"This monograph analyzes recent (post-1980) suicide bombings and determines the probability of such bombings occurring in the Continental United States (CONUS). The analysis includes a brief history of modern suicide bombing; an examination of the strategic, tactical, social, and individual logic of suicide bombing; a discussion of the probable characteristics of suicide bombings against the United States, both within CONUS and abroad; and recommendations about what can be done to mitigate future bombings. Suicide attackers have been a part of warfare for over two millennia, but the coupling of suicide attackers and explosives greatly increased the importance and effectiveness of this tactic in the 20th century. The modern phenomenon of suicide bombing had its genesis in the Iran-Iraq War from 1980-88. Concurrent with the Iran-Iraq War, Iran influenced the development of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah tried suicide bombing against the United States and France, and then later against Israel. Other groups such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Palestinians, and the People's Liberation Army of Kurdistan (PKK) started employing suicide bombers in the 1980s and 1990s. As suicide bombing spread geographically and ideologically, it also increased in sophistication. It advanced from being a simple bomb delivered by truck, to include suicide vests, boat bombs, and eventually airplanes. The vast majority of suicide bombings (98%) are part of an organized campaign. The only group that conducts suicide bombings against the United States outside of active war zones is Al-Qaida. Al-Qaida attacks have evolved to the point where there are two different strains: al-Qaida-sponsored and al-Qaida-inspired."
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/