January 08, 2005

Exporting Terror To Europe

"BERLIN - Islamic extremists accused of plotting to kill Iraq (news - web sites)'s prime minister in Germany are smuggling battle-hardened fighters from Iraq to Europe, raising a potential new terrorist threat on the continent, according to German officials.

More than 20 alleged supporters of Ansar al-Islam have been arrested in Europe in the past year as authorities move against the group that has links with al-Qaida and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who's been leading bloody attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq.

Ansar al-Islam is suspected of spiriting dozens of fired-up young Muslims to Iraq to join the insurgency, but the latest raids in Germany — the most spectacular yet against the group — heightened concerns that the organization also could pose a menace outside Iraq, too."

Is anyone truly surprised to read about this. It is not a secret that there are attempts to use terror throughout the world to achieve political and religious aims.

"Germany's pre-emptive action to protect Allawi contrasts with the March 11 train bombings in Madrid, Spain, and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States: A key Madrid suspect had been under surveillance long before, and three of the four Sept. 11 suicide pilots — including lead hijacker Mohamed Atta — lived and studied in Hamburg undetected by authorities.

"The security agencies are generally acting a bit earlier now, even at the risk of weaker evidence," said Kai Hirschmann, deputy head of the Institute for Terrorism Research in Essen.

"The problem all over Europe is that they can only do something when there's specific evidence of an attack," he said. "If people just sit around and talk about jihad, there's relatively little you can do."

The situation is very fluid and we are in the infancy of learning how to respond. Laws are being developed and adjusted so that the battle can be taken to the terrorists, but there are numerous problems. Civil rights concerns are a legitimate worry, but so are the fears of terrorists using violence to kill maim and murder.

This is not a movie and it is not an exaggeration to say that we are fighting people who do not play by our rules. The challenge of such a venture is that they have no limits and for now we still do.

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