Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan
Chapter 6: Suicide Terrorism and Southeast Asia
Adam Dolnik On 12 October 2002, a man detonated his suicide belt in the Patty’s bar in Kuta on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. As people ﬂed out into the street in panic, another suicide bomber detonated a van loaded with nearly 1000 kg of explosives in the middle of the quickly forming crowd. The explosion and subsequent ﬁre killed an overall number of 202 people, marking the ninth-deadliest attack in the history of terrorism. Perhaps even more signiﬁcantly, the attack marked the arrival of modern suicide terrorism into Southeast Asia. This development is not surprising. In recent years, suicide bombings have become the most inﬂuential and fastestspreading terrorist tactic in the world. Since the commencement of the modern practice of suicide terrorism in 1981, there have been over 600 suicide bombings carried out by at least 30 organizations in 29 diﬀerent countries, a list that is likely to continue growing. This is especially alarming given the fact that acts of suicide terrorism are extremely lethal: of the 50 deadliest terrorist attacks in the last 15 years, at least 72 per cent have involved suicide delivery. This chapter will discuss the nature and importance of suicide terrorism, with a speciﬁc focus on Southeast Asia. Overview For the purposes of this chapter, a suicide terror attack is deﬁned as: A premeditated act of ideologically or religiously motivated violence, in which the success of the operation is contingent on self-inﬂicted death by the perpetrator(s)...
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