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Homegrown Terrorists

In the aftermath of four recent terrorism-related arrests around Lac Leman, former Swiss intelligence officer and current manager of Terrorism and Joint Analysis Group (T-JAG) at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), Jean-Paul Rouiller, was recently interviewed by the Tribune de Genève to discuss the issues with terrorism in Switzerland.

Although he believes there is little evidence to suggest that the four recent incidents were connected, Mr Rouiller asserts that the paradigm of terrorist activity and presence in Switzerland has been shifting ever since the beginning of the conflict in Syria.

For the past twenty years, major terrorist actors were only passing through Switzerland. In recent times, however, the presence of these key Jihadist actors in Switzerland has grown, developing what Mr Rouiller calls “a Swiss Jihadist pool”. In the larger scale, this change means that Jihadists in Switzerland are becoming increasingly “endogenous” – homegrown – as this pool of jihadists is mainly comprised of individuals who grew up in Switzerland.

On this matter, Mr Rouiller warns that Switzerland must fear the presence of the endogenous individual terrorist more than the formation of an endogenous terrorist cell since the individual is how modern terrorism - the Islamic State (IS) – operates. The recent attacks in London and Paris are prime examples of this threat.

Due to the changing paradigm of the situation of terrorism in Switzerland and the different security challenges this creates for the country, Mr Rouiller suggests that Switzerland should follow the model of other European countries to introduce and implement laws on terrorism to strengthen themselves against modern terrorism.

 

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