Type: Evaluation Essays
Last updated: September 25, 2019
In a broader sense, terrorism can be defined as the use intentional violence done indiscriminately to create attributes such as terror or fear, in order to achieve a financial, political, religious or ideological aim. Terrorism is a threat which doesn’t recognize borders and seldom affects people and property irrespective of their geographical region. Certainly, however secure EU might be, it also falls under the jurisdiction of Terrorism. People as an individual or group who believe that they may advance their political aims with the help of terrorism, certainly pose a serious threat to the democratic values of our society as well as to the rights and freedom of the citizens, as they indiscriminately target seldom weak and innocent people. In no ways, the act of terrorism may be justified as it is brutal and criminal and so it should be treated as such in all the circumstances. Historically, terrorism in Europe was observed significantly at the beginning of the twentieth century and was often associated with anarchism.
Terrorism within the European communities after the 1950’s was usually linked to various separatist movements including but not limited to Euskadi Ta Askatasun in Spain and UK’s Irish Republican Army. Some of the other aggressions, which can broadly be defined as terrorism have also been linked to far-right and far-left extremism, anarchism as well as environmental extremism. Ever since the 2001 US attacks, it has also been observed that the attacks associated with Islamist Extremist groups have been on the rise, more often than not affecting France. In Russia, some of the separatist terrorist activities such as Chechen Separatism also had a religious flavour in it. This has led to increases in International coordination among governments with the motive of weakening Extremist ideology specially directed towards Islamist Extremism.It is also very significant to note that the majority of death due to terrorism has not occurred in the ‘WEST’ part of the world. Statistically, if the Al-Qaida’s attack on the USA in 2001 is excluded, only 0.
5% of the deaths linked to terrorism has happened in Western countries – USA, Canada, Australia and the European Union. As compared to the number of attacks between 1970 and 1990, there have been fewer attacks between 1990 and 2015. Even after excluding the fatalities in 1988 from the Pan Am bombing, on an average 150 people died each year from terrorist activities before 1990 whereas on an average about 50 people died each year due to terrorist activities post-1990.
However, in the recent times, there has been a trend of increase in the number of high fatality attacks in the western countries. The significant examples include the terrorist attack by the far-right extremist Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011 and Islamist Extremist attacks in France in 2015 and 2016. An annual trend report has been published by Europol on terrorist attacks and the related arrests (including failed, foiled and completed attacks) in EU since 2006.
The report had identified that the perpetrators’ known or suspected affiliations have been disparate in nature. Europol has bifurcated those into 5 categories1. Jihadist terrorism (also known as ‘Religiously-inspired terrorism)2.
Ethno-Nationalist and Separatist terrorism3. Left-wing and Anarchist terrorism4. Right-wing terrorism5. Single issue terrorismThough, Europol’s reports do not provide a breakdown of the proportion of attacks that have been completed or even the severity and type of damage inflicted. According to those data, the vast majority of attacks in the EU between 2006 and 2013 are affiliated with Ethno-National or separatist motives, followed by left-wing attacks and those that have been labelled ‘Unspecified’. Also, a large number of attacks were religiously motivated or associated with right-wing groups. However, among those arrested for terror-related crimes, most of them were religiously motivated forming the largest group, followed by separatist related terror suspects.
In 2015, a total of 211 completed, failed or foiled terrorist attacks were reported by EU states, resulting in a total of 151 fatalities (of which 148 were in France with 130 of them having occurred in November 2015 Paris attacks) with more than 360 injuries. As in previous years, separatist attacks accounted for the largest proportion (65), followed by Jihadist attacks (17). But the latter ‘Jihadist Attack’ caused the heaviest damage causing as many as 150 fatalities and 250 injuries. The United Kingdom reported the largest number of attacks (103) but refrained from providing the statistics on suspected affiliation.
Tackling religious and jihadist terrorism, especially in Europe has become an over-riding priority for security services but the threat and risk associated with far-right terrorism should not be undermined as it is been done so. Many commentators and specialists have increasingly begun to be sceptical. On the top, Europe has few geographical disadvantages too. For jihadis fleeing the battlefields of Syria, Europe is very easily accessible as compared to far-flung countries such as USA, Canada or even Australia.
The reverse also holds very true. As many as 5000 left Europe to wage Jihad. In Syria and Iraq, much larger a number compared to the number of Americans who joined ISIS or other terrorist groups. Although, as per the estimation of European Security Services, 30% of the fighters have returned home, there are most likely dozens of those plotting attacks in Europe.And thanks to Schengen Agreement, which has dismantled the internal border controls within the EU, terrorists can slip in and out of EU countries with relative ease.
Even with numerous scope for Europe to become the target of terrorists, it sees far few terrorism-related incidents as compared to Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Iraq and other parts of the world. In 2016, Western Europe accounted for less than 2 percent of global terrorist attacks and only 1 percent of death worldwide. Also, it is very safe to state that this period has not seen the worst period of terrorism in modern Europe history. In 1972, during the insurgencies and trouble in Northern Ireland, over 400 people were killed in Western Europe due to terrorist attacks. At the same time, this region accounted for more than 70% of terrorist attacks worldwide. FORMS OF TERRORISM In 2016, an overwhelming number of verdicts of terrorism in Member states of EU was pronounced in relation to Jihadist terrorism. This the fact also confirms the findings in 2015, when for the first time since 2008, the concluded court proceedings in EU resulted in a much higher number of verdicts related to Jihadist terrorism as compared to any other form including separatist terrorism.
IN 2016, as many as 135 people were killed in terror attacks related to Jihadism in EU. In total, 13 terrorist attacks were reported in EU- 5 in France, 4 each in Germany and Belgium. Out of these 13 attempted attacks, 10 were the complete ones. A staggering 718 people were asserted on the suspicion of Jihadist terrorism-related offences. There was also a considerable increase in a number of arrests. In France, the number increased from 188 in 2014 to 377 in 2015 and then to 429 in 2016.
In the Netherlands, the number increased from 20 in 2015 to 36 in 2016. In the other Member states, the number of arrests increased insignificantly and remained more or less, the same. Surprisingly, women, young adults and even minors have increasingly assumed more operational roles in Jihadist form of terrorism. The same has been demolished in recent primarily failed and foiled attacks in member states of EU. Almost a quarter of the arrestees in 2016 were women, a significant increase in comparison to 2015 figures which stood at 18%.
Planning attacks in the EU continues in Syria and Iraq. It has been believed that groups including ISIS and Al-Qaida have the intent as well as ability to mount complex, mass casualty attacks. ISIS has been training operatives in Syria and Iraq to carry out attacks in the West and has no dearth of a shortage of volunteers to be part of the group to be sent West for the purpose. Al-Qaida, despite being reduced in operational capabilities of the core organisation, has always maintained the ambition to carry out large-scale operations against the western countries, the same being their target countries. In 2016, the terrorist threat in EU emanated from either remotely directed individuals operating alone, or in small groups or may have been inspired by the terrorist propaganda.
The former are individual attackers possibly being assisted by friends, family or accomplices. They are primarily influenced by Jihadist propaganda and may not necessarily receive personal direction or instructions form any big terrorist group. The latter have been receiving direction and personal instructions from and being facilitated by a terrorist organisation. On 7 January 2016, a man wearing a suitable jacket and wielding a meat cleaver was shot and killed as he tried his way inside Goutte d’Or police station in Paris, France.
Again in the same month, a Jewish teacher wearing their traditional clothing and kippa was attacked and wounded with a machete in Marseille while walking to work. The attacker in the case was a 15 year young boy who had arrived in France in 2010.Again, in June, a French Commander and his wife were stabbed to death by a former convict sentenced in terrorism-related offences. The police officer and his wife were attacked on arriving at his home in Magnanville , nearby Paris. The attacker entered the house where he held the wife and his small kid on hostage. After the siege ended, police found the mother dead while the child survived. After the incident, the attacker broadcasted the statement live from the scene via a social media and pledged allegiance to ISIS and threatened for many more attacks. ‘EUROPE’S IMMIGRATION PROBLEM As per the report, more than 1.
8 million people had entered EU illegally within a short period 10 months between January and October 2015, while about 1 million applied for asylum. The refugees basically belonged to conflicted areas of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan while many were the economic migrants from the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa. As per the estimation of EU, even of EU had accepted 1.4 million immigrants per year for next 30 years, the EU would still end up having 2 working aged people for every person aged above 65 years, compared with 4 at the moment. Thus, immigration should have been welcomed and EU was happy doing so. But the flow of irregular immigrants entering EU reached at an unprecedented level during 2015 and continued so even in 2016.
The EU member countries reported new arrivals from the Middle East, Africa as well as Asia, many of whom turned into criminals especially involved in drugs smuggling business Migrant smuggling is a general global criminal activity, dynamic in nature. Social and political instability combined with poverty, alongside limited availability of legal migrant routes, pushed people towards criminal network to facilitate their illegal and unauthorized entry into, transit through and stay back in EU The journey to the EU nations is very dangerous and smugglers in usual expose migrants to life-threatening risks and violence. The loss of lives in the Mediterranean Sea clearly demonstrates the requirement of an assertive as well as urgent response from the EU The fight against the migrants smuggling had always been one of the key parts of EU policies tackling irregular migration for more than a decade now.
In 2002, the EU had adopted a legal framework on smuggling which was composed of a Directive defining the penal framework of those offences. With the aim so as to prevent the exploitation of migrants by criminal chains and gangs, as well as the need to further reduce the incentives for irregular migration, the European Union on migration and the European Union on security designed to transform smuggling from a ‘high profit, low risk’ activity into a complete reverse, while ensuring and caring the migrants’ human rights of respect, peace and protection. In some cases, migrants continued depending upon criminals after arriving in the EU. Criminal networks were facilitating irregular residence, including the arrangement of counterfeit documents and at the same time enabling migrants to use other people’s genuine documents to pose as an impostor. As in any other country or union, that is completely illegal in EU under the 2002 directive. Migrants usually are subject to many other types of exploitation including forced labour and even prostitution. To control trafficking, the EU had established very strict rules of action against the criminals engaged in it. The EU rules ascertain the victims of trafficking to have an access to assistance, including a temporary residence in the EU.
Also, the EU has been continuously monitoring the implementation of the employer’s sanction directory from 2009, making sure to check irregular migrants’ exploitation. Improving external border control Smuggling the migrants through the water bodies has always been the most dangerous form of migrant smuggling and also the one which requires serious humanitarian assistance and efforts. To save the life of those distress at the sea, EU state coast guard and naval Services has been making serious effort, with assistance from the European Union coast guard agency (FRONTEX) It has always been a case that the migrant entered EU legally on short-stay visas but stayed back in EU even after the expiry of visa. Credible and effective management of the external borders is mandatory.
The EU on response has created an integrated border management strategy which always aims to maintain a high level of security by using several information technologies such as the visa information system or biometric features for identification. The commission has taken a strong step to check irregular immigration so as to ensure that each EU state effectively controls their own portion of the EU’s external boundary, build trust in the effectiveness of the EU system of migration management and to also ensure that the fundamental rights of migrants are always completely protected. To ensure the same, there are some legislative measures, few of them already implemented while others on the verge of it. These include 1.
Strengthen the mandate of FRONTEX to ensure the effectiveness the external borders 2. To ensure the correct application of the Schengen rules 3. To intensify the coordination between border surveillance authority and to consider the feasibility of creating a European system of border guards. 4. Establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by FRONTEX. A humane and effective return and readmission policy A humane and effective return and readmission policy in line with the EU Charter of Fundamental rights and based on the principle of giving preference to voluntary return – is also a comprehensive and sustainable migration policy. The EU had always seemed to harmonize and support national efforts to improve returns and facilitate reintegration with the Return Directive and the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. Effective cooperation with countries outside EU on the basis of readmission agreements is also an integral part so as to ensure that the return policy is effective.
Return legislation is also a part of the Schengen acquis. Its correct implementation in the EU countries is checked through the evaluation visits led by the commission itself, together with the experts designated by the EU states and the countries participating in Schengen. At the present moment, the commission has been formally authorized to negotiate EU readmission agreement with Russia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, the Chinese Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao, Algeria, Turkey, Albania, China, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Morocco, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Cape Verde, Tunisia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Nigeria. Agreements with the two Chinese Special Administrative Regions, Sri Lanka, the Western Balkan countries, the Republic of Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cape Verde and Pakistan have entered into force. Terrorism and Immigration About two-thirds of the people say non-resident terrorism is on the rise. Also, the immigration rate has fuelled the rise of nationalist parties which has shocked up European politics in 2016.
Across the 14 countries surveyed by Gallup last year, a median of 66% of residents believes terrorism by non-residents is a serious problem in the country, a median of 65% have the similar views about resident perpetrated terrorist acts. As such, concerns regarding immigration level in itself is less common as a median of 55% of residents views current immigration level as a serious and concerning problem in their country. The debate among the members of EU union has been growing about the badly needed reforms to the bloc’s asylum policy. The European Union’s governing body has been in favour of the proposal of accepting more refugees by the member states so as to take the burden off from the front line countries such as Malta, Italy and Greece. However, this proposal has at most times met with resistance and outright refusal. Some of the leaders fear that Migration is a ‘Trojan Horse’ for terrorists to seek entry in EU The threat of terrorism can be also linked to the public support for the anti-immigration policy. The percentage of residents who consider the level of immigration as a serious problem varies widely, from 86% in Malta, where it outweighs concerns about terrorism to as low as 18% in Iceland.
It has also been observed that residents’ tendency of viewing immigration as a serious threat in their country rises with their likelihood to describe terrorist attacks – by either residents or non-residents – the same way, even though it has been evident that in few of the cases the terrorist attacks have been planned and executed by the natives rather than the migrants or expats. As per the analysis of respondent level among the 14 countries studied, the relationship between the concerns about immigration and terrorism is statistically dependent upon the individual’s feeling about racial and ethnic minorities in their country and community.