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Suicide attacks down, Predator drone exits, and other overlooked stories in 2010

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High levels of violence and terrorism persist, but widespread fears that such tactics would proliferate after 9/11 haven't been borne out.

Robert Pape, a political science professor at the University of Chicago and coauthor of "Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop it," says suicide attacks fell in 2010 largely because of the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. Only about 10 percent of people involved in what's usually termed terrorism set their eyes abroad, he argues, and most suicide attackers target local military occupations.

"The reason it's falling is because we're pulling out of Iraq," says Mr. Pape, adding that suicide attacks in Gaza and parts of the West Bank are also down "like 99 percent" because of the Israeli pullout. But he predicts that, as the war in Afghanistan ramps up and the drone war continues in Pakistan, suicide attacks in those areas are likely to rise. "All we're going to do is trade suicide attacks in Iraq for attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan," he notes.

2 Goodbye, Predator. Hello, Reaper.

2010 was definitely the year of the unmanned Predator drone, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If the Bush administration liked the weapon, the Obama administration loves it. In 2009, President Obama's first full year as president, the US increased its drone strikes against alleged Taliban and Al Qaeda members in Pakistan by 50 percent, to 53. By mid-December this year, there had been 109 drone attacks on Pakistan.

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