Global terrorism survey finds surging attacks

A study by UK-based Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) finds there were nearly 10,000 terrorist attacks in 2013, 44% more than the year before. The number of terrorism-related deaths climbed 61%—from 11,133 in 2012 to 17,958 in 2013. The Global Terrorism Index reported four groups dominated the attacks: ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, collectively responsible for 66% of the fatalities. Iraq was the country most affected by terrorism, with 2,492 attacks that killed more than 6,300. The report found that ISIS was responsible for "most" of the deaths in Iraq. The next top countries were Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. IEP produces the report from the Global Terrorism Database compiled by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), at the University of Maryland. (Yahoo News, Nov. 18; AP, Nov. 17)

Given massacres by government-backed Shi'ite militias in Iraq, we question whether attacks aren't being arbitrarily considered "terrorism" because they are carried out by insurgent groups, or if many deaths attributed to "terrorism" shouldn't more appropriately be ascribed to sectarian war. As for assigning responsibility, there is also some ambiguity here, given al-Qaeda's franchise model, which ISIS now seems to be emulating.

Such record-keeping seems to have been taken up by the private sector, augmenting efforts by the National Intelligence Council and State Department.