The terrorism threat to Europe – is there an immigration connection?
The strategic landscape in the Middle East and beyond has significantly changed since the defeat and dismantling of the Islamic State in 2017-2018.
Two developments impact on the threat of jihadi terrorism in Europe and elsewhere: the building of an underground insurgency in Iraqi Sunni territory and the relocation of jihadi fighters, mainly to Afghanistan and Libya.
The terrorist threat from the latest waves of immigrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa has been mitigated by events on the ground in these territories and new strategies adopted by the European governments.
On the short term, three events can influence the formation of new immigrant waves towards Europe: the “liberation” of the Idlib province in northern Syria by Syrian governmental forces with Russian support; the dislocation of Kurdish populations by Turkish occupation of northern Syria; and the advancement of ISIS, and al-Qaeda, insurgent forces in the Sahel, Mali, Burkina Faso, Congo.
Research of the involvement, since 2014, of immigrants and asylum seekers from the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa in terrorist attacks in Europe has shown that the worries of the security agencies have not fully materialized and there are explanations for this phenomenon.
The rise of the right-wing terrorist threat in Europe to immigrant communities can also have an impact on an upsurge of violence from immigrants and asylum seekers.