To comprehend the developments underlying the suicide attacks of recent years, the article suggests that the organizational approach, which until recently was used to explain this phenomenon, should be complemented with a social network perspective. By employing a social network analysis of Palestinian suicide networks, the authors found that, in contrast to prevailing perceptions which view suicide attacks as a product of strategic decisions made within organizational frameworks, decisions have actually been made, to a great extent, by local activists, and struggles between local and family groups have proved to be the best predictor of their actions in this context. The authors also found that the peripheral nature of suicide bombers has been a characteristic common to most networks. Finally, the authors have found that the existence of cohesive subgroups, as well as the number of hubs in a network, has an influence on the network’s effectiveness. The paper concludes by showing that the method of network analysis can also be of considerable assistance from the standpoint of dealing with suicide attacks. On the one hand, this is possible by identifying the network’s central figures who are essential for its continued existence, and on the other, the authors identify the grassroots factors responsible for the emergence of these networks. To read this article click here.

Stay Informed

Sign up to receive updates from CTC.

Sign up