Thursday, July 23, 2015

The next big battlefield is Europe

A year ago, the IS declared its caliphate. Now the Islamist terrorists prepare for a new strategy. They systematically smuggle fighters over refugee routes into the EU.

Original non-translated link to the article in full:

Almost exactly one year ago, on 29 June 2014 IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced his caliphate. He declared himself the successor of the Prophet Muhammad and started a new, highly explosive terrorist project: Instead of attacking its self-declared enemies on their territory, the IS sought its own territory, in order to build a government itself.

An Islamist dream empire with brutal punishments and slave markets, beyond the traditional Islam. A heavily armed state simulation instead of spectacular assassinations of terrorist veterans of al-Qaida. But now it seems that IS prepares a new, additional strategy: Numerous indications suggest that it is systematically smuggling Arab fighters to Europe. Obviously, they set up networks. And it is certain that they want war. The IS is expanding the war towards Europe.

This may seem illogical at first glance. In Syria and Iraq, the terrorist militia is under tremendous pressure and has lost at least 25 percent of its territory. But the basic principle of their warfare is that the more enemies, the better. This is less a cool calculation as a salvation ideology. Because according to the doomsday theory of IS it's precisely total warthat will bring humanity closer to the Last Day, and the paradise. "Defeats are part of the war," says a German IS-fighters. "Time will tell, and in the end we will be the big winners."

Just in April the Berlin Ex-rapper Deso ​​Dogg, who is fighting now for the IS, threatened with attacks of "sleepers" in a video message. So-called terrorists who secretly prepare attacks under the guise of a normal life over years and can attack on command at any time. "Such sleeper cells of the IS already exist in Europe," says Ioannis Michaletos from the Greek Institute of International and Security Analysis. "Attacks are only a matter of time." Was the bloodshed of the attack on the French satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo" and a kosher grocery store in Paris in January, or the Islamist terrorist attack in February in Copenhagen just the beginning? In any case, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned at the beginning of the week, that IS-followers in Syria and Iraq were planning "terrible" attacks in the UK.

The Greek expert on terrorism and organized crime is a good address for the subject, because in a sense he lives in the transit area of terror. The Greek authorities unmasked several Islamist networks in the course of last year. A Syrian woman carried 300,000 euros without being able (or willing) to explain their origin. Several times, weapons and ammunition were confiscated. For the secret envoys of the IS, Greece is obviously one of the main gateways to Europe. Here you have the perfect camouflage: the vast power of their fleeing victims. 200,000 Syrian refugees have so far been brought to Europe, and among them, numerous members of the IS have mingled - Michaletos, whose home is a major refuge for people from the war-torn country, is certain of that.

When one combines this knowledge with research in Syria, Turkey and hints from EU countries, three main routes are clear on which IS- people come to Europe: The first leads from Syria over the Bosphorus to Greece. This is the same way that the thousands of Syrian refugees take. The second route runs through the chaotic mini states of former Yugoslavia .

The third and possibly most explosive route is the Bulgarian. A fourth, frequently mentioned itinerary on the other hand, seems to be hardly used: While security agencies have warned that IS-people might also hide among the tens of thousands of people who cross over across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, so far there is no hard evidence for it. But on the other escape routes Syrians apparently meet time and again just the people they wanted to escape. Even where they finally believed themselves safe.

Once refugees receive political asylum, they are free to move and work in Germany. The only thing that terrorists need for admission is a Syrian passport. It guarantees virtually automatic asylum. You can buy it at any time on the black market for the equivalent of 1200 euros, including identity card. The document is genuine. But the IS can probably also make its own passports, since it dominated provincial capitals and their registration offices. 

The refugee scam seems to be the perfect trick and Greece the ideal route. But the Bulgaria-connection is not only adventurous but also the more dangerous for Europe. Because of it, the terrorists come as almost real EU citizens to Europe. No reception centers, no identity controls, and facilitated travel throughout the Union. Bulgarian passports are easy to come by.

As the poorest country in Europe, Bulgaria is predestined for illegal activities. The state has a "serious problem" with corruption to the highest levels of management, the EU Commission noted this year. In addition, the internationally operating Bulgarian mafia is a power factor. She has good relations with criminal gangs in Russia, Serbia, as well as Italy. Drugs, weapons, prostitution and human trafficking are their specialty.

From the Bulgarian mafia of IS also gets the passports. With each travel document, the Bulgarian gangsters earn between 20,000 and 30,000 euros. In the Maghreb, but also in Tanzania and Kenya, criminal organizations have cooperated for nearly two decades with Islamists. The IS now seems to use these networks, too. Why Tanzania? The friends in Africa can prepare missions in Europe much more relaxed. Moreover, it is far less suspicious when you arrive on a flight from an East African country in Stockholm, Frankfurt and Rome, than from Turkey, the neighboring country of Syria. And unlike German nationals, Bulgarians easily get a visa issued at the airport in Tanzania. After all, both were once Communist states.

Among the leadership of the IS are former officers of the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein. They were trained in the former Soviet bloc, many in the GDR. After the Wall came down, many old Eastern spies went to the Middle East. The IS-terrorist organization knows how to conduct sensitive, dangerous paramilitary operations. It does not act like a guerrilla group, but as a state. There is an almost grotesque idea that today terrorist attacks in the Federal Republic could be based on the experience with the Stasi. The secret services of the Eastern bloc were very professional.

The next big battle looms over Europe.