Terrorism in Europe: Fact, Fiction and Franchised Terror

With the Madrid bomb of March 11 the global ‘war’ on terror has become a political fact – which means that it is surrounded by popular fiction.

The World Today Updated 16 October 2020 Published 1 April 2004 5 minute READ

Michael Clarke

Director General, Royal United Service Institute

Just ahead of European Union enlargement in May, Madrid’s ‘3/11’ has taken on the guise of Europe’s ‘9/11’ and confirmed in the popular mind that the scourge of international terrorism now affects all western countries and their allies.

While the terror attacks in Spain are credited with swinging the results of the election there on March 14, the Mount Lebanon Hotel in Baghdad was demolished only three days later – the fifth stunning attack since August that seemed designed to make that country simply ungovernable and push it towards civil war.

Since the capture of Saddam Hussein in December there has been even more disorder in Iraq. January and February each witnessed over six hundred serious attacks and five hundred ‘disorders’ – around thirty incidents and two or three deaths every day.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.