“Anti-institutional extremists” now considered a major threat to NL along with ISIS
The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) signaled a “development” of extremists who don’t only target the government but also increasingly turn against all kinds of organizations and institutions, it said in its annual report for 2022. “Typical for this group is the message that the evil elite is in power in the Netherlands, and they are ‘the enemy’ of the Dutch population.” The terrorist organization ISIS is also still a threat.
The message is still spreading even after the coronavirus pandemic, according to the AIVD. It appears to be “currently the most popular extremist narrative in the Netherlands. The central idea of anti-institutional extremists poses a serious long-term threat to the Netherlands.”
The intelligence service called 2022 a “grim year,” partly because of the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The war caused gas to become scarce in Europe.
“The basic necessities of life became considerably more expensive. After the coronavirus crisis, extremist instigators in the Netherlands once again had the opportunity to spread conspiracy theories about an ‘evil elite.’ Sometimes countries like Russia seize unrest in the West to secretly stir up contradictions in society.”
Last year, the intelligence service already warned of further radicalization of right-wing extremism. The threat of right-wing terrorism has “not diminished in 2022. In the course of the year, the AIVD prevented a possible right-wing terrorist threat several times by actively disrupting it.”
The group that poses the greatest right-wing terrorist threat is a “relatively new generation,” consisting of (young) men who have international contact with each other online. In chat groups and through channels, they “justify and glorify terrorist violence.” In the Netherlands, the composition of the movement is constantly changing. Online profiles appear and disappear, but the size appears to be “several hundred followers.” Anti-Semitism, in particular, seems to be central to the right-wing extremism of this time.
According to the AIVD, there is also a risk that threats will “overlap.” For example, not only politicians “but also journalists, authorities, lawyers, and scientists have been the target of extremists or organized crime in the past year.”
ISIS still a threat
Although threats from jihadist movements in the Netherlands remained largely the same, the threat of ISIS-driven attacks is higher than in the past few years, the AIVD said.
According to the intelligence service, the threat mainly comes from networks controlled by ISIS from Afghanistan and, to a lesser extent, from Syria. “Global jihadism forms the most important terrorist threat against the Netherlands.”
The AIVD saw increased intelligence about ISIS attack plans, especially in the second half of last year. According to the intelligence service, ISIS was put under pressure in 2022. “Nevertheless, the organization manages to maintain structures and set up new ones to be able to carry out operations in the West.”
Reporting by ANP