Cutting the Fuse
Fig. 1. Cutting the Fuse. Courtesy of University Of Chicago Press, 2010.

University Of Chicago Press publishes a new book called "Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It" written by Robert A. Pape and James K. Feldman.

Publication Data

Pape, Robert A. & Feldman, James K. Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It. University Of Chicago Press, 2010. ISBN: 978-0226645605.


Almost every week, suicide bombers attack. We know the danger—suicide attacks kill more people than all other forms of terrorism—and in response we have sacrificed the lives of soldiers and civilians, trillions of dollars, and America’s reputation abroad in a futile quest for absolute security. But do we really understand what drives people to deliberately kill themselves on a mission to harm the innocent?

Cutting the Fuse offers a wealth of new knowledge about the origins of suicide terrorism and strategies to stop it. Robert A. Pape and James K. Feldman have examined every suicide terrorist attack worldwide from 1980 to 2009. Their work fundamentally changes how we understand the root causes of the most important terrorist campaigns today and reveals why the War on Terror has been ultimately counterproductive.

Since 2004, the number of suicide attacks—whether within a country or transnational—has grown with shocking speed. Through a close analysis of suicide campaigns by Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Israel, Chechnya, and Sri Lanka, the authors provide powerful new evidence that, contrary to popular and dangerously mistaken belief, only a tiny minority of these attacks are motivated solely by religion. Instead, the root cause is foreign military occupation, which triggers secular and religious people alike to carry out suicide attacks.

Cutting the Fuse calls for new, effective solutions that America and its allies can sustain for decades, relying less on ground troops in Muslim countries and more on off-shore, over-the-horizon military forces along with political and economic strategies to empower local communities to stop terrorists in their midst.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Why Focus on Suicide Terrorism

Part I. Analytic Overview
Chapter 1. Why Occupation Ignites Suicide Terrorism
Chapter 2. What Really Motivates Transnational Suicide Terrorists

Part II. The Largest Suicide Terrorist Campaigns
Chapter 3. Iraq
Chapter 4. Iraq
Chapter 5. Pakistan
Chapter 6. Al Qaeda
Chapter 7. Lebanon
Chapter 8. Israel and Palestine
Chapter 9. Chechnya
Chapter 10. Sri Lanka

Conclusion. The End of Fear, the Beginning of Understanding

About the Authors

Robert A. Pape is professor of political science at the University of Chicago and the author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism and Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War.

James K. Feldman has taught decision analysis and economics at the Air Force Institute of Technology and defense policy analysis at the School of Advanced Airpower Studies.

To order the book online visit the University Of Chicago Press website.