Streetwise Professor

November 15, 2015

Terrorist Fish Swimming in a Refugee Tide

Filed under: History,Military,Politics — The Professor @ 10:43 pm

One of the most revealing, and bizarre, aspects of the Paris aftermath is the frenzied attempt to explain away the reports that a Syrian passport had been found near the pieces of one of the suicide bombers. This would raise the possibility that terrorists were infiltrating Europe under the cover of the flood of refugees. This would pose a serious challenge to those invested in the grandiose humanitarian gesture of opening Europe’s borders.

The straw that most of the rationalizers grasped was that the passport was evidently forged, and not well.

How this somehow undercuts the possibility that a terrorist made his way from Syria is beyond me. All that matters is whether the passport was used to secure entry into Europe. And apparently it was. Greek officials verify that the passport was so used. Indeed, the Greeks now report that it is likely that a second attacker passed through Greece.

If a terrorist used a (bad) forgery to obtain entry to Europe, that would make things worse, not better. It would mean that European borders can be breached by amateur counterfeiters.

One of the most risible attempts to deny the possibility that a Syrian cell infiltrated Paris was made by the appalling Anne Applebaum. Applebaum argues-in all seriousness, apparently-that terrorists couldn’t have come from outside, because they knew Paris too well.

Um, it’s known that hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of French Muslims have traveled to Syria, many to fight with the Islamic State. Many of these would be from Paris, and know the city quite well, thank you. Francophone fighters familiar with Paris trained in the heart of darkness of Syria would be the perfect perpetrators of mass terror in the City of Light.

And how the hell were they supposed to get back to France? Flying Air France on their French passports (likely known to French authorities)? No, obviously. But submerging themselves in the tide of migrants and traveling on false documents would be the perfect way to move from Syria to France.

What’s more, having a core team move from Syria would reduce the amount of communication needed to carry out the operation. All the planning could be done in the security of Raqqa, and those coming from Syria could confer face-to-face with their collaborators in France once they arrived. Much reduced need to send orders or plans over communication channels that could be monitored by the DGSE or NSA or GCHQ.

There have been warnings for months about the risks posed by returning jihadis. Those risks have apparently been realized, and it is just disgusting that those invested with accommodating the refugee flood refuse to accept that reality, because their unicorn dreams are so much more important.

This is not to say that all of the attackers came from abroad. Several were apparently French and Belgian. The irony that the Arab neighborhoods of Brussels are out of control of the authorities is too rich (though sick). As if on cue, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said (presumably between drinks), that EU immigration policy would not change as a result of Paris.

So Brussels, the capital of the nanny superstate that claims competence over the most minute aspects of human existence is incapable of performing the most basic function of a state: securing the physical security of its residents. And it is unwilling to admit its failures, and indeed, is committed to compounding them.

Merkel is doubling down too, despite a swelling rebellion in her own party, and Germany at large. Yet another example of the complete disconnect between the European “elites” and the hoi polloi they deign to rule.

Yes. There is a humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. But there are well known ways of addressing it that do not involve throwing open Europe to all comers, terrorists included. Refugee camps could be expanded in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. They could be funded much more liberally.

And here’s a wild idea. Why not force the Gulf state oil ticks, the Saudis, Emiratis, Kuwaitis, and Qataris, to (a) pay to support refugees, and (b) actually take in refugees, something they have adamantly refused to do?

They are pouring money into Syria to arm fighters. They should spend even more money to deal with the fallout of their actions.

And it is not just Europe that is willing to take on huge numbers of refugees. The US is as well. Speaking through the appalling incompetent throne-sniffer and toady Ben Rhodes, the administration says it is not reconsidering plans to admit 10,000 refugees from Syria.

“We have very robust vetting procedures for those refugees. It involves our intelligence community, our national counter-terrorism center, extensive interviews, vetting them against all information.”

“What we need to be able to do, frankly, is sort out that foreign fighter flow, those who have gone into Syria and come out and want to launch attacks or those who have connections with ISIL in Syria,” Rhodes said. “We need to be able to have the intelligence base to identify and target those people.”

Why should we have the slightest confidence that the US government will have the ability to do this? It only takes a few errors by the magical intelligence sorting hat to create a Paris-like disaster here in the US.

Europe (and the US) can deal with the way things are, or the way they wish they could be. Grasping at straws about forged passports would mean they are doing the latter. Keep that up, and there will be many more Parises to come.




Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. What the refugee situation has exposed is the woeful level of security on the EU’s borders – in general, it seems that refugees are able to simply walk in unchallenged. That being the case, the Paris attackers would have got in whether refugees were coming or not. You might argue that border security should be improved – and you’d be right, but bringing the refugee flow into this discussion seems to miss the actual proximal cause: Security (not migration).

    That the Gulf States are duplicitous and inhumane is hardly news (apart from to themselves, apparently, given the lectures one hears from them about the immoral west), but neither their actions nor those of the lunatic Islamic fringe (when not one-and-the-same) should stop us from offering refuge to the genuinely persecuted.

    Though I don’t understand why seem to be offering permanent residency instead of temporary shelter…

    Comment by HibernoFrog — November 16, 2015 @ 7:05 am

  2. “We have very robust vetting procedures for those refugees. It involves our intelligence community, our national counter-terrorism center, extensive interviews, vetting them against all information.”

    The intel community was so prescient about which Syrian opposition fighters, they now move on and up by “sorting out the foreign fighter flow


    Comment by t c phillips — November 16, 2015 @ 7:41 am

  3. Why not force the Gulf state oil ticks, the Saudis, Emiratis, Kuwaitis, and Qataris, to (a) pay to support refugees, and (b) actually take in refugees, something they have adamantly refused to do?

    They’ve adamantly refused to do it because they know they’d be importing a whole bucket-load of trouble. If their own supposed brethren won’t take them in, that might be a sign that perhaps we shouldn’t either.

    Comment by Tim Newman — November 16, 2015 @ 9:14 am

  4. This tactic has been known from the days of the early Jewish immigration from the USSR in 1970 – 1980. Among approximately 200,000 or so immigrants allowed to leave the Soviet Union, KGB implanted quite a few people of their own. There were stories circulating at the time that some criminals in Soviet prisons were offered life in the West under a fake Jewish identity as poor Jewish refugees suffering from Soviet antisemitism. Many of those people later were utilized by Soviets in various intel gathering or operations including financial, setting fake companies in the West, etc. making various contacts with local criminal groups, etc. The most famous case is the capture of such a “Jew” Kalmanovich in Israel and putting him in jail. He was later released after multiple “humanitarian” requests from Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and some others.

    Anyway, those guys were doing the prep stage of what was known later as “dissolution” of the USSR and moving huge sums of money somewhere to then buy and own what was once the Soviet properties as well as Western assets.

    I don’t see any reason why change. The tactic worked 30-40 years ago, it looks like it is working now. Implanting operatives in a vast influx of refugees… win-win situation for the creators of the “Muslim Terror” (read, KGB)

    Comment by Gene — November 16, 2015 @ 3:09 pm

  5. ..and then after that horror 9 mm Sigs vs Kalashinkovs.

    Comment by pahoben — November 17, 2015 @ 2:12 am

  6. @Professor: Andrei Illarionov thinks that the Kremlin’s recent mentioning of “even some G20 countries” among those financing ISIS, as well as invocation of UN Charter Article 51 in the context of the downed Russian A321 indicate that Russian military strikes against Saudi Arabia are imminent. He thinks that the US reaction would be drawing another “red line” of the “whole bunch” kind. Do you think institutional degradation under Obama has been bad enough for the US to allow this to happen?

    Comment by Ivan — November 18, 2015 @ 2:47 pm

  7. @Ivan-Virtually none of Illarionov’s predictions have come true. He has been making progressively more dire forecasts, which turn out wrong. He predicted Putin would try to take over the whole Ukraine. He also predicted Putin would attempt to annex Finland(!).

    There is no way Russia will attack KSA. What would it hit? What could it gain? Short of nuking Riyadh, it wouldn’t achieve anything but bring the opprobrium of the world down on it. Further, the Saudis have pretty capable air defenses (courtesy of the US). This would not be a cake walk.

    If anything, attacking KSA would just create a huge problem in Russia, b/c the Saudis would go nuts funding jihadis in the Caucasus and elsewhere.

    And, Ukraine excepted, the Russians have been very consistent in opposing regime change. I do think it is a matter of principle.

    So, no, it’s not going to happen.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — November 18, 2015 @ 11:00 pm

  8. That’s a very strange link about Anne Applebaum from the John Helmer site. Just looked through it – this is not the kind of site I thought SWP would link to. Even if you think the Slate article ridiculous, the Helmer link seems odd. Do you think he’s creditable on the other posts on his website?

    Comment by Chris — November 19, 2015 @ 5:46 pm

  9. SWP makes an excellent point about funding for refugee camps in the region. cutting checks to Jordan would be soundly pro-Israel, too, a sorely needed feature given all that has happened with the onset of open war between Sunni and Shia. the precedent would probably make future refugee situations around the world less horrible, with neighboring countries hopeful of humanitarian cottage industry. that would b awesome

    as for Saudi, I would like to see the US deregulate autos enough so that ever 16 year old could afford a 50 mpg Tata Nano – US 2200 bucks in India, according to Hindustan Times. several Suzukis under US 5k, too

    Japanese, Berliner or Texan land use policy and Tatas, just in case ur two most active geopolitical foes r large net oil exporters

    Comment by Dots — November 21, 2015 @ 10:55 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress