The Strategic Logic of Female Suicide Bombers

Yesterday on All Things Considered, NPR aired a detailed depiction of the phenomenon of female suicide bombers in Iraq, including an interview with a woman who intended to become one such human weapon.  Strategically, as this story highlights, women are less likely to be searched in Iraq because of cultural reasons.   Here is an excerpt of the story that demonstrates the ultimate goal of any attack, and how gender can be used to bombers’ advantages:

U.S. military spokesmen say a woman pretending to be pregnant detonated
her explosives by a cafe in the town center. "The intent was to draw in
the first responders and the emergency crews. And then the second
bomber was a male," says Col. Don Bacon. "That was the explosion that
caused most of the casualties."

The story also details a variety of motives of suicide bombers, most of which are not likely to be gender-specific, though some argue that these women are being exploited by terrorist groups.

Listen to the story, see photos of the bomb belt that one bomber wears, and watch an interview with the would-be bomber here.

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