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April 29, 2004

The BBC reports that US analysis shows international terror attacks declined last year and the number of civilian deaths at a 30-year low:

US government figures suggest that terrorist attacks have fallen to the lowest level for more than 30 years. The annual report records a slight fall in the number of international attacks last year and a dramatic decrease in the number of victims.

The report says that less than half the number of people lost their lives in such attacks last year compared with the year before.

Attacks in Iraq have not been counted as terrorist attacks, primarily due to the targeting of military assets rather than civilians. Cofer Black, the State Department spokesman, credited improved international cooperation against terrorism, especially crediting Saudi Arabia. Malaysia also received praise for its cooperation, as CNN reports, and progress noted in both Libya and the Sudan. The State Department reports that Iraq has become the central theater in the war on terror:

It said former regime elements conducting attacks against coalition forces have "increasingly allied themselves tactically and operationally with foreign fighters and Islamic extremists, including some linked to Ansar al-Islam, al Qaeda and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."

Black said while al-Zarqawi operates as an "independent actor," without orders from al Qaeda leadership, the United States considers him to be "sympathetic to al Qaeda" and part of the threat represented by that network.

Given the public nature of the Bush administration's attack on terrorist networks and their support, had the US effort not been effective, terrorists would have escalated their attacks in response to our actions. However, it appears that the broad, strategic approach to the war on terror is paying off. The Afghanistan and Iraq phases have overthrown regimes that supported terrorism, and the intelligence gathered during both phases has identified more terrorist cells and plots. Rather than destroying our ability to coordinate with other nations on intelligence and disarmament, international cooperation has improved -- while Libya has renounced terror and WMD and Iran at least allows IAEA inspections, for now.

Neither CNN nor the BBC bother to connect the dots, nor I suspect will we see much of the US media try, either. However, the undeniable progress of the Bush policy on terror will be hard to ignore for long.

UPDATE: McQ at QandO notices the same thing:

All of this is found in the 181-page Patterns of Global Terrorism Report produced by the State Department which Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism analyst for the Rand Corp. says is considered the "gold standard" for measuring terrorism.

Some facts from the report:

There were 190 acts of international terrorism last year, compared with 198 in 2002 and 346 in 2001. It was the lowest figure in 34 years.

In those attacks last year, 307 people were killed, compared with 725 in 2002; 1,593 people were wounded, compared with 2,013 in 2002.

Thirty-five Americans died in 15 international terrorist attacks. The deadliest was a May 12 attack by suicide bombers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that killed nine U.S. citizens and 26 people overall.

Anti-U.S. attacks increased slightly to 82 from 77 in 2002. But they have declined sharply since the 219 attacks in 2001.

Looks like progress to me.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 29, 2004 9:35 PM

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» Distracted? from The Beacon
John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Richard Clarke, et al have been criticizing the war in Iraq, claiming it has distracted us from al Qaeda and the war on teerror. Who's distracted? The BBC reports: S government figures suggest that terrorist attacks have fallen... [Read More]

Tracked on April 30, 2004 4:56 PM

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