Here is something I wrote in 1986 ("The Scourge of Suicide Terrorism." National Interest, Summer 1986, pp. 95-99) on the subject of states adopting the tactic of suicide bombing; it comes to mind as this tool appears to be picked up by others now.
This analysis has two major implications. First, because suicide missions have no necessary connection to Islam, they can be employed by brutal regimes of any ideological stripe. The Syrian regime has best demonstrated its versatility. Of the 15 suicide attacks it sponsored against Israel in 1985, 6 belonged to the Ba'th Party, a secularist pan-Arab organization; 5 belonged to the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, espousing secularist pan-Syrianism; 2 belonged to Amal, the Shi'i organization aligned with Syria; and one each belonged to the Communist party and to an Egyptian opposition group. One of the suicides was a Druze, 4 were Shi'is, and 10 Sunnis. At least 2 were Syrian nationals and 2 Egyptian, the rest coming from Lebanon.
Suicide bombing has already spread throughout the Middle East; it could be adopted in other regions too as other governments do as Damascus and imitate Iran's tactics. Although the Soviet Union appears not to have adopted them yet, it may well do so; why ignore a weapon of such potency? The same goes for other totalitarian and authoritarian states. Suicide bombings may prove to be the great and enduring monument of the Khomeini regime.
Second, the involvement of states points to the proper response of the United States and its allies. It is futile to mount a defense by concentrating on the terrorist actor himself; even if one falls, he can be easily and quickly replaced with another. The way to combat the scourge of suicide terrorism is by punishing the states that sponsor this violence. (March 31, 2003)