Tuesday, December 15, 2015

15-Dec-15: Unwanted questions that today's European terror arrests raise

Coulibaly: How lone was he? [Image Source]
What do we know about the terrorists behind the bloody attacks in Paris on a kosher food-market in January, and on multiple Paris restaurant and concert venue targets on Friday, November 13? Less than we need to know. Less than most people think we know.

There's a wave of terror-related arrests going on in Western Europe today. Concerning those multiple Paris massacres that cost the lives of 130, here's what the news services say today:
But three of the nine attackers have yet to be identified, including two of the three suicide bombers who blew themselves up outside the Stade de France stadium, who appear to have used fake passports to sneak into Europe posing as refugees... Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French citizen thought to have played a key logistical role, is still on the run and subject to an international arrest warrant... [Aljazeera, December 15, 2015]
There has been anxious debate inside Europe over the need to review its internal open border policies. Some politicians and policy-makers and plenty of observers, have been asserting that the terrorist attackers were born in the EU or had EU citizenship, which is another way of suggesting that terror-minded people sneaking into Europe posing as refugees is not the essence of the problem.

But if the hordes penetrating Europe from the Arab world - not all of them, but that's hardly the point - are more involved in terror than many want to believe, then the challenges facing governments and police are orders of magnitude more complicated. It's not a viewpoint that brings much joy. But it might inescapable.

It was also widely publicized back in January that those Charlie Hebdo and Hypercacher terrorists were "self-radicalized" (a difficult expression to parse) and essentially lone-wolf operators. Now we learn that two of three suspected terrorists in today's news headlines are being interrogated in relation to those Hypercacher killings where the mainstream view had been of a lone wolf attack done by Amedy Coulibaly, an Islamist.

Seen via the prism of today's developments, it's possible that both core assumptions are wrong. If so, the issue of terrorists posing as refugees might have to become a bi-partisan concern, not merely a political slogan.

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