Extremist Jihadists Returning Home Importing Terrorism from Syria

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ardeshir Zare’i-Qanavati
Expert on International Issues

It seems that the time has come for the 21st century Frankensteins to play their role as Western extremist jihadist forces fighting a sectarian war in Syria are gradually going back to their homelands. Three years have passed since the beginning of the devastating crisis in Syria. During all these years, many leaders in the Arab world spared no effort to demonize [the incumbent Syrian President] Bashar Assad while providing unbridled support to all groups opposing him – which varied from the so-called moderate rebels to extremist and fundamentalist jihadist forces – whom they falsely called the “revolutionary people” of Syria. At present, the other flip side of this forged coin is unraveling before the eyes of the European people and is showing its criminal self to its previous supporters and, this time, in their own motherland. This issue, which is looked upon as a stark reality now, was neither an undisclosed riddle, which would have been unpredictable, nor was it a process that could be kept under tight geopolitical control and used as a means to subdue the enemy. This is true because the bitter experience of playing the same game in Afghanistan was still alive before their eyes. They kept the true picture of jihadist forces in a rusty file; the forces, who were considered on the same level of praise as the “Founding Fathers” of the United States just three decades ago and under President Roland Reagan’s administration, and who later committed such catastrophic crimes against humanity as the 9/11 attacks and bombings in the London Tube and Madrid subway. Now, after the lapse of 10 years, a similar file has been opened for Syria. The fact that fundamentalist jihadist forces originating from European countries and the United States used Turkey as transit route from 2011 onward to get to the war fronts in Syria was no secret for political leaders as well as secret services of the Western countries. Therefore, at the present time, frequent release of statistics that show thousands of such jihadists are on their way back home, is just the omen of an imminent danger which is knocking on their doors.

The terrorist attack on May 24, 2014, on the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels, during which an armed man opened fire on visitors of the museum killing four of them, directed the incriminating finger toward the extremist Islamists from the very beginning. Only one week later, that is on June 1, the French prosecutor’s office announced that the man suspected of having perpetrated the attack, known as Mahdi Namosh, who was a citizen of France, had been arrested at a train station in the southern French city of Marseilles. However, there is a point in the French prosecutor’s statement, which is more important than the original news, and is also directly related to the jihadist background of the suspected criminal. The available information shows that Mahdi Namosh is a career criminal with a long record, who has been arrested and sent to jail five times in the past. During his prison time, he has been apparently influenced by teachings of jihadist groups and become inclined toward them. Later one, he has spent more than a year in the Syrian battlefields alongside other jihadist forces that fought against Assad’s government. This man is just one of the jihadist forces who had left Europe to fight their “jihad” in Syria and whose number has been estimated from 3,000 to 11,000. The French President Francois Hollande announced after the apprehension of Namosh that about 700 jihadist forces taking part in the Syrian war are French nationals. The majority of these Western jihadist forces have entered Turkey carrying authentic passports and visas from where they have made their way to war fronts in Syria. However, up to six months ago, when alarming stories started to circulate about this phenomenon and its future role in Europe, the customs offices and consular departments of Western countries showed no concern about this issue and imposed no control on their travels.

The civil and sectarian war in Syria, which has pitted domestic, regional and international rivals against one another, has also created an anarchic situation in all domestic and foreign fields related to Syria, whose consequences are inevitably multidimensional. Up to a year ago, the Western leaders had focused all their efforts on toppling Bashar Assad’s government. Therefore, although they were totally aware of the presence of Western jihadist forces among the ranks of the foreign-backed militants in Syria, they preferred to ignore this reality. Today, they are concerned about this phenomenon, but that concern is not related to the criminal role that these forces have already played in the Syrian war. The European countries’ concern, rather, began when these jihadist forces started to go back to Europe where the governments are now worried about the role that they may play in destabilizing their home countries. This issue is clear proof of double standards that the Western countries have always applied to the issue of international terrorism. As long as terrorist Frankensteins are doing their job in Syria, they are cause of no concern for the leaders of the Western states. However, as soon as these Frankensteins made up their mind to go back to their motherlands and test their terrorist experiences in Europe or the United States, their return is considered a red line as they may commit the same kind of crimes of which people like Mahdi Namosh are currently accused. The Western officials sometimes deal with these people in such a way that as if Mahdi Namosh and others like him have been engaged in humanitarian activities, providing relief aid or defending democracy in the Syrian war fronts and only turn into criminal monsters once they are found guilty of terrorist attacks in Europe.

Only one year ago and despite his unfavorable situation at that time, Assad had warned European leaders that they would soon meet with the European jihadists, who fought in Syria war, in their own countries and in a pool of blood. It seems that the time is now ripe for his forewarning to come true. The interesting point, which can be extracted from information revealed in the past few days, is that the French secret service has been well aware of one-year presence of Mahdi Namosh in the Syrian war fronts and among extremist jihadists. However, upon returning to his country, he has not only faced no restriction for entry, but has even used his Schengen visa to easily travel to various European countries on his way back, including Belgium, where he committed his recent crime at the Jewish Museum of Brussels. The case of Mahdi Namosh, including his role in Syria war and the recent incident in Brussels, has rung the alarms for the Western countries and this time with objective evidence ready at hand. The West should now go over its past experience in Afghanistan and make security-based and ethical revisions in various areas of its geopolitical and national policies. In doing so, the Western countries might be able to avoid further regret for past mistakes and lost opportunities.

Key Words: Extremist Jihadists, Importing Terrorism, Syria, Afghanistan, Europe, Jewish Museum of Belgium, Mahdi Namosh, Bashar Assad, Frankensteins, Zare’i-Qanavati

Source: Shargh Daily
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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