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Kuwait marks biggest change in terror index

LONDON, Nov 16, (Agencies): Deaths from terrorism in OECD countries increased by 650 percent last year despite a marked fall globally as Islamic State (IS) and Boko Haram militants suffered military defeats at home but committed more attacks abroad, a report said on Wednesday.

Kuwait had the biggest change moving 87 places on the GTI from 124 to 37, from a score close to zero in 2014 to a score of 4.449 out of 10 in 2015. Other countries to move more than 10 places were: France, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Burundi.

The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) said worldwide there had been 29,376 deaths caused by terrorism in 2015, a drop of 10 percent and the first fall in four years, as action against Islamist militants IS in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria cut the numbers killed there by a third.

The GTI 2016 shows France has a very high level of lethality due to a series of large attacks, including the November Paris attacks. Of the 35 attacks in France in 2015 there were 161 deaths, averaging 4.6 deaths per attack. Kuwait had one terrorist attack which resulted in 28 deaths by the bombing of a Shiite mosque.

Those responsible for the attack, was the Najd Province of the Islamic State. This was the first terrorist attack in Kuwait since 2011, the first death since 2005, and one of only seven attacks since 2000.

Proportional increases in deaths from terrorism, 2014- 2015 shows Niger had the largest increase in deaths from terrorism last year, due to increased activity by Boko Haram. There were at least five countries that had a notable increase in their GTI scores in 2015.

However, the report said the groups had spread their actions to neighbouring states and regions, causing a huge increase in fatalities among OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) members, most of which are wealthy countries such as the United States and European nations. It said 21 of the 34 OECD member countries had witnessed at least one attack with most deaths occurring in Turkey and France where coordinated attacks by IS gunmen and suicide bombers at the Bataclan music venue, a soccer stadium and several cafes in Paris last November killed 130 people. Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and Turkey all suffered their worst death tolls from terrorism in a single year since 2000, according to the index which is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) thinktank.

In total, 23 countries registered their highest ever number of terrorism deaths. “While on the one hand the reduction in deaths is positive, the continued intensification of terrorism in some countries and its spread to new ones is a cause for serious concern and underscores the fluid nature of modern terrorist activity,” said Steve Killelea, the IEP’s executive chairman. “The attacks in the heartland of Western democracies underscore the need for fast-paced and tailored responses to the evolution of these organisations.”

The annual index ranks countries based on data from the Global Terrorism Database run by a consortium based at the US University of Maryland. Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria, which accounted for 72 percent of all deaths, were the top five ranked countries in the GTI.

The United States ranked 36th, with France 29th, Russia 30th and the United Kingdom 34th. The global economic impact of terrorism was assessed to be $89.6 billion with Iraq suffering the greatest impact, at 17 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). IS was the deadliest group in 2015, the report said, overtaking Boko Haram with attacks in 252 cities that led to 6,141 deaths. However, Boko Haram’s move into neighbouring countries Niger, Cameroon and Chad saw the number of fatalities in these countries increase by 157 percent.

In 2012 the UN Security Council reported that the Taleban raised $400 million through a combination of taxes, donations, extortion and involvement in the illegal narcotics industry. There have also been reports of Gulf Cooperation Council nations, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, funding the Taleban through Islamic charities and other institutions. On the issue of funding, the report said Al-Shebab generates revenue through income taxation and extortion, as well as through trading coal.

The al- Nusra Front, like ISIL, generates revenue through the sale of oil, kidnapping foreigners in Syria and through private donations from individuals in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. Other al- Qaeda affiliates such as AQAP engage in more traditional criminal behavior, such as robbing and extortion. ISIL affiliated groups were responsible for an increase of 438 per cent in terrorism deaths from 2013. This has largely been driven by increased deaths from ISIL in Iraq in 2014 and Syria in 2015. However, many new chapters of ISIL emerged in 2015.

There were 13 new chapters of ISIL that conducted attacks in 2015 that killed 457 people. These new chapters conducted attacks in Bangladesh, Israel, Kuwait, Libya, Palestine, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. ISIL and its affiliates more than doubled the number of countries in which they were active jumping from 13 in 2014 to 28 countries in 2015, including many in Europe. This resulted in a record number of countries experiencing their highest levels of terrorism in any year in the past 16 years. Boko Haram’s extension into neighbouring countries Niger, Cameroon and Chad increased the number of people killed through terrorism in these three countries by 157 percent. This led to Cameroon and Niger rising to 13th and 16th respectively in the GTI.

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