Situation unsettled, threat level remains at 4
Over the past year the threat situation in the Netherlands has been unsettled, partly due to the discovery of plans for a complex attack which led to the arrest of seven people on 27 September 2018. Although there has been no concrete threat to date, members of the jihadist movement are still involved in planning attacks in the Netherlands. This is one of the main reasons that the threat level in the Netherlands remains at 4 (on a scale of 1 to 5). The chance of an attack in the Netherlands is still real. These are some of the key conclusions of the 49th edition of the Terrorist Threat Assessment for the Netherlands (DTN49), published by the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV).
A mixed picture
Fewer jihadist attacks have taken place in Europe, but at the same time there have been attacks in the Netherlands by lone actors, as well as thwarted plots. Although ISIS in Syria and Iraq is now less able to carry out attacks abroad, there are still ISIS and al Qa’ida networks in Syria that are willing and, in theory, capable of targeting Europe. The Dutch jihadist movement is currently undergoing a process of reorientation, and it is not yet clear which direction it will take.
Political Salafism poses a threat to national security. The ideas embraced by this segment of the Salafist movement could lead to radicalisation and extremism, as well as isolation and alienation from the rest of society. The message propagated by these Salafist agitators fuels hate and intolerance towards those with different ideas or beliefs. This undermines the democratic legal order, both as a political system and as a way of living together as a society. Within the Salafist movement, political Salafists are actively seeking an alternative, replacement social structure, which would inevitably be irreconcilable with the democratic legal order in the Netherlands.
The upturn in right-wing extremism in the Netherlands is, thus far, manifesting itself primarily in the use of increasingly aggressive and inflammatory language on the internet rather than in violence. Within the right-wing extremist movement in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe, a lot of online and offline activity has been observed outside the usual organisations. In this context the fluidity of connections is especially striking. When it comes to right-wing terrorist violence in the Netherlands, the threat posed by lone actors is now greater than that posed by larger groups. The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and the NCTV warn of the impact that the polarised social debate could have on these individuals.