A new report from the American Security Project, "Are We Winning? Measuring Progress in the War on Terror: An Interim Update", outlines troubling global trends that bode ill for champions of the current US "war on terror" counterterrorism policy. Namely, the report discusses the "explosive growth in Islamist violence in 2008" and a "dampening of the initial 'Obama effect' in the Muslim world." The report also highlights the emergence of new terrorism "hot spots" in Russia and the Philippines, as well as a continuation of violence in other extant "hot spots," including Somalia and Pakistan.
With these trends and new developments in mind, the report expresses concern for global terrorism's trajectory going forth into 2009, given the global financial crisis. Though the Mideast and Northern Africa are somewhat insulated from Western financial vagaries, a number of indirect economic factors can still impact the political and economic stability of certain states in the region.
As for the sanguinely viewed "Obama Effect" on the Muslim World, the report laments that US approval dropped following the Israeli-Gaza incursion earlier this year. And, notably, the report states that, "Unfortunately, only 21% of Afghans believe that an Obama presidency will make a positive difference in their country, compared to 16%, who think it will make things worse." However, more hopeful data is also cited that indicates America's tarnished record from the past eight years is not beyond repair. Thus, the "Obama Effect" is not an outrightly delusional mis-perception, but there is a dearth of evidence to suggest it has yet to have any meaningful impact in the Muslim world.
Read the full report here: