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Al-Qaeda's Increased Use of Female Suicide Attackers in Iraq: Quantitative and Qualitative Explanations

Al-Qaeda's Increased Use of Female Suicide Attackers in Iraq: Quantitative and Qualitative Explanations

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Published by: Angie Piñeyro De Hoyos on Sep 21, 2010
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01/31/2013

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Al-
Qaeda‘s Increased Use of F
emale Suicide Attackers in Iraq: Quantitative andQualitative ExplanationsAngela Piñeyro De HoyosMES379HBSpecial Honors in the Department of Middle Eastern StudiesThe University of Texas at AustinMay 2010--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Faegheh ShiraziDepartment of Middle Eastern StudiesSupervising Professor--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sonia SeemanDepartment of Middle Eastern StudiesSecond Reader
 
 
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AbstractAl-
Qaeda‘s Increased Use of F
emale Suicide Attackers in Iraq: Quantitative andQualitative ExplanationsAngela Piñeyro De Hoyos, Special Honors in Middle Eastern Studies,The University of Texas at Austin, 2010Supervisor: Faegheh ShiraziThe modern Salafi ideology used by Al-Qaeda to justify suicide attacks is basedon the reactionary writings of Ibn Taymiyya, a 13
th
century scholar. The fall of Baghdadin 1250 was echoed in the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20
th
century, as well asthe Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabiaduring the Gulf Wars. During each of these times, similar political climates led to the
revival of Ibn Taymiyya‘s extremely narrow interpretation of Islam.
I will explain therise in female perpetrated suicide attacks in Iraq examined in the context of the origins of Al-
Qaeda‘s ideology as well as the
ir strategic organizational motivations.The surge of Multi-National Coalition troops made it difficult for men toperpetrate suicide attacks, and this directly caused the strategic shift to relying on womento take their place. By examining suicide attacks in Iraq from 2005-2010, we see thatSalafi-Jihadi organizations responded to immaterial barriers by using female perpetratorsto circumvent these barriers based on social norms exempting them from search bypredominantly male security forces. Captured al-Qaida recruiters support this in theirconfessions.As these groups adapted, they failed to consider the consequences of their actions.Their increased attacks on soft targets, namely Sunni m
embers of the ―Awakening‖
turned their natural constituency against them. Coupled with the contradictory nature of how Salafis value martyrdom and their low view of women, al-Qaida in Mesopotamia
has alienated it‘s supporters; both
the Sunnis who participa
ted to fight Shi‘ia militias and
their true believers. This will have organizational consequences for the group which maycontribute to the eventual end of their operations.
 
 
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AcknowledgementsI would like to thank the army of helpers that has gotten me to where I stand,namely my mom Maria Lourdes De Hoyos Guevara, my sister Venus Piñeyro De Hoyos,and dear friends such as Mustafa Mezaal. They have not only helped me focus anddedicate myself, but have intellectually and personally challenged me into becoming theperson I am today.Thank you to all of the participants of Thesis Sweatshop 2010: Jessica Walker,Ethan Walker, Spencer Franklin, Andres Gutierrez, and the three aforementioned, inwhich you sacrifice
d your evenings and even Mother‘s Day to finish this thesis. I could
not have finished this without you!This thesis itself would not be possible without the dedication and selflesskindness of Dr. Faegheh Shirazi my primary advisor and the continued support of Dr.Sonia Tamar Seeman who has supported my musical endeavors for the past three years.Were it not for their willingness to help me (and in the case of Dr. Shirazi, to helpa stranger) in my time of need, I would not have had the support to write this thesis. Thisexperience has truly served to channel my academic achievement thus far into a shiningapex, and what I have learned from the process and from the research has already proveninvaluable.

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