The Iraq Effect

War and the Incidence of Global Terrorism

Has the war in Iraq diminished or increased the threat of jihadist terrorism worldwide? Although widely debated, there has been no systematic empirical analysis to determine the answer -- until now.

At this New America Event, Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank discussed their groundbreaking new report, which shows that terrorism has dramatically increased worldwide following the onset of the Iraq war. Based on an analysis of the MIPT-RAND terrorism database, Bergen and Cruickshank conclude that the incidence of terrorism has increased 607 percent worldwide since the beginning of the Iraq war, with a 237 percent rise in fatalities resulting from terrorist attacks.

The report, which will be released in the forthcoming March/April 2007 issue of Mother Jones magazine, definitively shows that the rate of fatal jihadist terrorist attacks around the world has increased dramatically following the invasion of Iraq. Even after excluding terrorist attacks within Iraq and Afghanistan, the two jihadist hot spots of the world, Bergen and Cruickshank found that there has been a 35 percent rise in the number of terrorist attacks globally and a 25 percent increase in attacks on Western targets.

Steven Katz, Associate Publisher of Mother Jones, introduced the panelists and moderated a question-and-answer session following their presentation.

This event was co-sponsored with the Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law and Mother Jones. Video of the discussion is available at right, while an MP3 audio recording can be downloaded below.


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  • Steven Katz
    Associate Publisher, Mother Jones
  • Peter Bergen
    Schwartz Senior Fellow, New America Foundation and Terrorism Analyst, CNN
  • Paul Cruickshank
    Research Fellow, Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law