5 Countries With the Biggest Terror Targets on Their Backs
Policy + Politics

5 Countries With the Biggest Terror Targets on Their Backs

Amid mounting concerns about ISIS, Boko Haram and other Islamic jihadists, a new report shows the global war on terrorism is not going well at all.

Over the past 14 years, there’s been a five-fold increase in the number of deaths associated with terrorist acts, from 3,361 in 2000 to 17,958 in 2013, according to this year’s Global Terrorism Index report, out this week from the Institute for Economics and Peace. The number of terrorist-related deaths jumped more than 60 percent between 2002 and 2003 alone.

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The study says that of the nearly 18,000 people killed last year in terrorist attacks, 82 percent of the fatalities from bombings, artillery shells, land mines, shootings and beheadings occurred in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.

The surge in terrorism-related deaths around the world ironically corresponded with massive international military efforts to root out terrorism. A 2008 study by the Rand Corporation found that military intervention rarely brought about the end of terrorism among the 268 terrorist groups examined between 1968 and 2006. In only 7 percent of cases, the report found, military intervention brought about the demise of a terror group.

Since President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the level of terrorist-related deaths has steadily grown, fueled by the crusade of ISIS terrorists to wipe out Kurds, Sunni Muslims, Christians and other perceived “infidels.”

Last year alone, there were 3,956 terrorist related deaths in Iraq, a startling 164 percent increase over 2012, according to the report. Syria, embroiled in a devastating civil war, reported a 71 percent rise in terrorist related deaths last year, followed by Nigeria with a 30 percent increase, Pakistan 28 percent and Afghanistan with a 13 percent increase. 

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The findings, reported earlier this week, are based on data collected by the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database. The authors of the study noted that the number of countries that experienced more than 50 terrorism-related deaths rose from 15 to 24. It’s an indication, they say, “that the problem of terrorism was getting both more fatal and more widespread a year before ISIS declared a new caliphate.”

This chart shows the startling growth in terrorism-related deaths from 2012-2013:

Source: Global Terrorism Index

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