By Vadim Fersovich
25 November 2013
The chiefs of several western security services have shown concern about the fact that once the European and US nationals, currently fighting against the Damascus government army in Syria, are back home, they will pose a threat to national security.
Rebel fighters actually put it bluntly in YouTube videos that as soon as their objectives in Syria are attained, they will sort out problems in the countries that harboured their refugee-parents decades ago. A certain US national vowed on cam that "they would kill anyone in their way". But then, just minutes later a Syrian government army shell cut the grass from under his feet. But there are more "Europeans" and "Americans" with similar ideas in Syria. Is it likely then, that the streets of European and US cities will eventually come to resemble the sorry sights of a present-day Baghdad or Aleppo?
Hardly so, after all, terrorism has been around as long as people can remember, with terrorists emerging in Europe and the United States long before the current jihadist cells. These cells are but an episode in the long history of Western civilization, history that features numerous "shakers of foundations" who threatened to use force to change the world. There were both dangerous secret enemies and those who thoughtlessly betrayed themselves and their plans, - the exalted young men. Just how many of these are currently fighting Bashar al-Assad in Syria?
Of the 5,000 to 10,000 "foreign" mercenaries, about 1,000 "jihadists" carry EU passports, according to a classified report by the German Intelligence Service (Der Spiegel, October 21st ). But that thousand is made up of dozens, perhaps, hundreds (at the most) of nationals of different countries. Some of them will die in Syria; others will choose not to return. But those who will come back will move to their homes, so the hundreds will again break down into isolated people. Experts believe that an overwhelming majority of those who will buy the return ticket have for good lost interest in dangerous adventures because of actual fierce fighting. The insurgents realize that back home, security agencies are quite effective, while the number of those thinking along the same lines as terrorists is incommensurably small.
Of course, even individual terrorists pose a threat, given that they can use their passports to freely travel about Europe and the United States. According to a former CIA analyst, Michael Scheuer, they return home with a list of their mujahedeen buddies who may give advice and/or help out with the money, if necessary.
Today, EU citizens of non-European origin come under close surveillance of security services since the moment they come into the intelligence service view, for example, by buying a ticket to Istanbul. Once that person is back, they will be under surveillance till their dying day.
The day the global war on terror was declared, the war on terrorists has also been global. The system of fighting terrorists has been continuously improving. Since the start of the 21st century, terrorists have only once managed to display their fighting capabilities by launching attacks in Madrid in 2004, 911 days after 9/11, or the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001 in New York. In 2005, terrorist attacks in London proved only partially successful. Security services have since pooled efforts and have been quite effective, with rare exceptions, in neutralizing the planned assaults of this kind. Why bother about the West, if some Taliban fighters claim they have moved to Syria because Pakistani security services prevented them from launching terrorist attacks at home.
Threats of jihad against the West are usually evidence of yet another defeat of jihadists in the East. The Reuters news agency reported from Syria on November 20th an admission by an anonymous Nusra Front source that "the regime stands a better chance of winning the victory". And small wonder, since efforts to translate strange and cruel world order ideas into life has inevitably resulted in the rejection of such ideas.
Finally, one shouldn’t forget that task forces of almost all European countries are also returning home with a lot of experience they gained in fighting terrorists in the latter’s strongholds. These task forces will never be caught unawares.
The fact that security services express concern in the currently troublesome situation is a useful reminder that we should stay alert. The age of terrorism is unfortunately not yet over. But the age of chaos has luckily not come yet.