Deaths caused by terror acts fall but more countries face menace, says 2019 Global Terrorism Index
The report, published by Sydney-based Institute for Economics & Peace, shows Afghanistan has replaced Iraq as the country most affected by terrorism.
The 2019 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) has come up with an interesting observation. While the number of global deaths caused by terror activities plummeted by over half between 2014 and 2018, there are still reasons to be worried as the number of nations that are affected by extremist violence has grown, said the index published by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), Sydney.
In 2014, when the Islamic State (ISIS) was acting in full swing and attracting several jihadists to the Middle East, the number of deaths caused by terror attacks was counted at 33,555. Last year, that figure came down to 15,292 (a fall by 52 percent). The biggest fall in terror casualties was registered in Iraq where ISIS suffered a setback militarily a couple of years ago, and Somalia, one of the most dangerous countries in the world where the US has been carrying out airstrikes against the Shabaab terrorists.
First time since 2003, Iraq no longer the 'top-ranking' nation
The GTI showed that it was not Iraq that topped the list of countries worst hit by terrorism. Having maintained his ‘top position’ since 2003 when the US-led forces attacked the Saddam Hussein regime, the Middle Eastern state found it getting toppled by Afghanistan, another country deeply affected by terrorism and other political chaos. The Taliban that dominate Afghanistan are now considered as the deadliest terror group, accounting for 38 percent of all terror-related deaths.
As per the index which defined terrorism as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation”, Afghanistan saw 1,443 attacks killing over 7,300 people. Iraq trailed much behind with 1,131 attacks killing 1,054 people. Nigeria saw deaths of 2,040 people though in much less number of attacks (562). Syria, another country where the ISIS found itself being pushed back till recently, saw 662 deaths caused in 131 attacks. Pakistan was in the fifth position while the US was at 22.
Among the five countries that are least impacted by terrorism are Belarus, Guinea-Bissau, Oman, The Gambia and North Korea.
Terror deaths down in Europe but far-right terror is up
Europe also saw a better year in 2018 as the number of deaths there fell from over 200 in 2017 to only 62 in 2018. No major terror attack was recorded in the continent last year. According to the IEP, Europe also benefited from the defeat of the IS in Syria and Iraq.
"The collapse of ISIL (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq was one of the factors allowing Western Europe to record its lowest number of incidents since 2012, with no deaths attributed to the group in 2018," IEP Executive Chairman Steve Killelea said in a statement that accompanied the report.
"However, the situation still remains volatile, with large parts of Syria being contested and many smaller groups sympathetic to ISIS philosophies being active, leaving the possibility of further Islamist attacks in Europe," he warned.
Intensity of terrorism has gone down but it is more widespread now
The report that analyzed a database featuring 170,000 terror incidents worldwide, said that while the intensity of terrorism has gone down, the menace is still “widespread and increasing”.
In 2018, as many as 71 nations experienced at least one death caused by terrorism and the number is the second-highest since the current century started two decades ago. It also cited another serious tendency and it is about the rise of deaths caused by far-right terrorism. It pointed out that in regions like Western Europe, North America and Oceania, deaths went up by 320 percent in the last five years.
The report mentioned the twin mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March this year resulting in deaths of 51 people, as an alarming example of far-right ideology engulfing a country that has almost zero history of terrorism. It also spoke about the rise of far-right terrorism in the US that got manifested through the rise of hate crimes.
The GTI also showed the UK to be the country worst affected by terrorism in the European Union (EU). Overall, the UK has a ranking of 28 but the worst doing among the EU nations. The growing threat from the new IRA besides Islamic and right-wing terrorism and radicalization of women by the ISIS were considered among the key reasons that saw the UK’s alarming ranking in the EU.