August 25, 2005
How Should the United States Combat this Growing Threat?
Over the past decade, the United States and its allies have faced a growing threat from suicide terrorist attacks. Daily, we are confronted with news reports and gruesome images of men and women killing themselves in order to destroy others. Since September 11, people in Bali, Riyadh, Istanbul, Madrid, London, Baghdad, and Tel Aviv have all experienced the devastation of suicide attacks. What drives these suicide bombers? What should the United States and its allies do to combat this tactic of terrorism as part of a larger counterterrorism strategy? Does the use of suicide bombing change the calculus for fighting terror? The Center for American Progress convenes a panel of preeminent experts to assist in explaining the growing phenomenon of suicide terrorism and what the United States and like-minded countries can do to stop it.
Note: All videos provided in QuickTime (MPEG-4) format.
Dr. Mia Bloom is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati and consults for the NJ Office of Counter Terrorism and for federal agencies. She has held research or teaching appointments at Princeton, Cornell, Harvard, and McGill Universities. Dr. Bloom has a Ph.D in Political Science from Columbia University, a Masters in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and a double honors Bachelors degree from McGill University in Russian and Middle East Studies. Dr. Bloom speaks nine languages and began focusing on international terrorism in 1990. An expert on terrorism, martyrdom, rape in war and child soldiers, Bloom interviews terrorist leaders and would-be bombers. She is the author of Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror, published with Columbia University Press. Her media appearances include CBC, Fox News, NPR, Nightline, and the Al Franken Show.
Dr. Mohammed M. Hafez is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA); M.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California (USC); and Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Mohammed Hafez was a Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and a United States Information Agency Fellow during 1998-1999. He authored Why Muslims Rebel: Repression and Resistance in the Islamic World (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2003) and Manufacturing Human Bombs: The Making of Palestinian Suicide Bombers (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2005). He teaches courses on Terrorism and Political Violence, Islam and World Politics, Religion and Politics, Politics of the Middle East, and The Arab-Israeli Conflict. His research on suicide bombers has been presented in conferences hosted by the National Institute of Justice, the U.S. Department of State, the Counterterrorist Center, the Center for Naval Analysis, and NATO.
Dr. Bruce Hoffman has been researching terrorism and counterterrorism and insurgency and counterinsurgency for nearly thirty years. He presently holds the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and is also Director of RAND’s Washington, D.C. Office. From 2001 to 2004, Dr. Hoffman served as RAND’s Vice President for External Affairs and in 2004 he also was Acting Director of RAND’s Center for Middle East Public Policy. Dr. Hoffman was Senior Adviser on Counterterrorism to the Office of National Security Affairs, Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq during the spring of 2004. Dr. Hoffman is a Senior Fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY; an Adjunct Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.; and a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He was the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he was also Reader in International Relations and Chairman of the Department of International Relations. Dr. Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism and a member of the advisory board of Terrorism and Political Violence. He holds degrees in government, history, and international relations and received his doctorate from Oxford University. In November 1994, the Director of Central Intelligence awarded Dr. Hoffman the United States Intelligence Community Seal Medallion, the highest level of commendation given to a non-government employee, which recognizes sustained superior performance of high value that distinctly benefits the interests and national security of the United States. A revised and updated edition of his acclaimed 1998 book, Inside Terrorism, will be published in early 2006 by Columbia University Press in the U.S. and S. Fischer Verlag in Germany. Foreign language editions of the first edition have been published in ten countries. Dr. Hoffman is also a regular contributor to the Atlantic Monthly and was the author of “The Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” which was the cover story of the June 2003 issue.
Dr. Lawrence Korb is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Senior Advisor to the Center for Defense Information. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration (1981-85). Prior to joining the Center, he was a Senior Fellow and Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. From July 1998 to October 2002, he was Council Vice President, Director of Studies, and holder of the Maurice Greenberg Chair. Prior to joining the Council, Dr. Korb served as Director of the Center for Public Policy Education and Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, Dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and Vice President of Corporate Operations at the Raytheon Company.