Counter-Terrorism: Radical Leftists A Growing Threat

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June 25, 2010: While German counter-terror efforts have largely been concentrated on Islamic radicals, there has been another threat that has been growing larger, year by year. Last year, there were 1,115 acts of violence perpetrated by radical leftists. That was a 59 percent increase over the previous year. Unlike their predecessors in the 1970s, the current leftist violence is less intense. Few people are killed, but there's a lot of property damage and non-fatal injuries. Leftist politics is very popular and fashionable in Europe, but most leftists try and distance themselves from the violent fringe. Most of the leftist violence is caused by groups calling themselves anarchists.

Back in the 19th century, the anarchist movement appeared, as the first modern international terrorist network. This was one of the several collectivist movements to come out of the 19th century (along with the more lethal radical socialist ideologies fascism and communism.) Anarchists believed that "property is theft" and a hundred years ago were killing quite a few crowned and elected heads of state (including U.S. president McKinley) to get their message across. Bombings were also used, against capitalist targets (like Wall Street, where thirty were killed by a 1920 explosion.) Most Anarchists were peaceful (if loud), and the small radical faction had plenty of places to hide. Many innocents were imprisoned and several executed in the mania to suppress the radical anarchists. None of these efforts succeeded. What killed the anarchist movement, and its radicals old age (the original 1890s crop were not completely replaced), police action (some were caught), improved working conditions, and, finally, Stalin (who ordered the communists to kill their Anarchist allies to eliminate rivals during the Spanish Civil war.) There are still a few anarchists left, but most are academic twits who would rather preach than act, or street thugs who take their anarchy literally, more for thrills than anything else. The street violence attracts the mayhem minded, who adopt the anarchist label for a number of reasons, most having more to do with form than substance.

While the anarchist violence is a growing problem, police still spend most of their time keeping an eye on Islamic radicals. This is a problem that is actually declining, but not fast enough. Six years ago, German police and military intelligence estimated that they had about 3.45 million Moslems in the country, and that about three percent of those supported al Qaeda’s objectives (Islam becoming the only religion on the planet). These Islamic radicals do not support violence, but would give aid to al Qaeda terrorists. More worrisome, the Germans believe that about 3,000 of their Moslem residents would commit terrorist acts to further the al Qaeda cause. The Germans also noted that there were 24 active Islamist groups in the country, with about 31,000 members altogether.

Since then, the numbers have changed a bit. The number of Moslems in Germany, it seems, was underestimated. Because of illegal migration, there are about four million Moslems in the country. Because Islam is not big on getting along with non-Moslem culture, the Moslems in Germany do not integrate as quickly. The children do not take advantage of educational opportunities as much as, say, non-Moslem migrants from East Asia, or Eastern Europe. Thus Islamic conservatism and radicalism has become more popular, and persistent. But at the same time, groups like al Qaeda are less popular (mainly because of how many Moslems these Islamic terrorists have killed.) But the potential for Islamic terrorism in the German Moslem population is still there, and it is potentially much more likely to be lethal, and thus more dangerous than the anarchists.

 

 


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