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Homeland Security

Analysis: One Europe, Many Counterterrorism Policies

Council on Foreign Relations

August 6, 2007
Prepared by: Julia Choe

There is little question the United States remains a prime target for terrorists, but since President Bush declared a “war on terror” in 2001, Europe has in some ways proven a more active theater in that struggle. An April 2007 Europol report (PDF) counts 706 terror-related arrests inside the European Union in 2006 alone. These numbers do not include Britain, which claims to be investigating some 1,600 terror suspects, though it is reluctant to divulge details. Yet the wider European Union appears to recognize that a more coordinated approach may be necessary, particularly in light of the latest attacks in Britain.

While nothing like the 9/11 attacks have occurred on European soil, its cities and citizens have been targeted at least as often. TIME points out that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) central role in Afghanistan has “raised the incentive” for terrorists to strike at Germany, France, and Britain, and Claude Moniquet of the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center says terrorists are trying to open a “new jihad” (Deutsche-Welle) in Europe. Britain’s support for the Iraq war makes it a target, just as it put Spain and Italy in the crosshairs while their troops made up significant contingents in Iraq. In early July, Spain concluded the trial of twenty-eight suspects implicated in the 2004 Madrid bombings (AP). Italy recently arrested three people suspected of operating a terrorist training school.

Perhaps because of their longer history with terrorism, Europeans seem reluctant to buy into Bush's “war” analogy, relying more on policework and intelligence (CSMonitor) and less on military operations in their counterterrorism approach.


Read the rest of this article on the cfr.org website.


Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.



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