Terror attacks in Arab world on the rise

The number of violent terror attacks in the Arab world has increased, while the number of attacks by non-state armed groups around the world has rapidly spiked in the past five years, according the IHS Jane’s 2013 Global Terrorism & Insurgency Attack Index from IHS Inc, a leading global source of critical information and insight.

“In 2009, a worldwide total of 7,217 attacks were recorded from open sources. In 2013, that number increased by more than 150 per cent to 18,524,” said Matthew Henman, manager of IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre (JTIC), which carried out the study.

Key highlights from the IHS Jane’s 2013 Global Terrorism & Insurgency Attack Index:

  • Global: Significant rises in global militant and non-militant fatalities
  • Arab Spring countries see attacks spike
  • Syria: Attacks almost double between 2012 and 2013
  • Iraq: Suicide attacks quadruple and Al-Qaeda in Iraq re-enters the top five most active non-state armed groups in the world
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Terrorism fatalities rise

Global Trends

“The epicenter of 2013 activity was in the Middle East, with significant pockets of violence radiating out to neighboring regions in Africa and South Asia. We have also seen a dramatic rise in the number of militant and non-militant casualties. In 2012, 13,872 militants and 10,562 non-militants deaths were recorded from open sources. In 2013, non-militants fatalities almost doubled to 17,554 and militant fatalities numbered 21,490. These are some of the largest rises we have recorded in the past several years,” Henman said.

Arab Spring countries see attack spike

“In 2013, JTIC recorded a spike in activity by non-state armed groups in Tunisia and Egypt. Attacks in Tunisia grew from 21 in 2012 to 72 in 2013. In Egypt, the number of attacks recorded jumped from 63 in 2012 to 431 in 2013. In Libya, there were 237 attacks recorded in 2013 and 81 in 2012. While the increases in Egypt and Tunisia were both somewhat attributable to the emergence of Islamist militant groups, violent protests following the deposing of President Muhammad Morsi in Egypt accounted for the majority of sub-state violence recorded by JTIC,” Henman said.

Syria’s attack count almost doubles between 2012 and 2013

Henman added that “due to a plurality of factors, the anti-government insurgency in Syria intensified notably in 2013. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of attacks recorded by JTIC almost doubled. In 2012, we recorded 2,670 attacks. In 2013, that number jumped to 4,694.”

Suicide attacks quadruple in Iraq; Al-Qaeda in Iraq re-enters the Top 5

“A key indication of the intensifying level of violence in Iraq was that the number of suicide attacks in the country quadrupled from 2012 to 2013, with the 2013 total almost triple that recorded in neighboring Syria and almost double that recorded in Afghanistan,” Henman continued.

“In 2013, 207 attacks were claimed by or attributed to Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). This is a 160% increase from the 79 recorded in open sources in 2012,” he said. “Despite this increase, it does not fully reflect AQI’s predominant role in driving the 52% increase in the recorded number of attacks in Iraq and the 148% increase in non-militant fatalities. In 2012 there were 2,297 attacks in Iraq. At the end of 2013, that figure stands at 3,499.”

Sub-Saharan Africa’s rising terrorism risks

Henman concluded that “while the number of recorded attacks has only slightly increased in sub-Saharan Africa, we are seeing more lethal attacks claiming a higher number of fatalities. In 2012, JTIC recorded 1,370 attacks in sub-Saharan Africa with 3,434 fatalities. In 2013, JTIC recorded 1,391 attacks with 3,903 fatalities. When we look at Nigeria specifically, attacks decreased from 305 in 2012 to 137 in 2013, but fatalities rose from 1,351 in 2012 to 1,447 in 2013. This was partly due to an intensification of violence by militant Islamist group Boko Haram, but also a consequence of several high-profile instances of inter-communal violence across the country.”

Top 10 most active non-state armed groups in 2013

  1. Barisan Revolusi Nasional (Thailand)
  2. Taliban
  3. Islami Chhatra Shibir (Bangladesh)
  4. Communist Party of India – Maoist
  5. Al-Qaeda in Iraq
  6. Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Al-Shabaab)
  7. FARC (Colombia)
  8. New People’s Army (Philippines)
  9. Jabhat al-Nusra (Syria)
  10. Unified Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist.