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    Police officers stand next to the van involved on an attack in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017.

    'More Europeans' Consider Idea to Send Those Posing Threat to States of Origin

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    Terrorist Attacks in Catalonia (107)

    Tightening security and placing more law enforcement officers on the street in Europe is no longer an effective way of protecting civilians in the face of terrorism, experts told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The experts commented on two deadly van attacks in Spain’s autonomous Catalonia region on Thursday, which left 14 killed and at least 130 injured. Vehicles have been used to mow down people in a series of deadly attacks across Europe — in Nice, Berlin, London, and Stockholm — since July 2016. All the attacks have been claimed by Daesh terrorist group.


    "We need to resolve the political problems. We need to stop thinking that by putting more police, more military we will resolve the problem," Kader Abderrahim, a research fellow at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS) and lecturer at Sciences Po university, told Sputnik.

    Speaking about increased policing aimed at preventing terror attacks in France, Jean-Vincent Brisset, a retired brigadier general of the French Air Force and a senior research fellow at IRIS, called the Sentinelle military operation introduced after the January 2015 terror attacks in Paris a measure used by politicians to show people that something has been done to protect them while the threat was still in place.

    "For the moment, as far as the use of Sentinelle military personnel is concerned, the opening of fire for something other than the attacks against Sentinelle patrol is zero. We saw it attacked several times. It is very bad both for the army and in terms of efficiency. They serve as targets to terrorists, and this is disorganizing, it makes people think that politicians are doing something. Politicians say to population ‘look, we organized Sentinelle, so we protect you’ which is perfectly wrong," Brisset pointed out.

    The analyst added that it was "the problem of democracy" that the ability of security forces to intervene in suspicious activities to prevent terror attacks is limited.

    "It is the pride of democracy, but also a weakness of democracy because it is more vulnerable since it is only the upper echelon who can authorize the police to take an abrupt action. This echelon is either political or judicial, which, for ideological reasons, is often too tolerant regarding the things which one should not tolerate," Brisset added.


    While the alleged perpetrator of the attack in Catalonia’s capital is still on the run, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb announced that Paris would step up checks at the France-Spain border. Brisset named the openness of the European borders among the reasons behind the increased number of terror attacks in the European states.

    "In the European security there is always the same problem, the fluidity of the borders. But I do not think that is the essence of the problem. The problem is in very different policies, and the lack of communication between different European states, and then lack of sealing the borders," Brisset pointed out.

    The expert suggested that Barcelona had become a target of terrorists because its authorities were very tolerant to migrants, the part of the population where the terrorists were recruited.

    According to IRIS fellow Abderrahim, in today’s globalized world closing borders does not make any sense.

    "The question is not to close the borders, but to know how we can reinforce the border control, but that is again dealing with consequences. We do not speak a lot about it, because it makes us, the French people, face a serious responsibility in terms of the war launched in 2001 by [then-French President Nicolas] Sarkozy, which now puts us in this dramatic situation … We keep returning to the same question, if we do not find an answer to it we will fall into hypocrisy with all the commemorations, while doing nothing with the problem itself. And it will repeat again and again," Abderrahim suggested.


    Abderrahim pointed out that in order to counter terrorism, Europe needs to resolve Middle Eastern conflicts and problems posed by the outfall of western involvement in Iraq since 2003 and in Libya in 2011.

    "It is time to be interested in the fundamental cause of the problem, and not only in its consequences. Only this way we may succeed in giving a definitive answer to terrorism … We can continue crying every time when a terror attack happens, we can continue saying ‘we should have put more cameras,’ but it will not change anything substantially. At some point we need to have a real debate on the diplomacy, on the foreign policy of the West regarding the Arab world," the expert suggested.

    Brisset, in turn, said that the suggestion of French right-wing politician Marine Le Pen to send all the individuals posing a serious threat to national security to their states of origin was an option to prevent terrorism but it certainly had major drawbacks.

    "It is an option, more and more European states consider it, and notably there are more and more Europeans who are thinking about it. On one hand, we will probably avoid certain attacks with this measure, but on the other hand we will provoke even bigger exasperation of the people behind such attacks. I do not know whether a solution as brutal and simplistic can function," the expert explained.

    The analyst noted, however, that serious measures needed to be taken in the area of de-radicalization in order to prevent terrorism.

    "We need to prevent radicalization and the creation of these small groups, which means implementing some strict action, to which our mentality is not ready yet, strict actions to prevent them from existence and stirring up between themselves, so that after one of them takes action like this low-cost attack, not requiring preparation," Brisset said.


    Daesh, one of the major contemporary terrorist groups, pursues the strategy of globalizing violence by attacking everybody, including Shiites, Christians, the West, Russia, Iran and Europe, Abderrahim explained.

    "The low-cost terrorism is clearly a trend. The more the military capacities of [Daesh] are undermined, notably in Iraq, Syria and Libya, the more we will be struck by the low-cost terrorism, which does not need anything – rent a truck and drive it in the crowd, making dozens of casualties and especially – an enormous resonance in the media. And that is where [Daesh] is feeding from," the expert added.

    Abderrahim noted that Daesh's strategy means that the group has the initiative when it comes to making the first move, adding that the group's defeat was nevertheless a matter of time.

    Terrorist Attacks in Catalonia (107)


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