In recent weeks, there have been several events of interest to counterterrorism specialists, not to mention politicians, law enforcement, the public, and others, in Europe. It is interesting to remark on the surface impression that Europe is a seemingly safe and pleasant continent for both residents and tourists.
The truth is that Europe is similar to a boiling pot of stew on simmer; if left unattended too long, the stew will boil over. Therefore, Europe is calm and peaceful on the surface, but is truly in turmoil below the surface due to several different reasons, including Islamic extremism and a seemingly lack of strong and coordinated security protocols among the 28 members of the European Union.
The reasons for the recent events in Paris and Copenhagen, i.e. a shooting at a Jewish deli, at a free speech event, and others, are numerous and perhaps not all inclusive or related, but the fact that these events happened roughly a month apart in two separate nations is concerning for counterterrorism specialists, as well as others, including law enforcement both in Europe and elsewhere.
The impact of the events in Paris and Copenhagen may not be seen for some time, but the hope is that these serve as a wakeup call for law enforcement officials, counterterrorism specialists, and others in Europe, as well as elsewhere, because if the events are not recognized as a serious point of concern, then other cities in Europe, such as London, Berlin, Rome, or Zurich, could see similar events in the near future.
Some proposed solutions would be for counterterrorism specialists and others to propose ideas for greater cooperation among intelligence agencies in Europe, such as MI6 in the United Kingdom, and other relevant agencies without sacrificing people’s rights to privacy and consent, strengthen anti-extremist education and training in Europe, and encourage freedom of speech, religion, and other basic rights without allowing extremists and others to take control.
These solutions are just a few that might work to prevent a repeat of terrorism in Europe in recent years, such as 2004’s Madrid bombings that saw a Socialist government swept into power, 2005’s London bombings that was horribly ironic given the day before was the announcement that London had gotten the 2012 Olympics, and 2011’s mass shooting in Norway that saw more than 75 people dead.
In conclusion, these events should serve as a reminder that the pot of stew should not be forgotten for too long lest it boils over.
(Photo Credit: Flickr via Bird Eye)