The first-ever Global Terrorism Index (GTI) reported that the amount of terrorist incidents has increased every year since 9/11. GTI was compiled by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) that systematically analyzes and quantifies terrorism.
The index ranks 158 countries over the last ten years based on indicators such as number of terrorist incidents, terrorism related fatalities, injuries caused by acts of terrorism, property damage owing to terrorist acts and more. The data is taken from the Global Terrorism Database maintained by the University of Maryland for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).
The number of fatalities owing to terrorism related incidents has declined by 25 percent from its peak during the Iraq war of 2007. This has given rise to an illusion that terrorism has touched a plateau.
The fact remains that instances of terrorism are still very high. They have increased fourfold since 2007. In fact, terrorist incidents increased in number every single year since the 9/11 and 127 out of 158 countries has suffered at least one terrorist attack since 2001.
Overall, terrorist incidents have seen a rise of 460 percent between 2001 and 2011. The fatalities owing to terrorist attacks have seen a rise of 195 percent and injuries owing to acts of terrorism has grown by 224 percent during the same period. In all, there were 7473 terrorism-related fatalities in 2011. The terrorists themselves are outside these stats, with only 6 percent of the terrorists succumbing to attacks in the last decade.
Region wide, Middle-East and North Africa have suffered the maximum number of terrorism related fatalities during the period 2001-2011. The Asia Pacific region is a close second. The areas most impacted by terrorism in 2011 were countries in the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent and Russia. The country suffering the maximum from terrorism remains Iraq. Pakistan and Afghanistan rank two and three in the list.
The countries that have seen the maximum improvement in the terrorism front between 2001-2011 are USA, Algeria and Colombia. In fact, North America, overall, seem most safe from terrorism. People in North America are nineteen times less likely to succumb to an act of terrorism compared to people in Western Europe.
The major victims of the terrorist attacks are citizens. Terrorist attacks have an impact on human rights, group-cohesion and grievances, governance, and corruption. The military, often perceived as the main target of terrorists, actually comes under attack only in four percent of the attacks.
Contrary to the popular notion, poverty is not a major cause that breeds terrorism. This conclusion comes from the fact that terrorism affects lower-middle-income countries more than low-income countries.
A major reason for terrorist attacks is rather a wider conflict situation, as evident from the fact that global terrorism increased after the escalation of the war in Iraq. The war in Afghanistan eighteen months later further increased terrorism in the region. In fact, the countries suffering most from terrorism have also suffered from external military intervention. This raises the possibility of invasion to "protect" spawning unwanted consequences.