War on Terror Fails as Terrorism Deaths Skyrocket

Wednesday, December 02, 2015
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Despite, or perhaps because of, the war on terror begun after the 9/11 attacks, the number of people killed worldwide from terrorist acts increased from 3,329 in 2000 to 32,658 in 2014, according to Global Terrorism Index 2015.


Last year was a particularly awful year that saw an 80% spike in the total number of deaths from terrorism, the highest increase since 2000.


The vast majority of terrorist deaths don’t happen in Western countries. Five countries — Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria—accounted for 78% of the terrorism death toll in 2014, according to the report.


The Institute for Economics and Peace, which produces the Global Terrorism Index, said terrorism is spreading to more countries, “with the number of countries experiencing more than 500 deaths increasing from five to 11,” a 120% increase from the previous year. The six new countries with more than 500 deaths were Somalia, Ukraine, Yemen, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Cameroon.


Overall, 67 nations experienced at least one death from terrorism last year, an increase of eight from 2013.


Most attacks in the West are not carried out by Islamic extremists. “Surveys of law enforcement agencies in the United States show that jihadists have been replaced by anti-government groups as the biggest perceived threat. Instead, the anti-government group Sovereign Citizens is viewed as the biggest threat,” according to the report.


Terrorists in the West are often of the “lone wolf” variety. Some examples are the right-wing fanatic who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, and the man who has been accused of killing three people last week in a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood health center.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Global Terrorism Index 2015 (Institute for Economics and Peace) (pdf)

4 Surprising Facts from the 2015 Global Terrorism Index (by Daniel Costa-Roberts, PBS NewsHour) 

Islamic State is the Second Deadliest Terrorist Group…Who’s Number 1? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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