Global Terrorism is a serious threat to the international community. Including, western individuals travelling or living abroad overseas and a substantial threat to indigenous individuals located near, or within unstable regions or areas of terrorist activity.
Globally, every region has recorded a higher average impact of terrorism in recent years than the early 2000s. The increase in the impact of terrorism was greatest felt in the Middle East and North Africa, followed by sub-Saharan Africa.
There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally, especially against western interests and nationals from groups, or individuals motivated by the recent conflicts in these areas.
Global terrorism is an unfortunate reality of modern times. These indiscriminate and targeted acts can come from a number of terrorist organisations, small groups, or lone individuals. These attacks can affect any person, establishment, or business at any time and target any location across the globe.
Conflict remains the primary driver of terrorism in most countries throughout the world. The countries with the highest impact of terrorism will generally be engaged in at least one conflict. Although these countries account for the majority of all deaths from terrorism in recent years, during and following these conflicts there has been a substantially increased threat and increased number of targeted attacks against the public, police, government and the military of countries and communities outside of these regions.
Terrorism is a threat that does not recognise borders and may affect states and peoples irrespective of their geographical location. Stable seemingly unaffected states and citizens residing in these areas are not an exception. Individuals and groups who believe that they can advance their political aims by using terror pose a serious threat to societies around the world and the rights and freedoms of citizens, especially by indiscriminately targeting innocent people.
Increasingly terrorists attack targets that are not well-protected places, or areas, and where an attack against a soft target would be the most devastating. These places include entertainment and recreational events and facilities, places of worship, tourist sites, airports and transport networks or links. Significant dates, anniversaries, public holidays, religious festivals and political events are all examples of places and times that have been targeted. Terrorists have also conducted attacks in response to international political or social developments, that they have considered being offensive.
Terrorist groups and organisations have been constrained in a number of ways and now exploit technology to organise attacks. This includes social media to inspire or direct so-called ‘lone wolf’ attacks which are difficult to predict and disrupt and could take place in almost any country at any time. Though these means terrorists have a wide audience and motivate sympathisers to carry out attacks by remotely calling for violence, of any nature, against any target across the world. Which includes random small scale attacks against innocent people and symbols of their perceived hostile party.
Although governments and the justice systems in many countries have taken a harder line against terrorism, including being better prepared and dedicating more resources to defend against global and local terrorism, which in turn has had an effect of reducing the impact of terrorism in recent years, there are areas in which the threat and potential acts of terrorism looks set to increase in the near future.