Muscat – The 2023 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) has revealed that Oman and two other GCC states – Kuwait and Qatar – are the least exposed to terrorism.
These three GCC states – with no terrorist attack in the last five years – continue to score zero and get the lowest rank (93rd) in the index.
Although Saudi Arabia has improved its position and fallen by nine places to 63rd, it is still the least safe in GCC, followed by UAE, which has jumped up 20 places to 76th, while Bahrain is ranked 79th, an improvement of 14 places.
Developed by international think tank Institute of Economics and Peace, the index is a comprehensive study analysing the impact of terrorism for 163 countries, which covers 99.7 per cent of the world’s population.
This year’s index reveals that terrorism deaths decreased by nine per cent to 6,701 fatalities, after remaining steady in the preceding four years. This is a decrease of 38 per cent from the peak in 2015, when 10,881 deaths were recorded.
Terror attacks also decreased in 2022 for the first time since 2019, with a 28 per cent drop from 5,463 in 2021 to 3,955.
The reduction in terrorism deaths can be attributed to Afghanistan, with terrorism deaths decreasing by 866 following the Taliban gaining control of the government. If Afghanistan was excluded from the figures, then terrorism deaths globally would have increased by four per cent.
The MENA region has seen a substantial decrease in terrorism over the past six years, with the proportion of terrorism deaths in the region dropping from 57 per cent in 2016 to just 12 per cent in 2022, the GTI report stated.
Despite the decrease in terrorism, MENA remains the least peaceful region in the world, according to the 2022 Global Peace Index. This trend is driven by prolonged conflicts in the region, affecting the countries’ ability to establish the foundations for Positive Peace.
Suicide attacks in MENA have fallen dramatically. In 2016, suicide bombings led to 1,947 deaths. In 2022, MENA recorded only six suicide bombings that killed eight people.
Other types of terrorist attacks in MENA have seen only small changes in the last decade. The use of firearms has risen 12 per cent, while the use of explosives has decreased 14 per cent.
Syria has recorded the most terrorism deaths in MENA since 2020, while Iraq continues to record the most attacks. The countries most impacted by terrorism include Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria and Libya, while other countries have not recorded a terrorist attack in the last five years, such as Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Morocco.
Afghanistan remained the country most impacted by terrorism for the fourth consecutive year, despite attacks and deaths falling by 75 per cent and 58 per cent respectively. However, GTI does not include acts of state repression and violence by state actors and, as such, acts committed by the Taliban are no longer included in the scope of the report since they took control of the government.