2016 THE WORST YEAR FOR ISIL TER­ROR DEATHS, RE­PORT FINDS

Ter­ror­ism-re­lated deaths were down glob­ally, but Iraq saw an in­crease of 2,800 from 2015

The National - News - - NEWS - CALINE MALEK

ISIL killed more peo­ple in ter­ror­ist at­tacks last year than in any other year, and a 50 per cent in­crease from 2015. The Global Ter­ror­ism In­dex

2017 says ter­ror­ist deaths de­creased by 13 per cent be­tween 2015 and 2016 for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, but the num­ber of deaths in Iraq in­creased by 2,800.

The yearly re­port, de­vel­oped by the In­sti­tute for Eco­nom­ics and Peace and based on the Global Ter­ror­ism Data­base, as well as other sources, pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive re­source for global ter­ror­ist trends.

The five coun­tries most af­fected by ter­ror­ism were Iraq, Syria, Pak­istan, Afghanistan and Nige­ria. Of them, Iraq was the only coun­try to record an in­crease in deaths last year.

The in­crease was at­trib­uted pri­mar­ily to ISIL, which in­creased its sui­cide at­tacks and as­saults on civil­ians to com­pen­sate for ter­ri­to­rial losses. The deaths in Iraq ac­counted for 40 per cent of the group’s in­crease from the year be­fore.

“ISIL deaths have de­creased in Syria and global ter­ror­ist deaths de­creased by 22 per cent in the past two years, but they have in­creased in Iraq,” said Daniel Hys­lop, re­search di­rec­tor at the in­sti­tute.

Tahir Abbas, se­nior re­search fel­low at the Royal United Ser­vices In­sti­tute for De­fence and Se­cu­rity Stud­ies in London, said that while ISIL had been forced out of Mo­sul and Iraq, it still had a pres­ence in ar­eas of Iraq and Syria.

“While ISIL can­not claim to have au­thor­ity in the re­gion in the form of a self-de­clared caliphate, it is clear that fighters, many of whom are for­eign fighters from all over North Africa and the Mid­dle East, re­main in the re­gion,” Mr Abbas said.

Raf­faello Pan­tucci, di­rec­tor of in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity stud­ies at the in­sti­tute, said Iraqi forces had been fight­ing very hard to take back their coun­try.

“ISIL is clearly com­ing un­der a lot of pres­sure be­cause they’re los­ing a lot more peo­ple,” Mr Pan­tucci said.

Saba­hat Khan, se­nior an­a­lyst at the In­sti­tute for Near East and Gulf Mil­i­tary Anal­y­sis in Dubai, said a con­se­quence of ISIL losses was that they ap­peared to have be­come more lethal.

“There have also been more ISIL-in­spired ter­ror­ist at­tacks by lone wolf op­er­a­tives,” Mr Khan said. “ISIL is con­stantly mu­tat­ing, which means it’s chal­leng­ing to keep get­ting the same re­sults with op­er­a­tions that were ef­fec­tive a few months back.”

Iraq and Syria suf­fered the high­est num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties since 2002, with more than 60,000 and 8,000 deaths. They are fol­lowed by Ye­men at 4,000.

The Mid­dle East and North Africa had the high­est num­ber of deaths and at­tacks last year, fol­lowed by South Asia and Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa.

Civil­ians were the most tar­geted in the re­gion, mak­ing up 54 per cent of the fa­tal­i­ties.

About 94 per cent of ter­ror­ist deaths took place in the Mena re­gion, Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa and South Asia. Cen­tral Amer­ica and the Caribbean were the least af­fected re­gions, with only 12 deaths, or less than 0.4 per cent of the world to­tal.

De­spite sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tions in deaths reg­is­tered in Africa and Afghanistan, with Boko Haram, the Tal­iban and Al Qaeda killing 6,000 fewer peo­ple last year than the pre­vi­ous year, ex­perts say there are still ar­eas of con­cern.

The re­search found that 99 per cent of all ter­ror­ism deaths in the past 17 years oc­curred in coun­tries in con­flict or those with high lev­els of po­lit­i­cal ter­ror – the pres­ence of ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings, tor­ture and im­pris­on­ment with­out trial.

Tur­key and Egypt recorded some of the big­gest in­creases in deaths af­ter ma­jor gov­ern­ment crack­downs.

The global eco­nomic im­pact of ter­ror­ism last year was US$84 bil­lion, a re­duc­tion of nearly $6 bil­lion com­pared with 2015.

Ter­ror­ism ac­counts for just 1 per cent of the to­tal global eco­nomic im­pact of vi­o­lence.

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