Is terrorism a real threat to Central or Eastern Europe?
Central and Eastern Europe has always been relatively free from terrorist attacks. But that doesn’t mean, that terrorism isn’t an issue in these areas. There haven’t been any significant attacks in these regions and there are no large international and well known terrorist organsations opeating in these parts. The conflicts that are present here can’t really be considered terrorist activities. These disturbances are caused by regime changes, which lead to the creation of militant groups. Members of these groups operate inside their countries or neighbouring countries, which means that these regional conflicts don’t escalate to international levels. But that doesn’t mean, that these regions don’t have any ties to terrorism. Some of these countries provide a safe haven for terrorists in hiding, and play a major role in manufacturing and smuggling weapons. For example the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina has become a haven for a widespread network of organized crime. Due to the unstable nature of these regions, criminals and terrorists can operate more easily here, than in Western Europe. This situation is being exploited by various Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organizations in Bosnia, like the Patriot League. Since criminal syndicates are so common in these areas, it is possible for terrorists, to use these countries as ‘hinterlands”. Meaning they see them not only as a secondary base of operations, but as a source of funding their goals. Islamic terrorists have a widespread network of members and supporters in these countries, which is used for trafficking people, weapons and, increasingly, drugs, providing them a regular source of income. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) even has a special branch in South Eastern Europe to provide help in these problematic areas.