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The Prospect of Terrorism in Europe

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Submitted by Musa Khan Jalalzai (United Kingdom), Apr 5, 2012 at 06:00

The Prospect of Terrorism in Europe By: Musa Khan Jalalzai The concept of countering terrorism is distinctive in different European states. Every state has its own culture of terrorism, extremism and violence. No doubt, their counter terrorism strategies are based on cultural and social principles, but recent violent acts of terrorism in Norway France and Britain raised some questions. War in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Pakistan has put under pressure the whole security infrastructure in the region as hundreds professional criminals and terror elements entered the region. The arrival of thousands refugees from Africa and the Arab world with their sectarian affiliation further jeopardized the peaceful environment of European continent.

Today, Europe, including the United Kingdom faces the threat of radicalized extremism and terror networks. The recent killings in France proved that terror elements returned from the battlefields of Asia and Africa can anytime disrupt the security infrastructure of the region. The emergence of Sectarianized and ethicized mind and thought in various European states, specifically, in the United Kingdom and France, compelled these two nations to introduce new laws and strategies to tackle the issue peacefully, but extremists and sectarian elements want to accomplish their religious and political agenda through violent means.

Terror related incidents in Britain and the recent attack in France diverted the attention of European Union to the point that home-grown extremist groups needed to put under strict surveillance. What agenda Muhammad Merah wanted to accomplish in France is not known, but one thing is clear, he was brainwashed outside France. Other European nations also felt danger and started arresting individuals related to terror networks. In Germany, Netherlands, Norway and Britain, the same reaction was shown. There is numerous terror networks operation in the region. The PKK, BLA, Taliban, al Qaeda, Lashkare-e-Toiba, Afghani, and Pakistani, Bangladeshi extremist groups, Boko Haram, Al Shabab and many other extremist and sectarian groups are operating with their own agendas.

According to some recent reports, PKK is a mafia group that runs the business of drug and arm trafficking in Europe. A recent U.S report termed PKK as an octopus-like structure carrying out criminal activity, including drug and people smuggling to raise funds and provide cover to the group terror networks across Europe. The PKK also has a vast European propaganda machine and fundraising network which includes four television channels, two agencies, thirteen radio channels and dozens newspapers and periodicals. Lashkar-e-Toiba, Al Shabab, Taliban and Boko Haram have their own secret networks in Europe and the United Kingdom. They collect millions Pounds every year from business communities. French Interior Ministry announced the deportation of five Muslim extremists on February 2, 2012.

The question is, experts say, deportation is not the solution; the solution is to bring some changes in foreign and internal policies and introduce an effective law of tolerance and race relations. What Europol has done so for and how it deals with the issues of extremism in Europe is the main question. Europol uses the information of its informers and experts to identify terror networks in Europe, but the way it wants to track terrorist has not been successful in the past. The intelligence networks of various states do not co-operate with each other in a proper way. They do not provide all necessary information to each other agencies. The way, Euro law enforcement agencies and Europol's operational coordination centre and secure information centre carry out more than 12,000 cross border investigations each year is no more effective. Terror and extremist networks are there, PKK is there, Al Qaeda is there and Boko Haram is very much there.

The other ways of sharing information include; First Response Network, European Explosive Ordinance Disposal Network and the Euro Bomb Data System have produced no fruitful result. The latest TE-SAT Report revealed that terrorism continues to impact the lives of Euro citizens. France is under threat from extremist networks, because of the country's recent hostile policies and law against Muslim veil and schools. French citizens are travelling to war zones and take part in civil wars in Africa and Asia, receive training from terrorist and extremist organizations and return to their country with new ideas, new sects and new messages. On their return, they use their skills and encourage others to follow their violent way. In Netherlands, terror threat is largely intertwined with international threat because the main focus of terrorists is to target specific places. The threat of extremism is still real in Netherlands.

The issue of race relations in the country is more complicated. Racism has created more problems for the law enforcement agencies of the country. Jihadist recruitments in Netherlands over the past few years have proved that extremist and terror groups have roots in the country. The nature of the terror threat in Netherlands and other European states do reflect the struggle of homegrown extremist groups seeking to carry out attacks in various states, target government installation and religious places. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, all European extremist groups have representation in Taliban networks. A year ago, German extremist networks had the representation of two hundred fighters. In February 2011, French newspaper published classified documents of the country's counter intelligence agency which revealed the existence of 100 European nationals in Pak-Afghan border area. Out of those 100 European, 14 were French while citizens of Italy and Belgium were also receiving military training there. European police has already reported the arrival of more than 700,000 radicalized people in Europe from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Maghreb, Syria, West Bank, Gaza, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt, Yemen and Somalia. In Sweden, there are more extremists who actively support terrorism in other states, through various means.

People in Pakistan and Afghanistan are deeply influenced by martyrdom and blow themselves willingly. There are suicide bombers recruitment academies in Waziristan region that recruit and produce numerous suicide bombers every year. The recent fixed price for the sale of a suicide bomber is from 10,000 to 15,000 US dollars. Every state, group and individual can purchase these and use bombers against their targets. These bombers are feared to enter European states in near future. The writer is author of Policing in Multicultural Britain and Civil war in Afghanistan can be reached at: zai.musakhan222@gmail.com

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