Global terrorism: trends in 2014/2015

06-11-2015

Terrorism continues to present one of the main challenges to international stability. Despite political agreement that terrorist threat needs to be addressed jointly by the whole international community, a number of obstacles persist, including disagreements over the definition of terrorism. This latter poses a significant impediment for research on terrorism and only a few institutions have undertaken this difficult task. According to the existing data, the number of terrorist attacks in 2014 was double that of 2004, an increase primarily linked to the growing number of countries affected by terrorism, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and southern Asia. The same three regions have also been the most affected by terrorism, with the number of attacks increasing in all three, most significantly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Altogether, the number of casualties almost doubled compared to 2013, even though the number of terrorist attacks increased by 40%. Political instability and weak governance in many countries have provided fertile ground for radicalism and growth in terrorist activities, in particular in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Although Al-Qaeda and its offshoots maintain a strong position internationally, and continue to pose a serious threat, their standing has been increasingly challenged by the emergence of the 'Islamic State' Group (ISIL/Da'esh). The creation of a terrorist enclave on Syrian and Iraqi territory, and the establishment of a self-proclaimed caliphate, provided an appealing narrative that has fuelled a continued influx of foreign fighters to join the ranks of ISIL/Da'esh.

Terrorism continues to present one of the main challenges to international stability. Despite political agreement that terrorist threat needs to be addressed jointly by the whole international community, a number of obstacles persist, including disagreements over the definition of terrorism. This latter poses a significant impediment for research on terrorism and only a few institutions have undertaken this difficult task. According to the existing data, the number of terrorist attacks in 2014 was double that of 2004, an increase primarily linked to the growing number of countries affected by terrorism, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and southern Asia. The same three regions have also been the most affected by terrorism, with the number of attacks increasing in all three, most significantly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Altogether, the number of casualties almost doubled compared to 2013, even though the number of terrorist attacks increased by 40%. Political instability and weak governance in many countries have provided fertile ground for radicalism and growth in terrorist activities, in particular in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Although Al-Qaeda and its offshoots maintain a strong position internationally, and continue to pose a serious threat, their standing has been increasingly challenged by the emergence of the 'Islamic State' Group (ISIL/Da'esh). The creation of a terrorist enclave on Syrian and Iraqi territory, and the establishment of a self-proclaimed caliphate, provided an appealing narrative that has fuelled a continued influx of foreign fighters to join the ranks of ISIL/Da'esh.