Terrorist Attack in Berlin: Polarization of Society and ISIS Threats

The terrorist attack on December 19, 2016, on a Christmas market in the center of Berlin killed 12 people. According to an ISIS* statement, distributed through the Internet, an "Islamic State fighter" in a lorry ploughed through the crowd of people. "European authorities urged not to play into the terrorists hands and not to extrapolate the ISIS terrorist threat to all the Muslim community. However, the vector on the polarization of society is already taken, " Evgenia Gvozdeva, Director of Production at the Brussels-based European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center, told valdaiclub.com in an interview.

Terrorist attack in Berlin – An Imitation of Nice

The terrorist attack in Berlin is not a new kind of terrorism. It is almost an imitation of the terrorist attack, which occurred in summer in Nice. The ISIS statements and videos released in recent months, contained calls for terrorist attacks with use of heavy trucks. The terrorist attack in Nice was used as an example.

In the November issue of the ISIS propaganda magazine "Rumiyah," a special section was devoted to the tactics of individual jihad (“Just Terror Tactics”), which provided a detailed guidance on what trucks should be used and what targets to select, so the selected modus operandi in Berlin is not something new. It is also known that the ISIS leadership directly called on supporters among German citizens for acts of jihad.

In mid-November, US intelligence agencies, citing credible sources, warned of a specific threat of terrorist attacks in Western Europe during the Christmas period. The festive Christmas markets, festivals and places of mass concentration of people in the big cities are priority targets of ISIS followers.

In recent months, the German security services managed to prevent several large-scale terrorist attacks and arrest ISIS supporters, but, as the incident in Berlin showed, they did not manage to stop all attacks.


As to the consequences of the terrorist attack in Berlin, they will be sufficiently serious. The authorities of almost all Western European countries have tightened security measures around Christmas markets and festive installations. This is evidenced by the statements of leaders of United Kingdom, France, Belgium and the Nordic countries. They understand that the terrorist attack in Berlin is far from the last one, and new similar actions by the so-called "lone wolves", or single jihadists, are possible.

If the information is confirmed, that a migrant committed the terrorist attack in Berlin, it will significantly affect the external and internal policy of Germany and will lead to a further upsurge of right-wing movements in the country. At the same time, there is a significant chance that radical Islamists who fled to Germany and other West European countries as migrants may commit more attacks.

Do not play into the ISIS hands

In almost all Western European countries there is a quite strong polarization of society and a rise of right-wing groups. We should not forget that this is what ISIS wants when it arranges its bloody attacks. The objective of this organization is to destabilize the situation, inciting hatred and possibly a civil war.

European authorities urge people not to play into the hands of terrorists and not to extrapolate the ISIS terrorist threat to all the Muslim community. Despite this, we see that, for example, in France Islamic centers were attacked and centers for migrants were burned, in Germany there were several incidents involving right-wing extremists.

The vector of polarization is already taken. That is what the majority of Western European countries will have to face in the near future.

*Banned in the Russian Federation.

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