Organizations for the Definition of Terrorism and Their Assessment

IEP is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank that uses data-driven research to shift the way that people think about peace. START is a university based research center that study the causes and consequences of terrorism within the U.S. and around the world. (p. 2). GTI Analyzes trends and patterns of terrorist activity since 2000. Within Methodology, GTI has ranked 163 countries based on four indicators that is determined over the course of five years. Countries are given a unique score that is used to showcase the incidents that have occured within a specified year.

The four indicators include, total number of terrorist incidents in a given year, total number of fatalities caused by terrorists in a given year, total number of injuries caused by terrorists in a given year, a measure of the total property damage from terrorist, and incidents in a given year. (P. 111) Each incident is measured on a scale from zero to ten, with zero indicating no impact from terrorism and ten representing the highest impact from terrorism.

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(p.8) GTI defines terrorism as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non‐state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.” (p. 8). To be included in the GTD database an incident has to be an “intentional act of violence or threat of violence by a non-state actor” (p.9) and has to fall under three specific criterias.

The attack must be intentional, must involve of some degree of violence or threat of violence – including property damage as well as violence against people, and the executor must be sub-national actors.

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(p.8) From the years 2014 through 2016, deaths that were tied to terrorism decreased by 22%. Within 2016, there have been many countries that have seen either an increase or decrease with terrorism related deaths. Those countries include Nigeria with a reduction of 63%, Yemen with a decrease of 58%, Afghanistan with a 14% decrease, Syria with a 24% decrease, Egypt with a reduction of 56%, Ukraine reported to only having been a total of 11 deaths, Kenya, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. The countries with high reduction rates reported to have military operations target terrorist groups, which reduced death rates. (p.17) Countries that had increased death rates in 2016 included Iraq, South Sudan, Turkey, Ethiopia, DRC, Somalia, India, Russia, Belgium, and Myanmer. In 2016 Iraq reported to have an increase of 2,800 deaths in comparison to 2015, making it the highest country with an increase of terrorist deaths. (p.21) The regions that are most affected by terrorism is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. On average, sub-Saharan Africa is the deadliest region with 4.8 deaths per attack. Central America and the Caribbean have been reported to have the lowest levels of terrorism, but have higher levels of organized crime. GTI expressed that Iraq is ranked the number one country most affected by terrorism.

Between the years of 2000 and 2016 there have been a total of 60,324 deaths from a result of terrorism. A large portion of Iraq’s territory was controlled by ISIL, which they have committed about 1,000 attacks alone. This terrorist group was the reason why there was a significant increase of deaths. In 2015, ISIL increased the death rate by 22% which accounted for 7, 351 deaths. (pg. 24). Countries that are seen to have conflict most often than not result in terrorist attacks, compared to non-conflict countries. Terrorism and Political Instability play a huge role with one another. Many countries encounter an increase in death when their country is in a civil war, compared to those that do not. The United States has had a large portion of terrorist attacks between 2002 and 2016. Many of these terror attacks have been targeted towards on religious status and institutions. North America is the only region that has had attacks carried against abortion clinics. Since 2002, there have been a total of 301 attacks from single organizations that Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF) have attributed too. ELF and ALF contributed to these attacks but none of their attacks resulted in deaths. Extremist groups on the other hand, have attributed to less attacks but are very deadly. They have contributed to 96 out of the 172 deaths since 2002. (p. 47). When it comes to the OECD member countries, research has shown that these countries suffer from higher levels of terrorism than none OECD member countries.

The majority of deaths from terrorism in OECD countries were in the United States. This is due to 9/11 where 2,996 people were been killed. If this attack was to never happen, the United States would most likely ranked last among the OECD countries. In recent years, we have seen a spike of terrorist attacks in these countries due to Islamic extremists. These attacks have become non-traditional tactics these groups have used, for example the attack on the nightclub in Orlando, Florida. With groups using non-traditional tactics, it is hard for counterterrorism to be stopped. OECD countries must start adapting to terrorist strategies within their country if they want them stopped. The four deadliest terrorist groups include ISIL, Boko Haram, Taliban, Al-Qai’da. ISIL originated in 2014 and their targets involve civilians and Shi’a Muslims. ISIL’s goal was to govern the region of Levant, which includes Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Between the years of 2014 and 2016 ISIL has undertaken deadly attacks by 50% to 9,132 people. ISIL’s executes their attacks by using bombs, explosions, and suicide bombings. (P. 75). Boko Haram originated from northern Nigeria and has now spread to bordering countries. When Boko Haram lost its leader in 2009 they became very violent. In 2016, Boko Haram split into three different factions that included violent, ISIL aligns, and Al-Qa’ida aligns.

Targets of Boko Haram include civilians, military personnel, religious institutions. The group has made a shift to use explosives and bombings when carrying out attacks rather than armed assaults. (P. 76). Taliban surfaced in Afghanistan as an “reactionary group.” As the Taliban gained more control on territory, they made a target shift from police to civilians. The Taliban use bombings, explosives, and armed assaults to carry out most of their attacks. Al-Qa’ida was formed by Usama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam in 1988 to remove Western militaries from the Middle East. A shift has been made from carrying out attacks based on ideological motives to attacks that “instill greater fear.” (p. 77). Bombings, explosions, and suicide bombings are commonly used by Al-Qa’ida. cost of terrorismTerrorism globally impacts the economy, with 2014 being the highest year, which then resulted in a total of US$104 billion dollars. Terrorists seek funding through various illegal sources such as narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, extortion, illegal mining, and banking transfers. ISIL is known to be one of the deadliest and wealthiest terrorist groups. ISIL receive their funding by oil smuggling, and on average make about US$1.3 million dollars per day. Before the death of Usama bin Laden, Al-Qa’ida recieved majority of their funding through their leaders and donations from single personnel in Gulf states. In recent years, Al-Qa’ida has resulting in bank robbery, drug trafficking, and hostage-taking to make up for their funding. Taliban seeks their funding through opium and heroin trafficking and taxation. Boko Haram funding techniques include abductions, kidnapping, extortion, and bank robberies. At time Boko Haram uses other terrorist organizations such as Al-Qa’ida and Land of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to make network alliances with.

Terrorism has decreased from its peak in 2014. Study has shown that most terrorist attacks have taken place in countries that are having political conflicts, but there have been an increase of attacks by Islamic radicalism, in comparison to recent years. Terrorism is having a negative effect on the global economy due to the amount being spent on counterterrorism.

Terrorism is more likely to occur in developing countries than in countries that are below the poverty line or are developed. As a country is trying to rapidly develop, it is lacking the political leadership and laws that are already established in developed countries. These groups are able to emplace themselves within a country, therefore having more followers because they promise citizens a better life and a better government. It has been proven that those of higher education are more supportive of attacks against their own country because they know what is right and wrong, and that someone must stand up against their governing body. Studies have shown that poverty has an indirect correlation to terrorist organization ruling over an area. Even though poverty has an indirect correlation to terrorism, it does cause a major problem for the government of that region. “Low-level income and low growth rate reduce the cost of organizing rebellions and also reduce the government’s ability to fight a counterinsurgency.” (Pg. 87) This expresses the effect that poverty has on a country because terrorist group don’t have to spend a lot of money to create an impact on a country. Governments don’t have the funding or resources to fight against the uprising that the terrorist groups have started. Terrorist organizations say their uprisings are because of their political leaders, but most of the time have their own ideological beliefs.

Women in most countries are not likely to support terrorist groups or the violence they condemn. Studies show that the more educated a woman is, the less likely she will believe and support the actions of these organizations. Studies have shown that the more educated women there are within a society, the less likely a terrorist group is able to rule the area. When women are educated at a younger age, terrorist groups are less likely to recruit or persuade them. On the other hand, there is a direct correlation of higher educated women and the decline of birth rates within a country. Low birth rates can have a serious impact within a region, causing a decrease in the population.

Political movements make a shift to terrorism when political leaders aren’t creating change or reforms within the country. As a result, groups feel the need to rise up and fight against the government. These groups begin to promise the people of the country things that the political leaders aren’t. Even though most of these groups don’t follow through on their promises, they are gaining a following from civilians. In recent years, government officials have turned a blind eye in many countries to terrorist threats. They are trying to take a nonviolent approach to deal with what is happening within the country. This can also cause a backlash against the terrorist group because many people do want peace within their country.

Socioeconomic can have a huge effect on terrorism and how it is affecting a country. “People whose lives are disrupted by rapid modernization are especially susceptible to radical ideologies.” (Pg.91) For example, when a country is increasing in wealth because of oil, many people will begin to lose their land. By producing more oil and selling it to other countries, the government is able to make a profit, which then betters their economy. Many people don’t see it like this, they see it as the government taking their land and not receiving any benefits. This will cause aggression against the government. Not only does socioeconomic has an effect, ideology is a immense influence. “Islamist doctrine can be used to promote both violent action and provision of goals.” (Pg.92) Many religious doctrines showcase violence to demand the government equal opportunities, which is interpreted differently from person to person.

It has been proven that there is a direct correlation between terrorism and crimes. Many of these groups receive their money from stealing imported goods and then selling them at a higher price. Groups are able to make this kind of money because they monopolies a certain market but then take it over completely. When a group is able to take over a specific area, with no uprising against them, they are able impose taxes on civilians. These natives are afraid of not paying the large amount of taxes because of the fear that their families will be killed.

When it comes to counterterrorism, there are many ways that domestic and international can have an effect. Domestically, the country has to fight against these groups internally and have to show the people that they are trying to better the lives of the population. By implement a democratic government, it shows people of the country that they do too have a voice. Internationally, the outside government has to be willing to help the country in any way. It is a combined effort domestically and internationally to draw terrorism out. It is taking the Iraqi government, The United States, and allied nations to fight against these terrorist groups by implementing new strategies to diminish terrorism. It will take many years to diminish all of terrorism but by taking the actionable steps necessary, it can be done.

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Organizations for the Definition of Terrorism and Their Assessment. (2021, Dec 23). Retrieved from

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