The Dutch Report (thanks to all who sent this in) discusses a report on the murder of Theo van Gogh from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, “The Slaying of the Dutch Filmmaker”:
The analysis (…..) indicates that the slaying of Theo Van Gogh should be considered a terrorist attack, not by a lone fanatic, but by a member of an al-Qaida inspired Sunni Islamist ad-hoc terrorist network. For example, the modus operandi of the attack was typical of al-Qaida and its associated groups waging global jihad against the US and its allies around the world. The radical Islamist milieu the killer belonged to, the Hofstad Network, was involved in the same type of activities and “organized” itself in the same way as other al-Qaida associated or inspired terrorist networks that have been detected in Western Europe recent years. In addition, the social profiles of Bouyeri, and other members of the Hofstad Network, resemble those of incarcerated militant Islamists who have been planning attacks in European countries.
Contextual analysis of the operation in Amsterdam indicates potential motivations related to multiple contexts that could be considered relevant for Muslim immigrants to Holland, such as Dutch immigration policy and counter-terrorism efforts, the “global war on terrorism” and the invasion of Iraq, as well as increased conflict-levels in areas of political grievance and symbolic value to Islamists and Muslims in general, such as in Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir. In addition the Van Gogh case suggests that statements by high-profile persons that are exposed in the media might be interpreted as “insults against Islam”, and thus serve as partial motivation for terrorism, or at least affect the target selection of the Islamist militants, who have chosen terrorism as a strategy in the battle against the US and its allies. The murder of the filmmaker also showed the effectiveness of an assassination of a public figure in spreading fear and escalating the levels of conflict between the Dutch and immigrants to Holland, adding to a growing xenophobia, which in turn might lead to increased problems of integration, and make alienated young Muslim immigrants receptive of al-Qaida’s vision of global jihad.
From a counter terrorism perspective, the concept of complex motivations, or multiple social, political and religious motivations (related to different contexts), implies that the police and intelligence services working to prevent terrorist attacks should pay careful attention to political developments beyond the geographical area they police, and be aware that Islamist terrorism might occur as a response by developments in other countries, or faraway areas of the world.
The full report is available as a pdf here.