November 15, 2015
Terrorist attacks in Paris late Saturday November 13 caused an unprecedented shock. Flowers, candles, profile photos, poems and kind words are nice and play a role in communicating the mobilization of the European and world communities and the determination to not be terrorized. But let’s be honest. This does not suffice.
It takes coordinated action by the European Union, the United States, Russia and Iran to tackle the persisting power and networking capacity of the Islamic State. This action should take many forms, from storming military raid on the grounds to diplomatic pressure towards Assad and the opposition, pushing for the creation of an interim government that will lead the county in elections by late January 2016. Any other decision would be partial, ineffective, empty-handed and it will only add to the vicious circle of incapacity, risk and instability in the EU and the Middle East.
Greece is again in the middle of a tough negotiation and geopolitical game. If Turkey keeps up with its reluctant policy to go after traffickers in its sea borders allowing impunity, Greece will keep suffocating and security risks will increase dramatically. The Schengen Treaty is one step before being totally revised or de facto abolished by a growing number of member-states, like Poland that, after Paris raids, announced the closure of its borders to refugees. After Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Sweden and Austria, Poland is another EU member-state assuming a defensive, introvert stance in fear of similar attacks and uncontrollable turbulence on its soil.
It is almost certain that Paris attacks will increase Islamophobia and establish an overly securitised public sphere in the European Union. Racist and strongly conservative voices are about to build their electoral strategy on hatred speech. Especially in France, Marine Le Pen is already building its narrative on security concerns ahead to presidential elections in 2017. In Greece, with Golden Dawn being the third parliamentary force, and a massive inflow of refugees crossing the Aegean in daily basis, solidarity and support to refugees in the islands could easily be replaced by fear and hatred as a result of biased and asymmetric information that mingles refugees with terrorists.. At a time that neither Greece, nor any other force like Frontex, cannot afford patrolling each corner of the Aegean Sea, growing securitisation would automatically mean more deaths for refugees risking their lives to cross the sea.
The European Union needs a solid communication strategy now more than ever. To isolate and destruct extreme right, assist Greece with funding and personnel, keep the borders open with advanced screening processes, and effectuate burden-sharing. In the meantime, it takes strong diplomatic efforts to reach agreement on postwar Syria landscape and balances, and expand an orchestrated, massive military raid on ISIS in Syria and Iraq. United States and Russia have and should cooperate — otherwise fear, discrimination and uncertainty will prevail. In such a scenario, and geographically speaking, Greece will be the first member-state to experience the failure of EU migration policy, be subject to another political crisis, and see its people get distant from the European family, abolish the rights, benefits and freedoms acquired after five decades of being part of the EU.
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Twitter: @rapidisDimitris Rapidis