2004-03-22

Europas Terroristenjagd

--- In einem ausf�hrlichen Hintergrundbericht geht die New York Times heute den vielf�ltigen Problemen bei der Jagd nach islamistischen Terroristen in Europa nach: While European intelligence agencies focused more on domestic terrorism � the I.R.A. in Britain, the Basque group ETA in Spain � Europe became a fertile recruiting ground for Mr. bin Laden and Al Qaeda. "Al Qaeda's European infrastructure has always been far more ingrained and widespread than their presence in North America," said Matthew A. Levitt, a senior fellow in terrorism studies at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ... As pressure on Al Qaeda's leadership mounted, the militants adapted. Radical imams took their message underground. Muslim extremists appeared to regroup into smaller, more transient cells, intelligence officials say, with fewer discernible ties to the Qaeda hierarchy. New groups emerged and new associations developed among established ones. In recent months, officials say, Ansar al Islam, the militant group that was entrenched in northern Iraq before the war, has reasserted itself in Europe, recruiting operatives to fight in Iraq. The officials say the move reflects an alliance forged between Ansar and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a bin Laden confederate who American officials say is behind a recent series of deadly bombings in Iraq. ... The more diffuse terror threat played into the weaknesses of the Europe's patchwork intelligence system. "The problem with intelligence in Europe is that we are far too bureaucratic and fragmented across borders," said a senior German intelligence official. "Our security is much less integrated than our business or transportation infrastructures. We also have many different languages, while the terrorist cells all speak Arabic. The extremists also move relatively freely across borders. In this sense, ironically, they are more European than we are."

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