War in Iraq Has Increased Terrorism in the WorldFebruary 21, 2007 at 10:13 am | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, George W Bush, Iraq, War, War on Terror | 3 Comments
One of the main arguments in favor of the war in Iraq is that it is taking the fight to the enemy, a central front of the “war on terror”, the main thrust in an attempt to reduce terrorism around the world. Well, a new study is out that shows terrorism increased specifically because of our actions in Iraq. Note the graph they provide:
Their numbers are a pretty powerful case that the war in Iraq has in fact increased terrorism around the world, and as such, the question needs to be asked: just what was the war in Iraq about?
Our study yields one resounding finding: The rate of fatal terrorist attacks around the world by jihadist groups, and the number of people killed in those attacks, increased dramatically after the invasion of Iraq. Globally there was a 607 percent rise in the average yearly incidence of attacks (28.3 attacks per year before and 199.8 after) and a 237 percent rise in the fatality rate (from 501 to 1,689 deaths per year). A large part of this rise occurred in Iraq, the scene of almost half the global total of jihadist terrorist attacks. But even excluding Iraq and Afghanistan—the other current jihadist hot spot—there has been a 35 percent rise in the number of attacks, with a 12 percent rise in fatalities.
Contrary to Bush’s assertion, jihadists have not let the Iraq War distract them from targeting the United States and its allies. The rate of attacks on Western interests and citizens has risen by almost 25 percent, while the yearly fatality rate has increased by 4 percent, a figure that would have been higher had planned attacks, such as the London airline plot, not been prevented.
The globalization of jihad and martyrdom has disquieting implications for American security in the future. Jihadists are already leaving Iraq to operate elsewhere, a “blowback” trend that will greatly increase when the war eventually winds down. Terrorist groups in Iraq, which have learned to raise millions through kidnapping and oil theft, may be in a position to help fund their jihadist brethren elsewhere. Finally, Iraq has increased the popularity of a hardcore takfiri ideology so intolerant that, unlikely as it seems, it makes Osama bin Laden appear relatively moderate.
Though few American civilians have been killed by jihadist terrorists in the past three years, it is naive to assume that this will continue to be the case. We will be living with the consequences of the Iraq debacle for many years.