State Department 2014 Country Reports on Terrorism
Major trends in global terrorism in 2014 included the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’s
(ISIL’s) unprecedented seizure of territory in Iraq and Syria, the continued flow of foreign
terrorist fighters worldwide to join ISIL, and the rise of lone offender violent extremists in the West. Despite the fragmentation of al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, weak or failed governance
continued to provide an enabling environment for the emergence of extremist radicalism and
violence, notably in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Nigeria, and Iraq. Continuing a trend noted in last
year’s report, terrorist groups employed more aggressive tactics in their attacks. In ISIL’s case, this included brutal repression of communities under its control and the use of ruthless methods of violence such as beheadings and crucifixions intended to terrify opponents. Boko Haram – operating in the Lake Chad Basin region of northern Nigeria, northern Cameroon, and southeast
Niger – shared with ISIL a penchant for the use of brutal tactics, which included stonings,
indiscriminate mass casualty attacks, and kidnapping children for enslavement. ISIL targeted
religious minorities such as Christians and Yazidis in particular, but also Shia Muslims and
Sunni tribesmen who defied its rule. The 2014 calendar year also witnessed a powerful regional
and international mobilization to counter ISIL that halted the group’s initial advances in Iraq.
The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2178 in September constituted a significant
step forward in international efforts to cooperate in preventing the flow of foreign terrorist
fighters to and from conflict zones.