New report on terror attacks shows positive results

A report issued by the U.S. State Department on Wednesday shows terror attacks worldwide were on the decline in 2016, marking the second year in a row attacks have decreased.

As per congressional mandate, the State Department releases The Country Reports on Terrorism each year. This year, they had the pleasure of reporting the good news that terror attacks were down 9 percent and deaths from terror attacks were down 13 percent.

The report shows that coalition efforts to defeat ISIS, which culminated in Iraq’s wresting back of Mosul from the terrorist group earlier this month, have garnered success, as the group is the main perpetrator of global terrorist activity.

The bulk of the shifts in the data can be attributed back to a few countries. Contributing to the overall decrease were fewer attacks in Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen, with only the countries of Iraq, Somalia, and Turkey seeing an increase in attacks. The Islamic State’s effect is felt in its stronghold countries, as 55 percent of all global attacks took place in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines, and 75 percent of all deaths occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The report labeled Iran and Sudan as state sponsors of terrorism. In the case of Iran, this is due to the influence of proxies, such as terror group Hezbollah, on the stability of the Iranian government. Sudan seems to have retained the label for past incidences since there was no indication the Sudanese government tolerated or assisted any terrorism organizations within its borders in 2016.

Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar were reported to have done solid work fighting terrorism, but left the allied United States in an awkward position after cutting ties over anti-terrorism policies. Saudi Arabia suspects Qatar of “embrac[ing] various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region,” including the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, ISIS among others.

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