Last week the Polish government announced the thwarting of a terrorism plot that is worrisome in its audacity and in who was behind it. In a country with minimal experience of terrorism, the discovery of a sophisticated homegrown bomber seeking to decapitate the government by blowing up the parliament and the president has caused shockwaves and introspection.
The would-be bomber, Dr. Brunon Kwiecień, a forty-five year old research scientist at Krakow’s Agricultural University, fits few currently fashionable profiles. Neither a jihadist nor marginally employed or socially bereft, Kwiecień is married with two children, has a respectable income, and is reported to have been exceptionally interested in explosives since his youth. A skilled chemist popular with his students and considered unremarkable by his university colleagues, he came up with a truly audacious plot to blow up the Sejm, the Polish parliament in Warsaw, during a joint session where both houses, the president and the full cabinet would be present. As Kwiecień is reported to have conducted visits to Warsaw to select his targets, this appears to be more than the figment of a demented imagination.
Read the rest at The National Interest
This slightly overstates the problem a bit. It is clear that this plot was a bit of a surprise, but the agencies there were clearly on top of it. Also, while the Breivik inspiration is likely, it is also the first prominent example we have had since Breivik. There have been lots of hot air on website and excited rhetoric, but this is the first to try to do something on the same scale. THe far right in Europe has long been a problem, but its inability to coalesce into a mass movement has hampered its capacity to do much. The rise of an increasingly right-leaning rhetoric in Europe is a problem as clearly people like this are the dangerous edge that will always exist, but the lack of large networks means this problem is likely to remain relatively fringe.
Having said all of that, what is important to watch is the growing self-feeding tension between far-right/Breivik types and the violent Islamists. In the UK we have already started to see this a bit, and the potential social tensions this could stoke could have deep reaching repercussions.
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