Last Thursday, the State Department released its annual report on global terrorism. According to the State’s findings, 11,774 terrorist attacks in 92 counties that transpired last year resulting in a total of 28,300 deaths.
Iran was labeled the most dangerous as the top sponsor of terrorist activity, specifically the report said that the country “remained the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2015, providing a range of support, including financial, training, and equipment, to groups around the world.”
Iran is still providing arms and funds to terrorist groups, including Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia. Justin Siberell, the States’ acting coordinator for counterterrorism, said that the department was “concerned about a wide range of Iranian activities to destabilize the region.”
These findings are only going to add fuel to the criticism on Obama’s recent Iran deal.
Fortunately, the report did reveal that the total number of terrorist attacks decreased by 13% from the following year. “This represents the first decline in total terrorist attacks and resulting fatalities worldwide since 2012,” said Siberell.
But in Afghanistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Turkey and Syria, the terrorist activity increased.
Although the Middle East and North Africa are the most terrorist populated areas, Europe is at risk “from foreign terrorist fighters who returned home to Europe to plot and carry out attacks.”
This is because in 2015, ISIS and al Qaeda “increased their focus on staging mass-casualty attacks.” With the escalation of these types of attacks, like the ones carried out in Paris, Lebanon and Turkey, the state department recently issued a travel alert for Americans traveling to Europe.
The report also lists 13 “terrorist safe havens,” which are described as “ungoverned, under-governed, or ill-governed physical areas where terrorists are able to organize, plan, raise funds, communicate, recruit, train, transit, and operate in relative security because of inadequate governance capacity, political will, or both.”
These areas include Somalia, The Trans-Sahara, The Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral, The Southern Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia and Venezuela.
There are 58 total terrorist organizations identified in the report, including ISIS and al Qaeda and their affiliations.
While there seems to be some positive progress in the war on terror, the State’s findings reveal that there is still much more work to be done. Let’s hope that our next president recognizes how much of a threat Iran is and is not so eager to negotiate with countries that fund terrorism.