Violent Jihad

ISIS Spreading in Europe

Our continuing failure to finish the job in Syria and Iraq is enabling the caliphate's tendrils abroad.

BY CounterJihad · @CounterjihadUS | April 29, 2016

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, Jr., gave an unclassified intelligence briefing this week in which he acknowledged that the Islamic State (ISIS) is spreading its influence across Europe.  In addition to American agencies, he said, European intelligence was tracking a number of potential threats.  Europe is dogged by a failure to share intelligence across nations, or even among police forces within a nation.

Though the United States has Federal agencies that can bring intelligence to bear on the whole country, the problem of intelligence sharing is not unknown here either.  Classification of intelligence can make it impossible to share with local police forces that lack someone with the appropriate clearance.  Even if someone does have such a clearance, that officer cannot share the intelligence with those who lack one without violating the law.

The problem is worse in Europe because, the New York Times piece acknowledges, Europe has large numbers of Muslims who have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq.  They are now coming home, and bringing the jihad with them.

The European countries with the most residents either fighting in Syria or Iraq, planning to go to fight or having returned from the fight are France, with about 1,800 to 1,850; Germany and Britain, each with roughly 750 to 800; and Belgium, with 450, according to estimates by those countries’ governments and counts by outside intelligence consultants such as the Soufan Group in New York.

It is not clear how many of these fighters have returned to Europe, since many carry European passports and are free to come and go….  Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the on-the-ground leader of the Paris attacks, told a relative that he had brought 90 fighters back from Syria to fight on European soil.

Ultimately the solution begins with crushing the caliphate.  Unfortunately, at the moment America’s ‘expanded’ effort involves an expansion just large “enough for a parade” according to Jim Hanson, Executive Vice President of the Center for Security Policy.  He expanded on those remarks in an interview later in the week that he conducted with Bing West, a former Marine and member of the Reagan-era Defense Department.

Bing West endorses a political settlement in the Iraq/Syria region in which there will be independent states for the Kurds and Sunnis. As mentioned in this space on Monday, such diplomatic and political work is a necessary condition for ending the war.  As West and Hanson agree, without such a move the best that can come of the war is an endless and bloody occupation.

Getting there requires more than a new President, West said.  The State Department and the military will have to be willing to tell the next President that “we’re on the wrong side.”  Until the United States stops backing the Baghdad government, which is a proxy for Iran, we cannot do the necessary work to bring this war to a close.



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