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Data sharing is key Print E-mail

The mayors of New York and Paris, Bill de Blasio and Anne Hidalgo in front of the floral tributes to the victims outside the Charlie Hebdo building in Paris.
The mayors of New York and Paris, Bill de Blasio and Anne Hidalgo in front of the floral tributes to the victims outside the Charlie Hebdo building in Paris.

The Paris attacks vividly demonstrate the need for more cooperation between Europe’s intelligence services

By Alexander Graf Lambsdorff

February 9, 2015

Jihad has arrived in Europe. For more than ten years, after the devastating attacks in Madrid in 2004 and in London one year later, the European public has regarded the security situation through a foggy lens, with abstract, difficult-to-pinpoint sources of danger. In isolated cases, suspects were arrested and possible attacks prevented.

This simmering threat took on more definite contours only with the Paris attacks that began on Jan. 7. Tragically, we became witnesses to the first wide-ranging assaults motivated by militant Islamism since the beginning of the civil war in Syria – and they will not remain the only bid to attack our liberal Western system of values. Let’s not forget that the target was not just France but the entire European community of values. Therefore, the EU must also find common answers to the threats of fundamentalism and extremism.

A world out of joint Print E-mail

February 9, 2015

The world begins the year 2015 in a terrible state. The euro crisis is causing hardship, above all for poorer Europeans. Many fear the conflict in Eastern Ukraine could escalate into World War III. Religious fanatics live and kill even in the heart of Europe. It is not enough for them to be able to practice their faith in a liberal, democratic society – they want to force their inhuman, totalitarian ideology on that society. And the fact that populist parties across Europe and in Germany are using the crimes of a small number of extremists to boost their own cause is both shameful and alarming.

Yet we must also look beyond Europe: Ruthless extremists are wreaking havoc all over the globe. In a great arc east and south of the Mediterranean, from Syria to Libya and on to Nigeria, jihadists are seeking to extinguish the light of freedom. Taliban terrorists are poised to expand into other central Asian countries following the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan. The news from nuclear-obsessed North Korea are not good. Are Washington and Teheran truly seeking a compromise in the talks over Iran’s nuclear program? Is there any hope at all for a peaceful resolution of the 60-year conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors? And what new offensive weapons are being developed in cyberspace?

War and other violence have forced more than 50 million people from their homes; 17 million of them have had to leave their home countries. That means millions of ruined lives – to say nothing of the millions of lives cut short.

The world has become a less secure, more dangerous place. Solutions are needed, and quickly. Speaking at the Davos World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab called 2015 a “year of destiny for mankind.” Two weeks later, Munich Security Conference Chairman Wolfgang Ischinger called together heads of state, chiefs of government, ministers and the finest minds from the political think tanks to seek ways to counter the global upheaval.

Confronted with a world that is out of joint, in which war and violence threaten us all, this issue of The German Times has decided to concentrate on the international conflicts convulsing the globe. For this reason, the Business and Life sections have been omitted. They will be back in our next issue.

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