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Global Peace Index rises for first time since 2008

By Eric DuVall
Iraqi security forces soldiers conduct a vehicle inspection at a training checkpoint at Besmaya Range Complex, Iraq, March 14. For the first time in nine years, the global peace index rose, in part due to a de-escalation of conflict in Iraq. File Photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Hull/U.S. Army/UPI
Iraqi security forces soldiers conduct a vehicle inspection at a training checkpoint at Besmaya Range Complex, Iraq, March 14. For the first time in nine years, the global peace index rose, in part due to a de-escalation of conflict in Iraq. File Photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Hull/U.S. Army/UPI

June 1 (UPI) -- For the first time in nine years, a think tank's analysis of global war and conflict found the world was slightly more peaceful this year.

The Sydney-based think tank Institute for Economics and Peace released its annual Global Peace Index on Thursday, showing an analysis of global war, crime and conflict decreased by 0.28 percent compared to last year, the first time the index has improved since 2008. The improvement is due in part to a decrease in the global murder rate and the lingering effects of nations withdrawing from entrenched conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The GPI takes into account war, ongoing violent conflicts, terrorism and violent crime, but also people's perceptions of their own societies. In the United States, the peace index fell despite the numbers remaining largely the same. The decrease was due to people's perceptions about violent crime and the political polarization that came about with the rise in anti-government populism associated with President Donald Trump's election.

Despite an overall increase in terrorism-related deaths, Europe remained the most peaceful region of the world. South America posted the largest improvement. The Middle East and northern Africa remained the world's most violent region, followed by sub-Saharan Africa.

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Iceland was the world's most peaceful country, a distinction it has held since 2008.

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