The complex shape of terrorism
with its ideological vertices,
illustrated through data.
Terrorism is the consequence of some groups’ activities originated from the violent radicalization of different mindsets. It is a complex phenomenon and in the 90s the “Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism” of the ONU General Assembly recognised it as a global threat to peace and international safety.
There are three core sources that could be identified as triggers of a plurality of ideologies: religious,political and ethnic.
In order to analyse the primary version of terrorism, the one provided by data, we merged together two different datasets from START consortium: the GTD and BAAD2.
We selected 120 terrorist groups and analysed their activities throughout 18 years - from 1998 to 2015 - in order to display a clear picture of the terrorist attacks evolution over time and by the sources.
Terrorist attacks, as in violent actions against community are old and deeply eradicated phenomena in history. They are the result of many factors and could be metaphorically compared to a complex geometrical shape.
There are different factors that influence terrorism.These could be visualised as its faces, while the ideological sources could be compared to its vertices, the origins of the shape.
terrorist groups start from several radical beliefs that are different in roots and typology. In order to simplify the ideological net, we gather these groups in three main categories: religious, political and ethnic.
The bump chart shows the amount of terrorist attacks over the last 18 years. The trend could be divided in two parts, the first one where the three flows - religious political ethnic - have similar sizes and a second one where there is a significant increase of the religious matrix attacks.
The trend seems to be quite different in Europe, where political conflicts prevail the others. The peak of this trend is in the 2000s, although
there is a religious-based conflict increase in the last years.
The research investigates three main aspects of terrorism: geographical settings, groups and victims. In the first part we tried to layout an overall view about the terrorist attacks distribution from 1998 to 2015 all over the world, always focusing on the amount of victims and on the three different origin points.
The majority of the victims in Asia until the 90s was caused by political and religious-led terrorism.
In the last years there has been a significant increase of the religious ideology-led attacks, slightly lower than in the other regions.
Middle East is the most damaged geographical area. The trends appear to be similar to the other regions; the religious ideological source is the one causing the highest number of deaths, with a high intensification in the last years.
The Sub-Saharan Africa is characterized by the absence of any political ideology-led attacks.
The ethnic trend is always regular throughout the years, while the religious one has seen a significant increase from 2010.
Terrorist groups cover a central role in the phenomenon, representing one of the main aspects of terrorism. We analysed the deadliest groups, in order to understand how much a specific ideological source is dangerous in terms of attacks and victims.