On the cover of Monday’s edition of the International Herald Tribune, the headline was, “Germany is annoyed by U.S. terror alert.”The thrust of the report is that Germany has gone on the offensive to play down the U.S. (as well as British and French) travel advisory warnings about planned Islamic terror attacks in Europe. In short, Germany says the planned Islamic terror attacks in Europe are an Obama election stunt.
According to Michael Slackman’s Tribune report, “the prevailing sentiment here [Germany] was that the United States issued its warning for political purposes, perhaps an effort to help preserve support for the war in Afghanistan or to somehow aid President Obama with elections next month.”
German anti-American conspiratorial thinking is nothing new when dealing with U.S foreign policy. Take the example of Germany’s former Justice minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin who argued during now former-German chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s election campaign in 2002 that President Bush planned a war in Iraq because “Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler also used."
Ironically, by exploiting anti-American sentiment and anti-Bush hysteria, largely in the former East Germany, the Social Democrat Schröder catapulted his party to national victory and distracted attention away from Germany’s economic malaise and ubiquitous joblessness.
Fast-forward to 2010 and the continued backlash against U.S. efforts to prevail in global conflicts.
While German Chancellor Angela Merkel has not mobilized her electoral base around hatred of the U.S.—like her predecessor Gerhard Schröder—she also does not have the required fire in her belly to confront radical Islam. The running list of media reports detailing Germany as a kind of oasis for jihadist activities is the story behind the latest expression of Germany’s dismissal of radical Islamic attacks. Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl posed this sharp question: “Have Germany's security services learned nothing in the last decade?” He answered his question by saying they had become “dangerously complacent.”
Ahmed Sidiqi, a German militant currently held by Americans in Afghanistan, is the source of the recent warnings about al Qaeda "Mumbai-style" terror attacks in Europe. The daily German paper Die Welt headlined a recent article “Germany on Its Way to Becoming Terror-Export World Champion” because of the rising number of home-grown German Islamists fighting against Americans in the Pakistan/Afghanistan region. According to the report, 40 trained radical German Islamic explosive experts are operating in Germany, training future jihadists.
German legislators such as Jerzy Montag from the Green Party are more rankled over the targeted (and justified) U.S. drone killings of German radical Islamists in Pakistan waging a terror war against the West than stopping the export of “made in Germany” foot soldiers against U.S. forces. Montag, who rejects drone attacks, is pushing for parliamentary investigation of the U.S. measures against radical Islamists.
On a side note, Montag chairs the “German-Israeli parliamentary group”, which is supposed to advance Israel’s security interests, but really serves to oppose unilateral German sanctions against Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program and contribute to undercutting Israel’s national security. With friends like these … you can imagine how the Israelis feel.
The pressing intelligence problem is an obsolete German strategy to crackdown on growing German jihadists. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Verfassungsschutz, has relied on a lax and antiquated strategy to combat radical Islam. Passivity is the controlling mechanism and that means simply monitoring fanatical Islamists who enjoy wide latitude in the Federal Republic.
It took nine years for the German authorities to shut down the Al Quds Mosque in Hamburg, which served as the organizational hub for the Islamic terror attacks on 9/11. “Jihadi tourism” was the term used by a German intelligence to describe the role of the Al Quds Mosque in breeding awe and inspiration among German Muslims.
Hezbollah remains a legal entity in Germany and its 900 members are active in promoting Iran’s revolutionary Islam. If Germany is to be taken seriously on the world stage, it must dissolve Hezbollah’s operation and aggressively shut down mosques that promote revolutionary Islamic terror. In short, the phase of monitoring has to be complemented by cracking the German security whip to stop homegrown radical Islam.