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Global Terrorism Index 2015


This is the third edition of the Global Terrorism Index, which provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 15 years with a special emphasis on 2014.

Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the GTI is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) which is collected and collated by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. The GTD is considered to be the most comprehensive dataset on terrorist activity globally and has codified over 140,000 terrorist incidents.

This report provides a detailed analysis of the changing trends in terrorism since 2000, for 162 countries. It investigates the changing patterns of terrorism by geographic activity, methods of attack, organisations involved and the national economic and political context. The GTI has also been compared to a range of socioeconomic indicators to determine the key underlying factors that have the closest statistical relationship to terrorism.

In 2014 the total number of deaths from terrorism increased by 80 per cent when compared to the prior year. This is the largest yearly increase in the last 15 years. Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been over a nine-fold increase in the number of deaths from terrorism, rising from 3,329 in 2000 to 32,685 in 2014.

Terrorism remains highly concentrated with most of the activity occurring in just five countries — Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. These countries accounted for 78 per cent of the lives lost in 2014. Although highly concentrated, terrorism is spreading to more countries, with the number of countries experiencing more than 500 deaths increasing from five to 11, a 120 per cent increase from the previous year. The six new countries with over 500 deaths are Somalia, Ukraine, Yemen, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Cameroon.

While the majority of countries in the world did not have a death from terrorism, the total number of countries which experienced at least one death increased by eight, raising the total to 67 countries in 2014. This includes OECD countries such as Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada and France which experienced high profile terrorist attacks last year.

Also notable over the past year is the major intensification of the terrorist threat in Nigeria. The country witnessed the largest increase in terrorist deaths ever recorded by any country, increasing by over 300 per cent to 7,512 fatalities. Boko Haram, which operates mainly in Nigeria, has become the most deadly terrorist group in the world. Boko Haram pledged its allegiance to ISIL (also known as the Islamic State)as the Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP) in March 2015.

There was also a shift in the distribution of targets during 2014, with an 11 per cent decrease in the number of deaths of religious figures and worshipers. This was offset by a 172 per cent increase in the deaths of private citizens.

The majority of deaths from terrorism do not occur in the West. Excluding September 11, only 0.5 per cent of all deaths have occurred in Western countries in the last 15 years. The West is designated as the countries where ISIL has advocated for attacks. They include the United States, Canada, Australia, and European countries.

The report highlights the striking prevalence of lone Wolf attacks in the West. Lone wolf attacks account for 70 per cent of all terrorist deaths in the West since 2006. Additionally, Islamic fundamentalism was not the primary driver of lone wolf attacks, with 80 per cent of deaths in the West from lone wolf attacks being attributed to a mixture of right wing extremists, nationalists, anti-government elements, other types of political extremism and supremacism.

The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria continued in 2014 and 2015. The current estimates are that since 2011 between 25,000 and 30,000 fighters, from 100 different countries, have arrived in Iraq and Syria. The flow of foreign fighters is still high with estimates suggesting that over 7,000 new recruits arrived in the first half of 2015. This highlights that the attraction of these jihadist groups is still strong. Europe comprises 21 per cent of all foreign fighters, while 50 per cent are from neighbouring Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) countries.

State based conflicts coupled with high levels of terrorism, have been the major cause of the massive flow of refugees and displaced people. Ten of the 11 countries with more than 500 deaths from terrorism also had the highest levels of refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDP) migration in the world. The Syrian conflict alone has resulted in four million people migrating beyond its borders with another seven million people internally displaced.

Mirroring the broader increase in terrorism, the economic costs of terrorist activity have also dramatically increased. IEP conservatively estimates the economic cost of terrorism reached its highest ever level in 2014 at US$52.9 billion. This is a 61 per cent increase from the previous year and a ten-fold increase since 2000.

Statistical analysis has identified two factors which are very closely associated with terrorist activity: political violence committed by the state and the existence of a broader armed conflict. The research finds that 92 per cent of all terroristattacks over the past 25 years occurred in countries where state sponsored political violence was widespread, while 88 per cent of attacks occurred in countries that were involved in violent conflicts. The link between these two factors and terrorism is so strong that less than 0.6 per cent of all terrorist attacks have occurred in countries without any ongoing conflict and any form of political terror.

When analysing the correlates of terrorism between wealthier and poorer countries, different factors were found to be statistically significant. In the richer OECD countries, socio-economic factors such as youth unemployment, confidence in the press, belief in democracy, drug crime and attitudes towards immigration are the most statistically significant factors correlating with terrorism. This highlights many of the underlying drivers of radicalisation and lone wolf terrorism.

In non-OECD countries, factors such as a history of armed conflict, ongoing conflict within the country, corruption and a weak business environment are more strongly correlated, reflecting the larger group-based dynamics seen in many countries.

Other correlates which are common to both groups include lower respect for human rights, the existence of policies targeting religious freedoms, group grievances, political instability and lower respect for the UN or the EU.

The report also includes a section featuring expert commentary on various aspects of terrorism. The essay by Christina Liang Schori of GCSP details the financing of ISIL, highlighting that the organisation is effectively acting as a state, including a taxation system, estimated to be US$11 million a month, and oil sales which are estimated to exceed 1 billion US dollars per annum. Glazzard and Pantucci from RUSI, as well as Anne Aly from Curtin University comment on various approaches to defining terrorism and the difficulties associated with measuring it. Koser and Cunningham from GCERF explore the linkages between migration, violent extremism and terrorism while the essay from Georgia Holmer at USIP focuses on a variety of government approaches to returning fighters.

Although the findings presented in this report paint a disturbing picture, it is important to put it in context with other forms of violence. At least 437,000 people are murdered each year, which is over 13 times more than the number of victims of terrorism.

The majority of deaths from terrorism in 2014 occurred in three countries, Syria, Iraq and Nigeria. Without an international agreement on the future of the Assad regime it will be very difficult to effectively combat ISIL. Any solution to ISIL must be inclusive of the Sunni population and have regional support, otherwise the sectarian violence may continue for decades. Nigeria’s terrorism is more diverse, with two major groups, Boko Haram and Fulani militants, having different aims and drivers. The new president, Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Nigerian Army major general, has made the reduction of corruption and the defeat of Boko Haram as his main priorities. The new government will provide a change in the country’s strategic approach to these groups. Any successful approach will need to deal effectively with the terrorist groups while also addressing the underlying drivers of conflict in the country.

The findings of this report emphasise the increasing intensity and spread of terrorist activity globally and point to the key underlying factors that give rise to terrorism. Understanding the factors that are associated with higher levels of terrorism is vital to informing countering violent extremism (CVE) policy. Without solutions to the underlying grievances or causes that lead to extremism, tackling terrorism will be more difficult.

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Suplemento Temático: Los nuevos retos del Director de Seguridad


Fuente: IEP - Institute for Economics and Peace
Fecha: 2015

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