Requirements and Facilitators for Suicide Terrorism: an Explanatory Framework for Prediction and Prevention

Adam Lankford


When it comes to explaining, predicting, and preventing suicide terrorism, there is a lot more important work to be done.  This paper draws on the most recent evidence about where suicide terrorism occurs and why to propose a basic explanatory framework.  Taking a bottom-up approach, it first identifies the minimum requirements for a suicide terrorism attack, and then outlines additional facilitators for the deadliest attacks and most prolonged suicide terrorism campaigns.  Next, it applies these variables to clarify popular misunderstandings about foreign occupation as the primary cause of suicide terrorism.  Finally, it shows how security officials can use this framework to develop a series of short term and long term countermeasures and begin to reduce the prevalence of suicide terrorism worldwide.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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