Violence in Iraq might be declining, but a recently, there's been a troubling rise in the number of female suicide bombers in the country. Women account for 23 of the country's suicide bomb attacks so far this year, including two last week in Baghdad and Kirkuk that left nearly 60 people dead and 250 wounded.
One anonymous Iraqi woman explained the motivation:
The Americans took my husband. They destroyed our home. We've got
nothing. We're living by the grace of God. We will not stay silent, and
everything, including bombings, we can do in response."
Iraqi insurgent groups have taken advantage of this grief, benefitting from some tactical advantages women bombers offer: They can easily hide explosives under their robes, and cultural protocol means male guards are less likely to fully frisk them. Cultural norms also mean women are forced more easily into the act by a male recruiter or even a family member.
One woman recently entered police station seeking protection from a close relative -- an al Qaeda member -- who had tried forcing her into an explosive belt. She's now in protective custody, but too many other grieving and victimized women -- many of whom have lost not only a spouse, but their source of income -- are out there, ready to destroy themselves and others in the name of justice and revenge. Given the Iraqi government's budget windfall, there's no excuse for not helping them.