"The work that has been done so far, in some sense equals lost years," National Defense College researcher Peder Hyllengren told the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. "The truck attack on Drottningsgatan can definitely trigger others, because it seems simple. You don't need any special knowledge of how to manufacture a bomb or something. Here, it's basically about being able to push the accelerator pedal to the metal," Peder Hyllengren said.
Of late, Swedish MPs have been engaged in cross-party talks about measures to combat terrorism, involving fast-track investigation, camera surveillance and enhanced information gathering rights. According to National Defense College senior researcher Magnus Ranstorp, these measures are insufficient and arrive too late, as Sweden already evolved into an "economic crimes paradise." Ranstorp pointed out that organizations banned in, for instance, Germany, are free to raise funds and propagate openly in Sweden.foreign funding.
"A lot of money opens from the Gulf states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. They finance activities that are anti-democratic and may end up in violent Islamism. However, there is no discussion as to whether foreign countries should be allowed to fund mosques and the like," Magnus Ranstorp told the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet.
Svenska Dagbladet columnist Ivar Arpi went previously so far as to call Sweden a "Mecca for terrorists." In a scathing opinion piece earlier this month, Arpi highlighted the lack of procedures to charge jihadists and put them behind bars. As a result of Sweden's legislature, which demands irrefutable proof of war crimes, defectors who have murdered, raped and pillaged in the name of Daesh may go unpunished for lack of evidence.
"In Sweden, it is perfectly legal to join a terrorist organization like Daesh. Yep, it's actually true. One can go to Syria and join Daesh, and unless the authorities succeed in proving that the person actually been there fighting, he can return without problems as if it were a regular holiday. Even if it is beyond reasonable doubt that the person has been involved with Daesh," Ivar Arpi wrote.
"Undoubtedly, this lax attitude to our domestic jihadist environment has facilitated terrorism abroad, which has harvested many innocent victims. Until now, however, terrorism has been at a convenient distance from the Swedish public," Magnus Sandelin wrote in his opinion piece in Expressen, arguing that Swedish laws should have been changed long ago.
Yet another problem linked to the truck attack is the problem of refused asylum seekers. Uzbek terrorist Rakhmat Akilov was found to be only one of thousands of asylum seekers slated for deportation who had disappeared from the radar of Swedish authorities. In the Nordic country, the Swedish border police are tasked with tracking down people who stay in the country illegally, keeping an eye on the external border, as well as monitoring airports, ferry terminals and the country's over 100 border crossings.
"From the Migration Board, we have 17,750 cases, of which 12,222 have gone underground," Patrik Engström, of the National Border Police told Swedish national broadcaster SVT. "Well, it's like looking for a needle in a haystack," he added.
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