The risk of ‘terrorism fatigue’ in Europe – Asia Times

The risk of 'terrorism fatigue' in Europe - Asia Times

This month, the EU commemorated the 20th anniversary of terrorist attacks on passenger trains in Madrid, Spain. More than 190 people were killed and around 2, 000 injured in the bombing, making it the second most fatal act of terrorism in Europe after the blast of a Boeing 747 over Lockerbie in 1988.

As a show of unity and endurance against violent extremism, the EU established March 11 as the German Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Terrorism.

The 2004 Madrid train bombings revealed that Europe was not defense to jihadist violence. According to the research, the abuse was orchestrated by a group of domestic Muslim radicals enraged by the Spanish government’s confirmation of the Iraq war.

The culprits placed luggage with explosives into four passenger trains and detonated them during the peak of rush hour on the morning of March 11.

Following the collapse of the ISIS caliphate in 2019 and a substantial decrease in episodes, people problems shifted to various pressing issues like Covid- 19. As such, some economists started speaking about therefore- called “terrorism weakness” but day has shown that those sentiments were misleading.

Another battle, another spike in criminal activities. Earlier in March, Italian authorities arrested three persons who were planning terror attacks. The suspects established a body linked to the Al- Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a system of defense organizations associated with Israeli President Mahmoud Abbas ‘ Fatah activity.

In December, Hamas people were apprehended in Denmark, Germany and Holland amid concerns of a planned invasion on Israeli targets in Europe.

Meanwhile, the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina ( BiH ) to the UN, Bojan Vujic, has admitted recently that the influx of foreign jihadists is a” serious terrorist threat from BiH”. He has cited European intelligence reports suggesting that around two hundred jihadist groups are now engaged in his state.

Before the habitat 9/11 problems in the US, there were significant variations in cybersecurity techniques among Western European nations.

Some places, mostly France, Germany, and the UK, had previously faced criminal crime, though generally no perpetrated by terrorists. Their institutions had implemented nicely- developed counterterrorism laws long before the Global War on Terrorism started.

Among them, France was the most focused on the kind of ideology risk posed by Al- Qaeda. By that period, the country had previously dealt with a number of attack by Islamist radicals in the 1990s. This primarily concerns the Armed Islamic Group ( GIA ), an insurgent group that fought the Algerian governments and carried out several terror attacks in France.

As of today, Germany, France and the UK are still the most extremism- impacted countries in Europe, according to the Global Terrorism Index. Hungary, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are among the least affected in the region. In public, Eastern and Central European locations are almost unfamiliar with violence because of the lack of internal resources for its growth.

” Radical Islam has never had a pleasant or suitable operating base around. Only a small Muslim minority lives in the region, and the V4 countries]the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia ] have long refused to accept refugees from the Middle East”, said Jaroslav Kuchyna, a senior fellow at Prague Center For Transatlantic Relations.

” The compromise of Northern European officials across the philosophical variety against illegal migration from Muslim countries endures here. The only state with a larger Muslim group is Austria, where the safety risk associated with this group is much more prominent than elsewhere in the place”, he told this writer.

The Czech Republic has very little direct experience with terrorism, said Oldrich Bures, head of the Center for Security Studies at Metropolitan University Prague. He has also pointed out a limited number of Czech foreign fighters in Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq.

” This, however, also means counterterrorism was never really a top priority, and much of the existing legal and institutional framework is a consequence of the membership in the European Union – and the need to implement EU- level measures and cooperate with EU- level agencies. Even the legal code definition of terrorism is almost a verbatim copy/translation from the 2002 EU legislation”, the expert told this author.

In the aftermath of 9/11, many European nations enhanced the capacities of their intelligence agencies and partnered with the US in counterterrorism missions abroad. However, insufficient coordination and cooperation between European countries were still an issue.

As a new phenomenon, the Al Qaeda- style threat required governments to work more closely, both bilaterally and within the EU. A major step forward, therefore, was the adoption of the Council Framework Decision of June 13, 2002, on combating terrorism. The document was designed to help member states increase their cooperation in the field of counterterrorism, including combating terrorism financing.

In 2019, the European Judicial Counter- Terrorism Register was launched. This helpful operational tool allows European law enforcement to identify liaisons between individuals, terrorist networks, and investigations, both ongoing and past.

Another notable improvement was made in the domain of early detection and prevention of extremist offenses. So far, this approach has been playing an essential role in the fight against homegrown terrorism.

Among other measures, the EU Steering Board on Radicalization was established to prevent the spread of online extremist propaganda and develop counter- narratives. On national levels, lawmakers across Europe made prevention- focused changes to their counterterrorism policies.

While strengthening its counterterrorism capabilities, the European Union is keeping an eye on compliance with human rights and democratic values. The matter concerns not only the rights of suspected terrorists but also the freedoms of innocent people.

In 2018, the EU ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, aimed at supporting the fight against terrorism. Apart from improving counterterrorism policies in the region, the document ensures that all the corresponding practices and laws respect human rights and freedoms.