Analyzing the Global Terrorism Index: An In-depth View on the 2024 Report

The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) is an extensive study that examines the influence of terrorism on 163 countries, accounting for 99.7% of the global population. The GTI report, produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) using data from Terrorism Tracker and other sources, presents a composite score to rank countries based on the impact of terrorism.

This comprehensive report provides a unique perspective into the changing landscape of global terrorism, highlighting key trends, threats, and responses. The analysis in this article is based on the 2024 GTI report, along with additional insights from other authoritative sources.

Understanding the Global Terrorism Index

The GTI scores each country on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 represents no impact from terrorism and 10 signifies the highest measurable impact of terrorism. The GTI is a composite measure made up of four indicators: incidents, fatalities, injuries, and hostages. To measure the impact of terrorism, a five-year weighted average is applied.

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The 2024 Global Terrorism Index Rankings

As per the 2024 Global Terrorism Index, the top five countries most impacted by terrorism are:

  1. Burkina Faso with a score of 8.571
  2. Israel scoring 8.143
  3. Mali with a score of 7.998
  4. Pakistan scoring 7.916
  5. Syria with a score of 7.89

On the other end of the spectrum, countries with no impact of terrorism (score of 0) include Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Bolivia, Bhutan, Botswana, Republic of the Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Croatia, Haiti, Hungary, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Cambodia, South Korea, Kuwait, Laos, Liberia, Lesotho, Latvia, Morocco, Moldova, Madagascar, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Mongolia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Malawi, Namibia, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Poland, North Korea, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Sudan, Senegal, Singapore, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, Serbia, South Sudan, Slovenia, Turkmenistan, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

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Key Findings from the GTI 2024 Report

The GTI 2024 report has observed several significant trends:

  • Deaths caused by terrorism increased by 22% to 8,352, the highest level since 2017.
  • The number of terrorist incidents fell by 22% to 3,350, and the number of countries reporting an incident fell to 50.
  • In 2023, the US accounted for 76% of terrorism-related deaths in Western democracies, amid a 15-year low in incidents.
  • The hub of terrorism has shifted from the Middle East to the Central Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa, which now accounts for over half of all deaths from terrorism.
  • Burkina Faso suffered the worst impact from terrorism, with deaths increasing by 68% despite attacks decreasing by 17%.
  • Iraq recorded the largest improvement in the last decade with deaths from terrorism falling by 99% since the 2007 peak, to 69 in 2023.
  • The impact of terrorism has become increasingly concentrated, with ten countries accounting for 87% of total terrorism-related deaths.
  • Over 90% of terrorist attacks and 98% of terrorism deaths in 2023 occurred in conflict zones, underscoring the strong link between conflict and terrorism.

These findings suggest a shifting landscape of global terrorism, with new regions emerging as hotbeds of terrorist activity and existing regions experiencing significant changes in the impact of terrorism.

State Sponsors of Terrorism

Certain countries are designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism by the U.S. Secretary of State for repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism. The designation is pursuant to three laws: section 1754(c) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The sanctions resulting from this designation include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance, a ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls over exports of dual-use items, and various financial and other restrictions.

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As of the latest data, the following countries are designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism:

Country Designation Date
Cuba January 12, 2021
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) November 20, 2017
Iran January 19, 1984
Syria December 29, 1979

The Role of Irregular Warfare in Global Terrorism

State actors, such as Russia and Iran, often resort to irregular warfare tactics, including the use of non-state actors like terrorist organizations, to achieve their political and military objectives. This form of warfare, often referred to as “gray zone” conflict, allows these states to further their goals while maintaining a degree of deniability.

For example, Iran typically operates through proxy networks to exert influence and further its strategic interests. Many of these proxies are organizations that have historically used terrorist tactics. Russia, too, has been known to use various forms of irregular political warfare to assert itself on the global stage.

Domestic Terrorism: A Rising Threat

While international terrorist threats against the United States are comparatively low, the threat from violent far-right and far-left domestic terror is on the rise. The majority of terrorist attacks in the United States are committed by individuals who follow far-right extremist ideologies, including white nationalism, violent misogyny, and anti-government beliefs.

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In addition to those attacks, there has been an increase in attacks from individuals on the violent far left, including those who follow anarchist ideologies. However, it is important to note that despite the increase in attacks from all parts of the extremist spectrum, violent far-right attacks are significantly more likely to result in fatalities.

The Intersection of Terrorism and Strategic Competition

Terrorism significantly overlaps with strategic competition, especially through state actors’ support for terrorist groups. For instance, Iran’s support for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah is part of its broader strategic competition with other countries in the Middle East.

In conclusion, the landscape of global terrorism continues to evolve, with new threats emerging and existing ones changing in nature. This calls for a comprehensive, data-driven approach to counter-terrorism that can adapt to these changes and effectively address the diverse range of threats that countries around the world face today.