Has the War on Terror failed? Number of terrorist attacks QUADRUPLE in decade after 9/11
- More terrorist attacks have been recorded but the number of fatalities has fallen 25 per cent since 2007
- Western Europeans were 19 times more likely to die in a terrorist attack than North Americans in the past ten years
- Only 31 of 158 countries ranked have not experienced a terrorist attack since 2001
- In 2011, terrorism had the most impact on Iraq, according to the new Global Terrorist Index
By Becky Evans
PUBLISHED: 08:56 EST, 4 December 2012 | UPDATED: 13:44 EST, 4 December 2012
The number of terrorist attacks each year has more than quadrupled in the decade since 9/11, according to a study launched today.
The Global Terrorist Index showed that in 2002 there were 982 separate attacks. By 2011 that had risen to 4,564.
Researchers suggest the U.S. military interventions pursued as part of the West’s anti-al Qaeda ‘war on terror’ may have made terrorism worse.
It also said it was impossible to prove whether the policy made the U.S homeland safer.
Despite the increase in attacks in the past ten years, the number of deaths in terrorists attacks has fallen.
It peaked in 2007 at the height of the Iraq war when 10,009 people died. That figure had fallen to 7,473 last year.
Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Yemen have been the most affected by terrorism in the past ten years.
The rankings were based on the number of attacks, fatalities, injuries and the level of property damage caused in each country through terrorist attacks.
Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace, which published the report, said: ‘After 9/11, terrorist activity fell back to pre-2000 levels until after the Iraq invasion, and has since escalated dramatically.
‘Iraq accounts for about a third of all terrorist deaths over the last decade, and Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan account for over 50 percent of fatalities.’
In the decade since 9/11, fatalities from terrorist attacks have increased by 195%, incidents by 460% and injuries by 224%.
The upswing in attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan only occurred after the Iraq war, coinciding with heightened U.S-backed military campaigns by NATO and the Pakistani government respectively, the report said.
The findings suggested foreign powers should think twice before intervening militarily, Mr Killelea said, even in countries such as Syria, which is already seeing widespread bloodshed.
Unless the conflict was brought to a swift end, terror attacks might actually increase, he said.
The index is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database run by the University of Maryland.
It said the greatest deterioration in 2011 took place in Syria and Yemen.
Yemen has seen a dramatic upsurge in al Qaeda-linked activity in recent years, while Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad have increasingly turned to suicide attacks and bombings.
Of the 158 countries surveyed, only 31 had not experienced a single event classified as a ‘terrorist act’ since 2001.
These included Brazil, Croatia, Ghana, Jamaica and Poland.
Even when the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington were taken into account, North America remained the least-affected region over the period studied.
Western Europeans were 19 times more likely to die in a terrorist attack than North Americans, the report said.
The U.S, Algeria and Colombia had the biggest improvements over the last ten years.
In 2011, the areas most impacted by terrorism were the Middle East, India, Pakistan and Russia.
Mr Killelea said ‘caution against unwanted consequences’ needs to be shown by policymakers.
He said: ‘Terrorism is one of the most emotive subjects of our time. The impact of terrorism does seem to have plateaued over the last three years but is still unacceptably high.
‘The aim of the GTI is to systematically analyse and quantify the phenomena.
‘The GTI examines trends to help inform a positive and practical debate about the future of terrorism and appropriate policy responses.
‘The GTI highlights that many of the countries suffering the most from terrorism have also suffered from foreign military intervention.
‘Although the “responsibility to protect” is paramount, caution needs to be taken against unwanted consequences.
‘I urge policymakers to use the findings of this report to help redefine tackling terrorism strategies and help shift focus towards peace.’