Two-Way Ticket

It hasn’t only been the July 7th London bombers who have been attracting press attention for having bought return tickets: for some time now European-based Islamic radicals going to fight in Iraq have been causing concern amongst anti-terrorism experts due to the possibility they might one day return. This issue was first covered on Afoe back in July when Spanish police arrested 16 suspected Islamist militants accused of recruiting activists for the al-qaeda campaign in Iraq.

Subsequently there was a controversial CIA assessment which suggested that “Iraq may prove to be an even more effective training ground for Islamic extremists than Afghanistan was in Al Qaeda’s early days”.

Today, Associated Press writer Jamey Keaten interviews leading French counterterrorism investigating judge Jean-Francois Ricard on the topic, who informed to Keaton: “They’re taking round trips… I have confirmation … of this return with action targeting our countries”.

In an interview with The Associated Press, judge Jean-Francois Ricard said some French militants travel to Iraq to carry out suicide attacks or fight Iraqi and U.S.-led forces, but others are going to get combat training for use at home.

“The return of some individuals is starting. They’re taking round trips. You can’t think that once in Iraq, there’s no return. It is not true,” he said.

“I have confirmation … of this return with action targeting our countries. We’ve been starting to see it this year, or in 2004. It’s very worrying.”

He declined to elaborate on how many French citizens might be involved.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

8 thoughts on “Two-Way Ticket

  1. From my viewpoint that was an unavoidable consequence of the war, and reason enough to stand against such endeavour. The USA did go on because they calculated that the backlash would hit Europe more than them.

    DSW

  2. It’s ironic, in that Americans perceive France as ‘cheese eating surrender monkeys’, yet they are easily the most ferocious country in Europe at combating terrorism.

    Antoni, the flip side of that argument is that the Islamic militancy threating France is the consquence of uncontrolled immigration into France and a plummeting birthrate. France’s leaders probably *didn’t* calculate that into their equation.

  3. “plummeting birthrate.”

    I hate to be pedantic Rupert, but France’s birthrate is *not* plummeting.

    http://www.insee.fr/en/ffc/pop_age.htm

    This is why I argued earlier in the week that French economic performance was markedly better than the German due to the demographic differential:

    http://fistfulofeuros.net/archives/001921.php

    “the consquence of uncontrolled immigration”

    Well yes I think this is the point, France’s relatively healthier economic performance and better demographic profile is, in part, the consequence of strong inward migration: just like the United States.

    And France just like the US has a terrorism problem. And France like the United States takes a strong line on this topic. Oh, the similarities are numerous………

    They both even have a president who makes protectionist noises from time to time, who seems to believe in big government, and who is strong on agricultural and aircraft subsidies. We could go on and on. And, oh yes…

    Both thrones have an immigrant pretender waiting in the wings (Sarkozy and Schwarznegger) :).

  4. Edward,

    Your point is correct, except for Ahnuld. He’s toast – deeply unpopular in California, incompetent at governing, and constitutionally prohibited from running. The Governator is going to be terminated.

  5. the flip side ?

    From what you wrote I gather you did not understood what I meant.

    Point 1: Europe, and that includes France, for sure is nearer to a ME war theatre than the USA. So it is easier to be hit by terrorists.

    Point 2: local and legally immigrated Muslims are a much bigger part of the population than in the USA. And those immigrated have closer ties to their birth country. So terrorists can easily surge amongst them.

    Point 3: The population density is much higher in Europe than in the USA, consequently there are more racists in the same area than in the USA, which means racism affects much more the immigrants in Europe than in the USA.

    point 4: there are illegal immigrants, so what? they are not less susceptible than legal immigrants to points 2 and 3.

    My conclusion: no flip side. The war was a bad idea from the go.

    DSW

  6. ‘From my viewpoint that was an unavoidable consequence of the war, and reason enough to stand against such endeavour. The USA did go on because they calculated that the backlash would hit Europe more than them.’

    The war is a factor, but it is not necessarily a primary cause. There are lots of things at work here which go back decades, arguably even longer. The American decision had nothing to do with who would get punished the most. What the situation calls for now is some good ole fashioned undercover diplomacy to get other Arab nations involved in creating stability in the region. Europe must step to the plate. We have to realise that instability in the Middle East will hurt Europe… blaming the Americans for mistaken decisions wont get us anywhere. Peace in Iraq is vital, absolutely vital.

  7. ‘From my viewpoint that was an unavoidable consequence of the war, and reason enough to stand against such endeavour. The USA did go on because they calculated that the backlash would hit Europe more than them.’

    The war is a factor, but it is not necessarily a primary cause. There are lots of things at work here which go back decades, arguably even longer. The American decision had nothing to do with who would get punished the most. What the situation calls for now is some good ole fashioned undercover diplomacy to get other Arab nations involved in creating stability in the region. Europe must step to the plate. We have to realise that instability in the Middle East will hurt Europe… blaming the Americans for mistaken decisions wont get us anywhere. Peace in Iraq is vital, absolutely vital.

  8. Peace in Iraq is only possible with an American defeat and that will take only another few months. Make it look like a Baathist victory (who are in reality the most likeable of the Iraqi’s) and the fundi’s can’t use it as propaganda.

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