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Careful What You Call A 'Suicide' Bomb

As has been noted elsewhere, it is now comes officially from the Iraqi government. From the USA Today:

Iraqi Interior Ministry says insurgents kidnap people to use in car bomb attacks

Iraqi insurgents are no longer using just volunteers as suicide car bombers but are instead kidnapping drivers, rigging their vehicles with explosives and blowing them up, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.

In what appears to be a new tactic for the insurgency, the ministry said the kidnap victims do not know their cars have been loaded with explosives when they are released.

The ministry issued a statement saying that first "a motorist is kidnapped with his car. They then booby trap the car without the driver knowing. Then the kidnapped driver is released and threatened to take a certain road."

But this is not a 'new tactic' employed by jihadis at all, not even in Iraq. Consider, ironically, an AP report from September 2005.

Mohammed Ali, who claimed to be Saudi-born and appeared to be in his 20s, said he managed to flee after another suicide attacker set off his bomb, killing at least 12 worshippers Friday as they left a mosque in the northern city of Tuz Khormato.

In confession broadcast on state television later that day, Ali told Iraqi interrogators he did not want to bomb the mosque and hoped to go home.

Results from medical tests on Ali were "consistent with his story and characterization of his treatment," Col. Billy J. Buckner, a U.S. military spokesman said Sunday.

Ali said insurgents kidnapped him from a field near his home earlier this month, then drugged and beat him.
[Emphasis Added]

In intelligence circles, it has been a known tactic that when a terrorist cell does not have a willing suicide bomber on-hand, they will kidnap a local to pilot a VBIED. This is not preferred because they are much less reliable than inspired volunteers, as Ali's story clearly displays.

There is always the risk of the kidnapped local's escape before the act. Also, at the point of attack, an inspired volunteer suicide bomber will seek out an alternate target if the primary does not present itself as planned. The local forced-homicide captive, however, will not. It is, after all, his home. This also is quite telling as to why most true and motivated suicide bombers are foreigners.