The wake of the attacks on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have drawn all of Europe into the debate over how to best collaborate to prevent similar terror attacks in what is becoming a more culturally divided Europe.
Responses by the various countries to the terror threat have ranged from rolling back anti-free speech laws, to cracking down on free speech, to tracking and eliminating terror threats. In France, prosecutors have been ordered to prosecute “hate speech”; meanwhile, the UK Parliament finds itself in a gridlock over whether or not to pass new, restrictive “anti-terror” legislation. Belgium has already tracked down one terror cell, and is on the ready should another rear its head.
If this leaves you thinking, “something’s gotta give,” then you’re of the same mind as some European Union officials who are pushing for a new alliance with Muslim countries. They believe that if the two regions cooperate and share information, they’ll be able to prevent terrorist attacks before the occur.
Via the AP:
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday that “we need an alliance. We need to strengthen our way of cooperating together.”
Mogherini later met with Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby. She also attended a meeting of the EU foreign ministers who are preparing for a summit of EU leaders in February focused on terrorism.
Some ministers emphasized the importance of working with Muslim countries, rather than blaming them for the problem.
“They will continue to be in the front line, and we have to work closely with them to protect both those countries and the European Union countries,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said.
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said the police raids launched in his country last week to break up a suspected network of foreign fighters demonstrate that information-sharing is the key to success.
“We have to exchange information in Europe and outside Europe to really follow what is going on and to prevent any acts that could be launched on our territory,” he said.
In theory, it could work; take Yemen, for example. Yemen’s al-Qaida cell claimed responsibility for the attacks on Charlie Hebdo; we also know that many detainees in Gitmo (including some detainees who have been released) hail from Yemen. I don’t think anybody is under the illusion that full transparency will ever be achieved between countries like Yemen and the west, but if you can get the Arab League member states on board with this, you may achieve a higher level of intelligence about what’s going on in Yemen with their help, as opposed to focusing just on Yemen.
The problem isn’t with one particular country or group; the problem is widespread and organized radicalization. A new EU alliance may not provide immediate relief from events that have already been set in motion, but it could, as Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstroem hopes for, “address the root causes of terrorism and radicalization” that lead to the widespread massacre of innocents.
Or, it could go down in flames. There’s only one way to find out.DONATE
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