The ODNI report failed in providing any predictive analysis on terrorist collaboration efforts. The bulk of the report was like most US based intelligence products—just a regurgitation of events that already unfolded. This is where US national security functions, specifically intelligence initiatives, are failing. We fail in providing any forecasted analysis on what could evolve due to current geo-political trends.
With the Euro-Zone crisis causing high unemployment and unprecedented amounts of budget cuts, tensions are rising. Terror groups that once created pandemonium throughout Europe such as Spain’s ETA, Greece’s 17 November, and Ireland’s IRA have the potential to re-emerge. In fact, it is safe to assume, in many ways, possibly through different organizational names, they already have re-emerged.
In the past month, the United Kingdom’s security apparatus successfully thwarted terrorist initiatives meant to strike Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Irish Republican Army (IRA) splinter groups have continuously threatened peace in the British Isles yet for whatever reason these activities are rarely discussed in the United States.
In Europe, many terror organizations are re-emerging. On March 4th British security teams thwarted a ”New IRA“ mortar plot in Londonderry (Derry), Northern Ireland. Three days later, on March 7th, Ireland’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuiness, received a “very active and credible” threat on his life by Irish dissidents.
Last week, violent street clashes between nationalists and loyalists broke in Belfast. Through the disturbance, a bomb was found inside St Mary’s On the Hill Catholic Church County Antrim, Northern Ireland. During this period, Ireland was found not to be the only European nation witnessing sparks in terrorist activities.
Greece, predominantly due to economic catastrophe, is seeing an uptick in protests and violence. On the 10th of March, a bomb attack unfolded in Athens. Two different Greek terror groups claimed responsibility for the attack—The Informal Anarchist Federation group and the International Revolutionary Front. The organization responsible for the bombing remains unknown.
Greece and Ireland may be taking the lead in a new wave of terror activity throughout Europe which would be similar to what the world witnessed during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. History has a tendency to repeat itself. Unfortunately, if the history of terror in Europe does repeat as some analysts predict, violence could be ten-fold in comparison to that witnessed in the past.
If these groups continue their activities, especially if just one major attack succeeds, they will show weakness in the governments they fight. This perceived weakness will help gain supporters. The more support received among the terrorists, the more complex and violent their attack methods will become. It is likely these groups will gain support all the while potentially receiving some assistance from a not-so-unlikely counterpart—radical Islamists.
European terrorist groups have worked with Islamists in the past. The bulk of Western led counterterrorism operations conducted today are against Islamists. Since 9-11, the terrorist’s learning curve reached new levels and some “teachers” are willing to help educate those wishing to step back into the game of European based terror.
Imagine what could happen if these European terror groups once again joined forces with their Middle Eastern and North African counterparts. This is something that happened once before and it surely can, and will likely, happen again. Sadly, such thoughts are nowhere found in this month’s recently distributed ODNI report on world threats.
Kerry Patton, a combat disabled veteran, is author of Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors