USA: According to the Washington think tank Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), there are as many as 230,000 Salafi jihadist fighters in nearly 70 countries, with the largest numbers in Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The report draws on multiple databases dating to 1980 to compile one of the most extensive studies of its kind.
It not only reveals the failure of the US and its allies in tackling terrorism but also the potency of the groups’ ideology and use of social media to raise money and recruit new members.
Seth G. Jones, one of the report’s six authors, said: “Some of these groups do want to target Americans overseas and at home, particularly the Islamic State and Al Qaeda. All this indicates that terrorism is alive and well, and that Americans should be concerned.”
The West has largely failed to address the root causes of terrorism which seems to recruit endless waves of fighters, the report said. The 71-page study concluded: “Perhaps the most important component of Western policy should be helping regimes that are facing terrorism improve governance and deal more effectively with economic, sectarian and other grievances.”
President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Africa and the Middle East could serve as a boon to terrorist groups, the think-tank warns.
The report also brings some good news: “The good news is that there has not been an attack anywhere near the scale of 9/11 in the U.S. since that day, a significant achievement. The bad news is that the ideology that leads someone to fly a plane into a building or drive a car into a crowded sidewalk seems to have metastasized.”