The Military Defeat of Islamic State Has Made Suicide Bombings Less Common—for Now

Jan. 10 2020

The past year saw a total of 149 suicide bombings worldwide—a nearly-50-percent drop since the previous year, in keeping with what now appears to be a downward trend since 2015. Yoram Schweitzer, Aviad Mendelboim, and Dana Ayalon analyze the data:

Despite the sharp decline in 2019 in the number of suicide bombings carried out by Islamic State (IS) and its global affiliates—some 60 percent—it remained the main element perpetrating such attacks. . . . These attacks killed around 850 people. . . . In parallel, 2019 also saw al-Qaeda and its affiliates . . . carry out around 52 attacks—around 35 percent of all suicide bombings.

Overall, the data indicate that terrorist groups identified with the Salafi-jihadist movement were responsible in 2019 for some 97 percent of all suicide bombings. . . . Despite the reduction in the number of suicide bombings in the Middle East, the region remains a central arena for this tactic.

Among the main factors in the reduction in the number of suicide bombings in 2019 was the military defeat and ongoing decline of Islamic State, especially in the last two years. This led to a total loss of control over territory as well as a sharp erosion in income and, in the absence of new recruits, of operatives.

[Nonetheless], a renewal of momentum for terrorist attacks—including suicide bombings . . . can be expected, [possibly carried out by Islamic State] fighters who are still in various areas in Syria and Iraq. . . . Thus the decline in the number of suicide bombings in 2019, as a continuation of the trend noted in previous years, does not necessary attest to this tactic being any less alluring for groups that are disposed to use it and believe in its effectiveness.

Get unlimited access to Mosaic: Subscribe now

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories FREE.

Register Now

Get unlimited access to Mosaic: Subscribe now

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories FREE.

Register Now

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Al Qaeda, ISIS, Jihadism, Terrorism

 

Europe Dithers While Iran Enriches

Jan. 20 2020

In May, when Tehran announced that it would no longer abide by the limits set by the 2015 nuclear agreement on its enrichment of uranium, Europe found legal excuses not to react. When, earlier this month, the Islamic Republic went a step further, renouncing any limits on enrichment, the EU—led by France and Germany, both parties to the deal—at last initiated a formal process that might lead to the re-imposition of sanctions. Bobby Ghosh comments on the dangers of European apathy:

Sign up to read more.

You've read all your free articles for this month. Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture and politics.

Register Now

Sign up to read more.

You've read all your free articles for this month. Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture and politics.

Register Now

Read more at Bloomberg

More about: European Union, France, Germany, Hassan Rouhani, Iran, Iran nuclear program