Global Independent Analytics

How ISIS Smuggles Terrorists Among Syrian Refugees

In the Paris attacks, only four of the 198 refugees who arrived on Leros on a certain day were terrorists. That is just 2 percent, but that 2 percent killed 130 people

Marc Thiessen for Newsweek discusses what should be done to avoid repetition of deadly terror attacks conducted by ISIS militants who have sneaked into Europe under the disguise of seeking humanitarian aid and asylum.

Last weekend, The Washington Post reported for the first time on exactly how ISIS was able to infiltrate operatives into Europe, hiding them among the flood of refugees so that they could carry out deadly terrorist attacks. In addition to interviews with intelligence officials, the Post was able to interview an ISIS commander who boasted about how the worst is yet to come.

The Post reports: On a crisp morning last October, 198 migrants arrived on the Greek island of Leros, all of them seemingly desperate people seeking sanctuary in Europe. But hiding among them were four men with a very different agenda. The four were posing as war-weary Syrians — all carrying doctored passports with false identities. And they were on a deadly mission for the Islamic State. Two of the four would masquerade as migrants all the way to Paris. There, at 9:20 p.m. on Nov. 13, they would detonate suicide vests near the Stade de France sports complex, fulfilling their part in the worst attack on French soil since World War II.

Both intelligence officials and the ISIS commander have made it clear that these attacks were only the beginning and that many ISIS operatives have been sent to Europe with the refugees with one and only purpose: to fulfill their religious mission and to establish a new Islamic caliphate by conducting religious cleansing and genocide.

Thiessen continues: “This is the problem with President Obama’s proposal to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. It creates an opportunity for ISIS to do to the US what it has done in Europe. But instead of addressing these legitimate concerns, President Obama is busy demagoguing those who disagree with his plans. On his recent trip to Germany, Obama blamed opposition to his plan on xenophobia, declaring: “These are unsettling times. And when the future is uncertain, there seems to be an instinct in our human nature to withdraw to the perceived comfort and security of our own tribe, our own sect, our nationality. People who look like us, sound like us. In today’s world, more than any time in human history, that is a false comfort.”

However, Mr. Obama is wrong: the danger is posed not by those who look like us, but by those who want to kill us. Considering the rates at which ISIS sends their terrorists under the guise of those who are actually fleeing war, that is a valid concern. Nevertheless, it is not an immediate corollary that we have to deny asylum to the refugees in order to cut terrorism.

“It is true that the vast majority of refugees are good and decent people who are fleeing the carnage wrought by the Islamic State militant group. They are not advocates of Islamic radicalism; they are the victims of Islamic radicalism. The danger is not coming from them, but from Islamic radicals who are using them as cover to infiltrate operatives into the West.

In the case of the Paris attacks, only four of the 198 refugees who arrived on the Greek island of Leros that day were terrorists. That is just 2 percent. But that 2 percent were able to carry out an attack that killed at least 130 people.

We need to find a way to stop that 2 percent while helping the 98 percent. And there are ways to do so without endangering our security. But they involve hard choices that President Obama does not want to make—like, for example, creating a safe area inside Syria where Syrian refugees can live safely, much like the way we protected the Kurdish regions of Northern Iraq from Saddam Hussein after the 1991 Gulf War,” assumes Thiessen.

Yet, it seems to be easier to accuse one’s political opponents of racism, which President Obama successfully does. Unfortunately, those, who advocate against admitting refugees, justify Obama’s actions because instead of proposing better, safer and more compassionate alternatives to helping the victims, their argument stops at “no.” And “no” is not good enough.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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