Speaking at the launch of the United Nation’s (UN’s) 2020 Virtual Counter-Terrorism Week yesterday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the COVID-19 pandemic provides new opportunities for the Islamic State extremist group, al Qa’ida and its affiliates as well as neo-Nazis, white supremacists and hate groups. Guterres said it’s too early to fully assess the implications of the pandemic on terrorism, but all these groups seek to exploit divisions, local conflicts, failures in governing, and other grievances to advance their aims. “The pandemic has also highlighted vulnerabilities to new and emerging forms of terrorism, such as misuse of digital technology, cyber attacks and bio-terrorism,” he said. Former U.S. diplomat Richard Haas, who heads the Council on Foreign Relations, also spoke during the launch. Hass said he believes COVID-19 “will add to the challenges of counter-terrorism.” He added, “It will perhaps create an environment where more countries become weak or fail,” he said, and recruitment for terrorist organizations will quite possibly go up. Read the article at ABC News.
The UN’s 2020 Virtual Counter-Terrorism Week runs from July 6 to 10. Some of the meetings and discussions being held during this event are being broadcast live. Reports and other materials associated with the briefings and discussions being held have also been posted.