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The biggest terrorism threat to whom?

A common debate online is between those most concerned with the threat of jihadist terrorism and those more concerned with the extremist far-right in America. The problem with this debate is that it usually does not acknowledge the reality that who poses the biggest threat to any particular individual or community depends upon the geographical location and ideology and ethnicity or the potential target or target(s) of terrorism and extremism.

While a random far-right extremist is far more likely to be a threat to me and to most of my fellow Americans, ISIS is by far a much, much bigger threat to the average Iraqi and there are other corners of this globe in which the biggest threat comes from individuals and organizations that have nothing to do with Western far-right movements or any form of Islamism.

The biggest threat to the USA and the biggest threat to the civilian population of various Muslim majority countries and the biggest threat to the planet and so on…the questions are different and so are the answers…anti-gun control conspiracy theorist wannabe domestic terrorists, white supremacists, and radical fascist Christian Dominionists on the extreme far-right are the biggest terrorism threats to the USA at home, but those are not the people you are most worried about if you are an Afghan feminist or liberal or atheist or homosexual or a volunteer helping to vaccinate children in Northern Nigeria or rural Pakistan. In those cases your far-right extremist threat would be the likes of the Taliban, Islamic State, Haqqani Network, or even an ultraconservative member of your own family.

Your biggest fear would likely not be the Americans…in fact for many people in Afghanistan their greatest fear has been the pull out of US troops who are supporting and training the Afghan military who is defending them from the Taliban and now ISIS. In other places the biggest threat comes from the government itself: Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea…and in others there long been far-left radical militias killing many innocent, almost trying to compete with the concurrent far-right movements in their societies and often surpassing them. Here I mean countries like Colombia and Peru for example where far-right militias and far-left militias (FARC and Shining Path) had both massacred civilians for decades.

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