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Counterterrorism raids in Molenbeek

Half of the youths living in Brussels' Molenbeek district are unemployed. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

 

Special units have arrested several suspects in the course of large-scale raids in the Brussels district of Molenbeek. A trail left by the Paris attackers leads to this neighbourhood which is considered a hub for Islamists. Some commentators call for a clampdown on milieus that turn young people into killing machines. Others call on Muslims to do more to distance themselves from radical ideologies.

De Standaard - Belgium

Mutual recriminations in Belgium are pointless

The trail left by those who carried out the attacks in Paris has led to the Brussels district of Molenbeek. A dispute has now broken out in Belgium over who was responsible for the district's decline and the ensuing radicalisation of its predominantly Muslim youth. There's no point shuffling the blame back and forth, the liberal daily De Standaard warns: "This lamentable spectacle does nothing to help a society in shock. ... If we don't know how decisive the political mistakes in Molenbeek or higher up were, we can't be sure that the steps being taken to counter radicalism elsewhere will prevent further attacks. ... The unsettled population understands that no one can guarantee absolute security. But the people do expect that everyone in a position of responsibility will now draw the right conclusions. We're not powerless against this enemy. But we cannot allow ourselves to get bogged down in domestic quarrels." (17/11/2015)

Politiken - Denmark

Fight against terror starts in the ghettos

The war on terror can only be successful in cooperation with Muslim communities, the centre-left daily Politiken stresses: "If you want to declare war on Islamist terror, you must also declare war on decades of failed accommodation and integration policy from Mjølnerparken [in Copenhagen] to Molenbeek [in Brussels]. And that is a laborious task. ... Here and now we must take stringent action against the milieus in which vulnerable young Muslims and converts are transformed into killing machines. A considerable part of this effort must go into cooperating with the mosques and local Muslim associations. They can offer Muslim alternatives to the violent world views that are preached in shady congregations and sectarian chatrooms on the Internet. You have to be clear on the fact that most imams - just like most Muslims - have every interest in fighting these ruthless obscurantists." (17/11/2015)

De Volkskrant - Netherlands

Only integration can counter radicalisation

Ghettos in Europe like the Brussels district of Molenbeek are a hotbed for the IS terrorist organisation, the centre-left daily De Volkskrant warns, calling on both the government and the Muslim communities to do more to foster integration: "Those people who have now declared war on Europe must be stripped of any semblance of legitimacy. Getting rid of Europe's ghettos won't get rid of the IS. But with an active integration policy, Europe's governments can make terrorism a less attractive option for youths who are disadvantaged and those who feel disadvantaged. And the Muslim societies in Europe must not stand on the sidelines here. ... They must commit to peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims in this part of the world. That means that the democratic rule of law must take priority over solidarity with those sections of their population that have so far denied - or endorsed - radicalisation." (17/11/2015)

Svenska Dagbladet - Sweden

Sweden's Muslims silent on radicalism

Based on population, after Belgium Sweden is the European country from which the most people have been recruited by the IS. But this problem is not being openly addressed by the Muslims living in the country, the conservative daily Svenska Dagbladet comments: "Unfortunately the Muslim communities have so far done a bad job of fighting radical Islam. Those who have tried to openly address the problem have been branded as racists or Islamophobes. One might ask why: often they condemn an Islamophobe Western world that is intent on fighting Islam - the same story al-Qaeda and the IS are telling their supporters. … Now there must be an end to this. We are not supporting radical Islam just because we defend Muslims against absurd accusations. And we are not Islamophobes just because we see the great danger that radical Islamism represents." (17/11/2015)

Zaman - Turkey

Imams must distance themselves from terror

Muslims across the world have not been critical enough of terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam, the Islamic-conservative daily Zaman criticises: "Unfortunately the mindset of the majority of Islamic priests does not allow them to condemn these massacres and mass killings. Some Muslims still aren't capable of condemning terrorism without adding a whole barrage of ifs, ands and buts. Even many educated Islamic scholars have been unable to bring themselves to say that the suicide commandos are using un-Islamic methods. ... 9/11 was a serious test for the Islamic world. But Islamic opinion makers could not - or did not want to - sufficiently condemn this ominous terrorist attack on the twin towers in which thousands of people died." (17/11/2015)

POLITICS

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Le Figaro - France

US must put an end to chaos in Middle East

French President François Holland has announced that France will wage a relentless battle against the IS terrorist organisation. "France is at war", he announced on Monday night in Versailles. But Paris can't fight the terrorist militia all on its own, the conservative daily Le Figaro observes, putting much of the onus on the US: "Its invasion of Iraq in March 2003 makes it responsible for this immense chaos. ... For France it would be strategic insanity to go into battle alone on this distant front. Defeating the IS on location will require a coalition of all the regional players under the command of an American general, like the one that was formed during the Gulf War in January 1991. Only within such a framework could our soldiers be deployed on the ground. France was right to oppose the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Just as it must defend its citizens at home, the United States of America must play the main role in the task of getting the Middle East back on its feet." (17/11/2015)

Avvenire - Italy

West should begin by stopping arms trading

In his speech in Versailles President François Hollande primed France for a long fight against Islamist terrorism. He wants to forge an alliance against the IS and officially called on the other EU member states to support his efforts. First the West must stop trading in arms, the Catholic daily Avvenire points out: "Italy, together with France, is one of the major suppliers of arms to the Arab regions. … The politicians who are now shedding tears and proclaiming a merciless war on terrorism are the very same ones who defend the national arms industry because it is a major contributor to the GDP and provides hundreds of thousands of jobs. … A serious international moratorium categorically banning any form of arms trading with the crisis states would not automatically bring the caliphate and the terrorism to an end, but it would be a decisive step in the right direction." (17/11/2015)

Handelsblatt - Germany

G20 won't be goaded into violence

The G20 group of the twenty most important economies decided at its summit in Turkey on Monday to block the flow of funding to terrorists, improve border protection and intensify collaboration among intelligence services. In the wake of the Paris attacks this is more than a minimal consensus, the liberal business daily Handelsblatt concludes: "At an international level these measures are likely to be laughed at by the hardliners who mock the G20. They call it a helpless giant and are already talking about a ground offensive against the IS. But precisely this carefully reflected and restrained stance conveys the real message. The international community won't be cajoled into repaying hatred and violence with more hatred and violence, even if France and the US have intensified their airstrikes against the terrorists. Clearly no state wants a merciless offensive like those in Iraq or Afghanistan to bomb the way to a solution for Syria. Instead, a peace process is to be launched through the United Nations that paves the way for peace in the country." (17/11/2015)

The New York Times - U.S.

Global perspectives: Europe's intelligence services must try harder

In the fight against terror the states of Europe must follow the example of the US and boost the activities of their intelligence services, the liberal daily The New York Times urges: If anything, what the Paris attacks show is that the world needs America's intelligence and security resources even more than its military might. The American intelligence community is the indispensable hub of global counterterrorism efforts, but the large numbers and geographic spread of the Islamic State mean that the United States must commit even more resources. Europe must step up and help build the basis for a deeper, more far-reaching collaboration. Europe, already disadvantaged by geography, has to try a lot harder." (15/11/2015)

Blog EUROPP - United Kingdom

Post-Brexit Britain would be model for Turkey

One week ago British Prime Minister David Cameron put forward the reform proposals that he says are the conditions for Britain remaining in the EU. If the UK makes an exit its partnership with the EU could open up ground-breaking prospects for other countries, political scientist Sinan Ülgen writes on the London School of Economics' EUROPP blog: "Brussels and London would then need to create a new form of association that, on the one hand, would ensure with some exceptions the UK's participation in the Single Market and on the other gives London some decision shaping ability in Brussels. There is no such model of association at present that arguably can be considered almost as a 'virtual membership'. ... If London and Brussels can indeed devise such a new partnership model, this can very possibly be used also to anchor Turkey in the EU." (14/11/2015)

Adevârul - Romania

New cabinet will break old parties' grip on power

The prime minister designate of Romania, Dacian Cioloş, presented a cabinet of technocrats on Sunday. The parliament may vote on it today, Tuesday. This cabinet could break up the inflexible power structures between Romania's two big parties, writes the daily paper Adevărul hopefully: "First of all there's the debate about the next budget - this will be the first time the technocrats tackle the realities of government. Then there's the changes to the election laws, specifically the introduction of two rounds of voting in local elections. This won't go down well with either the social democratic PSD or the liberal democratic PNL, both of whom know very well how to defend their local barons. A reform of the area would weaken the PSD and PNL's power structures. It would give other parties the chance to position their candidates as mayors that any party needs to rise to power at the national level." (17/11/2015)

REFLECTIONS

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Slobodna Dalmacija - Croatia

Terror in Paris a daily reality in Middle East, writes Ante Tomić

If you are aware of what the Western world has been up to for years in the Middle East you shouldn't be surprised by attacks like those in Paris, journalist Ante Tomić writes in the liberal daily Slobodna Dalmacija: "Of course people are surprised to hear about bombs exploding in the streets of Paris and innocent people dying in a rain of bullets. Doing something like that in a Western, Catholic city is a crime. But to be frank: was the attack on Friday any different from what our Catholic West has been doing in the Arab, Muslim world for decades? ... The soul of an enticingly beautiful European city was scarred on Friday. But you see, there are also many beautiful cities in the Arab world. ... What made Friday the 13th one of the worst days in the history of Paris is a normal, ugly, day-to-day occurrence in many cities of the Middle East and Northern Africa. So before we ask what kind of people the culprits are, we should ask the same question about ourselves." (17/11/2015)

ECONOMY

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Wirtschaftsblatt - Austria

Counterterrorism a new start for arms industry

The fight of the states of the West against irregular armies like the IS terrorist militia will transform security policy and the arms industry, the liberal business paper Wirtschaftsblatt: "All that counts here is information so that targeted operations can be carried out within and outside the EU. This new form of asymmetrical warfare must therefore lead us to rethink security policy and by extension the states' military budgets. This means the importance of regular armies and the industries that back them will dwindle - while intelligence services will become ever more important. … Freed of all the political debates about data protection, sooner or later those branches of industry that produce electronic surveillance will become the rising stars of a new kind of armaments industry." (17/11/2015)

To Vima Online - Greece

Athens creates security for itself and Europe

Athens has announced that on Tuesday morning it reached an agreement with its international creditors on financial reforms that will pave the way for additional billions in loans for the country. In the aftermath of the Paris attacks stability is also a top priority for Greece, writes the liberal online portal To Vima, praising the deal: "As part of Europe and compelled to protect its borders, Greece won't be left unscathed by the current climate of fear and uncertainty - not just because of the huge wave of refugees but also because of its own problems. Each of us, but above all the government, now has the duty to minimise the risks. … The top priority is to restore trust and political and economic stability. … In a world and in a Europe that has once again been plunged into a state of uncertainty we don't have the right to add yet more uncertainty to the mix." (17/11/2015)

SPORT

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Nemzeti Sport - Hungary

A historical triumph for Hungary's football team

With a 2-1 victory against Norway the Hungarian national team qualified for the UEFA European Championships on Sunday. The sports paper Nemzeti Sport rates this as a historical triumph: "It was a combative, sweat-inducing, glorious playoff. It was the catharsis the Hungarian football fans have been waiting for ever since Hungary last qualified for a major tournament, for the World Cup in 1986. Admittedly, despite this triumph Hungarian football won't suddenly recover from its malaise. Nor will the Hungarian clubs automatically qualify for the Champions League or the Europa League. And the stadiums won't be filled from one day to the next. But this victory does represent a new chance to find a way out of the decades of crisis in Hungarian football." (16/11/2015)

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