In the wake of the recent terror attacks in Brussels, the world is waiting on edge for the next attack by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL. The question to ask is no longer if another attack is going to come, but where the next attack will be and how we can stop it.
Europe seems to be the most likely target for a couple of reasons: ISIL has a large amount of recruits coming from Europe, they have rather relaxed border crossing laws that make travel through the countries easy, attacking Europe will likely cause overreactions that will only lead to further marginalization and in turn, increased recruitment opportunity for ISIL — the list goes on.
In addition to these motives, ISIL has also stated that the attack in Brussels was “just a taste” of what’s to come.
It seems likely the next high-profile ISIL attack is going to occur somewhere within Europe. So with the “where” being clear, it’s time to look at how to foil the next attempted attack.
In order to prevent the next attack, Europe has to fix what caused the last one — a broken intelligence system. Belgium is policed by a horribly fragmented police system. This fragmentation leads to several issues, one of which is that different policing agencies hesitate to share intelligence with other agencies within the country.
Belgium is just a microcosm of all of Europe. Though they present themselves as a united “European Union,” there’s no formal agency set up for intelligence sharing across the continent. This represents a disjointed intelligence system which leaves Europe vulnerable.
If there’s any hope to prevent the next ISIL attack, Europe must unite countries’ intelligence services. Anything but across the board intelligence sharing is leaving the door open for attack.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the fight against ISIL isn’t a fight that can be won simply by preventing future attacks, it’s a fight that must be won by defeating the root causes of radicalization.
Sending troops to fight ISIL on the ground in Iraq and Syria won’t defeat them, the ideology that supports ISIL exists outside of those countries and can’t be “carpet bombed” out of existence.
In order to defeat ISIL the world needs to make certain not to panic, not to restrict rights or democracy in the name of national security and not to push people to ISIL by marginalizing them.
The fight against ISIL is going to require not just Europe, but the whole world to stand in solidarity.