Breivik’s Legacy: Any Influence on Extreme Right?

Norway jails Anders Breivik for maximum term, 21 years. A short interview with Jean-Yves CamusPolitical Analyst, Research Fellow, Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques (IRIS) follows. Camus is an expert on the right-wing extremism.

1. If we look at the extreme right scene in Europe one year after the tragedy in Norway would say that Breivik’s action had some visible impact on this scene and what kind of impact?

The impact has been limited for three reasons: 1) the increased police awareness of the lone-wolf far-right threat 2) the fact that the Breivik shootings did not attain their goal of bringing racial chaos in Norway and 3) the fact that the very extreme nature of his actions have been much debated in extreme-right circles, where many think that he has gone too far.

2. What will be the Breivik’s legacy for the extreme right scene? Will it be influenced also by the verdict, especially if the court will say that he is insane?

Sane or insane, he will get instant victim status. It is too early to assess his legacy: in Norway the maximum jail term is 21 years. If he is found sane, he can be freed when he is 53, which leaves time for him to express his views when he gets out. He may also try to write while in jail and disseminate his thoughts. Right now, the legacy is a mixed one: part of the Extreme-Right think that he is a hero and a clarion of European resistance; another part says that he hit the wrong targets because he supported the neo-Conservative ideas of Anglo-Saxon, and especially American anti-Islam crusaders, who are often pro-Israel, Christian fundamentalist and reactionary

3. Breivik was a lone wolf. Would you consider the action of the lone wolfs even more dangerous as the action of the organized groups of extremists or we should just be afraid of both?

We should of course be afraid of both, but the lone-wolf is more of a surreptitious danger, because he cannot be detected easily. In Europe however, the lone wolf is less of a danger than in the US, where attacks by white supremacists are far more frequent, because of the very lenient legislation on firearms. One of the dangers both the US and several European countries will have to cope with in the near future is the possibility of ex-servicemen who have served in Afghanistan or Iraq, and who are mentally disturbed, being attracted to the Extreme-right and using their know-how in lone-wolf type attacks.

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