The article analyzes the peculiarities of the terrorism of “lone actors”, acting under the influence of militant Islamist ideology. Although the potential of lone actors does not look so impressive compared to large terrorist groups, “lone wolves” terrorists are not becoming less dangerous. The danger of the phenomenon is due to the particular difficulty of preventing terrorist acts carried out by lone terrorists. At the same time, existing terrorist groups (e.g. ISIS), on the one hand, use the actions of lone terrorists for their propaganda purposes, and, on the other, try to inspire potential like-minded people to act alone. Thus, the actions of lone terrorists are included in the wider context of the extremist movement (“global jihad”). The article concludes that countering this threat is not only necessary, but possible. But this struggle requires both flexibility and responsibility.
Attempts to penetrate and consolidate in new territories made by supporters of the terrorist organization “Islamic State”* led to the creation of a “branch” of this international extremist network, acting under the banner of “global jihad”, in Afghanistan. The proclamation of the so-called “Khorasan province” was engendered by the confrontation of this militant group not only with the Western coalition, led by the US and the pro-American Afghan government that existed until August 15, 2021, but also with the Islamist Taliban movement. Moreover, the confrontation between IS-Khorasan Province (ISKP) and the Taliban* continued even after the latter returned to power. The supporters of the self-proclaimed “caliphate” managed to regain their strength after the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Afghan soil and now pose a quite tangible threat, carrying out bloody terrorist acts against the Taliban, representatives of ethnic and confessional minorities, and even against foreign objects. The article analyzes the features of the emergence of the “Khorasan project” of ISIS*, as well as the reasons for the enmity of this group towards the Taliban. The author also examines the prospects for the destructive activities of ISKP and its impact on the security situation both in Afghanistan itself and in the neighboring countries. The author concludes that ISKP does not have any sufficient potential to overthrow the Taliban* regime and come to power in Afghanistan. However, the activities of the terrorist group pose a great danger not only to this country, but to the entire region. *the organization is banned on the territory of the Russian Federation
In 2020, the notion of “Islamist separatism,” meaning the non-recognition of the fundamental principles of the French Republic by a part of the French population and expressed in the creation of a “parallel counter-society”, was firmly entered into the French political lexicon. Despite the fact that the term “Islamist separatism” has drawn sharp criticism from a number of politicians and public figures as in France as abroad, it seems to us that this phenomenon really exists and not only challenges the secular foundations of the French state but also creates a quite tangible threat to security (I.e. in the form of terrorist activities). A number of terrorist acts carried out by militant Islamists in France look like a logical development of the “Islamist separatism” tendency. Moreover, not only France, but also a number of other European countries are faced with the phenomenon of “Islamist separatism”, but namely France has a pronounced specificity in this context, associated with the emphatically secular nature of the state. In this regard, it is important to understand the reasons that contribute to the emergence of “Islamist separatism”, which lie in various levels – from social and economic problems to socio-cultural and religious aspects. A separate problem is the potential for conflict, which contains “Islamist separatism” that threatens public peace and harmony and serves as a catalyst for the growth of nationalist and right-wing radical sentiments in French society. In this regard, it is important to use flexible and comprehensive measures to counter “Islamist separatism” (a combination of “hard power” and “soft power” instruments).
A number of terrorist acts committed in different parts of Europe and America by radical immigrants from the post-Soviet states of Central Asia, as well as other manifestations of extremist activity, on the one hand, fit into the general global context of jihadist terrorism, and on the other hand, represent a phenomenon with its own specific features. In part, this specificity is determined by the policy of the Central Asian governments to “squeeze out” radicals and extremists from their countries, and in part, it is connected with the high migration mobility of people from the region. At the same time, against the background of attempts by transnational terrorist networks to use the terrorist activity of immigrants from the Central Asian region for their propaganda purposes, it should be noted that the phenomenon of “lone terrorists” will grow in this environment.
The issue of foreign fighters from Europe who travel to fight on the side of radical jihadist groups in the Middle East (primarily in Syria and Iraq) is growing in importance in view of the threat those militants who return home present for their countries. On the other hand, although almost every armed conflict in the countries with predominantly Muslim population attracts foreign volunteers. In particular, the Syrian civil war became the main point of attraction of jihadists from all over the world. Syria is considered by some experts as an “incubator” for Islamist militants. According to some estimates, dozens of thousands of foreigners from about 100 countries participate in Syrian war, including several thousands of citizens of Western nations (Europe and Northern America). Most of foreigners join to the most infamous extremist groups like Islamic State (aka ISIL, or ISIS) and Front al-Nusra (Jabhat al-Nusra). The phenomenon of European Jihadists is connected to a broad range of objective and subjective problems. At this time, the information technologies – particularly, social Internet-media – play a huge role for recruiting young European Muslims by extremists. Together with the battles on Syrian or Iraqi grounds the struggle for minds and souls of people goes in the Internet. At the moment, the extremists generally win this battle. It is necessary for the governments and the civil society of the European countries work out a strategy and effective measures for struggling against a potential menace from the militants returning home from Jihad. No less important is to take preventive actions against the recruiting of young Europeans into the militant groupings.
So far, the prospect is remote, and support for ISS remains limited, fluid, and disorganised; but the FGS and the international community should remain alert and take what opportunities arise to weaken its structure, disrupt its growth and undermine its propaganda so as to ensure that it does not become a major problem. Inevitably, the future of ISS will depend as much on what happens around it as on its own internal development.
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