The Balkan peninsula as defined by the Soča-Krka-Sava border in the north. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: The Western Balkans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Anthee Carassava
Greece intelligence on ‘heightened state of vigilance’ in search for suspected Islamist militants
Greek surveillance alert comes amid concern that Islamist State fighters might hit back for U.S. airstrike
Greece’s National Intelligence Service said Tuesday that it was at “a heightened state of vigilance” for suspected militants, keeping close tabs on radical Muslims, and had detected at least six foreign fighters with the terrorist group Islamic State transiting through the country in recent months.
The surveillance operation comes amid concern that the militant group, formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, will retaliate for increased U.S airstrikes in Iraq and possible strikes in Syria.
At present, according to the latest intelligence in Rome, some fifty Italians are fighting with the Islamic State (IS — get my assessment of that dangerous group here), of whom a shocking eighty percent are converts, not immigrants or born Muslims. Many go abroad to wage holy war after a surprisingly brief period of conversion and radicalization. They are very young and come mostly from northern Italy. The Salafi jihadist scene in Italy is fragmented regionally and a key role is played by what Italian intelligence terms “liaison officers,” the individuals who facilitate the recruitment of new holy warriors and get them to the war zone. Continue reading →
(Reuters) – Germany’s national security council declined two-thirds of applications for arms export licenses at its most recent sitting three weeks ago, German news weekly Spiegel said on Saturday.
The ministry had prevented a license to export to Saudi Arabia 500 million euros worth of sight devices for armored personnel carrier guns from even being discussed in the council, it said.
Spiegel said the sights were made by a unit of Airbus. A spokesman for Airbus said: “We have no information about any government decision. We hope however for a swift and positive decision.”
Such a move by the economy ministry could place Berlin on a direct collision course with Airbus Group after its chief executive Tom Enders warned of increased job cuts and factory closures over arms export curbs in an interview with Reuters on Friday. Continue reading →
English: Map showing the maximum territorial extent of countries under the direct influence of the Soviet Union — between the Cuban Revolution/21st Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union/Sino-Soviet split. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine reflects neither strategic wisdom nor military strength. In fact, it reflects just the opposite. Putin invested over $50 billion and significant personal capital in the Sochi Olympics and the upcoming G8 Summit. That has now been squandered. It was clearly humiliating for Putin to watch as the Ukrainian president he had strongly supported, if not hand-picked, was forced to flee Kiev. This was particularly true, given that President Yanukovych fled in response to a popular uprising driven by opposition to his efforts to establish closer Ukrainian relations with Russia at the expense of closer ties to Europe.
Putin assuaged this humiliation with a military invasion of Crimea on March 1. On March 20, the Russian Parliament overwhelmingly approved a treaty presented by Putin to formally annex the Black Sea peninsula. At this juncture, it seems impossible to envision Moscow backing down, withdrawing its forces, and returning Crimea to Ukrainian control. President Obama, as well as Western European leaders, have acknowledged this reality. The so-called “post-Cold War era” has now come to a close, and the West must now confront a new European security environment. What is the nature of the new threat? What is the general outline of a new strategy for the United States and its NATO allies?
It is important to realize that the longer-term threat posed by this new era does not herald a return to the Cold War. That “twilight struggle” had an ideological underpinning. It pitted Marxist-Leninist ideology against democracy and market economies. When Nikita Khrushchev made his famous threat, “We will bury you!” in 1956, he was not necessarily predicting imminent war so much as a belief that history was on the side of Communism. He believed that it was Communism, with its focus on a command oriented economy rather than the Soviet military, that would ultimately triumph. Continue reading →
Regression to the mean: unveiling a bust of Hungary’s one-time ruler Miklos Horthy, 2013. (Laszlo Balogh / Courtesy Reuters)
Europeans love to celebrate anniversaries, especially those commemorating a terrible past overcome. This year will offer many such moments, marking as it will 100 years since the outbreak of World War I, 75 years since the beginning of World War II, and, most uplifting of all, a quarter century since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Such milestones are bound to make everyone feel good about European unity.
But another important anniversary is less likely to be celebrated, precisely because it would put a damper on those good feelings. Ten years ago, eight eastern European states joined the European Union, followed by Bulgaria and Romania three years later. Europe seemed to have overcome not just Cold War divisions but also deeper historical differences. The EU had brought East and West together, consolidating the fragile democracies that had emerged from the fall of communism. Continue reading →
The European border security agency Frontex is calling on industry to present its border surveillance solutions to key stakeholders and EU member state authorities at two workshops to be held in Poland and Finland this year
Illustration photo (123rf)
One of the key objectives of Frontex is to keep member states informed about new technological developments in the field of border control. In this regard, Frontex seeks to put more emphasis on organizing with the help of member states and practical demonstrations of new technologies.
The Research and Development Unit of Frontex will organize, on Apr. 10 in Warsaw, Poland, a workshop on the challenges and opportunities for border surveillance sensors and platforms. Key stakeholders and representatives of EU member states’ authorities involved in border control will attend. Frontex is inviting all relevant industry to present its latest technological developments in border security surveillance, especially from the perspective of cost-efficiency.The surveillance of external borders is one of the essential components of border control in the EU. Border surveillance activities take place in wide border areas and present a variety of challenges such as detection and tracking of small boats; systems integration; the trade-off between effectiveness and cost; and the surveillance capabilities of border patrol vessels. Continue reading →
FILE – In this Friday, March 7, 2003 file photo, Christodoulos Xiros, a member of the November 17 terrorist group, sits inside a courtroom at Athens’ Korydallos maximum security prison. Xiros, who is serving six life sentences for participating in a left-wing terrorist organization, and who vanished during a weeklong furlough from prison earlier this month, purportedly posted on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 a statement on an Internet site vowing a return to armed action. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)
ATHENS, Greece – A Greek fugitive who vanished on furlough from prison while serving six life sentences for being in a deadly terrorist organization has vowed a return to armed action.
Christodoulos Xiros railed against the handling of Greece’s financial crisis and threatened the media, the judiciary and the Greek government in an Internet post on Monday