Did Iraqi War Reduce Terrorism in Israel?

The other day I mentioned a study which attempted to quanitify the effect that the war in Iraq had on Palestinian suicide bombers, given that Saddam Hussein had been soliciting such bombings with financial awards — money that was cut off after the United States invaded Iraq.

The study was performed by Walter Schumm at Kansas State University. According to a press release on the study,

Schumm analyzed the consequences of suicide bombing attacks on Israel between March 2001 and August 2004 in his recent study. He found that, on average per month during this period, there were fewer overall casualties after the invasion than before it. Schumm said that as many as 1,100 casualties may have been prevented.

Iraq was only one of a few countries that paid money to families of Palestinians who fought against Israelis, Schumm noted. His primary research question was whether Hussein’s payments served as a motivational incentive that would encourage a greater number of suicide bombings.

If the invasion was successful in reducing the fatalities in Israel, this particular justification for war with Iraq would be validated, Schumm said.

Schumm notes that some potential suicide bombers in Palestine may have just shifted operations to Iraq where they could directly attack U.S. interests and soldiers. The reduction also could have been a result of improved antiterrorism intelligence within Israeli security forces.

Schumm’s findings were accepted for publication in Psychological Reports in October

Like I said before, I’m not sure how a researcher would even start to separate the confounding factors such as the construction of the secuirty fence, which has generally been credited with the reduction in suicide bombings in Israel.


K-State’s Walter Schumm has analyzed whether defeat of Hussein reduced suicide attacks in Israel. Press Release, Kansas State University, October 7, 2004.

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