Saturday, November 28th, 2020
  
 

The map that should concern Australia

The Iraqi military announced on November 20 that it had killed Islamic State local governor Marwan Hamid Salih al-Hayali and a number of fighters in ongoing clashes in eastern Mosul?s Aden neighborhood during clearing operations. Iraqi media reports said that additional clashes broke out in the recently captured al-Intisar neighborhood on November 20 during ongoing house-to-house search operations. Meanwhile, Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces (ICTF) spokesman Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi said that his forces had reached the outskirts of the al-Qahira and al-Zuhur neighborhoods as ?coalition aircraft carried out airstrikes in the area.? This footage shows ICTF and Golden Division Special Forces soldiers engaged in street-to-street clashes with IS fighters in the recently captured Aden neighborhood. The Islamic State have yet to issue confirmation regarding al-Hayali?s death on any of its social and digital media platforms. Credit: Facebook/Al-Mawsleya via Storyful

The Global Terrorism Index 2016 map shows the countries most impacted in terrorism in brown and those least affected in mint green. Picture: Institute for Economics and Peace

A NEWLY released map of the world looks cheery enough. There’s Australia — coloured a pastel peach, China — like it’s flag — is bright red while Portugal, Panama and Papua New Guinea are a mint green.

But the colours reveal something altogether more sinister — the impact terrorism has had on each country around the world.

To be launched on Tuesday at the University of New South Wales, the map is part of the annual Global Terrorism Index produced by Australian think tank, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

IEP founder Steve Killelea told news.com.au 2016’s Index — which covers 2015 — showed the “fluid nature of terrorism” which was increasingly having far more of an impact in western nations where deaths from atrocities increased six times over past year.

The Global Terrorism Index 2016 map shows the countries most impacted in terrorism in brown and those leat affected in mint green. Picture: Institute for Economics and PeaceSource:Supplied

On the map, the countries most severely affected by terrorism related to death and injury, places like Iraq and Nigeria, are a deep brown in colour. Those with no deaths, including Vietnam and Poland, are green.

Australia’s lighter shade of red means that it is the 59th most impacted country by terrorism. Middle of the table globally, Australia is now only slightly more terrorism affected than Iran and had more terrorist related incidents last year than peer nations Canada, Taiwan, Japan, the Netherlands and Italy.

During 2015, police worker Curtis Cheng was gunned down outside the NSW Police headquarters in Parramatta, western Sydney, by radicalised teen Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar who died in the ensuing shoot out with officers.

Australia’s ranking might not seem too worrying but there’s an underlying trend that should cause concern.

Curtis Cheng worked at NSW Police HQ.Source:News Corp Australia

15-year-old Farhad Jabar killed Curtis Cheng.Source:Channel 9

While global terrorism deaths have dropped overall, in the 35 OECD nations — mainly Western nations including much of Europe and North America as well as Australia — incidents have spiked a massive 650 per cent in just one year.

“This year’s index paints a complex picture which shows terrorism is changing quickly,” said Mr Killelea.

“The good news is the number of deaths through terrorism is down 10 per cent and of those falls 32 per cent have been recorded in Iraq and Nigeria.

“The bad news is that while (terrorist groups) Boko Haram and Islamic State have been depleted in their core areas of operation (due to military action), they’ve moved to other areas so Boko Haram expanded into Niger and Cameroon while IS and its affiliates moved from operating in 13 countries to 28 countries,” he said.

In 2015, 29,376 people died in terrorist related incidents down from 32,765 in 2014.

Nevertheless, 2015 was the second deadliest year for terrorist incidents ever recorded.

In 2015, four groups were responsible for 74 per cent of all deaths from terrorism: Islamic State, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

In 2015, IS overtook Nigeria’s Boko Haram as the most dangerous terrorist group killing 6141 people. Al-Qaeda had a 17 per cent drop in the number of deaths to 1620 but the Taliban death toll went up 29 per cent to 4502.

The bottom axis shows the proportion of global terrorism deaths per country. In 2015, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan accounted for 57 per cent of all global terror deaths. Picture: Institute for Economics and PeaceSource:Supplied

The countries most prone to terrorist attacks were Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria. The single deadliest atrocity of 2015 was the April attack by Islamic State on the Iraqi town of Qaim where 300 civilians were executed.

In the West the picture was grim. Between 2014 and 2015, deaths in OECD nations jumped from 77 to 577 — half of this caused by IS.

The most lethal attacks were the Bataclan Theatre attacks in Paris and suicide bombings in Turkey, the latter of which killed more than 300 people.

In the West, only 2001, the year of the September 11 attacks in New York, was more lethal. There most deaths were concentrated in one attack, today they are spread across several smaller incidents which are harder to detect beforehand.

“If we remove 9/11, in those 16 years 2015 was the worst year on record and the number of attacks reflects an upward trend that has been going on for seven years,” said Mr Killelea.

The global economic impact of terrorism reached $122 billion in 2015.

The index provides a rank for terrorism impact in each country based on number of factors including terrorist incidents, deaths, injuries and property damage.

Incidents in previous years, such as 2014’s Sydney Lindt Cafe siege, also play a role in the rankings due to the ongoing mental and economic such as, for instance, a downturn in tourism following an attack.

The graph show terrorist deaths from OECD nations. 2015 has the highest recorded number of deaths in these nations excluding 2001 and the September 11 attacks. Picture: Institute for Economics and PeaceSource:Supplied

New Zealand is at a comfortable 112th, safer than Switzerland even. The UK and US are far more impacted, both in the 30s, while France’s recent horrific encounters with terrorism has seen it rise to 29th in the table.

Compared to the 161 deaths in France, Australia’s two deaths during 2015 pale in comparison.

Nevertheless, the report says Australia can’t rest on its laurels. Among fellow OECD countries, Australia had the eight highest number of Islamic State inspired attacks and plots in the past 18 months.

Last month, police revealed Australia would have experienced 15 terror attacks if most plots in their advanced stages hadn’t been foiled.

Among the alleged terror plots foiled by police in the past two years were advanced plans to kidnap members of the public in Sydney and Brisbane then behead them on camera and release the footage; detonate bombs at a Mother’s Day running event; stab and shoot police and members of the public at Anzac Day ceremonies; and target government buildings including the Garden Island Navy base and Parramatta Court House.

“From global standards, levels of terrorism in Australia are small,” said Mr Killelea pointing out Australia has some natural barriers including its sheer distance from the Middle East and lack of land borders.

However, he cautioned that all it would take is one or two successful incidents to push Australia up the terrorism table.

“If we look at France they jumped form four deaths in 2014 to well over 100 in 2015 which became their worst year ever for terrorist deaths.”

Two women hug, in front of the Bataclan concert hall in Paris to mark the first anniversary of Islamic extremists’ co-ordinated attacks on Paris. Picture: AP /Thibault CamusSource:AP

Mr Killelea also said an estimated 250 Australians had gone to fight for IS.

“It’s important that these jihadists, if they return, are really vetted as some will be true die hands and those are the kind of operatives you see in Belgium and France.”

There may also be lessons overseas for Australia, he said, pointing out that since 2006 some 98 per cent of terrorist attacks in the US have been buy so called “lone wolves” who are American citizens inspired by, but not directly linked to, IS.

“What the Index shows is the fluid nature of terrorism and the need for the international community to change and adapt tactic to tackle the spread of groups like Boko Haram and IS.”

The terrorism threat is not lessening either, said Mr Killelea who told news.com.au more people had died through terrorism in OECD nations up to October 2016 than in the whole of 2015.

The research also highlights the countries where terrorism is essentially non-existent. According to the index, 34 countries were completely terrorism free in 2015.

Many are less developed, such as East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Cuba.

But if you want to live in a country where you can preserve your standard of living and be close (ish) to Australia you may want to pack your bags and head to trouble free Singapore.

The Global Terrorism Index will be launched at a public event, ‘Unlocking the Global Terrorism Index’ at 5pm on Tuesday 22 November at the University of New South Wales, Kensington, Sydney. Register for free at the UNSW website.

benedict.brook@news.com.au

Peter Taylor investigates the death of Osama Bin Laden and reports from Guantanamo Bay on how governments have been forced to face up to the end game – what to do with the hard-core Al Qaeda suspects and whether it is necessary to talk to Al Qaeda.