, psychological and religious variables (Hassan, 2010). Majority of the suicide bombers are of sound mind, with deep emotional and social networks with their communities.
The increased use of suicide bombers owes to its strategic effectiveness. According to (Hassan, 2010) most terrorist groups use suicide bombings as strategic and instrumental weapons. In asymmetric conflicts, the suicide bombers are the weaker groups, in struggle for autonomy or liberation. The use of suicide bombings is thus viewed by this group as being cost effective, versatile, lethal and tactically efficient. Moreover, it gives high symbolic value, which further cements the community’s resolves towards their cause.
The author also notes that suicide bombings are common owing to the politics and not religion (Hassan, 2010). Most widely held notions have castigated the role of religion such as Islam in promoting suicide bombings. However, Hassan (2010) notes that suicide bombings are deployed as means of last resort after other strategies such as long protests, political agitations and other non-violent methods have failed. Although the author notes the role of religion in recruitment and motivation of suicide bombers, he notes that politics is its major driving force. Moreover, individual participation is suicide bombings are not only motivated by dying and killing, but to gain community approval, liberation of homeland, political success, mark of honour, personal redemption and achievement of exalted martyr status for the survival of the community.
The other justification of suicide bombing according to Hassan is altruism, humiliation and revenge. According to the author, altruism, humiliation and revenge play an important role in the organization and individual levels in promotion of suicide bombing culture (Hassan, 2010, p. 43). Humiliation inflicted through torture, destruction and revelation as false, of culturally grounded definitions of self-worth, dignity and self respect, have been shown to lead to altruism. For instance, the techniques employed by the U.S forces in Abu Ghraib prison that were intended to create total submission and obedience, humiliated not only the prisoners but was also felt as humiliation by all the Iraqis. Such acts of humiliation prompt the weaker community to retaliate through suicide bombings in defense of their dignity. Moreover, suicide bombings are altruistic actions, which involve the valuation of one’s life as less worthy as that of one’s religion, group honour or any other collective interest.
Sometimes, suicide bombings are driven by the sense of revenge and retaliation. According to Hassan, human beings have strong sense for justice and the darker side for it is the desire for revenge. Revenge is often carried out in righting perceived injustices, deterring future injustice and restoring of the self-worth of the vengeful individual (Hassan, 2010). Moreover, revenge can be carried as a response to a perceived suffering of the community. Men are more willing to participate in revenge than women, while young people are more prepared than the old, to participate in revenge missions. The same discourse applies to suicide bombers. The author further points that most suicide bombers have personal encounters with rival groups or security forces, which involved harassment, assaults, threats and even death or near death of those dear to the bombers. In retaliation, these individuals pursue suicide bombing as revenge towards the actions of security forces or rival groups.
An Example of Actual Suicide Incident
The Suicide Attack in Saudi Arabia
Three suicide attacks occurred in Saudi Arabia within a span of 24 hours, including one in Medina in June 2016. Although two of the attacks failed, the third succeeded and killed four people. According to (Robertson, Tawfeeq, & Sterling, 2016) the attacks followed massive Jihadist assaults from Turkey to Iraq. The first attack occurred U.S consulate of Jeddah. The attacker was a 34-year old, who lived in Jeddah with his wife and one of her parents. The suicide bomber went to Saudi Arabia 12 years ago to work as a driver. The other suicide bomber who failed in his attack killing himself was Abdullah Khan, who attacked the Shiite Mosque in Qatif.
The circumstances under these suicide attacks possess similar justifications to the attacks as stated by Hassan. The suicide bombers were young and the major cause of attacks appeared to be revenge towards the Jihadist assaults from Turkey. Moreover, other attacks were targeted at the government forces and the foreign U.S troops in the country. The span at which the attacks occurred (three attacks occurring within 24hours) showed that suicide bombings are more strategic and effective attack strategies. The attacks occurred even near security forces, explaining the ease at which the attackers could access public places without notice.