Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Europe's Terror---When The Dogs of Islam Howl

The dogs of Islam are howling throughout the vacant nights of Europe, snapping at the heels of the fat, napping land.
Many European countries are less cognizant of the danger -- still regarding it as primarily an American problem -- and lack the capacity to deal with terrorist threats. Of the 27 EU states, probably fewer than 10 have taken a real interest in counterterrorism.

Cooperation and coordination on counterterrorism remains problematic. Intelligence agencies are often reluctant to share information with their EU counterparts because of concerns about protecting sources. French terrorism investigator Jean-Louis Bruguiare has complained that information sharing in Europe is often laborious, when action is required "in real time."

Intelligence cooperation is particularly critical considering that many terrorist cells are not based in one specific European country, but scattered across the continent. For example, the six individuals convicted in 2005 of plotting to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Paris had set up cells in several countries including France, Belgium and the Netherlands. When France decided to disrupt the cell, French authorities had to secure the cooperation of law enforcement counterparts in Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

...The internal information sharing problems are particularly troublesome given the ease of movement and travel across the EU. With few internal borders, once an individual has made it into one member country, he or she can travel freely to most others in the Union. Consequently, Europe's counterterrorism efforts are, to some extent, only as good as its weakest link.
Weakest link? Which link is not the weakest? Europe appears to be so busy hiding its eyes and ears from any hint of danger that it has time for little else.

Meanwhile, the many terrorist movements within Islam show signs of internal divisions that could lead to internecine warfare between terrorists. The Islamists will attack where they sense weakness. If Europe can put on a strong united front, perhaps the dogs of Islam will bite each other. Certainly the war between Fatah and Hamas hints at that potential.

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