Between 1969 – 2009, there were 38,345 terrorist incidents around the world. Source: RAND
In the last two decades the West has been a target by some terrorist groups based in Afghanistan or Iraq. More recently ISIL has replaced al-Qa’ida as the biggest threat for attacks in the West through lone wolf tactics.
In 2014 the total number of deaths from terrorism increased by 80 per cent when compared to the prior year. This is the largest yearly increase in the last 15 years. Since the beginning of the 21st century, there has been over a nine-fold increase in the number of deaths from terrorism, rising from 3,329 in 2000 to 32,685 in 2014.
The total number of countries which experienced at least one death increased by eight, raising the total to 67 countries in 2014. This includes OECD countries such as Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada and France which experienced high profile terrorist attacks last year.
Lone wolf attacks account for 70 per cent of all terrorist deaths in the West since 2006. Additionally, Islamic fundamentalism was not the primary driver of lone wolf attacks, with 80 per cent of deaths in the West from lone wolf attacks being attributed to a mixture of right wing extremists, nationalists, anti-government elements, other types of political extremism and supremacism.
A wake-up call for Americans in general and law enforcement in particular.
Oklahoma City proved that acts of terror come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. The fact they were American didn’t mean they wouldn’t kill other Americans.
A vast number of anti government plots by American radicals followed, some of them intending huge numbers of casualties.
But after the Al Qaeda attacks of 2001, law enforcement attention swung back hard to foreign jihadists.
“Despite this history of deadly violence by individuals motivated by political ideologies other than al Qaeda, it is jihadist violence that continues to dominate the news and the attention of policy makers.” Read more.
Today, airport and border security may become less critical than securing our public spaces and transportation systems.
The majority of attacks in the West are not carried out by well-organized international groups. Instead, these events largely come from lone wolf activities. Lone wolf threats are typically individual persons or a small number of individuals who commit an attack in support of a group, movement, or ideology without material assistance or orders from such group. For example, the Boston bombings would be a lone wolf attack as the two brothers committed the attacks without any outside support. These types of attacks account for 70 per cent of all terrorism related deaths in the West from 2006 to 2014.
Source: GTI 2015 / IEP