Suicide Attacks in 2014: The Global Picture

ABSTRACT: Since the start of the millennium, suicide attacks have become a common mode of operation for many terrorist groups around the world, particularly Sunni Salafist jihadi organizations affiliated with global jihad. For them, suicide attacks are not only an effective tactic for causing death and destruction and sowing terror; they are also a trademark and proof of the willingness of their operatives to sacrifice themselves for the sake of God (fi sabil Allah). In 2014 there were 592 suicide attacks, a 94 percent increase over the previous year, which caused the deaths of approximately 4,400 people (compared to some 3,200 in 2013). This trend was influenced by three main factors: The turmoil in the Middle East, which causes governmental instability and allows non-state organizations to grow stronger; the meteoric rise of the Islamic State (IS) as an influential player in the region and the world; and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.