Terrorism

International Research Center for Terrorism and Organized Crime is research and educational center.

Founders: Master Managers – Terrorism, Organized Crime and Security

Mission and goals: research and education in the field of countering terrorism and organized crime.

Statistics

The total number of terrorism victims worldwide: 13,483 (2018)

The total number of terrorist attacks worldwide: 15,321 (2018)

The country with the highest number of casualties: Afghanistan 4,100 (2018)

Terrorist groups responsible for the highest number of casualties: Islamic State 3,151, the Taliban 2,980, Al-Shabab 570 (2018)

The biggest terrorist attacks in history: 2,977 casualties – U.S. (2001, Al Qaeda), 1,566 casualties – Iraq (Tikrit, 2014, Islamic State), 796 casualties – Iraq (Mosul, 2007, Al Qaeda), 587 casualties – Somalia (Mogadishu, 2017, Al-Shabab)

The total costs of terrorism in the EU: € 180 billion (2004 – 2016)

The country with the highest number of victims of terrorism: Iraq 42,759 (2001 – 2014)

The total number of victims of terrorism in the world: 108,294 (2001-2014)

Number of victims of terrorism in Europe: 420 (2001-2014)

The biggest terrorist attacks in Europe: 193 Madrid (2004), 130 Paris (2015), 86 Nice (2016), 77 Oslo/Utoya (2011)

The biggest terrorist attack in Russia: 334 Beslan (2004)

What everyone should know about terrorism

Terrorism is an insignificant topic for modern states and societies, for modern civilization!

False.

As a complex form of political violence, terrorism represents one of the most dangerous political, social, and security challenges of our time.

The 2001 terrorist attack on the US soil, causing the deaths of 2,977 people, radically altered the US democratic system, many civil rights and freedoms were limited.

For the first time in history, something referred to as the ‘War on Terror’ was launched, on which about $ 8 trillion has been spent so far (World War II had cost the United States about $ 4 trillion).

The War on Terror resulted in over 500,000 casualties in total (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan) over the period from 2001 to 2019.

In the US, more than 70,000 people (2017 data) die each year from drug overdoses.

Approximately 40,000 people die from firearms (including both
murders and suicides).

In comparison to this data, the 2001 terrorist attack seems less relevant in terms of the number of victims.

This terrorist attack, however, changed the course of modern history not only of the US but the whole world, which only proves how powerful terrorism is as a complex form of political violence.

For the US national security, the “War on Terror” had an extremely positive outcome and gave great results, because after the attack in 2001 and until the end of 2019, terrorism as a threat to the US was almost completely eliminated.

The golden rule in counter-terrorism is to eliminate, above all, the causes and not just the consequences of terrorism.

One day in 2011, in just a few hours, Norway, one of most prosperous countries, with a good standard of living, complete harmony, order and peace, was shaken from its foundations by the terrorist attacks of the right-wing fanatic Anders Breivik in Oslo and Utoya, resulting in 77 casualties in total.

The terrorist attacks in Russia (1995 – 2019) caused the deaths of over 4,000 people, the biggest and the most famous one was the 2004 terrorist attack in Beslan with 334 casualties.

Russia has had a chronic problem with terrorism for decades. Thanks to the good work of the intelligence services, in the last couple of years, dozens of terrorist attacks have been prevented in time.

A string of terrorist attacks in Turkey in 2015/2016 (the largest attack which had 97 casualties took place in Ankara) with over 400 casualties resulted in a big decline in tourism.

Tourism is very important for Turkey’s economy.

Turkey is in a very difficult situation with regard to terrorism as a threat of terrorism lurks both from extreme left-wingers and radical Islamists but also from the Kurds.

The terrorist attacks in Egypt and Tunisia had a disastrous effect on their main economy branch – tourism (billions of dollars and millions of tourists of incurred loss).

The terrorist attacks in France (Paris and Nice) and Belgium (Brussels) have shaken the foundations of Europe.

All values of European democracy were called into question with a large wave of islamophobia and the spread of right-wing ideologies.

Any country in the world, from the most powerful to the weakest, can be shaken by a serious terrorist attack or a series of simultaneous terrorist attacks.

For terrorists, the number of victims is not as important as instilling a long-term sense of terror which paralyzes citizens who then start fearing new terrorist attacks, causing the greatest spiral of violence is of a much higher importance.

In this spiral of violence, new supporters and sympathizers are recruited because completely innocent citizens are often drawn into it.

Terrorism that causes a spiral of violence in mixed national and religious environments can be very dangerous because it can serve as a trigger for civil war.

The work of intelligence agencies in the prevention and fight against terrorism is visible to the public!

False.

In their work, the intelligence services of all countries use secret methods and the public is often unfamiliar with it.

If 99 out of 100 terrorism attempts are prevented, the anger of the public would still be directed toward the intelligence services over that one successful attempt.

Not a single intelligence service in the world can be 100% successful in preventing every terrorist attack in the long run, but it can do a good job in reducing the number of successful terrorist attacks.

The successful and sacrificial work of members of intelligence services in preventing and fighting terrorism remains in the shadows (due to the nature of the work itself), completely invisible to the general public.

Everyone knows what terrorism is!

False.

The majority of population does not exactly know what terrorism is (out of sheer ignorance or due to mixing it up with some other form of political violence), while part of the public who knows what terrorism is intentionally and consciously (for the sake of political propaganda/media manipulation) using the word terrorism or terrorists lightly.

Terrorism is an attractive topic and a global phenomenon; therefore, it is not surprising how much interest it attracts.

Terrorism is “the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies. Terrorism is often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs.” (US Department of Defense definition).

Terrorism is often mistaken for mass murder (which frequently happens in the US, where mass murder is defined as every attack with 4 or more victims but with no political motive characteristic of terrorism).

Terrorism is often mistaken for guerrilla and uprising.

The characteristics of a guerrilla movement are the existence of a clear command structure, uniforms, and emblems, possession of a part of the territory, support of a respectable part of the population and adherence to the laws and customs of war.

Terrorism does not have to possess all these characteristics).

Over time, terrorism can easily slip into guerrilla and uprising and vice versa.

Guerrilla and uprising are much worse and more dangerous forms of political violence but they have a romantic connotation (guerrillas through history, for example, Che Guevara has a status of cult heroes and fighters for justice and freedom in large parts of the world).

Left-wing terrorism belongs in the past. It is not dangerous.

False.

Due to the growing gap between the rich and the poor and social inequality found all around the world, new left-wing ideologies will develop, some of which will use terrorism as a combat method and a way to be at the center of media attention and thus promote their ideology.

Today, these movements will not be sponsored like they were in the past by the Soviets, but will spontaneously and independently emerge as a working-class’ response to increasingly cruel capitalism.

Right-wing terrorism is a rarity! It is not dangerous!

False.

Right-wing terrorism will be on the rise as a response to the big influx of migrants which bring totally different cultural, civilizational or religious norms of behavior with them.

Examples of right-wing terrorists like Breivik and Tarrant will not be isolated examples but a big inspiration to all others who think along the same line.

On February 19th, 2020, in the German city of Hanau, a radical right-wing member Tobias Rathjen executed a terrorist attack on two shisha bars which resulted in 9 deaths.

During 2019 and early 2020, dozens of German Army Special Forces members and members of the Neo-Nazi movement, who planned to execute large-scale terrorist attacks that could lead to a civil war in Germany, were arrested.

In Germany, from 1990 till today, 83 German citizens were killed by extreme right-wing members, 17 by Islamists.

Islamic State has been defeated! It is not dangerous!

False.

A large number of terrorists, hidden in the wave of migrants, have arrived in Europe and, as ‘sleepers,’ are waiting for a signal to attack.

The main objective of Islamist terrorism is not the attack itself.

For Islamist terrorism, it is only a means to provoke a much broader conflict between Christian and Islamic civilization.

Europe’s Muslims will be the biggest victims of the ideologies of radical Islam and should be the main backers of the fight against Islamist terrorism.

How many deaths exactly is the ISIL terrorist organization responsible for?

  • 28,442 (from 2013 to 2018).

Is the exact number of foreign fighters who joined the terrorist organization ISIL known?

Yes, 41,490 – 7,366 of which are returnees (2018 data).

The total number of foreign fighters from the Balkans is estimated at around 1,000.

Returnees represent a tremendous security problem because their integration into society is not easy and, in most cases, it is doomed to fail.

Children and women cope with terrible war traumas, and the degree of indoctrination and desire for revenge are enormous.

Not a single country in the world is happy when confronted with the issue of the return of its citizens from the terrorist organization ISIL.

The role of women in terrorism is insignificant!

False.

From 1985 to 2006, women suicide bombers carried out over 220 terrorist attacks, which is 15% of all terrorist suicide attacks in this period.

The number of women who joined the terrorist organization ISIL as foreigners is 4,761, which is 13% of the total number of foreign fighters.

Of the 47 most wanted terrorists by the FBI, 8 are women (2019 data).

Samantha Lewthwaite, known as the ‘white widow’ or the ‘white sister,’ a member of the Al-Shabab organization, is believed to be responsible for over 400 murders.

She is currently the most wanted terrorist in the world (Samantha is a convert, UK citizen).

Sectarian terrorism does not pose a great danger!

False.

The potentially biggest attack in the history of terrorism was planned to be carried out by the Japanese sect Aum Shinrikyo.

Sarin used in the attack was too diluted and the attack resulted in 13 dead and 6,000 injured.

This terrorist attack took place in the Tokyo subway in 1995.

Terrorists are not crazy enough to use weapons of mass destruction!

False.

Terrorists around the world will also take the smallest possible chance to get their hands on or produce some kind of weapon of mass destruction.

The dream of all serious terrorist groups is to outdo the 2001 attack in the US.

Nuclear terrorism is just a myth!

False.

Nuclear terrorism is theoretically possible in several ways.

The most realistic scenario: a terrorist would purchase 25 kg of highly enriched uranium or 8 kg of plutonium on the black market or steal it, and in less than a year, they could produce a functional improvised nuclear bomb of 0.5 to 2 kilotons.

An attack on any of the world’s 454 operational nuclear reactors is theoretically possible at any time.

An explosion would not cause a chain reaction but could produce deadly radiation like the one in Chernobyl, which had catastrophic consequences.

The safety system of nuclear power plants is not at the same level worldwide (some power plants have top-notch safety standards, some do not).

Chemical terrorism is just a myth!

False.

It is a real miracle and good fortune that terrorists did not start using chemical agents in their attacks.

But one should have no misconceptions about it, as soon as they are given a real opportunity, they would do so.

The 1995 terrorist attack on the Tokyo subway by Aum Shinrikyo was supposed to be the biggest terrorist attack in history and has been labeled as sectarian and chemical terrorism.

Chemical terrorism represents a cheap copy of nuclear terrorism.

Chemical agents are readily available and inexpensive.

Bioterrorism is just a myth!

False.

Thanks to the progress in the field of genetics, we can expect the development of super viruses and super bacteria in the future, an ideal choice for bioterrorism

All known infectious diseases can be more or less managed by the healthcare system, but what if something unknown emerges, highly contagious like the flu, without vaccine or medicine?.

Biological warfare is constantly being perfected by all the world powers and their efforts in this have never stopped.

Therefore, it would be realistic to assume that there are already super viruses and super bacteria that could reduce the planet’s population.

In fact, biological warfare would take the form of bioterrorism.

By its mortality potential, bioterrorism is humanity’s worst nightmare.

The US allocates $ 7 billion annually for the biological defense program.

Terrorism happens to others mainly for a reason!

False.

Anyone can be a victim of terrorism anytime, anywhere on the planet, for any reason.

The existence of special anti-terrorist teams is a guarantee of security!

False.

Over 99% of prevented terrorism is the result of the good work of the intelligence services as the core of the security of each state.

The mere existence of anti-terrorist teams will not discourage terrorists from their intents.

The world media reacts the same wherever terrorism happens!

False.

When terrorism occurs in Europe or the US, it is followed by media hysteria in the form of endless reporting, analysis, and reportages.

When it occurs somewhere in Africa or Asia, it is very poorly covered by the media.

A couple of victims of terrorism in a European or American city are given much more attention than a couple hundred in an African or Asian city.

In historical terms, who is considered the initiator of terrorism?

Assassins – a branch of the Muslim Shi’ite sect of the Ismailis and their leader Hasan ibn el Sabbah.