According to the State Department, the number of terrorist attacks worldwide increased by one third in 2014, with 80 percent more fatalities. The report also stated the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has replaced al-Qaeda as the world’s largest terrorist group.
ISIS in Syria and Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria are the main contributors to the massive spike, while “[A]ttacks in Pakistan, the Philippines, Nepal and Russia decreased.” The largest attack occurred in Mosul, Iraq, where ISIS slaughtered 670 Shi’ite prisoners.
“The ongoing civil war in Syria has been a spur to the worldwide terrorism events,” explained Tina Kaidanow, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism. “There is an appeal of ISIS globally.”
The report claimed over 16,000 people from around the world have joined ISIS. Russia is the top contributor of ISIS outside of the Middle East. Over 400 Chechens have left Russia for the terrorist group since 2011, when the Syrian Civil War began. Australia is also home to ISIS fighters, as well, with as many as 70 nationals in Syria and Iraq. The influx is so bad the government took steps to curb travel to the Middle East.
“The rate of foreign terrorist fighter travel to Syria… exceeded the rate of foreign fighters who traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen or Somalia at any point in the last 20 years,” stated the report.
Al-Qaeda is fading away due to “significant losses of its core leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan” but also because of ISIS’s tactics and ability to stay one step ahead of authorities. ISIS uses social media to broadcast their brutal executions in their self-proclaimed caliphate. They behead people, throw gay men off rooftops, and stone women in public. To make it worse, the militants purposely place children in the front row to witness the executions.
“We cannot predict with precision what the landscape will look like one decade or even really a year from now,” continued Kaidanow. “But we believe strongly we can best protect America’s interests and its people over the long run by engaging in robust diplomacy… and promoting holistic and rule-of-law based approaches to counter terrorism and violent extremism.”