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Jihad attack in London. Photo supplied

The threat of terrorism is exhausting Europe

Between 2004 and 2016, the European Union lost €180 billion in GDP due to terrorism. Is Europe really serious about its war on terror? 

Published: July 2, 2018, 9:02 am

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    The United Kingdom (€43.7 billion) and France (€43 billion) suffered the highest losses, followed by Spain (€40.8 billion) and Germany (€19.2 billion), according to a Rand Corporation study.

    “Beyond those who have been directly physically affected by terrorist attacks, the extensive coverage of terrorist attacks through multiple media and social media channels has substantially increased the amount of people and companies that could be psychologically affected. This subsequently affects their economic behaviour”.

    According to the Spanish “black book” of terrorism, 658 Europeans have been murdered in terror attacks on European soil, while 1 029 Europeans died at the hand of terrorists abroad.

    Half of the French army are currently deployed in France to protect the civilian targets, including schools, monuments, and religious sites. The Guardian noted that French troop presence has hit 10 000 after Paris attacks. Many fear it is a “political anti-anxiety measure”.

    Britain’s anti-terrorism office also recently released new figures on terror. Some 441 people have been arrested in Britain for terrorism in the past year, and since the attacks of September 11, 2001, over 4 000 individuals were apprehended.

    NATO planners told Reuters that soldiers deployed in European cities since jihadi attacks risks compromising deployments overseas. Soldiers “may get better at guarding railway stations and airports than fighting wars”. Germany has had to send troops into the streets for the first time since the Second World War.

    Belgium, like France, has more troops deployed at home than in any single mission abroad. “We are standing around like flowers pots, just waiting to be smashed,” one Belgian officer complained.

    The French magazine Causeur says Europeans are suffering from the “the Batman Syndrome” after France announced it would be freeing at least 50 terrorists from prison. The UK is also due to free 80 Islamic fundamentalists from jail.

    “How can we respect a society that is too cowardly to fight those who threaten its citizens, and that demonstrates its weakness by systematically seeking appeasement at the price of the most unreasonable accommodations? It is the ‘Batman syndrome’: the hero refuses to kill, he systematically saves his enemy who escapes and kills new victims until the hero catches up with him, and so on.”

    A new French report revealed that at least 10 percent of the 512 prisoners incarcerated for terrorism are likely to be released by the end of 2018, posing a major threat.

    “This scenario haunting haunts the authorities. While the specter of a massive return of ‘ghosts’ from the fighting zones is disappearing, the antiterrorist and judicial services consider it an absolute priority letting Islamists ‘out’ of prison. The subject is so serious that it was on the agenda of the Defense Council held on Wednesday at the Elysee,” Le Figaro reported in June.

    “France is the priority target of the terrorism unleashed in Europe,” the French daily added. “Since 2015, 247 people have been killed in France in attacks by Islamists. […] These crimes will continue so long as the Republic leaves the enemy in peace”.

    The level of threat in France remains alarmingly high. “Some 9 157 people were subjected to at least one surveillance measure by the intelligence services in 2017 in the name of the prevention of terrorism”, an official French report recently revealed. In 2017, 20 major terror attacks in France were foiled.

    The West’s current “war on terror,” American historian Victor Davis Hanson pointed out, is failing.

    “The result is the present age of serial Punic conflict, perhaps intolerable to the psyche, but in amoral terms tolerable as long as casualties are kept to a minimum and defeat is redefined as acceptable strategic wisdom. In the past, such periods of enervating war have gone on for a century and more. Ultimately, they too end — and with consequences.”

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