|The Terror Hunt |
By Michael Jacobson
Wall Street Journal Europe
July 9, 2007
The thwarted bomb attacks in London and Glasgow showed that Europe has become one of the most important battlegrounds in the global terror war. Not that further proof was needed, after the 2004 Madrid attacks, the 2005 London subway and bus bombings, and failed or disrupted plots in the U.K. and Germany last year.
In 2006 alone, European countries -- including Spain, Italy, Denmark, France, the Czech Republic and the U.K. -- arrested 260 Islamist terrorist suspects. In addition to those charged with plotting attacks, others were apprehended for terrorist financing, recruiting, facilitation, and for spreading propaganda.
While the threat is serious, the Europeans' ability to fight it is uneven. Some countries, such as France, Spain and Britain, have strong intelligence and law enforcement capabilities to address this menace. Unfortunately, that's not the case across the board. Many European countries are less cognizant of the danger -- still regarding it as primarily an American problem -- and lack the capacity to deal with terrorist threats. Of the 27 EU states, probably fewer than 10 have taken a real interest in counterterrorism.