"It is hard to think of a more compelling issue in the international arena today than the question of who exactly is carrying out the suicide attacks in Iraq that have done so much to turn the country into a failing state. Mohammed Hafez has done the world a favor by producing this balanced, clearly written, and well-argued account of who the suicide attackers in Iraq are and why they are carrying out their deadly missions."


Peter Bergen, author of The Osama bin Laden I Know

 

"Rich in information and balanced in its comments, this volume helps us understand how terrorism and repression feed each other, reducing the chances for a peaceful evolution in Iraq. Hafez applies social movement theories to help interpret radicalization processes by focusing attention on the interaction between direct experiences with violence and sentiments of victimization. He combines the analysis of macrohistorical conditions, inter-organizational competition and individual paths into the underground, without losing sight of the diverse strategies of both oppositional groups and state agencies."

Professor Donatella della Porta, European University Institute

 

"Suicide Bombers in Iraq makes a signal contribution to the literature. Hafez has written what is the most detailed and authoritative account to date of suicide terrorism's impact on Iraq, along with its broader international implications. The book is especially noteworthy for its combination of meticulous research and incisive analysis. Suicide Bombers in Iraq is required reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of the conflict in Iraq and the concomitant rise of this devastating tactic."

Professor Bruce Hoffman, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, and Senior Fellow, Combating Terrorism Center, U.S. Military Academy

 

"Brilliantly considered, crisply written, unsparing in its conclusions, Suicide Bombers in Iraq is an absolutely essential contribution to understanding the factions that are warring over the future of that shattered country, the region, and Islam." 

Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

 

"Mohammed Hafez has produced a compelling book, which is both wide-ranging in debating the phenomenon of suicide bombing in Iraq and pertinent in terms of the future of this pivotal state in the Middle East. The work combines a forensic approach to the reasons why suicide bombings occur with an analysis of the myriad motives of the suicide bombers. This is a trenchant text for all who wish to understand the complex politics of Iraq." 

Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards, Queens University Belfast

 

"No better or more detailed analysis exists in making sense of the raging violence within Iraq and the nature of the terrorists. Mohammed Hafez’s mastery of the Iraqi insurgency and the forces behind it is unrivaled. No one better explores in detail the issue of foreign fighters in Iraq and the local forces of the insurgency. This seminal work is essential reading for anyone wanting to truly understand what is going on in Iraq and why the conflict is so intractable."

Dr. Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director, Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies, Swedish National Defense College

 

Latest Publications

Four Thoughts on Advancing Religious Engagement in Diplomacy and Development

Four Thoughts on Advancing Religious Engagement in Diplomacy and Development

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

By: Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.

After nearly 20 years and across three successive U.S. administrations, it is clear that a bipartisan consensus exists among senior foreign affairs leadership that engaging religious actors to advance key American diplomatic, national security, and development objectives needs to be a priority. With some 84 percent of the world’s population expressing a faith affiliation, the role of religion as a social force around the world—and one that figures centrally in many peacebuilding contexts—cannot be ignored in our foreign relations.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Religion

Knox Thames on the State of Global Religious Freedom

Knox Thames on the State of Global Religious Freedom

Monday, November 30, 2020

By: Knox Thames

As global restrictions on faith reach all-time highs, USIP’s Knox Thames say the United States must continue to be a vocal leader in combatting persecution and pursuing religious freedom, saying, “I think the time is right … anything we say goes out like a megaphone to the rest of the world.”

Type: Podcast

Religion

Ethiopia’s Problems Will Not End with a Military Victory

Ethiopia’s Problems Will Not End with a Military Victory

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

By: Aly Verjee

As violence continues over control of the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray, Ethiopia’s future remains unsettled, even if the conflict ends soon. Achieving the federal government’s security objectives in Tigray is unlikely to resolve both new and entrenched political challenges, and already delayed national elections, now expected in 2021, may prove a severe test of Ethiopia’s political order, and consequently affect broader regional stability. Reconciling the electoral process with efforts for reconciliation and national dialogue is now even more imperative.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Human Rights Education as the Solution to Religious Persecution

Human Rights Education as the Solution to Religious Persecution

Monday, November 23, 2020

By: Knox Thames

Persecution on account of religion or belief confronts every community somewhere around the world—and it is an increasing trend. Challenges range from terrorist violence against minorities, such as ISIS’ depravations against Yazidis, to persecution by authoritarian governments, with China’s targeting of all faiths a prime example. To organize a defense of freedom of conscience and belief, the United States convened the Ministerial to Advance Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2018 and 2019, bringing together a virtual congress of nations and civil society activists from around the world. The third ministerial, organized by Poland, was held virtually in mid-November. Discussions identified challenges but also solutions. One consistent answer to the vexing problem of persecution was proffered: educating youth about human rights and pluralism.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Religion; Education & Training

Afghanistan Withdrawal Should Be Based on Conditions, Not Timelines

Afghanistan Withdrawal Should Be Based on Conditions, Not Timelines

Thursday, November 19, 2020

By: Scott Worden

The Taliban’s tactic of running out the clock on the U.S. troop presence may bear fruit after the announcement on Tuesday that U.S. forces will reduce to 2,500 by January 15. The Trump administration successfully created leverage by engaging directly with the Taliban to meet their paramount goal of a U.S. withdrawal in exchange for genuine peace talks and counterterrorism guarantees. This strategy brought about unprecedented negotiations between Afghan government representatives and the Taliban in Doha. A walk down a conditions-based path to peace, long and winding as it may be, had begun.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace Processes

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