By Frank Bennett Rowder
The recent wave of attacks by ISIS has all of those European countries on high alert, especially Germany.
The truck bombing attack at the popular Wilhelm Church’s annual holiday market in West Berlin last December was straight out of the ISIS playbook. Soon afterward, the driver of that stolen vehicle, Tunisian Anis Amri, was killed by Italian police in the suburbs of Milan .Enforcement officials have determined that he was a “Lone Wolf” and did not have any contacts with ISIS cells.( Amri was on every terrorist watch list, including U.S. In Intelligence.)
German officials were aware their country was vulnerable because of the recent slaughtering of innocent people in neighboring France and Belgium. Make no mistake, ISIS has noticed Germany’s stationing of Tornado jets and a refueling tanker in Turkey, as well as a frigate protecting a French aircraft carrier mounting air attacks in the Mediterranean Sea.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under severe pressure for permitting nearly a million refugees into the country. Far right groups and a nationalist party accuse her of “surrendering its domestic security.” This despite the fact that she had enjoyed high approval ratings for keeping Germany’ s economy and low employment the best in Europe.
Merkel has also received high marks for a tough stance against Putin, leading the charge for sanctions against Russia after its invasion of the Ukraine. She has been credited for being one of the most powerful European leaders, but is currently facing a rough road until her term expires sometime this year.
A lot of questions remain. Will the devastating attacks by ISIS continue and will Germany be its biggest target? And will Europe’s many countries finally tighten their borders? Will Merkel seek a fourth term? What’s in your crystal ball?
Rowder is an expert on foreign affairs and is a former member of the Chicago Journalists Association board of directors.