Thursday, June 02, 2016

Anticipating, Extrapolating, Warning

"This is the highest terrorist threat we have faced in Europe since the days of 9/11. We have 5,000 Europeans who have been radicalized by the Islamic State and have traveled to Syria and Iraq and engaged in conflict experience. We suspect that about one-third of them have come back: That is our best guess. We don't know for sure..."
"Our real concern is that there are other networks, either in Europe already, or who are being trained in Syria for further action. We know that the Islamic State last year took a strategic decision to establish an external operations command, a division to plan exactly the kind of attacks we have now seen. We think that they are still active and planning to do that. The threat is alive and current. Another attempted attack is almost certain." "Whether it gets through depends of course. I am concerned about the Islamic State's clearly expressed desire for the spectacular."    Europol director, Rob Wainwright

The Stade de France, located in a Paris suburb, was attacked by three Islamic State suicide bombers in November 2015. The stadium will be hosting games during the UEFA Euro 2016 football championships (June 10 - July 10, 2016), and French officials are preparing for possible jihadist attacks. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons/Liondartois)

"We are alerting U.S. citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation." "The large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months will present greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations, especially at large events."                                                            Travel Alert, Europe: U.S. State Department, May 31
According to Mr. Wainwright of Europole, "several hundred" Europeans who left to join the Islamist jihad abroad to learn the military trade of jihad first-hand, have made their way back to their home bases in Europe. There, they bide their time and wait for the perfect opportunity to express their dedication to jihad by fomenting violent terror on the countries where they were born and whose values they have spurned in favour of Islamist vitriol against all things non-Muslim.

Since it is incumbent upon the faithful in Islam to dedicate themselves to jihad as a manifestation of their faith, this is simply an expression of faith.

Europole, said Mr. Wainwright, is busy working on no fewer than fifty investigations of suspected terrorist plots to take place in Europe. Since terrorists are fond of exploiting opportunities where great numbers of people collect, the opportunity to disrupt celebrated international events such as international sport events seem the perfect venue for terrorists to attempt to extract the greatest number of victims from, through well-planned and -executed attacks. 

Coincidentally, word has come from intelligence agencies that jihadists have been stockpiling weaponry. According to Manuel Navarrete Paniagua, Head of the European Counter Terrorism Center at Europol, members of the European Parliament were warned: "We have some information reported by the member states that terrorists groups are trying to establish large clandestine stockpiles of explosives in the European Union to be used eventually in large scale home attacks."
"The attacks in Europe present a disturbing illustration of the threat Europe currently faces: people from our own homelands, who grew up here and mostly were radicalized here, stand ready and willing to take up weapons against the West [….]  So, too are jihadists who return from the battlefields of jihad prepared to perpetrate similar atrocities [at home] – and jihadists who had planned to join the foreign battle, but never succeeded [in making the trip]."
"Young, inexperienced jihadists can perpetrate attacks, but those jihad-veterans known to intelligence officials and who have long been quiet may also suddenly come roaring back."
Netherlands’ Intelligence Service (AIVD)

"Jihadist networks span Europe from Poland to Portugal, thanks to the spread of radical Islam among the descendants of guest workers once recruited to shore up Europe's postwar economic miracle. In smoky coffeehouses in Rotterdam and Copenhagen, makeshift prayer halls in Hamburg and Brussels, Islamic bookstalls in Birmingham and "Londonistan," and the prisons of Madrid, Milan, and Marseilles, immigrants or their descendants are volunteering for jihad against the West."
"A Nixon Center study of 373 mujahideen in western Europe and North America between 1993 and 2004 found more than twice as many Frenchmen as Saudis and more Britons than Sudanese, Yemenites, Emiratis, Lebanese, or Libyans. Fully a quarter of the jihadists it listed were western European nationals -- eligible to travel visa-free to the United States."
Robert S. Leiken, Director, Immigration and National Security Program, Nixon Center, nonresident Fellow at the Brookings Institution

Belgian security came across plans when they scrutinized a laptop owned by Salah Abdeslam, the Belgian-born French national of Moroccan descent who was involved in and felt to have been the mastermind behind the November 2015 ISIL-connected attacks in Paris. The plans they discovered on that laptop alerted them to plots designed to slaughter British sport fans. Those plans were replete with the kinds of weapons to be used; assault rifles, suicide bombers and drones armed with chemical weapons. The target was the Old Port in Marseilles.

An anticipated flood of football fans in their tens of thousands are expected to converge at bars and restaurants in the historic Old Port area, many of them British. On May 29, British media referenced the Belgian security sources having discovered an Islamic State attack plan. In France, more than 23,000 police are scheduled to be deployed in protection of the world's premier bicycle race, the famed Tour de France, to take place July 2 to the 24th. Special operations forces are scheduled to guard riders, together with an anticipated 12 million spectators along the 3,500 kilometre route.

"Everyone understands that this year the Tour de France is taking place in a particular context. The terrorist threat remains very high", warned French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. And in Poland, preparations are underway to protect participants in the Catholic Church's World Youth Day, expected to bring 2.5 million people ti Krakow from July 26 to the 31st. Border controls at all of the country's national borders will be imposed with the intention of staving off any possible attacks by jihadist terrorists.

Europe has been placed on high alert for all its public events, from music festivals to sport venues and nightclubs in recognition of the Paris attacks and the following attacks in Belgium that succeeded in taking police by surprise by their sheer audacity and level of preparedness to exact as much damage in the taking of human life as possible. There are some who argue that this is Islam striking back at the West. This is the West which Islamists blame for interfering in Muslim states in their efforts to model Middle East tyrannies after Western democracies by removing the tyrants.

Iraq and Libya have illustrated just how useful it is to Islamist fanaticism to remove tyrants. Into the vacuum that results streams worse fanaticism, not the elements of an emerging democracy, since violent jihadists are far more available to take up where the last tyrant took off than the forces of democracy are to assert themselves in a process that will take infinitely longer to jell. That old adage that much can be said about the company kept in expressing one's own values or perhaps lack of common-sense caution reveals itself in the relations of the West with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is arguably the closest Arab/Muslim confidante in the Middle East to the West, and most notably the United States; each are leaders in their own global communities. Saudi Arabia so much so that it becomes part of the United Nations Human Rights groups with its own special panache, despite the reality that within the Kingdom itself human rights are routinely abused. Which is only half the story, the rest being that Wahhabist Saudi Arabia has exported throughout the world its special brand of Salafist Islam which extols the virtues of jihad.

The Middle East's natural resources in plentiful fossil fuels answered the need of the West for a reliable energy source. While Saudi Arabia scooped out vast treasuries in the sale of its oil, it was enabled to finance madrasses and mosques all over the world which it staffed with its own Saudi-trained Wahhabi imams capable of and eager to transfer their passion of religious tyranny to eager pupils schooled to take up the banner of jihad.

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