Facts about Suicide Terrorism

Is Islamic extremism to blame?

There have always been extremists in every religion. If suicide terrorism is a natural result of extremist views among Islamic communities then we would have been witnessing suicide terrorism for as long as Islamic extremists have existed, not just since 9/11 in 2001.


Between 1980 and 2003 there were 315 suicide terrorist attacks worldwide:

Islamic fundamentalism was associated with only half of these;

The rest were associated with Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians and nonreligious secular groups.

Do suicide terrorists target western democracies?

Suicide terrorists have attacked only democratic nations but not all democratic nations are likely targets. New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, for example, have not been targeted. Suicide terrorists are trying to put pressure on target countries to do something: they see democratic countries as more vulnerable to pressure than dictatorships like China. Hence they will attack Australians and other westerners in Bali, Americans in the Middle East, etc.


Of the 315 suicide terrorist attacks 1980-2003 the targets were:


Allies of the USA



Sri Lanka




What do suicide terrorists want?

There is no secret about the aims of suicide terrorists. They have broadcast their goals widely and consistently, even though western governments sometimes try to deny or ignore these statements or contradict them. Hitler made his goals very plain in his book Mein Kampf long before he came to power: suicide terrorists have publicly made plain their goals too.


“The one common denominator in all countries suffering from suicide attacks is that they are associated with political coercion. Their goals were uniformly nationalistic, not religious.” [cf British and US support for tyrannical dictatorships and cruel oppressors in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and until recent years, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. The suicide terrorists of 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia and Egypt and were calling for the removal of western forces from Saudi Arabia and an end to western support for Arab tyrannies and the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine.]

“Every group mounting a suicide campaign over the past two decades has had as a major objective – or as its central objective – coercing a foreign state that has military forces in what the terrorists see as their homeland to take those forces out.”

Source: Pape, Robert A. “Dying to Win: the Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism” (2005)

Do the terrorists hate democracy?

Democracy has been tried in the Middle East.

In Iran the people voted to take control of their own oil resources so the US and British overthrew the democratic government and placed the pro-Western Shah in power to rule as a military dictator. He was overthrown by a new popular revolution that resulted in the current anti-western government.

In Palestine the Hamas came to power by an overwhelming majority popular vote. Immediately the western nations withdrew funding aid from the government (preventing it from paying its civil servants) and supported Israel's ongoing kidnapping and jailing of popularly elected Hamas government leaders.

2006 saw the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon after Syria withdrew their troops. Among those freely elected to the new government were Hezbollah representatives. Soon afterwards Israel with US support bombed Lebanon and continue to place a naval blockade (normally an act of war in any other circumstances) around Lebanon.

After the US conquest of Iraq the US worked to block attempts by Iraqis to hold immediate elections for a new government. Instead Iraq was forced to accept a council appointed by the US to work out long term plans for a future election. Even then when the election was held the majority Shia party (anti US and pro Iranian) won the most seats. What would be the future of American interests and control of Iraqi oil if the US were to leave immediately?


Mid Eastern democracies have been squashed or overthrown regularly by the US and allied powers. The US and her allies have regularly supported pro-Western tyrannies throughout the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, Taliban Afghanistan, Mubarak's Egypt, Saddam's Iraq, the Shah's Iran. The democracies they have supported have also been guilty of mass ethnic cleansing or even genocidal campaigns against minorities (e.g. Turkey against the Kurds; Israel against the Palestinians).

Perhaps a genuine support for democracy in the Middle East would have prevented the terrorists threat in the first place. That, of course, would have meant respecting Arabs and others to control their own oil, and perhaps even higher oil prices for us.

Maybe even Islam would not be so popular in the Middle East if secular democracies had been allowed and encouraged to flourish from the beginning! Or if Islam did still become as popular as it is today maybe those countries would love us today. Would the price have been worth it?