Monday, June 5, 2017

Where Global Terror Really Reigns and Who Is Responsible

As recent terrorist attacks in the West have shown us, the economically advanced nations of the world are still highly vulnerable to attacks by lone-wolf terrorists despite the fact that trillions of dollars have been spent on trying to prevent such attacks.  While the loss of dozens of lives in attacks in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Russia, the United States and other nations is tragic, there are parts of the world where terrorist attacks take place on an even more regular basis that are more-or-less completely ignored by the mainstream media.

Thanks to the University of Maryland and its Global Terrorism Database (GTD), we are able to get a very succinct look at exactly what parts of the globe are subjected to terrorism, especially the kind of terrorism that doesn't make the Western 6 pm news hour.  The GTD is an open-source database which includes terrorist events across the globe from 1970 to 2015 and now includes details on more than 150,000 attacks.  For each incident, the database includes the date and location of the incident, the weapons used and nature of the target, the number of casualties and the group or individuals that were responsible for the attack (if they have been ascertained).  It included information on over 75,000 bombings, 17,000 assassinations and 9,000 kidnappings with data gleaned from media reports around the world.

Let's start with this map showing a 45 year history of terrorist attacks around the world:

As you can see, over the past four and a half decades, there have been several terrorist hotspots including those in Central and South America, northern and central Africa, the Middle East including Israel, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey and the south Asia region including India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as the far east including the Philippines.  The only real hotspots in the Western world are found in Northern Ireland, parts of the United Kingdom and northern Spain.

Here is a map showing the global terrorist attacks in 2015:

Here is a map showing the global terrorist attacks in 2014:

Here is a map showing the global terrorist attacks in 2013:

While the terrorism hotspots have moved to some degree, there is one repeated pattern; a nearly complete lack of attacks in the Western world.

Now, let's look at statistics from some of the terrorist groups that have been the most active over the period from 1970 to 2013, the number of incidents and their geographic spread, the number of casualties and the years that the groups were active:

1.) al-Qaeda:

2.) al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP):

3.) al Shabaab:

4.) Hamas:

5.) Hizbollah:

6.) Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS):

7.) Taliban:

It is interesting to see that terrorist groups that have made headline news for decades (i.e. Hizbollah and Hamas) are actually responsible for far fewer deaths and injuries than some of their newer peers like ISIS and the Taliban.

In total, between 1970 and 2013, terrorists have been responsible for 33,274 attacks, killing 100,953 people and wounding 99,251.  The 25 most active terrorist groups have been active in 73 nations on five continents with France being the recipient of attacks from the most groups.  The group with the greatest geographic range is Hizbollah which has been active in 17 nations.  These 25 groups are responsible for 48 percent of all known wounded victims and 56 percent of all deaths.  Even though we hear (or used to hear) a great deal about al-Qaeda, they are responsible for killing "only" 3,607 and wounding 5,542 people compared to 8,116 killings and 19,330 woundings for ISIS and 10,086 killings and 10,183 woundings for the Taliban.  Hizbollah, a group which has recently reappeared in the news as an affiliate of the Iranian government, has been responsible for killing 1,207 and wounding 1,775, a fraction of the casualties that resulted from attacks by the aforementioned groups.  As I stated above, it is also important to note that the majority of all attacks has taken place well away from the developed nations of the Western world.  

As we can see from this posting, the reality of terrorism is quite different from what we see on the nightly mainstream Western news.  The vast majority of attacks take place in regions of the globe where Western powers have used their military might to overthrow governments that were deemed to be "non-compliant" with the wishes of their Western "masters".  The data from the Global Terrorism Database clearly shows us that tens of thousands of people have been killed or wounded in terrorist attacks that have taken place in a handful of unfortunate nations that have been part of the developed world's global nation-building experiment, implemented in the guise of a war on terror.

No comments:

Post a Comment