WASHINGTON, DC – A new analysis by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) reveals that deaths attributed to radical Islamist terror increased by more than 700 percent since 2011, marking a rapid acceleration in lethality and geography.
“Westerners sense that Islamist terror is on the rise as they follow the daily news, especially with the devastating attacks in Brussels and Paris,” said Pete Hoekstra, IPT Shillman Senior Fellow former Chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. “They might be shocked, however, at how significantly it has spiraled in deadliness and focus in such a very short amount of time.”
Deaths from jihadist assaults rose from an annual average of roughly 2,500 innocents per year from 2001 to 2006, to an average of 3,300 per year in 2007-2011, to 9,000 per year in 2012-2013 and more than tripled to an average of more than 28,000 in 2014-2015.
Attacks were limited to isolated countries with no discernible nexus in the period from 2001 to 2006, suggesting that jihadists were striking targets of opportunity without much coordination or broader strategy.
Today ISIS claims two caliphates – one the size of Indiana in Iraq and Syria and the other along the Mediterranean coast in Libya – from which to expand its genocidal influence in the Middle East and Africa. Large areas of the African continent have already experienced tremendous mass slaughter from Islamist terror in recent years.
Furthermore, the IPT – through analyzing current and future Islamist threats based upon its extensive contacts, sources and internal databases – predicts that the situation will continue to deteriorate over the next 18 to 24 months without a course correction.
1. The humanitarian crisis resulting from Islamist terror in the Middle East and Africa will overwhelm Europe’s internal security forces and social services. Islamist violence will increase significantly within its borders, aided by nearly unregulated immigration policies that enable Islamists to form protective enclaves such as the Molenbeek district in Brussels.
2. Islamist brutality in Africa will increase in fatalities and territory. Terrorism in Africa was largely confined to Algeria from 2001 to 2006 when it experienced 275 deaths on average annually. It rose to nine countries with 11,085 fatalities on average annually during 2014 to 2015. Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb will lead its further expansion on the continent.
3. Relatively stable regimes in the Middle East will face increasing pressure from jihadists who will threaten the ability of central governments to provide security. With no change in strategy to confront ISIS, the governments of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE could break down.
4. ISIS and like-minded groups will build upon their success to launch new attacks on perceived soft targets in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Thailand.
“Frightening scenarios will unfold over the coming months and years should current trends advance unchecked,” Hoekstra continued. “Islamists will quickly capitalize on the current friendly environment, and the damage to authority and stability in the Middle East, Africa and Europe could require decades to reestablish once lost.”