Rise O Muwahhid, Wherever You May Be: An Analysis of the Democratization of the Terrorist Threat in the West

Reinier Bergema, Olivia Kearney 12 May 2020

This report aims to analyse the extent to which the terrorist threat in the West has continued to democratise. The authors expanded upon the Dutch Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst (General Intelligence and Security Service, AIVD) timeline of terrorist attacks and further developed a dataset in order to structurally enhance and map out an understanding of trends and developments of terrorist attacks in the West in the post-9/11 era. On the basis of 116 attacks occurring from 2004 up to and including 2019, the report analyses the phenomenon of the democratization of terrorism from three separate, but interlinked angles: operational involvement, weapon choice, and target selection. From the lens of operational involvement, the authors note three different types as being (1) directed attacks, (2) remotely controlled/involved attacks, and (3) inspired attacks. The modern day modus operandi of Jihadist fighters in the West has adapted, now typically characterized by the use of knives, axes, or even cars as a weapon. Through an analysis of the data collected, the authors sought to explore the extent to which the echoes of Abu Mohammad al-Adnani’s 2014 call to action remain engrained in the spirit of terrorism today.