BELGRADE – Persistent wars against militant Islamists in Muslim nations, unprecedented numbers of refugees and slow economic growth have created conditions foreshadowing a deadly year ahead in Europe, the private intelligence firm Soufan Group said in a report on Thursday.
The report cites this week’s truck attack on a Christmas market in Germany that killed 12 holiday shoppers as reflecting a clear operational presence established by the Daesh terrorist group in Europe.
“As 2016 comes to a close, several trends that have had enormous impact on the level of terrorism,” the report stated. “These trends… took years to reach their current critical mass and will take even longer to resolve.”
As Afghanistan has demonstrated, even once the major fighting comes to an end in Syria, it will undoubtedly give way to a simmering insurgency, which one side will call a “victory” and the other will call a “pause,” the report noted.
As a result, the report recommends that law enforcement authorities in Europe — especially in France, Germany and Belgium — adopt a “raid-intensive” approach to disrupting terrorist networks rather than rely on 24-hour surveillance of suspected jihadists.
In addition, the Soufan report warns of political shifts, especially with upcoming elections in Netherlands, France and Germany.
Media reports indicate gains by anti-immigrant nationalist parties throughout Europe, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces severe criticism after the Christmas market terrorist attack for allowing nearly 1 million Muslim asylum seekers to enter the country.