Geopolitics

After Norway, Signs Of Far-Right Threat Light Up Across Europe's Radars

In recent years, European intelligence services have seen radical Islam as the region’s top terrorist threat. After the emergence of Norway’s Anders Behring Breivik, the threat of right-wing extremists is set to take on a new urgency across the continent.

Skinheads in Spain (sancocho.com webzine)
Skinheads in Spain (sancocho.com webzine)
Thierry Portes

In its first report published last spring, the EU's Europol (European Police Office) identified the region's biggest terrorist threat as radical Islam. But the criminal intelligence agency also lists several attacks committed over the past few years by far-right activists.

In Hungary, three bomb attacks were foiled in 2009, after the murder of several Gypsies in 2008. In France, six people were arrested for activities linked to far-right extremism in Germany. The police also intervened in Great Britain, the Czech Republic and Germany. Elsewhere, police found "enemies lists," as well as explosives, propaganda material and computer data.

This same report also mentions "investigations by the British police who underlined the fact that today, individuals who are motivated by far-right opinions and who act alone are a bigger threat than the current groups or networks that belong to this circle of influence." This circle of influence has access to the Internet and social networks and "is getting more and more professional," says Michel Quillé, Europol's deputy director.

So While Europe has certainly paid less attention to the far-right terrorist threat than it has to the threat of Al-Qaida, it is nevertheless quite familiar with people matching the profile of Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist.

This 32-year-old fundamentalist Christian terrorist joined a far-right party, but then left the group because it was not radical enough for him. However, he has kept in touch with far-right social networks that cater, for example, to European Nazi sympathizers.

To some analysts, Anders Behring Breivik is a "lone wolf," someone who follows a strategy of "leaderless resistance." This concept was invented by the American Far Right during the 1970s. The ideological targets have changed over time, taking a new turn following the emergence of Al-Qaida. The classic enemy list contains foreigners, Jews, Muslims and people belonging to the "multicultural elite." To achieve one's ends, defenders of the white race must act like "lone wolves," said Joseph Tommasi, the founder of a neo-Nazi group in the United States.

ZOG must die!

It is difficult to track down "leaderless resistance" as it involves individuals who obsessively prepare their bomb attacks on their own. The Internet teaches them how to construct homemade bombs using fertilizers. The social networks are useful as well. According to the Europol report, "the social networks allow terrorists to get information about people and their families, and to know how to locate them like never before."

Maxime Brunerie, who tried to murder the then French President Jacques Chirac, was a lone wolf. He was close to a far-right group called Unité Radicale (Radical Unit). Before carrying out his assassination attempt, he left this message on the Internet: "Watch television on Sunday. I'll be the star. The ZOG must die!" ZOG stands for Zionist Occupation Government, a term drawn from Tommasi's anti-Semitic ideology.

There is also the example of David John Copeland, a British neo-Nazi party member who in the Spring of 1999 – over a three-week period – planted several nail bombs (each containing 1,500 nails) throughout London. These bombs targeted districts where black, Asian and gay communities were living. The bomb attacks killed three people and injured 129. Four of them lost limbs.

Read the original article in French

Photo - sancocho.com webzine

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Geopolitics

Iran-Saudi Arabia Rivalry May Be Set To Ease, Or Get Much Worse

The Saudis may be awaiting the outcome of Iran's nuclear talks with the West, to see whether Tehran will moderate its regional policies, or lash out like never before.

Military parade in Tehran, Iran, on Oct. 3

-Analysis-

LONDON — The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said earlier this month that Iranian and Saudi negotiators had so far had four rounds of "continuous" talks, though both sides had agreed to keep them private. The talks are to ease fraught relations between Iran's radical Shia regime and the Saudi kingdom, a key Western ally in the Middle East.

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has said that the talks were going in the right direction, while an Iranian trade official was recently hopeful these might even allow trade opportunities for Iranian businessmen in Saudi Arabia. As the broadcaster France 24 observed separately, it will take more than positive signals to heal a five-year-rift and decades of mutual suspicions.


Agence France-Presse news agency, meanwhile, has cited an unnamed French diplomat as saying that Saudi Arabia wants to end its costly discord with Tehran. The sides may already have agreed to reopen consular offices. For Saudi Arabia, the costs include its war on Iran-backed Houthis rebels fighting an UN-recognized government in next-door Yemen.

The role of the nuclear pact

Bilateral relations were severed in January 2016, after regime militiamen stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Amirabdollahian was then the deputy foreign minister for Arab affairs. In 2019, he told the website Iranian Diplomacy that Saudi Arabia had taken measures vis-a-vis Iran's nuclear pact with the world powers.

It's unlikely Ali Khamenei will tolerate the Saudi kingdom's rising power in the region.

He said "the Saudis' insane conduct toward [the pact] led them to conclude that they must prevent [its implementation] in a peaceful environment ... I think the Saudis are quite deluded, and their delusion consists in thinking that Trump is an opportunity for them to place themselves on the path of conflict with the Islamic Republic while relying on Trump." He meant the administration led by the U.S. President Donald J.Trump, which was hostile to Iran's regime. This, he said, "is not how we view Saudi Arabia. I think Yemen should have been a big lesson for the Saudis."

The minister was effectively admitting the Houthis were the Islamic Republic's tool for getting back at Saudi Arabia.

Yet in the past two years, both sides have taken steps to improve relations, without firm results as yet. Nor is the situation likely to change this time.

Photo of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 2020

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 2020

commons.wikimedia.org

Riyadh's warming relations with Israel

Iran's former ambassador in Lebanon, Ahmad Dastmalchian, told the ILNA news agency in Tehran that Saudi Arabia is doing Israel's bidding in the region, and has "entrusted its national security, and life and death to Tel Aviv." Riyadh, he said, had been financing a good many "security and political projects in the region," or acting as a "logistical supplier."

The United States, said Dastmalchian, has "in turn tried to provide intelligence and security backing, while Israel has simply followed its own interests in all this."

Furthermore, it seems unlikely Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will tolerate, even in this weak period of his leadership, the kingdom's rising power in the region and beyond, and especially its financial clout. He is usually disparaging when he speaks of Riyadh's princely rulers. In 2017, he compared them to "dairy cows," saying, "the idiots think that by giving money and aid, they can attract the goodwill of Islam's enemies."

Iranian regime officials are hopeful of moving toward better diplomatic ties and a reopening of embassies. Yet the balance of power between the sides began to change in Riyadh's favor years ago. For the kingdom's power has shifted from relying mostly on arms, to economic and political clout. The countries might have had peaceful relations before in considerably quieter, and more equitable, conditions than today's acute clash of interests.

If nuclear talks break down, Iran's regime may become more aggressive.

Beyond this, the Abraham Accord or reconciliation of Arab states and Israel has been possible thanks to the green light that the Saudis gave their regional partners, and it is a considerable political and ideological defeat for the Islamic Republic.

Assuming all Houthis follow Tehran's instructions — and they may not — improved ties may curb attacks on Saudi interests and aid its economy. Tehran will also benefit from no longer having to support them. Unlike Iran's regime, the Saudis are not pressed for cash or resources and could even offer the Houthis a better deal. Presently, they may consider it more convenient to keep the softer approach toward Tehran.

For if nuclear talks with the West break down, Iran's regime may become more aggressive, and as experience has shown, tensions often prompt a renewal of missile or drone attacks on the Saudis, on tankers and on foreign shipping. Riyadh must have a way of keeping the Tehran regime quiet, in a distinctly unquiet time.

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