Islamism still biggest threat to Swedish national security, domestic spy agency says

Friday, March 15, 2019
By Paul Martin
15 Mar, 2019

Sweden’s domestic spy agency Sapo has warned of a rise in radical nationalism within and major foreign spying operations against the country in its latest report, but still lists Islamism as the top national security threat.

The report states that violent Islamism still poses the biggest threat to Swedish national security but the threat has not grown in the past year. Adherents of the radical ideology are still plotting to carry out attacks in Sweden, however.

While the Sapo report unequivocally states it found that “no extensive influence campaigns aiming at influencing the Swedish elections,” in 2018, it provided no evidence of or allusions to any attempts either.

The report mentions “around 15” foreign powers that are at least attempting to conduct espionage operations in Sweden, specifically naming Russia, Iran, and China as key figures in this regard, using data from a security survey of 100 public agencies.

“In the past few years we have seen that Russia in particular has improved its ability to actively and covertly influence other states,” Klas Friberg, head of the Swedish Security Service, said.

“This makes it necessary to enhance the ability of the security service and other agencies tasked with combating crime and other grey area activities.”

The report also cited “less predictability in international relationships” and “changing abilities” thanks to the US, though it did not mention President Trump or any other US politicians by name.

Meanwhile, White nationalists on the far right and members of the radical autonomous movement on the left pose a more long-term threat through the systematic use of violence and intimidation to overthrow Sweden’s current form of democratic government.

“A xenophobic and radical nationalist current is on the rise in Sweden, where we can see that the white power movement and unorganized xenophobic groups are starting to approach each other,” Friberg said.

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