THE MAGAZINE

What 2012 Terrorism Statistics Reveal

By Sherry Harowitz

Diplomatic assets were targeted 95 times (only 1.4 percent of the total). That included the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya and attacks on embassies, consulates, and diplomatic personnel from many other countries, including Canada, Egypt, Great Britain, Israel, Japan, and Turkey. About one-third of the diplomatic attacks were directed at United Nations personnel and facilities.

Counterterrorism. The report also looks at how the United States has spearheaded and funded counterterrorism efforts through various regional bodies such as the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership. These efforts are designed to help willing governments build counterterrorism capacity and limit terrorist funding by cracking down on money laundering. For example, the United States provided Cameroon with training to help it improve airport security, border control, cybersecurity, and fraudulent document detection. Another example is aid to Kenya from the State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program to help the government develop better investigative capacity and incident response capabilities as well as better border controls. Hong Kong is said to have an “effective security and law enforcement partnership with the United States.” By contrast, China’s cooperation “remained marginal,” according to the report.

International efforts to fight terrorism can result in strange bedfellows. For example, while Ethiopia is lauded for helping fight the terrorist group al Shabaab in Somalia, its prosecution of “terrorists” is said to include journalists and persons who oppose the regime politically.

And some countries can be allies in one aspect of counterterrorism but not another. For example, Uganda has been a strong force for stability, leading the coalition of regional forces against terrorists in Somalia; at the same time, it has not criminalized money laundering, and its law enforcement in that area does not meet international standards, says the report.

The report also points out that some countries are giving law enforcement stronger tools and more leeway to investigate and arrest suspected terrorists. For example, Norway is looking at criminalizing terrorist training and possession of materials that might be used by terrorists, as well as increasing police authority to carry out surveillance. But doing so is controversial in most countries, as made evident by the uproar surrounding the surveillance of electronic communications by the National Security Agency in the United States.

 

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