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Thursday, February 10, 2011

The overblown threat from 'Islamic terrorism' | Stephen M. Walt

Harvard IR Professor Stephen M. Walt has an entry on the Foreign Policy blog about EU's 2010 Terrorism situation and trend report. Walt:
Remember the avalanche of Muslim-based terrorism that was about to descend upon the West? Well, according to the EU's 2010 Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, the total number of terrorist incidents in Europe declined in 2009. Even more important, the overwhelming majority of these incidents had nothing whatsoever to do with Islam.
More precisely, there were 294 terrorist attacks in EU member states during 2009. Of those, one (1) was classified as "Islamist": an attack against a military target in Italy. (The figures do not include 124 attacks on Northern Ireland, none of which would classify as Islamist.) Here's the relevant table that lists all EU countries that had reported attacks:

From EUROPOL's 2010 Terrorism Situation and trend report, p. 12.

As can be seen clearly from the table, separatist ethno-national terrorism remains the most threatening form of political violence aimed at the state, society, or international organizations located within the EU. Most of this violence is focused on France (Corsican and Basque separatists) and Spain (Basque separatists). 

The report notes that the total number of attacks constitute a 33% drop from the year before and "is almost half the number of attacks carried out in 2007."

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