The threat of terrorism — particularly from the far right — should be a major concern for governments on both sides of the Atlantic as coronavirus restrictions continue to ease, according to multiple experts and former law enforcement officials who have experience monitoring violent extremist activity.
High unemployment levels due to the pandemic, poor economic prospects and the spread of disinformation through the internet and social media could accelerate radicalization, they said.
And after a major drive by law enforcement agencies to disrupt the organizing potential of violent Islamist movements in the United States and in Europe, where hundreds of people have returned from the battlefields in Iraq and Syria, recent analysis suggests far-right groups now pose the most significant threat to public safety.
“We see an increasing percentage of plots and attacks in the United States shifting over the past couple of years from jihadist motivations, increasingly, to far-right activity,” said Seth Jones, who directs the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
Jones defined right-wing extremists as “sub-national or non-state entities” with goals that could include ethnic or racial supremacy. They can also be marked by anger against specific policies like abortion rights and government authority, as well as hatred toward women, or they may be members of the “involuntary celibate,” or “incel,” movement. [Continue reading…]