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Terrorism: Should Europe and the US Go to Red Alert?

Counterterrorism officials in France, Germany, Britain, and the United States have given warnings this week about the rising threat of attacks by Al Qaeda and its affiliates, especially in Europe. Are our politicians listening? Are you concerned?

"Al Qaeda and its allies are taking aim at Europe, according to US and Western intelligence officials, who say there are indications a terrorist plot is in the offing" writes the Washington Times. (HT: ACUS)

While FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told a Senate hearing on Wednesday that Al Qaeda continues to be "committed to high-profile attacks directed at the West," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stressed the increasing threat of smaller-scale attacks, which require less planning and fewer pre-operational steps and therefore are more difficult to detect before they occur.

France's counterterrorism chief Bernard Squarcini warned in Le Monde: "All the lights are red. They are flashing from everywhere." The risk of a terrorist attack on French soil has "never been higher" and "objectively, there are reasons for worry." David Ignatius covers this warning in English in the Washington Post and adds that Joerg Ziercke, the head of Germany's federal crime office, noticed a growing number of residents traveling to terrorist camps and describes 131 people in Germany as "potential instigators." He said 70 of them had "completed paramilitary training in terror camps" and 40 had combat experience with insurgents in Afghanistan.

His British counterpart Jonathan Evans, head of MI5, warned of rising threats from Yemen and Somalia. According to The Telegraph he noted that "a significant number of UK residents" were receiving training from al-Qaeda's Somali affiliate and that "it is only a matter of time before we see terrorism on our streets inspired by these Somali recruits."

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Many papers in the United States and Europe wrote about these warnings from their countries' top counterterrorism officials this week, but it was not front-page news. Are the media and politicians, especially in Europe, underestimating the threat?

Or is the calm European response more appropriate because terrorism is just an ordinary risk that we have to accept and live with?

Cross-posted from -- The Open Think Tank on Global Issues


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Marie Claude on :

" but it was not front-page news. Are the media and politicians, especially in Europe, underestimating the threat? " our lefties papers don't care, they already are dhimmies ! what they were worried about : Sarkozy expelling the illegals, and paticularly the Roms ! Now, AQ doesn't threat only our inner countries, but also our interests wherever they stand : ie Sahel, where french hostages were taken while working for a french company ! Apparently, this was what we had to expect as a announced "hot" threat. Anyway, more of such harming acts on our people will happen with the race for the rare minerals, the auctions for hostages will increase too, as the authors might be paid by concurrent countries and or companies

Zyme on :

I believe it was quite news-worthy what happened in France with the Roma. It is very unusual that an EU state expells citizens of another EU country, and very much against core principles of the European legislation. This situation turned into an interesting power-struggle between the French government and Brussels. Is that one over yet? Interesting implications will result from it. If France cannot stand against Brussels, smaller nations will be much more likely to bow in the future.

Marie Claude on :

hmm, Zyme you're uninformed the Roms in France aren't rejected as it is stipulated by the EU laws, they can stay 3 months, overpassed these 3 months if they can't justify that they have a job, that their children are registered in a school, they must leave also if these Roms are squatting illegally private properties and or public places, they must leave, as in most of the french villages over 6000 inhabitants there is a yard with free electricity and free water, that is reserved to "gens du voyage",(unlike in our "lecturers' countries) but looks like theses places don't interest the Roms that much (but rather cities or cities hedges), cuz they would have to melt with the french "gens du voyage", and I didn't see that the latter are happy to see them, spoiling their reputation, cuz of their way of "earning" money. And by the Schengen agreement, Romania's and Bulgaria's freedom of moving in the whole EU is still restricted to people who fill conditions for certain jobs, therefore conditions that the Roms could certainly not reach. The Roms from Romania aren't nomads, they live in villages since communist regimes forced them to settle, so when they come to France they can't pretend belonging to the statute "gens du voyage", and thus benefitting of the same advantages, and of the freedom of moving, besides, they don't move when they illegally squat a place in France. As a camping-carist, I know that I can't stay in non authorised places in EU, otherwise the police comes and tells us to move, in Spain, in Portugal, and of course Luxemburg and Germany... curiosly not in France, except for very hot tourists places like Oleron island, St Malo, Azur coast... Also the EU commission while alloting 20 millions euros to Romania and Bulgaria thought having done the god job, without controling if the Roms situation improved in Romania, that is just happy to get rid of them, and discharged its duty on us and Italy Luxemburg can lecture us when Roms aren't allowed in and expels its refugies Roms: even Germany expels its Kosovo Roms too (1000 already, 10000 on the way to) All the noise around the Roms was made by our lefties first, then the whole EU political corected press took the relay. for our lefties, the goal was to annoy Sarkozy that was undertaking reforms on retirement that they absolutely don't want (last year the same number of roms were expelled, and bizarrely the lefties were silent) though some papers support sarkozy's action and sure Sarkozy expressed the national voice, but EU has become such a soviet and ineffective organisation, that if we wand to protect our population we must do it by ourselves Though a few lEU leaders supported Sarkozy, Berlusconi (who has the same "hot" problem), Vaklav Klaus, Zapatero, Cameron, but the hypocrit Merkel denied that she was having such a problem, hmmm Kosovar Roms know al about it though ! Now I'm waiting that the EU crumble by itself, looks like germany will not want to bail out more PIIGS, and we don't want to become the asile for the forgotten of the EU enlargement !

Marie Claude on : The European Union is dying -- not a dramatic or sudden death...

Pat Patterson on :

I was struck on how much the preceding sounded like the rationale used to deny that there was any segregation in the South.

Marie Claude on :

yours ?

Marie Claude on :

"Interesting implications will result from it. If France cannot stand against Brussels, smaller nations will be much more likely to bow in the future." I don't think France will comply, from the left to the right, if you remember the 2005 "no" represented voices from both parts, and we might have initiated the "revolt" against the Brussels dictature what Hubert Vedrine (foreign Minister during Jospin government-> left) has to say about federalism :

Zyme on :

Ok then Marie, I didn't know that freedom of movement is restricted in France too. Up until now, I thought it is a special rule in Germany, that Eastern Europeans cannot move freely here. But you have to admit that the way the debate in France about the Roma was full of words very unusual in the ordinary sense of political correctness. The amount of dislike and distrust is breathtaking. It will certainly take a while until the highest leadership in Germany will be able to speak its mind like Sarkozy did. I am not saying it is wrong to throw the Roma out if they cause trouble. I simply found it to be an unusual performance by the French political class. On the other hand I am not convinced the power struggle between Paris and Brussels is decided.

Marie Claude on :

political correctness is making the bed for radicals, though french population, tourists, have enough of being looted, by Roms kids, of being hooked by women with their babies for begging... and of the diverse traffics. My enterprise has been visited at night by such looters, they took all the cash money, (nothing else that could show the origin, and be significant as loot, they even opened the wardrobes... took off the cash money from my bag, from my man's, and even his car keys, I suppose they wanted to rob our car too, but we had a big dog in the yard, so in hurry, they put back his keys in my bag. In my street our cars are regularly striated by Roms kids that are dropped by their parents to get cigarettes at the corner Tobacco's... If the French population would talk their mind, more than 70% would support the Roms expels, but they are like "veals" (de Gaulle's sentence to say that French follow the main stream political opinion, they don't want to be stigmatized as "xenophobe" by the lefties lectures, so lot's will secretly lean towards radical paries, and if the situation in EU doesn't get clearer, as far as immigration and economical crisis, the next elections will make some surprising choices. if this "illegal" immigration was really in France for looking for a job, I don't think that it would have been rejected. The problem is our Bobos, that jump on any opportunity to exploit dramas, not because they feel empathy, they don't care of the Roms, but for their political agenda If the EU oligarcs, when thinking of the enlargement of the EU to eastern Republics, had given more conditions on how populations were treated there, on economical means, probably that we would not be at the eve to see the whole card castel, that EU has become, crumbling. But the lobbies in Brussels don't care, what they want is to take benefits, on the cheap labor force (average wage there is still €350), on selling more services and goods We simply cannot let such non senses destroying our country for the benefit of a few. if you read french: and what are our commissionners up to: A Dream Job with a Cash Guarantee: For Former European Commissioners, the Money Keeps on Coming... - and the last: "An EU Tax Indeed!" hope the Germans and the French will veto it

Zyme on :

Oh dear not again. How many people die from car crashes every year in Europe, and how many of terrorist attacks? There are always people in the world for whom progress moves on too quickly. They have always resorted to violence and always will do in an act of mental desperation. Nothing to worry about.

Marie Claude on :

the topic is treated here

Pamela on :

"Many papers in the United States and Europe wrote about these warnings from their countries' top counterterrorism officials this week, but it was not front-page news. Are the media and politicians, especially in Europe, underestimating the threat?" It certainly was front page news here - for about 2 days. I don't think anyone is underestimating the threat - the media just have 'sexier' things to talk about. In France/Europe it appears to be the expulsion of the Roma from France. Here, it's the mid-term elections. It certainly was remarked that the Eiffel Tower was evacuated twice in as many weeks. But when nothing actually HAPPENS, the media have to move to the next story. Wait till something blows up. The media story will be about finding someone to blame for not connecting the dots.

Zyme on :

Let's just say that bombing ahead of general elections wouldn't be a good strategy for the islamists this time. After Wilder's success and similar movements growing across Europe, such a terror strike might cause the public mood to completely boil over.

Marie Claude on :

in France the usual corrected papers said that Sarkozy's was emphasizing "security" worries !

Pamela on :

You and I agree on that but I'm not sure the jihadis are quite that subtle. They're quite capable of harkening back to the Madrid bombings and the consequent election results and take it from there.

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