Counter-Terrorism: Spring Break


October 24, 2012: A major reason for the renewed vigor of Islamic terror organizations in the last year is the success of the Arab Spring revolution. Egyptian, Libyan, Syrian, and Tunisian jails were emptied of political prisoners after the rebels replaced the dictators. The freed prisoners included thousands of Islamic radicals, many of them Islamic terrorists who have gone back to the business of being bad. Most of the imprisoned Islamic terrorists were those who had experience, especially management skills. In the last decade the U.S. and Israel have put thousands of skilled Islamic terrorists out of action (dead or imprisoned). Arab dictatorships were particularly effective at finding and killing to imprisoning Islamic radicals and have been doing this vigorously since the 1990s. All this led to a steady decline in the number of Islamic terrorist attacks over the last decade. But with so many jailed Islamic terrorists freed, the mayhem is on the increase again.

Already, police in Arab countries are seeking to arrest some of those freed radicals for crimes committed since they got out, or for general bad behavior over a long period of time. Despite that experience, countries still undergoing Arab Spring rebellions (like Syria) will be under pressure to let Islamic radicals out of prison once the dictatorship is overthrown. In part this is because many Islamic radical groups are taking part in the fighting and expect to get something more than a “thank you” for their efforts. Indeed, Syrian rebels are concerned about the Islamic radicals attempting to install a religious dictatorship after the current secular Assad dictatorship is overthrown. Whatever the case, Islamic radicals expect a new government to let imprisoned Islamic terrorists to go free. Even if the new government wants to keep Islamic terrorists and criminals imprisoned, the chaos that accompanies a revolution often leads to many jails breaks. Moreover, many of the non-terrorist criminals and political prisoners are recruited into Islamic radical groups while in prison. Western and Arab intelligence agencies are identifying more and more of these former prisoners in terrorist hot sports like Pakistan, Yemen, Mali, and Libya, including those who were not originally jailed for Islamic terrorism.


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