Suicide Terrorism: Deadly Tactic or Operational Art at Work?
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Terrorist groups have repeatedly used suicide attacks in an attempt to achieve their strategic objectives. There is minimal argument that these groups demonstrate a profound understanding of both the strategic and tactical levels of war, however there is little mention of their understanding of the operational level of war. An analysis of suicide terror attacks over the past 25 years indicates that developed terrorist groups including Al Qaeda and many others understand the operational level and practice the tenets of operational art quite well. This knowledge is crucial in developing a response to counter what has become a prevalent and effective terrorist tactic. This paper provides background information on the development of the suicide attack as an effective terrorist tactic. It analyzes several terrorist groups and their utilization of suicide attacks to achieve strategic objectives. Finally, the paper reaches conclusions about the groups awareness and use of operational art concepts and provides recommendations for assisting the development of a counterterrorism game plan.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics