Despite the U.S.-led War on Terror, there has been a rapid proliferation of Salafi-jihadist styled groups, according to a new RAND report by Seth G. Jones. Since 2010, there has been a 58% increase in the number of jihadist groups, a doubling of fighters loyal to jihadist causes, and a tripling of attacks carried out by al Qaeda and its affiliate networks.
This chart shows the countries that are currently the highest concern for the U.S. A country’s risk is determined by the capability of the central government to enforce rule of law measured against the presence of terrorist organisations and their interest in attacking the United States.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen remain the three countries viewed as most dangerous to the U.S. This is despite the fact that the U.S. is finally withdrawing from Afghanistan after an almost 13-year-long combat operation and attempts to build a fully functioning central government.
The U.S. has also been at the helm of drone campaigns against al Qaeda and its affiliates in Yemen and Pakistan in order to disrupt terrorist networks and target high-ranking members of these organisations.
The rapid spread of terrorism has, in many cases, mirrored a collapse of security and governmental order in the countries the report covers. The protests throughout the Arab world that began in late 2010 are seen as a reason for the rise in terrorism as governments across North Africa and the Middle East are struggling to establish general law and order.
Libya’s autocratic regime was dissolved after a civil war triggered by “Arab Spring”-style protests. The country is now desperately trying to maintain order and disarm a patchwork of heavily armed militants. The State Department has recently warned that all U.S. citizens should leave Libya immediately as the country has become “unpredictable and unstable.” According to Jones’s work, it is now one of the countries of highest concern for the U.S. in terms of the terrorist threat emerging within its territory.
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