We are not seeing the high profile suicide attacks recently. The suicide attacks are still occurring. With all of the unrest throughout the Middle East, I have been expecting otherwise. Maybe the needs of the populations are being met. More likely is that the suicide attackers are not needed right now. Suicide attacks have a high attrition rate, so you don’t want to use them unnecessarily. The following post is from 4/25/09 and contains many of the reasons that I believe that what we are seeing is a lull in suicide attacks.
“Today the popular belief is that the Japanese who took part in banzai charges, flew kamikaze missions, piloted kaitens and shinyo ‘bang boats’, or served as human mines, were all fanatics. Because many of the banzai charges were ordered on the spur-of-the-moment no doubt there was an element of fanatism in the army’s operations. But the kamikazes, kaiten and kairyu men were dedicated individuals whose calm acceptance of death illustrates the impact of ideological persuasion.” (A.J. Barker, Suicide Weapon, C1971, Page 157)
For the past 25 years or so, we have been seeing only the 2nd occurrence of the use of suicide as a weapon of war. The point here is that many of us believe that our enemies are only a very small minority of ‘fanatics’. Just the idea of a small number of ‘fanatics’ is incorrect. ‘Ideological persuasion’ is required to overcome the most basic instinct of all living things, survival. The suicide attacks we are seeing today are spread all over the Islamic world. They tend to be concentrated within areas of open warfare, but suicide attacks are occurring in many other parts of the Muslim world as well. Just the very size of the geographical area indicates that this ‘ideological persuasion’ is much more pervasive than a very small minority of ‘fanatics’.
Of large concern is that the suicide attackers are coming from such a large population. This population can be expected to produce far more suicide attackers if the need became obvious. It is also very unlikely that this ‘ideological persuasion’ can be altered in any significant way without some very large, traumatic event.
The first occurrence of the use of suicide as a weapon took nuclear weapons to put an end to it. (Many argue that Japan was on the verge of surrendering anyway, but no doubt the nuclear attacks sped up the Emperor’s decision to intervene and end the war.) The educational system of the culture that produced this first wave of suicide attackers was altered severely and thoroughly.
I expect that WMD will be used long before this current war of ‘ideological persuasion’ is over.
It does not seem possible to me that the issues at the core of suicide attacks have been resolved. Islam is a major part of the ideology of the suicide attackers and is showing little to no reversal of the basic teachings that inspire the attacks. Maybe I am wrong, but I just do not see democracy (As repulsive as it is to Muslims) taking root all over the Middle East. After all, much of the reason that Israel is so despised is because it IS a democracy.