Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The increase on terrorist threat level for Europe in 2012, by Ioannis Michaletos

Bella detesta matribus
Quintus Horatius Flaccus
The latest incidents in France which resulted in the murder of seven people by a radical Jihadi person, raises once more the threat level posed by radical Salafi elements.
First of all it is notable to point out that since early February 2011 the French newspaper “Le Figaro” has published a classified document of the French counter-intelligence stating that at least 100 EU nationals had been trained in 2010 alone, in Islamic terrorist camps in The AfPak region. The data from what it seemed didn’t include Balkan nationals or those from Caucasus or Turkey, thus the overall number from this part of Eurasia must be significantly higher, without counting the “Arab Spring” process and the ongoing civil strife in Syria that proves to be like a magnet for all sorts of terrorist-driven Salafi elements.

The French paper back then stated that around 14 nationals were French and the press agency AFP confirmed also that Italian and Belgium citizens were training after being recruited by terrorists. Similar data have been confirmed over the past two years by British and German authorities, whilst a late 2011 report by the Austrian Ministry of Interior confirmed that radical Wahhabi cells of Balkan origin are residing in Vienna, where the attacker against the USA Embassy in Sarajevo the same year, had lived for some time.
The dynamics of the present day culminations in the Arab-Muslim world caused by the series of revolutions and conflicts of the Arab Spring, coupled with the European economic recession, will inevitably raise the alert level for all European security authorities, since the likehood of further attacks can be estimated. Moreover, the increase in posture in the Sunni world of the “stealth” radicals such as the Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers, as well as the various Takfiri groups or the Libyan Mujahedeen forces; further adds to the hypothesis that a looming crisis regarding urban terrorism of Islamic origin is to be expected.
In addition the influx of illegal immigrants from Central Asia and North Africa into the EU -And mostly from the Balkans- tends to sustain the issue of monitoring the increasing Islamic community in Europe that has developed extremist points of view. Simply put it, the chances for radical action are increasing on par with the population increase of desperate masses of people that are venturing into Europe in a time where the Continent is experiencing a far reaching debt and economic crisis.
Continuing, the Presidential elections in France and USA in 2012 and the probability that German early elections are going to be held along with the major world events of the Olympic Games in London this summer and the European football championship in Ukraine and Poland, are some other significant factors that raise the alert for the defense against terrorist activities within Europe.
In contrast to the even recent past, the proliferation of easy and cheap travel by all means and the mass introduction of secure, cheap and speedy communication and technology to all citizens in Europe, adds another immense challenge to the authorities. Simple tools such as twitter, Google earth, Facebook, Skype and other didn’t even exist or were in nascent form back in the Madrid bombings in 2004 or the London ones in 2005. Nowadays all these tools and a host of other applications can be used by agile and tech savvy terrorists as auxiliary elements for strike preparation and in addition to be manipulated as to pass around in the millions copies of proclamations and through the social media to create a wave of sensation. The case of the lone wolf Brevik (Although not a Jihadist) is a clear and recent case After all the essence of any terrorist act, is not the “act” itself, but the effect that will have in the public of the targeted society or institution.
Another issue that further supplements the hypothesis of the current article is the mass entrance of undocumented aliens from radicalized societies in Europe since 2005. It is roughly estimated by examining the data issued by various local authorities and those of FRONTEX and Europol, that over the past 6 years around 500,000 – 700,000 people have arrived in Europe from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Maghreb, Iraq, Syria, West Bank-Gaza, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Yemen, Mauritania, Somalia. Very few of those have returned back and those that remained few again have been documented, registered or identified in any state-related capacity. That along is another factor to be assessed for, bearing in mind that the overwhelming majority of these people are marginalized due to mostly objective conditions, meaning the lack of employment and social mobility opportunities in present day Europe.
Lastly, the gradual or “step-by-step” victory of the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan vis-a-vis the international community-NATO provides clearly a boosting factor in psychological terms for the Jihadist worldwide. Quite a few may protest to that notion, but the is fact that 150,000 troops with the full backing of dozens of states cannot attain a safe passage without fearing an imminent attack against them, in no more than 5% of the Afghani state territory. Consequently that means that the war in that country has been gradually lost in terms of political outcome and not necessarily on military terms.
It is of wider knowledge that when NATO troops exit Afghanistan the Kabul government would not be able to withstand the Taliban more than a few weeks. As the deadline for an eventual exit is approaching (2014), Jihadists may from now plan their move in order to speed up the process and claim their victory, before the international community drafts a meaningful plan to protect the Kabul government and the moderate stratums of the Afghani society.