The worst one of the three, in the Spanish capital of Catalonia, involved assailants who used a van as their weapon of choice, while the latter two in Finland and Russia saw knife-wielding attackers who thankfully injured far less as many people, though two were killed in Turku. This spate of attacks caught the world off guard and put their entire countries on edge, even though there were general indications that lone wolves might be planning attacks in response to Daesh's impending defeat in the Mideast. There's no proof that they were coordinated, or even if each of the terrorists truly had links with Daesh or not, but they all occurred within the same overall timeframe and therefore deserve to be discussed altogether.
The Barcelona attacks saw several Moroccan-originating young men carry out the worst act of terrorism that Spain has seen in a decade, while the Turku attack is considered the first terrorist incident that Finland has ever faced. Interestingly, the suspect in that case also wasn't from the country that he attacked, and was actually a Moroccan asylum-seeking migrant. The man who authorities believe was responsible for the Surgut stabbing attack, however, is from the Republic of Dagestan in Russia's Caucasus region, so unlike the other two acts of terror, this one was committed by a born-and-raised national of the country that he targeted. Although there are differing reports about whether these individuals were on the radar of the respective authorities before they committed their acts of terrorism, the fact remains that none of them were stopped until after they began carrying out their plans.
This proves that lone wolves are very difficult for the state to preemptively deal with, let alone detect in some cases, and that governments are more often than not forced to rely on responsive measures. The vulnerability that this exposes in the state security apparatus suggests that lone wolves will continue to be a problem in the years to come, and that they might even frighteningly become the mainstay of terrorist attacks in the future as larger, more organized goals such as Daesh's failed so-called "Caliphate" give way to more dispersed, decentralized, and chaotic operations.
Petri Krohn, Finnish political commentator, and Enrique R. Acedo, Spanish-based geopolitical observer, from history to leadership, and writer for Geopolitica.Ru, joined us to share their views on the topic.
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