Assessing Assumed Italian Exceptionalism Vis-à-Vis Jihadi Terrorism

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Unlike other European countries, Italy has not been particularly affected by Jihadi terrorism. As for the phenomenon of foreign fighters, Italian Jihadi combatants are considerably minor in size than their French, British, and Belgian counterparts. And besides a couple of dozen low-level thwarted or failed plots, there has been only one partially successful Jihadi-related attack on its soil since 9/11. In light of this, some Italian experts believe that fear of Jihadi terrorism is exaggeratedi or even socially constructed2 to favour precise international and domestic agendas. But as numerous pundits deem instead Jihadi terrorism as a worrisome matter, this essay assesses Italy’s supposed exceptionalism when it comes to the lack of large-scale Jihadi attacks. Following a brief overview of the evolution of Italian Jihadism, this investigation explores Italy’s seemingly exceptional condition, emphasizing strengths and weaknesses of its domestic milieu - particularly at the operational, legal, and social level. Although Italy might be currently safer than other European societies, not only could Rome turn into a prime target in the short/medium term; evidence also suggests that, in the long term, the risk of experiencing more serious dynamics of radicalisation is not minimal.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSmall Wars Journal
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2018


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