Neighborhood relations: key in holding back terrorism

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)



A good neighbor is something very important for the security of a country. Last week Mr. Abdelhak El Khayam visited Spain; he has in his hands the ultimate responsibility for the fight against terrorism in Morocco, therefore he is an official of the highest relevance for Spain and for the rest of Europe, given the recent jihadist attacks in France and Belgium. The words of the French Minister for Sports, who has expressed her concerns about the potential risk involved in the coming European Football Championship to be held in France, are giving us the indications that we are on high alert.

The military intervention in Syria has reduced the influence of Daesh in this country where the terrorists are losing control gradually of the territories which they formerly occupied. Now, it is very worrying that many of the jihadists have moved to Libya, and whether they are in Libya, are very close to Morocco, and therefore to Spain, and therefore to Europe. And that is very dangerous for our countries. We must keep in consideration that they have taken over much of the Gaddafi ‘s military arsenal, which gives an idea about the threat.

El Khayam also spoke about the risk and challenge involved in the crisis of refugees from Syria, a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions and the displacement’ flows of thousands of people who are taking place. So far, the terrorist’ networks were using two different ways: arms’ trafficking and illegal immigration. Now, the Daesh has seen an opportunity involving to this refugees’ crisis, attempting to introduce terrorists among those people, in order to attack Europe. There is no doubt that the Syrian refugees should be treated as people escaping from war, but given the complexity of the situation also requires us to be vigilant with regards to them and to all organizations that work with them. We must keep it in mind, and it should be possible to cast these concerns without provoking harsh criticism.

Morocco should be a barrier to stop the spread of Jihadism and other kind of crime to Europe, and it seems that they are doing a good job in that regard. Of course Morocco has not always been the ideal neighbor. The relationship with the Alawite kingdom have always been kind of complex.

But there is a high risk in Ceuta and Melilla, the Spanish cities in Africa, where it has been detected some jihadist cells recruiting young fighters to send to Syria and Iraq. These cities have been stops from weapons trafficking’ networks installed in Belgium which are being using the same route already for several years. The Belgian authorities, after the Molenbeek’ attacks, have begun to change attitudes and make some change on its weapons’ legislation, as well as facilitating the exchange of information in this field, which is essential, a fact that not happened hitherto. Belgium has not been an example of good neighborhood.

We must be aware about the terrorism as a global phenomenon, it does not belong only to just a unique region, and it requires the cooperation of all the countries. When we have a neighbor with whom collaboration is null, it means that we must redouble our vigilance. We are able to defend our territory, but if there is a country with common borders which does nothing to fight against this danger, this country puts all of us at risk.

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