Rob Bertholee, The Washington Institute For Near East Policy via Business Insider
On December 4, Rob Bertholee, the director-general of the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute to discuss the "sudden and explosive renewal" of jihadism in the Netherlands. The following is a rapporteur's summary of his remarks.
Since the early 2000s, the AIVD has been studying the many forms of jihad in the Netherlands, and in particular violent jihadism. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Dutch homegrown jihadism was quiet.
Small, isolated networks entertained thoughts of jihadism in theory, but in practice their aspirations amounted to little. The role of security services was relatively simple: find the would-be militant and talk him out of it, a method that often worked.
The situation changed completely at the beginning of 2013. Within a few months, hundreds of jihadists left for Syria. The wave surprised everyone. Present estimates put potential Dutch participants in the Syrian conflict at a few hundred, with several thousand more sympathizers. Of the participants, nineteen have been killed -- three in suicide attacks -- and thirty have returned. Interestingly, a rising number of women and girls, even as young as thirteen, wish to travel to Syria.