Annual report 2014: Not only returnees but also “stay-at-homes” pose a threat

The threat posed by jihadist terrorism does not only emanate from individuals who have left for Syria or Iraq and might be returning in the future, but also from individuals who are based in the Netherlands. In most cases these individuals do not even have the intention to leave for the battlefields abroad.

The "stay-at-homes" could be individuals who are frustrated by their unsuccessful journey to join the conflict, or individuals who radicalise at home under the influence of propaganda from groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. In addition, there are individuals in our country who are associated with older networks with a core membership of hardened jihad veterans, who maintain close relationships with jihadist groups in North Africa and the Middle East. All of these jihadists form a potential threat for the Netherlands.

On several occasions in 2014 the AIVD identified potential threat in a timely fashion, and has also put other government parties into position to respond accordingly.

There is no "typical" jihadist

It is difficult to profile thé typical jihadist. This is why the AIVD's work is so complex. For example, not every returnee poses a risk by definition. Case-by-case risk assessments are conducted in co-operation with other parties, such as the National Co-ordinator for Counterterrorism and Security, the Public Prosecution Service and other, local authorities.

Another complexity to be considered is the composition of the jihadist population. Some jihadists are university educated and others secondary-school dropouts. Some are deeply religious and some are just adventurers. And although the majority are Dutch citizens of Moroccan origin, their ranks also include native Dutch converts and others of Surinamese, Turkish or Antillean parentage. A portion of the jihadist population has a criminal past.

There are more women joining the conflict since the establishment of the Islamic State

From the middle of 2014 on - since a Caliphate, under the name Islamic State has been established- the AIVD has seen the number of women involved rise rapidly. A quarter of all individuals leaving to join the conflict are women at the moment, more than 40 to be exact.

Increasingly often entire families attempt to leave our country. At the moment there are approximately 30 Dutch children under the age of 10 in the conflict areas, half of whom were born there. The AIVD has been able to prevent several families from travelling to the conflict areas in 2014.

Russia, cyber-threats and other areas of interest

In its annual report the AIVD not only specifically highlights jihadism and the geo-political developments in North Africa and the Middle East, it also addresses the deteriorating relationship between Russia and the West. In addition it mentions the risks of cyber threat to our (economic) security and other areas of interest such as espionage, extremism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and promotion of security


See also: Dutch version annual report