French Moslem Terrorists in Iraq

Istvan Simon says:The New York Times (10/23/04) reports that French terrorists are now fighting in Iraq.  The trend worries French authorities, as a future threat to France. Of course French policy should be that if these people go to Iraq they should not be allowed back. Here is an excerpt from the article:

France's antiterrorist police on Friday identified a young Frenchman killed fighting the United States in Iraq, the first confirmed case of what is believed to be a growing stream of Muslims heading from Europe to fight what they regard as a new holy war. Redouane el-Hakim, 19, the son of Tunisian immigrants, died during an American bombardment of insurgents in Falluja on July 17, according to an intelligence official close to the case.

Intelligence officials fear that for a new generation of disaffected European Muslims, Iraq could become what Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya were for European Islamic militants in past decades: a galvanizing cause that sends idealistic young men abroad, trains them and puts them in touch with a more radical global network of terrorists. In the past, many young Europeans who fought in those wars came back to Europe to plot terrorist attacks at home.

"We consider these people dangerous because those who go will come back once their mission is accomplished," the intelligence official said. "Then they can use the knowledge gained there in France, Europe or the United States. It's the same as those who went to Afghanistan or Chechnya."

Hundreds of young militant Muslim men have left Europe to fight in Iraq, according to senior counterterrorism officials in four European countries. They have been recruited through mosques, Muslim centers and militant Web sites by several groups, including Ansar al-Islam,  the Kurdish terrorist group once based in northern Iraq. French officials emphasize that there is not yet evidence of a broad French network funneling fighters to Iraq, and terrorism experts say the vast majority of foreign fighters there come from other countries in the region. But past experience with returning fighters from other Muslim holy wars is causing anxiety in Europe.

Virtually all of the major terrorists arrested in Europe in the past three years spent time in Bosnia, Afghanistan or Chechnya. Two years ago, the French antiterrorism police broke up a cell of Chechen-trained militants who they believe were plotting a chemical attack in Paris. Those arrests triggered an investigation that is still active into what French counterterrorism officials call "the Chechen network."

"Now, the new land of jihad is Iraq," the intelligence official said.  "There, they're trained, they fight and acquire a technique and the indoctrination sufficient to act on when they return."

A network of recruiters for Iraq first appeared in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Norway within months of the United States-led invasion, officials said. Some officials said the recruitment effort had now spread to other countries in Europe, including Belgium and Switzerland. The network provides forged documents, financing, training and information about infiltration routes into the country. The movement to Iraq has increased in recent months, officials say,but they decline to provide specifics.  One senior European intelligence official said there was evidence that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born militant believed to be operating in Falluja, has established a sophisticated network that has helped recruit nearly 1,000 young men from the Middle East and Europe.  "These young men know where the action is - they easily cross the borders of Syria or Turkey, and they go directly to Falluja," the official said.

The French official said many people en route to Iraq were passing through Britain, once the major staging point for Muslims going to Afghanistan, or through Saudi Arabia, using the cover of a pilgrimage to Mecca to enter the Saudi kingdom before making their way across the border.  In June, French news organizations reported that Syria had stopped two French citizens from entering Iraq and had expelled them to Turkey. A Tunisian who left from the southern French port of Marseille was also reported to have died last year in a suicide bombing in Iraq."

Istvan continues:The article goes on to analyze other cases of European-based  Islamic terrorists, and their methods of traveling to  the centers of Islamic terrorism in the World. It is high time the authorities took counter-measures that would make these people unwelcome anywhere in Europe. And when I mean unwelcome, I mean arrested if found in Europe, tried and convicted and imprisoned.The policy should be, once you go you stay there forever. The staging areas where these people enter Iraq, (or Chechnya, or wherever else they want to go)  also must be involved in stopping this.

Regarding the current "insurgency"  in Iraq the United States and the Iraqi authorities should aggressively go after their money. Martial law should be instituted, and financing terrorism must be a capital offense. It is not difficult to see who the "insurgents" are in Iraq. Aside from the foreign crazies, like  Zarqawi and the terrorists that the New York Times article talks about, the "insurgents" are  financed by those that have the most to lose by having a democracy in Iraq: the Sunni Muslims, former Baathist high officials, and so on. These are the people financing the bombs and the murdering in Iraq. Just yesterday they murdered  close to 50 Iraqi recruits. They were all Shiites from Southern Iraq. Their bus was ambushed, their hands tied behind their backs, and then they were murdered in cold blood.  Public hanging of  a few dozen of the people who actually pay for such outrages would perhaps go a long way in discouraging the practice.

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Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: November 25, 2004