The "War on Terror" began 20 years ago in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States.

However, according to data from the last 20 years, the number of victims of terrorism has increased rather than decreased.



Was the "War on Terror" a failure?

And what do we need to prevent terrorism?



(Commentary Washington Bureau Chief Yu Takagi)

Q What is the "War on Terror"?

It is a military operation started by the Bush administration at that time in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, 20 years ago.



A total of 2,977 people, including 24 Japanese, died in the incident, and the momentum that "we should retaliate against terrorists" has rapidly increased in Japan.



The United States has ruled Osama bin Laden, who led the international terrorist organization Al Qaeda, as the mastermind of the case, and refused to hand over bin Laden one month after the incident against the then-Taliban administration in Afghanistan. I decided to use force.



Then, two years later, in 2003, he launched a military attack on Iraq, claiming that he had "hidden weapons of mass destruction."



However, in the end, no weapons of mass destruction were found.

Q Why did the "war on terrorism" continue for 20 years?

A new threat was born and the operation could not be completed.



The military operation in Afghanistan marked a major milestone in 2011 when US Special Forces killed Bin Laden on the Pakistani side.



However, in Afghanistan, the armed Taliban regained power, and in Iraq, the militant group IS = Islamic State temporarily expanded its power to a wide area that straddles Syria and Iraq.



Large-scale terrorism occurred in Europe and other countries, and the battle of swamps continued.

Q Has the number of victims of terrorism decreased?

Instead of decreasing, it is increasing.



According to a report by the International Think Tank IEP = Institute for Economics and Peace, 71,862 people died from terrorism in the 10 years from 2000 to 2009 in the world.



However, in the following 10 years from 2010 to 2019, 182,060 people died, 2.5 times as many.



Terrorism here refers to violence aimed at the general public for political, religious, and social purposes, unlike the fighting acts that accompany war.



In addition, the number of foreign terrorist organizations designated by the US State Department has increased 2.5 times over the last 20 years, from 29 before the 9/11 terrorist attacks to 72 now.



The threat of terrorism remains around the world.

Q Why did the number of victims increase?

This is because new organizations are being created and threats are spreading.



In the first decade, terrorism was concentrated in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an IEP report.



After that, in 2011, a democratization movement called "Arab Spring" spread throughout the Middle East, and the extremist organization IS = Islamic State, which appeared in the midst of turmoil, became active.



The number of victims has skyrocketed.



In 2014, more than 33,000 people died in terrorism worldwide, including the increased activity of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria, Africa.



Since then, although IS has lost most of its territory, ideologically connected IS regional organizations have been born in various parts of the world, including the Sahel region on the south side of the Sahara Desert in Africa, Southwest Asia, and the Indo-Pacific, and have become more active. increase.



Also, according to a report by the CFR = Council on Foreign Relations, between 2002 and 2018, as many as 53% of the world's victims of terrorism died in terrorism by four organizations.

The four organizations and the number of victims are:



▼ Afghan armed forces Taliban.


29,900 victims.



▼ Extremist organization IS = Islamic State.


29,438 victims.



▼ Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist organization that operates mainly in Nigeria, Africa.


18,641 victims.



▼ Somalia-based Islamic extremist organization Al-Shabaab.


6237 victims.

Q Why did the war on terrorism not eliminate terrorism?

Experts studying the trends of terrorist organizations point out that the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq initiated by the United States have actually boosted the activities of terrorist organizations.

Professor William Braniff, University of Maryland



"Without the long-running wars between Iraq and Afghanistan, there would have been no activation of violence as seen in those conflict areas. Help earn and deploy combat-based propaganda. Conflict is like sending oxygen to the fire of terrorism. "

Q Was the "War on Terror" started by the United States a failure?

The activities of terrorist organizations and extremists are becoming more active in the world, and many point out that it was a "failure."



On the other hand, it is argued that terrorism such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks has not occurred in the United States since then, and the purpose of protecting the continental United States from terrorism has been fulfilled.



Petreas, a local commander of the US military in both Iraq and Afghanistan, emphasized that he had achieved significant results.

Former Commander Petreas


"In the last 20 years, there have been no attacks like the terrorist attacks, no major attacks by Islamic extremists in the United States, and al-Qaeda has been unable to establish a sanctuary of activity. In addition to creating, the anti-terrorist operations have judged Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the case. "

Q What is the key to prevent terrorism?

Terrorist organizations find a "dwelling place" somewhere on the earth, changing their form and area of ​​activity.



There is no doubt that it is necessary to monitor and increase pressure on such organizations and individuals, and to work to eliminate the “hate” and “anger” that are the causes of terrorism.



The two interviewees pointed out:




Former Commander Petreas


"The threat of extremists is undoubtedly to change places and stay alive. This is a serious problem, a battle that spans decades and even generations. It's important to put pressure on and monitor it. ”



Professor William Braniff, University of Maryland


“ Minimizing conflict, not expanding it. That's what terrorist organizations will bring to the next generation of fighters. It will deplete the resources needed to collect it. What is needed is a long-term, comprehensive political strategy that empowers Islamic society and removes the appeal of terrorist organizations. "

Q What should the international community, including Japan, do?

In the last 20 years, as a result of the military-centered "War on Terror", terrorism has not disappeared from the world, and the Taliban has revived in Afghanistan.



The United States is poised to stop serving as a so-called "world policeman" and focus on countering the rising China.



Now that the times are at a major turning point, in order for the international community to suppress terrorism, it is not only dependent on military power, but also the breath of creating a society in which young people are dyed with radical ideas and do not run into terrorism. Long-term efforts are required.

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