Global terrorism and Greece

The recent wave of terrorist attacks – the shootings at US troops in Kuwait, the bombing of a French oil tanker in Yemen, the hecatomb of Bali, the blast in the Philippines, and the ongoing hostage drama in Moscow – have catapulted onto center stage the asymmetrical threats facing the contemporary world and confirm the concerns expressed in the wake of September 11. Although many people here regarded the dismantling of November 17 in superficial fashion, some mocking the terrorist threat, global terrorism has assumed unprecedented dimensions, rendering security a top priority. Greek authorities have every reason to be concerned because the country stands at a crucial crossroads, less than two years ahead of hosting a major international event such as the Olympic Games. On his return from the US, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis keeps no secret of his concerns over the risks of the coming era. On the occasion of the unprecedented raid by Chechen separatists in a Moscow theater, Chrysochoidis holds that «we are set to witness abhorrent acts,» acknowledging that the Muslim world has seen the emergence of a broad terrorist front that is fueled by crises and extremism in the broader Mideast region, a front which is capable of carrying out attacks anywhere in the world. No one can remain indifferent in the face of the new security environment. Because of its geography and its international obligations, Greece must remain alert and take measures which will protect it against any likely and unlikely threats. The country must assess the nascent context and pre-empt the new dangers without the usual misgivings and reservations. The new type of threats are asymmetric and stretch the limits of the Western imagination. They are the product of a different era which has since the early 1990s shaken the postwar equilibrium.