Female Suicide Bombers

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," December 2, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

DAVID ASMAN, GUEST HOST: Some new statistics indicate our counter-terrorism operations in Iraq are actually working. U.S. military officials say the number of suicide bombings fell to their lowest levels in seven months.

One of those explosions that did take place several weeks ago in Baghdad, we've now learned was the work of a female suicide bomber seen here. She's a European woman. She was from Belgium. No one was killed, thankfully, but her.

Now she is the first Western woman to carry out a suicide bombing in Iraq. So is this a sample of what's to come? Are jihadists using western women to carry out their dirty deeds?

Let's talk about that with terrorism analyst Walid Phares. He's the author of "Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against America."

Mr. Phares, did you see this coming?

WALID PHARES, AUTHOR, "FUTURE JIHAD": Well, of course, actually one of the chapters of the book I was talking about what I called mutant jihad, meaning a second and third generation of either immigrants, who on purpose are jihadists, married westerners to get legal protection, or who basically convinced their spouse to join that jihad.

ASMAN: Well, it seems to be the latter in this case. That is this is a woman who was not, as far as I know, of Arabic of Muslim origins. She just dated some Arabic men, a Turkish guy and also another Muslim, who finally, apparently, talked her into this, right?

PHARES: Yes, of course, but basically this is part of the manual of Al Qaeda and of other jihadist groups that is to choose, select an individual who because of emotional relationship or because of other stresses or because of ideological conviction would basically follow them. But this is creating some sort of trouble among the jihadists because really they don't like to see women in general be involved in the warfare, but some clerics said we'll allow them to do so.

ASMAN: Now it's hardly fair to say that this is a trend as of now. We have this one woman, obviously a very disturbed woman. I mean, anybody who does this is disturbed. In this case particularly since she's from the western background, doesn't have any kind of inkling that this is going to happen.

But is it a trend? Is it more than this one case?

PHARES: It is a trend in terms of what we're seeing now international women. We had Palestinian woman. We had Chechnian woman. And now Belgium woman. That is a trend by itself. But to say that we have in the future western European females joining Jihad in big numbers we don't know yet. We'll see.

ASMAN: Now, there was also, this happened about a year-and-a-half, two years ago, the assassination in Holland as we're talking about Europe right now of this filmmaker, Theo van Gogh, his last name, there is a picture of him. I think he was the great grand nephew of Vincent van Gogh.

Targeted assassinations, are we going to be seeing more of those?

PHARES: We are going to see, unfortunately, more of those. I've been reading the literature of the jihadists. I was, myself, an expert witness in a Dutch case of terrorism just one year before the assassination.

And we saw in the literature more calls for assassinations of intellectuals of people who are obstructing them, including Muslim moderates and some liberals.

ASMAN: The fact that we haven't seen these so far, is that a credit to intel efforts internationally?

PHARES: Well, 50 percent possibly after 9/11.

The other 50 percent is that whenever you have the beginning of a trend it stretches over one year, two years, three years. It's only after the second type of assassination that you can see that there is a line out there.

ASMAN: Now, finally and we've talked about this. Europeans don't assimilate foreign groups into their culture as well as the United States does. We've got foreigners who come here from all over the world. They all become Americans, so to speak.

It doesn't happen in France. It doesn't happen in Germany. In Holland, apparently it didn't happen either. Is this the future of Europe? Is Europe going to be where the hot spots of terrorism are as opposed to the United States?

PHARES: Well, immigration countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States are, you know, by nature absorbing minorities.

In Europe all the laws are there, all the welfare is there, but the ideological clash in Europe is older than the United States. So we're going to see it more so in Europe, but possibly also in the United States.

ASMAN: And assimilation is key. Where you don't have assimilation you have these groups, these ghettoizations of various ethnic groups and that causes problems.

Walid Phares. "Future Jihad" is the name of his book in which he predicted that something like this was going to happen.

Great to see you, Walid, thanks for coming in.

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