Although the number of deaths from terrorism are reportedly declining — with the 2019 Global Terrorism Index showing a global decrease in the number of deaths, attacks, and economic damage due to terrorism — the report notes that terrorist activity is still significant. In particular, there is an increase in the activity from right-wing terrorist groups.
Specifically, IEP reports that Europe, North America, and Oceania saw a 52 percent increase in the number of far-right killings in 2018. The trend appears to have continued in 2019, with right-wing terror causing 77 deaths up to the end of September 2019.
EURACTIV reports that such far-right attacks are typically carried out by “lone wolf” attackers that are not aligned with a particular group. But it also notes that experts believe such a phrase is misleading because these terrorists still remain connected to support networks. In addition, the radicalization of such terrorists can often be traced to a base organization.
Steve Killelea, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the IEP, believes that a 320 percent spike in terrorist attacks over four years should not be taken lightly, adding that most of the deaths from far-right terrorism recorded in North America, Western Europe, and Oceania were in the United States and Canada. Killelea noted easy access to firearms in such countries.
There has been an increase in far-right terrorism for the third consecutive year in Western Europe, North America, and Oceania, with the number of deaths increasing by 52% in 2018. This trend has continued into 2019, with 77 deaths to the end of September 2019. pic.twitter.com/wsuUTprzjh— Global Peace Index (@GlobPeaceIndex) November 20, 2019
According to Killelea, a possible cause of the trend is an increase in people that lose faith in the political leadership, which leads to such individuals becoming “disaffected with the system” — a process he claims is exacerbated by economic inequality.
“I think the trend for far-right terrorist activity is on is on the increase. Where that goes two, three years out from now is difficult to determine.”
The report also noted a decline in Islamist terrorism due to the defeat of the Islamic State as well as US-led airstrikes on Al-Shabaab. Newsweek reports that Western intelligence and security have primarily focused on Islamist terror over the past two decades, which has allegedly taken the focus off of the increasingly deadly right-wing groups.
Anti-Defamation League statistics suggest that right-wing extremists were responsible for 73.3 percent of the deaths stemming from violent extremism between 2008 and 2018. According to an Anti-Defamation League statement reported by Newsweek, white supremacists often use “extreme violence” to spread their hateful ideologies, as well as to “intimidate ethnic minorities” and “undermine democratic norms.”