Most research presumes that suicide bombings are political acts. But a new film reminds that perpetrators may be motivated by psychological grievances even more than political ones.
Marisa Porges and Jessica Stern consider how terrorists can, and cannot be, deradicalized by state authorities.
Is it possible to deradicalize terrorists? The success of a rehabilitation program for extremists in Saudi Arabia suggests that it is -- so long as the motivations that drive terrorists to violence are clearly understood and squarely addressed.
In this special feature, James Fallows, Fawaz Gerges, Paul R. Pillar, and Jessica Stern respond to John Mueller's article "Is There Still a Terrorist Threat?" from the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs and assess the state of the "war on terror" five years after 9/11.
This article appears in the Foreign Affairs eBook, "The U.S. vs. al Qaeda: A History of the War on Terror." Now available for purchase.
Stern's postscript to her July/August 2003 essay "The Protean Enemy."
Despite the setbacks al Qaeda has suffered over the last two years, it is far from finished, as its recent bomb attacks testify. How has the group managed to survive an unprecedented American onslaught? By shifting shape and forging new, sometimes improbable, alliances. These tactics have made al Qaeda more dangerous than ever, and Western governments must show similar flexibility in fighting the group.
Pakistani militant groups are killing civilians and engaging in terrorism in Indian-held Kashmir under the guise of holy war. The government in Islamabad supports these militants and their religious schools as cheap ways to fight India and educate Pakistan's youth. But this policy is creating a culture of violence that exacerbates internal sectarianism and destabilizes the region. Without change, this monster threatens to devour Pakistani society.