The region suffered 52% of all terrorist attacks in 2013

Middle East

The risk of terrorism and political violence is spiralling out of control in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as countries are failing to address fiscal imbalances, according to Aon Risk Solutions.

More than half (52%) of recorded terrorist attacks in 2013 were located in the MENA region and represented an 11% increase on 2012’s figures, according to Aon’s 2014 terrorism and political violence map.

The Middle East alone accounted for 28% of terrorist attacks worldwide in 2013, while North Africa saw a 54% increase in attacks and plots since 2012.

Risk Advisory Group, which produced the map jointly with Aon, said countries in the region are struggling to break free from a constant cycle of civil unrest owing to fiscal imbalances.

Speaking to GR’s sister title StrategicRISK, the group’s head of intelligence and analysis Henry Wilkinson said: “One of the really interesting trends that came out from the Arab Spring is the diffusion of state power from central government down into local organisations and movements who are able to provide things that people might traditionally look to from the state.”

He said the region is stuck in “a sustained period of crisis” as conflicting fiscal responsibilities mean governments are simply surviving to maintain a balance of power.

He added: “The region is struggling to break free from this cycle where governments are unable to implement a certain degree of stability because they are not trying to avoid unrest yet they want to avoid this current position where the state is weakening in a downward spiral.”

The map also highlighted the growing risk of terrorism and political violence in Brazil and Russia as a result of the attention both countries are set to receive from global sporting events due to take place this year.

Brazil was the only Latin American country to attain a high risk rating. It moved from a ‘medium’ rating to a ‘severe’ rating, due to widespread and large-scale violent anti-government protests throughout 2013. These protests are building up to the country’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2014 this summer and the general elections in October.