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Saturday, March 03, 2007

New Terror Study

Peter Bergen, working with Paul Cruickshank, has recently released a new study about post-9/11 terrorism rates. Their main finding:
The rate of fatal terrorist attacks around the world by jihadist groups, and the number of civilians killed in those attacks, has risen sharply since the invasion of Iraq. Comparing the period before the war (Sept. 12, 2001, to March 20, 2003) and the period since, there has been a 607% rise in the average yearly incidence of attacks - and a 237% jump in the fatality rate.
The authors relied upon data from the Rand Corp. and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism.

Much of this violence is in Afghanistan and Iraq -- fight them there, so "we" don't have to fight them here, right? Well, that's not a complete explanation:
even after excluding these two hot spots, there has been a 35% rise in the number of terrorist attacks globally and a 25% increase in attacks on Western targets....

This has particularly been the case in the Arab world, whose countries excluding Iraq have seen 783% more fatalities from jihadist terrorism since the U.S. invasion....

Excluding Iraq and Afghanistan, we see a 150% increase globally in the rate of suicide attacks by jihadist groups since the war began.
The authors, who are fellows at NYU's Center on Law and Security, also found evidence of so-called "blowback" attacks in Saudi Arabia, France and Jordan. Those are attacks perpetrated by veterans of the Iraq insurgency.

The study does not include violence by Palestinian extremists. These are acts of violence by al Qaeda-inspired Sunni extremists.

Good news: Not counting civilian contractors in Iraq or Afghanistan, only 18 American civilians have been terror victims since the start of the Iraq war.

The full study results are in the March/April Mother Jones. There's plenty more there, including this nugget about the country that supplied 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11:
Mohammed Hafez, a visiting professor at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, in a study of the 101 identified suicide attackers in Iraq from March 2003 to February 2006, found that more than 40 percent were Saudi....

The Israeli researcher Reuven Paz, using information posted on Al Qaeda-linked websites between October 2004 and March 2005, found that of the 33 suicide attacks listed, 23 were conducted by Saudis, and only 1 by an Iraqi. Similarly, in June 2005 the Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Institute of Washington, D.C. found by tracking both jihadist websites and media reports that of the 199 Sunni extremists who had died in Iraq either in suicide attacks or in action against Coalition or Iraqi forces, 104 were from Saudi Arabia and only 21 from Iraq.
Read the entire article at MJ.

Hat tip: AlterNet also has a story about this study: "The War on Terror Is the Leading Cause of Terrorism."

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