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Research Report

International terrorism:: the changing threat and the EU’s response

Paul Wilkinson
Copyright Date: Oct. 1, 2005
Pages: 57
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 7-8)
    Paul Wilkinson

    If any Europeans observing the 9/11 atrocities in the United States had comforted themselves with the belief that Western Europe was immune from such attacks, this illusion should have been dispelled by the train bombings in Madrid in March 2004 and the July 2005 bombings of Underground trains and a double-decker bus in London, apparently by suicide bombers with links to the Al Qaeda network.

    How serious is the Al Qaeda network’s threat to Europe and to Europe’s interests abroad? Have Europe’s measures to combat the Al Qaeda network made a significant contribution to the War Against Terrorism? If it...

  2. (pp. 9-28)

    Before proceeding to a discussion of the problems of an international response to terrorism, including the use of international law, it is important to define the scope of the subject. It is wrong to equate terrorism with violence and insurgency in general.¹ Some journalists and politicians have tried to use it as a synonym for guerrilla war, but terrorism is a special mode of violence which, since the late 1960s, has more often than not been used entirely alone, in a pre-insurgency situation. And it is this type of attack – spasmodic bombings, shooting, kidnapping – which has been the...

  3. (pp. 29-46)

    It was not until terrorism became a major problem for European Community states in the 1970s that the first significant steps were taken to strengthen European Cooperation against this modern scourge. Terrorism is predominantly a political crime. Traditionally the European democracies had all upheld the principle that in cases of political crime, extradition should not be guaranteed. This position was enshrined in the Council of Europe Convention on Extradition (1957). Under Article 3.1 of this Convention, a state party to the Convention could refuse extradition in cases where the offence for which extradition was being requested was a political offence...

  4. (pp. 47-50)

    The implications for Europe are surely clear. Whatever differences may exist about the details of foreign policy, we must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in our efforts to suppress the Al Qaeda network in all its forms. How can we most effectively fight the Hydra?

    The first prerequisite for an effective strategy must be that it is genuinely multinational, not only maintaining the solidarity of the existing coalition against terrorism but expanding it. Close collaboration with and between Muslim members of the coalition is particularly important because of their greater access to intelligence on the extremist political groups active...