ISIS – The return to Europe
Over the last decade, ISIS is one of the most ferocious terror organizations in the world. Its horrible techniques of torturing and slaughtering its enemies (which is pretty much everyone else) is considered extreme even for other terrorists and gave it during its prime days a vile reputation.
Recently 400 ISIS operatives with European citizenship, were chosen to return to Europe on a secret mission. The operation started three and a half years ago (mid 2019) with the goal to return to Europe without their real documents and to lead new terror cells on the continent. They were chosen due to their loyalty to ISIS, leadership, achievements in battlefield, and radical perspectives.
ISIS infrastructure and resources are based on criminal activities, so that apart from the imminent threat of terror attacks, we can expect a profound rise of criminal activity on the streets of Europe.
Over the years of its existence, ISIS used sophisticated and professional propaganda to recruit future insurgents from all over the world (more than 80 countries and all Muslim countries) to join its battle and unite for the great cause of establishing the “Islamic State”.
In its pursuit of terrorism, ISIS needed to have enough manpower to achieve its ambitious goals and maintain its foothold in the area. The cycle includes combat, conquer and enforcement, village after village in the boundaries of Syria and Iraq.
Over the last years the numbers known average 5,000 people with European citizenship, who joined ISIS. From the information we received, last updated two months ago, 6,300 confirmed people with European citizenship joined ISIS in the past decade. Some were Muslims, others converted. Many of them didn’t fit into the European society, both economically and spiritually. “When you have nothing to lose you may go to the extreme. The idea of being a part of something with a much larger ideology than yourself makes you feel that you belong. Taking actual responsibility and taking an active part is even more emotional to some of the people that were rejected repeatedly by Europe, and more than welcome by ISIS”, as a former ISIS member, who was recruited from Europe, told the media a few years ago.
According to several Intelligence agencies and testimonies of people who survived the inferno, some of the ISIS returnees were senior commanders in Iraq and Syria and they were the ones who directed many of the crimes ISIS is performing daily over there.
Over the years, some of those approx. 6,300 Europeans who joined ISIS were killed in battle, others are still operatives of the organization today. But there is a phenomenon that’s taking place behind the scenes as ISIS insurgents return to Europe.
According to information we received, 3,262 ISIS operatives, including a high number of former combat insurgents, made their way back to Europe, especially in the last four years. Some of the confirmed countries that ISIS operatives returned to are Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Spain, and more.
Alex Younger, former Head of the United Kingdom’s secret intelligence service MI6, mentioned the subject when he was still in service: “returnees are likely to have acquired the skills and connections that make them potentially very dangerous.”
It is true that those 3,262 individuals, were allowed to return home to Europe in a legal way with the official approval of the authorities. They were usually the ones who were willing to pay the price and serve short terms in prison just to rescue their families from an evil future. Usually, those are families of former operatives that came from Europe and married underage women under the ISIS law, had several kids, and saw the opportunity to pay for their actions and by that give their kids a better future in a normal environment.
Apart from the above, our information shows two facts of concern about ISIS members that went back to Europe:
1. Of the 3,262 ISIS members who returned to Europe, about 400 of them were playing sensitive roles in ISIS such as special units, interrogation units, intelligence units and more. They took an active part in massacres of entire villages, participated in the rape of local women (many of them underage), and tortured to death prisoners who were captured in confrontations.
Due to lack of proof, the fact that it is almost impossible to bring witnesses to justify, and the complexity of different legal systems in Europe, not all the 400 individuals have been taken to court under the right accusations, therefore, most of them are already out of prison or never spent a formal time in prison at all.
Back in June 2019, several of the leading European countries tried to promote an idea to establish a special court in Iraq which will deal only in ISIS crimes and will be supervised under the authority of the EU. That idea was postponed after several NGOs were protesting that by doing so, Europe will officially declare its surrender to terror. “It will be a disgrace for countries who believe in protecting human rights of every human being”.
That gave ISIS leadership sufficient proof for the plans, nowadays implemented in Europe. Extremely dangerous people are free to live their lives in many of Europe’s capitals.
More than 130 of them came back to be involved in terrorism connected to ISIS. The most famous case is the combined terror attacks in Paris in 2015. The attackers, who had Belgian and French citizenships came back from fighting in Syria. They had the combat experience, the right preparations, and the specific intelligence to launch such a deadly attack.
In 2022 only, intelligence organizations have foiled several attempts for a massive terror attack in Western Europe.
2. According to several authorities, around 400 ISIS operatives with European citizenship, were chosen to return to Europe on a secret mission. The operation started three and a half years ago (mid 2019). They were chosen due to their loyalty to ISIS, leadership, achievements in battlefield, and radical perspectives. The goal was to return to Europe without their real documents and to lead new terror cells on the continent. Not all of them went back to their countries of origin.
The plan was built on the fact that they will know better how to fit in, they know the languages, and are familiar with the lifestyle. Therefore, it will be easier for them to find a decent job or open a business, which will be the cover for their real activity. As a business cover, some of them received instructions to open offices of real estate companies, computers, and more. Others were sent to fulfill administrational jobs that may assist in building identities and infrastructures.
Most will not return by themselves. For receiving authenticity, they will return along with their families. But it won’t be their authentic family, it will be a fake family that would be attached to them.
The “fake-family” is built precisely for the specific needs of each one of those who were chosen for that plot, according to criteria of character, physical appearance (European look), personal skills, and extreme perspective. It includes men or women that will fit for the individual (the women are included in the 400) and teenagers (boys and girls) that are mostly orphans.
Many went through two years of training which involved mainly language skills in two European languages, behavioral training, Islamic studies, and military training.
The journey to Europe is usually not as difficult as for regular refugees. ISIS built a whole infrastructure just for them which includes bribery, private planes, fake identities, apartments, cars, and large amount of money so they could fit in step by step, recruit and operate.
Many fake passports that were used for that operation came from real embassies of European countries in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, using their administrational helpers in place. These days, there is a group of around 100 individuals, that is currently in Afghanistan as a transit spot waiting to be launched into Europe in small groups. They are receiving logistical assistance from the Taliban. Afghanistan, and especially the Taliban, are the main source of Opium related drug trafficking, including into Europe. This is where criminal financing meets terror activities with a mutual interest.
The popular destinations of these groups until today are France, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Germany. In those countries, there are large Muslim communities that can be the base for future recruiters who identify themselves with the extreme ideology of ISIS.
The European countries have not done enough to secure the borders of the continent. It’s just too easy for ISIS returnees to find the way back to Europe and avoid the EU courts.
European countries should consider to use more advice of their intelligence services and be less afraid to confront NGOs which are driven by interests and receiving political support.
One should construct a temporary all-European task force including all the major intelligence services, police, financial investigators dealing with money laundering and income tax, border authorities, ministry of interior, cyber security with social network screening.
ISIS is becoming stronger every year around the world, especially in Africa and central Asia. The capabilities, the weapons and the money will eventually find their way to Europe again, to be used against the local population.
European citizens will be facing a rising crime rate, as this is the basis for ISIS terror. Not only will the criminality rise in quantity, it will rise in cruelty, as ISIS is known for ruthlessness and brutality – no matter how high the success rate of the authorities in foiling the terror attacks.
European leaders need to understand that extreme terrorism is an ideology, and ideology doesn’t disappear if you change your surroundings, it is what defines it.