The 21st Century Phenomenon



On Friday 02/06/2009, Iraqi authorities made public the arrest of suspected militant recruiter Samira Ahmed Jassim, 51, detained, on 01/21/2009, by Iraqi security forces.  Samira  Jassim, the mother of six, reportedly calls herself “the Mother of Believers”. She was accused of converting dozens of vulnerable women into suicide bombers.

Insurgents use female bombers because they can hide explosives under their robes and are less likely to be searched by male guards at security checkpoint. Samira  Jassim worked with Sunni militants from the ‘Ansar al Sunna’, an offshoot of Ansar al Islam, group in Diyala province, one of the last remaining centers of Sunni insurgency, Iraqi security officials said.

In an apparent video confession, Samira  Jassim described how she identified potential bombers, helped supply them with explosives and led them to their targets. She had recruited 80 women to act as bombers, 28 of whom had gone on to launch attacks, a military spokesman told journalists at a news conference in Baghdad.

Samira  Jassim also explained, in a separate interview with the Associated Press, how insurgents used rape as a tool, with the “shamed” women persuaded to redeem themselves through suicide attacks. She described how she and insurgents used organized rape as a way of generating more bombers. Her role was, after the rape, to persuade the traumatized victims that carrying out a suicide attack was their only way out of the shame. In a culture where rape is considered very shameful for the victim, it is not implausible. A similar method was used also by Palestinians to recruit a number of female suicide bombers already from 2003. 

In a filmed confession, the black-robed Samira  Jassim described how she recruited one woman for an attack in the city of Mukdadiyah, 100 km (62 miles) northeast of Baghdad.

“I talked to her a number of times,” she said. “I went back to them (the militants) and gave them the details on her. And they told me, bring her to us… and I took her to the police station and that’s where she blew herself up.”

Samira  Jassim also described the long process of persuading a woman named Amal, who had family problems, to launch an attack. “I talked to her many times, sat with her and she was very depressed,” she said.

In 2007, there were eight suicide attacks by women; in 2008 there were 32, the US military says. In early January 2009, a female bomber killed at least 35 Shiaa pilgrims in a blast near a Baghdad shrine(see – Adhamiya 01.04.09 ).


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