Terror in Europe

Europe Pays For Betting On Erdogan And Gulf Petrodollars

The Brussels attacks are a reap-what-you-sow moment for Europe, after biding its time and coddling its dangerous allies for too long.

urkish PM Erdogan and French President Hollande in Ankara in 2014
urkish PM Erdogan and French President Hollande in Ankara in 2014
Hussein Kalout

-OpEd-

The terrorist attacks in Brussels are a brutal replay of those in Paris, Baghdad, Beirut, Ankara, San Bernardino. The radicalization impelled by ISIS ideology, focused on the rejection of moderate Islam and the demonization of the Western world, continues to spread with determination.

The brutality and fatality of terrorist actions are reinforced by an objective rationality with a clear political goal. However, refusing to see the root of this evil will only reinforce it. The terrorism that's devastating European nations is the result of their own political inertia, and of the flawed strategies they've adopted.

Paris, London and Berlin, all under the influence of the Persian Gulf's financial magnet, and of Turkey's illusory promise to be a counterweight to Russia's presence in Syria, failed to understand Moscow's cunning strategy in Syria. The European policy's weakness was exposed in the cosmetic international coalition against ISIS, and later with the refugee crisis at its borders.

Turkish territory was turned into a free movement area for desperate refugees and terrorists on the run. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tried to capitalize on the situation, juggling with these two coefficients. Ankara's strategy consisted in increasing the pressure on Europe using these two levers, while presenting itself as the key to solving all the problems spawned by the Syrian conflict.

Turkey sought to coerce the European Union into supporting its diplomacy during the negotiations in Vienna and Geneva, with an eye on its gradual loss of control and operational capacity on Syria's northern border — especially regarding its policy of strangulation of Kurdish movements. Ankara then tried to profit from it by extorting economical and political advantages, bargaining in the meantime the EU's reconsideration of Turkey's potential entry in the Union.

Striking back


On the other hand, European powers have been accommodating in the face of the atrocities committed in Syria by their Arab friends from the Gulf. Their political decisions became mere commercial actions to inject new life into their armaments industry, leading them to block possible peaceful solutions because these would have been politically unfavorable to their clients.

The lack of a clear European strategy to talk to Russia after its military intervention in Syria, gambling on Turkey instead as a point of containment, is the political result of this disastrous scenario.

With a coherent strategy and coordinated efforts, dismantling ISIS" operational, logistical and economical infrastructure wouldn't be so hard. The most difficult part is to debilitate the web of indoctrination that has co-opted and radicalized teenagers who now, as adults, can act horizontally and independently.

The task facing the West is bigger than just destroying ISIS: They must annihilate an ideology and rescue an entire generation.

Betting on Erdogan and on the Gulf monarchies" petrodollars is proving to be a very risky gamble for Europe. Its long phase of inaction has only made ISIS stronger. As for the terrorist organization itself, now abandoned by its patrons and its patrons' allies, ISIS is in a retaliatory war against both.

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Barbed wire near the Russia-Ukraine border

Valentin Sprinchak/TASS via ZUMA
Anna Akage

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