By Anthony Hill
SANTIAGO, Chile – The developed world is more dangerous now than it was before as many developed nations saw an increase in terrorist-related deaths in 2015, this according to a report that was released this week.
The death rate from terrorism in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) nations rose by 650%, according to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index that was released in London Wednesday.
The Global Terrorism Index is the world’s leading metric for policymakers to gauge and understand the impact and underlying drivers of terrorism.
Even though the death rate from terrorism in the developed world rose, the report found that the global death rate decrease by 10% to 29,376 in 2015.
“While on the one hand the reduction in deaths is positive, the continued intensification of terrorism in some countries and its spread to new ones is a cause for serious concern,” said Steve Killelea, Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace. Killelea also underscored how many of these terrorist organisations are evolving rapidly and the need for western democracies to evolve in the way they combat global terrorism.
The fight against both ISIL and Boko Haram resulted in fewer deaths in Iraq and Nigeria. However, these terrorist organizations have successfully spread terror to neighboring countries making the fight against global terrorism more difficult.
ISIL has more of a global presence now than it did before. In 2014, ISIL and its affiliates operated in 13 countries. In 2015, these figures jumped to 28 countries in which ISIL operated, including many countries in Europe.
The Spread of ISIL resulted in many countries experiencing the highest levels of terrorism in any year in the past 16 years. Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and Turkey all recorded the most deaths from terrorism in a single year since 2000. ISIL surpassed Boko Haram as the deadliest terrorist group in 2015 through attacks in 252 different cities that were responsible for 6,141 deaths.
“ISIL foreign fighters who have gone to Syria generally have high levels of education but low incomes, with many fighters joining in part due to a feeling of exclusion in their home countries,” said Killelea. Killelea went on to say that understanding the drivers of terrorism is crucial to developing counter-terrorism strategies that help combat radicalisation.
Within OECD countries, the report found that socio-economic factors such as youth unemployment, levels of criminality, access to weapons and distrust in the electoral process are the most significant factors correlating with terrorism. In developing countries, a history of conflict, levels of corruption and group-based inequalities are most significantly correlated to terrorist activity.
The global economic impact of terrorism reached US$89.6 billion in 2015. Iraq suffered the highest economic impact from terrorism. The five countries with the highest total impact from terrorism are Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria. These five countries accounted for 72% of all deaths from terrorism in 2015.