2012 Global Terrorism Index


The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) has released their newest report titled “2012 Global Terrorism Index” (GTI). This report “is a comprehensive body of work which systematically ranks the nations of the world according to their terrorist activity” over the past ten years. In addition to the report, IEP has published a related fact sheet and maintains an interactive web site that allows users to see the year-to-year changes in how terrorism impacts different countries across the world.

The official definition of terrorism used by the GTI is “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.” While the authors recognize that defining terrorism is a controversial subject, this definition was utilized to ensure consistency in data gathering.

Overall, the report found that global terrorism has been “plateauing rather than decreasing” after it experienced a significant spike from 2002-2007 and then fell to 2006 levels in 2011. While these rates are lower than they have been in the last few years, the authors warn that “the deteriorating situation in Syria and other future possible conflicts in the Middle East could reverse the situation.”

In fact, the Middle East is one of the primary regions where terrorist attacks are most heavily concentrated. The GTI concluded that “Iraq and Afghanistan accounted for 35% of the global total number of terrorist incidents from 2002-2011” and that Iraq and Pakistan experienced the greatest increase in terrorism in this same period. The prevalence of Al-Qa’ida, however, was found to be “much weakened” as it was “responsible for only one of the 5,000 terrorist attacks that were carried out in 2011.”

In analyzing the potential causes of recent terrorism incidents, the report released findings related to both political and economic development. The GTI concludes that “hybrid regimes are the most likely form of government in which terrorist attacks will take place,” and that “the ten nations most impacted by terrorism did all score significantly below the global average on… [political] corruption.” In terms of economic development, the data suggests that countries with low-medium income levels have the highest rates of terrorist attacks, as these rates are 50% higher than low income countries. According to this data, the authors stress that “poverty is not a primary driver of terrorism.”

The GTI report ends by stressing the importance of using documents such as this to “inform a strategic and intergenerational approach to addressing root causes of terrorism,” especially by “important governments and policymakers.” This is vitally important to both “peacebuilding and statebuilding” initiatives that prevent “the creation of attitudes which are susceptible to exploitation by terrorists.”

Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/s_4681

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