25.03.2016 Author: Martin Berger

Where Will ISIS Strike Next?

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Terror attacks in Brussels claiming the lives of 30 people, leaving some 270 more injured are both outrageous and frightening. Unfortunately, those attacks didn’t take anyone by surprise, since EU officials were talking about such attacks for quite a while. Pictures of civilians covered in blood leaving the site of the attack in panic and those injured being rushed to ambulances have become familiar to all of us. It becomes obvious that the attacks in Brussels – is but an episode in a series of attacks with which ISIS is trying to plunge Europe into chaos. This plan was announced for the first time in the ISIS media source Dabiq back in 2015.

What is critical for us to understand is that the situation in Europe is no different from other regions of the world, since ISIS is only filling the vacuum left by the vicious policies of the US and other Western players. Those keep on exploiting the possibilities to create religious tensions in other countries, while forcing these states to go against one another, and, above all, against their so-called enemies in the face of Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

In sharp contrast, with the attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda both in Afghanistan, where the terrorist group was exploited by the White House in the fight against Soviet influence, and Europe, ISIS is not trying to declare itself as an emerging political force, instead it aims at encouraging them with the utopian concept of a universal caliphate, exploiting both the migrants that flooded the European region and the apathy of the Western society that hasn’t been engaged in a real war for its values and beliefs for over 70 years.

Thousands of fighters of Arab nations decided to first take a stand against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and then against those states Washington didn’t want to see featured on the Middle Eastern political map. Those Arabs received assistance from a number of key players in the region like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, but above all – from the United States. But once those young souls were thrown into the crucible of the Arab Spring, they had forgotten their peaceful activities forever. So hundreds of thousands of young Arabs were provided with weapons by skillfully manipulative “American grandmasters” but not with a clear goal at hand. Those men formed ISIS which was later flooded by Europeans who were ill-educated but still reluctant to receive a minimal wage job in the rapidly collapsing EU social environment.

As Danish media sources note, the stubborn desire shared by the US, its Western allies, Turkey and the undemocratic Arab states of the Persian Gulf to overthrow the secular government in Syria, attracted under the banners of ISIS thousands of Muslims from Sweden, Denmark, England, France, Belgium and other European countries. Turkey, which over the last five years has taken every step to topple the government in Damascus, has practically become a rally point for all who wish to enter or to leave the war torn nation of Syria for all kinds of criminal purposes.

Thus, according to the approximate statistical conclusions published by The New York Times, a total of five thousand Europeans are fighting alongside ISIS in Syria alone. Up to six hundred militants have already been prepared in Iraq and Syria to carry out terrorist attacks across Europe, says an AP source.

Under these circumstances, as the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung notes, an ever increasing number of terrorist attacks committed under the banner of ISIS is to be expected in Europe. The question is where is ISIS going to strike next?

One of the reasons why Brussels came under fire in the latest bloody ISIS attack is that that this state has been one of the Western European nations that has become a “breeding ground ” for the jihadi ideas. This country has had the largest ratio of its citizens fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq per one thousand people. For this reason, Brussels has not simply became the heart of Europe, but the capital of European jihadism as well. While comparing the situation in Sweden with the situation in Belgium, the Swedish journal Expressen voices concerns about the vulnerability of the Kingdom of Sweden to such attacks.

This position has been confirmed by the head of the Swedish Security Police Säpo Anders Thornberg, who had declared back in 2014 that around 250-300 Swedes left home to join the ranks of the Islamic State in the Middle East. More than 40 of them have perished, some returned back to Europe and more than 100 Swedes today still carry out their jihadi duties in the ranks of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

As it was reported last year by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK (Norsk Rikskringkasting), Sweden has a staggering number of active underground recruitment centers for the Islamic State. The above mentioned Expressen notes that until recently, in addition to recruiters from radical groups, until recently the Swedish Agency for Safety and Health at Work has also been recruiting people to join ISIS. This outrageous fact has been confirmed by the Säpo, which is going to investigate this case further.

It is hardly a secret for anyone that the majority of Swedes fighting for ISIS were born in the city of Gothenburg, and their average age, according to the Swedish terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp, is not exceeding 21 years, even though there’s extremely young souls among those fighters who have just turned 18. In addition, according to the Swedish authorities, more that a million dollars is being annually sent from Sweden to various extremist groups.

However, apart from Sweden, there’s a serious terrorist threat in Germany, from where, according to the Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, more than 550 citizens have gone to fight alongside jihadis in Syria and Iraq. More than 60 of them have already perished, and about 9 are reported to have received training as suicide bombers. In addition, it should be recalled that, as it follows from reports of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the German language has long been pretty common among the executioners in the prisons of the Islamic State, which shows there’s a significant number of German representatives in the ranks of ISIS.

The terrorist attacks in Brussels is a wake up call, which should force the US government, European leaders and their allies to take serious steps to prevent a new tragedy from happening. For far too long, Western politicians, instead of combating ISIS, have been taking advantage of those terrorists for their geopolitical games. What number of terrorist attacks against European citizens will finally force the international community to apply pressure on Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other states that are deliberately strengthening ISIS, with the silent approval of Washington?

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.


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