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Terrorism in the West, Again

One of the consistencies with regard to terrorism is that it is nearly impossible to predict, with any precision,
where future attacks may occur. This is not news. What is, however, is that terrorist practitioners have sunk to
a new level; even as we cant imagine there are lower levels to which they could descend. By riding the wave
of instability in the Middle East, the leading transnational terrorist organization, the so-called Islamic State, has
found a way to project power into the heart of Western civilization.
European Terrorism Redux
Similar to the situation Israel has faced for years, Islamic State-inspired terrorists are becoming emboldened to
attack targets ranging from the mundane to the sacred. In the U.S., we have seen mass casualty attacks such as
have occurred in San Bernardino and the Orlando nightclub massacres, where ordinary people were just going
about their daily lives. In Europe, attacks have occurred in restaurants, supermarkets, stadiums, on trains, on a
parade route, and even in a church.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Palestinians and their Marxist fellow travelers carried out attacks all over
Europe. European governments aquiesced to their demands and began to treat Israel as the regional pariah
among the Arab states. In short, terrorism worked on a strategic level. Now, we see that they have been able to
latch onto a humanitarian crisis, generated by many in the region, including the Islamists themselves, in order

to find a way back into Europe. Once again, the battlespace is no longer confined to the sandy deserts of the
Middle East.
Western culture is the focal point for the Islamists. As more refugees are entering Western countries, they
unfortunately bring with them a percentage of ISIS supporters and Salafist Jihadist sympathizers. In short, the
battlefield has broadened and deepened.
The Political Implications of Economic Manipulation
With war-weary refugees streaming into Western Europe, genuine kindness and generosity are a weakness for
Europeans, not a strength. ISIS has encouraged their members to harness the fruits of their penetration into the
local economies in an effort to fund their nefarious activities. Many of the individuals that were involved in
Paris and Brussels attacks were receiving some form of government assistance. No government leader, in a
Left-leaning European country, would normally seek to stem the flow of state resources to the poor and
downtrodden. However, when the notion that they are unwittingly funding terrorists yields to a clearer
understanding that they are willfully ignoring the facts, anything other course of action seems untenable.
What is the Likelihood That Europe Will Learn a Different Lesson this Time Around?
The outcome that the Islamic State seeks, is similar to that which all terrorists seek: capitulation. Any form of
it is a win for terrorism. Let Europe not make the same mistake it did a couple of decades ago. Let them not
yield. ISIS is bent on dominating the physical battle space in the Arab states. Let them not dominate the
ideological one in the West.

David Firester is an intelligence analysis expert in New York.