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The mutating face of terrorism in the West

The threats are growing, while governments appear too slow in reacting to the changes

Maria Dubovikova

Published: Updated:

We are now facing two types of terrorist attacks in the West. The first is organized with suicide bombers managed by those who have recruited and brainwashed them. Those brainwashers received their training from the core of terrorist organizations, primarily ISIS, as now al-Qaeda has mostly become a shadow terrorist groups in terms of its global presence.

Those who commit the terrorist attacks, even without killing themselves, can be considered as “martyrs” by their group as police have been shooting to kill. These terrorist attacks are well organized. But at the same time that can be prevented through the work of security services.

Their names are commonly known and are supervised by security services until a certain moment when they act to prevent the realization of the bloody plot and save lives. But sometimes they fail and lose the right moment, when the terrorists appear to be faster.

Sometimes it happens because of ineffectiveness of the taken measures, or ineffectiveness of the security services themselves which in Europe suffer quite often from a lack of financial and human resources.

The threats are growing, while governments appear too slow in reacting to the changes. Charlie Hebdo, the Paris attacks, the Brussels and Istanbul airport bombings; these attacks all pose a major threat to stability, as they show the problems in the work of security and special forces which leads to fearful societies in disarray.

Safety in split societies

The lone-wolf terrorists are the other type. And these kind pose a major threat to the safety of civilians, but are not a geopolitical threat. They destroy the feeling of safety that forms the basis of life West and thus threatens democracy and freedom. They act as a regular disturbing element.

Even when it seems that everything is safe, there is still a chance that something can happen because the threat doesn't come from a group of people, but from a single person. He could be your neighbor, the vendor in your bakery or a truck driver. Such attacks raise also raise deep concerns of splitting societies, especially if the perpetrator originates from a foreign country.

The threats are growing, while governments appear too slow in reacting to the changes

Maria Dubovikova

Lone-wolf attacks are used by terrorist organizations as a means of self-PR. ISIS took responsibility for the Nice truck attack, although authorities have doubted this is the case. Still, their claim of the attack attracted international press attention – exactly what they wanted, to divert attention away from news of the militant group losing territory in Iraq and Syria and to show that ISIS killers have infiltrated western societies.

It’s likely that ISIS would have claimed responsibility for the Munich shooting this week had the attacker not been revealed as a German-Iranian who was fascinated by violence and mass killings.

At the same time. the threat of lone-wolf ISIS-inspired attacks should not be swept under the rug. These attackers are typically revealed to have mental illnesses. Being not properly integrated in societies, people lose hope and are time bombs even if they are not ISIS supporters or targets of militant propaganda.

The current trend shows that the words of French PM Manuel Valls, that there will be new attacks, are absolutely right. And those who should be partly blamed for these dramatic trends are mostly no longer in power.

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Maria Dubovikova is a President of IMESClub and CEO of MEPFoundation. Alumni of MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations [University] of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia), now she is a PhD Candidate there. Her research fields are in Russian foreign policy in the Middle East, Euro-Arab dialogue, policy in France and the U.S. towards the Mediterranean, France-Russia bilateral relations, humanitarian cooperation and open diplomacy. She can be followed on Twitter: @politblogme

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.