From Mother Jones
The Iraq Effect: War Has Increased Terrorism Sevenfold Worldwide
Has the war in Iraq increased jihadist terrorism? The Bush administration has offered two responses: First, the moths-to-a-flame argument, which says that Iraq draws terrorists who would otherwise “be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders,” as President Bush put it in 2005. Second, the hard-to-say position: “Are more terrorists being created in the world?” then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asked at a press conference in September 2006. “We don’t know. The world doesn’t know. There are not good metrics to determine how many people are being trained in a radical madrasa school in some country.”
In fact, as Rumsfeld knew well, there are plenty of publicly available figures on the incidence and gravity of jihadist attacks. But until now, no one has done a serious statistical analysis of whether an “Iraq effect” does exist. We have undertaken such a study, drawing on data in the mipt-rand Terrorism database (terrorismknowledgebase .org), widely considered the best unclassified database on terrorism incidents.
Our study yields one resounding finding: The rate of fatal terrorist attacks around the world by jihadist groups, and the number of people killed in those attacks, increased dramatically after the invasion of Iraq. Globally there was a 607 percent rise in the average yearly incidence of attacks (28.3 attacks per year before and 199.8 after) and a 237 percent rise in the fatality rate (from 501 to 1,689 deaths per year). A large part of this rise occurred in Iraq, the scene of almost half the global total of jihadist terrorist attacks. But even excluding Iraq and Afghanistan — the other current jihadist hot spot — there has been a 35 percent rise in the number of attacks, with a 12 percent rise in fatalities.
Read the rest here.