According to TE-SAT (2011) report, terrorism in Europe has been on the rise since the September 11 attacks in the US. The report postulates that in 2010 alone, there were 249 terror attacks in 9 European Union (EU) member states of which 47% of the terror suspects were of the Muslim ethnic group. Further, most Western Europe countries have become prone to terror attacks that are associated with the emergence of radical groups within the region and Muslim immigrants. Most Western Europe governments have attributed the increasing terror attacks on their citizens on anti-government movements whose main source stems from radicals who are out to propel their political agendas at a global scale. This paper is going to look into the history of terrorism trends in two Western Europe countries (France and Spain) and the law enforcement measures taken by the respective countries to combat terrorism.
According to Shapiro and Suzan (2003) over the years, France has suffered various waves of terror attacks that were of domestic and foreign origin. TE-SAT (2011) report asserts that France suffered more than 80 terror attacks in 2010; this number is very high as compared to other EU states. According to Ganser (2005) terrorism in France started during the French revolution with the emergence of the Black Resistance Network. The network was made up of individuals who were anti-government. In the 1960’s, there were a number of terror attacks against Gaulle government due to its persistent in colonizing Algeria. These attacks were majorly organized by the French Stay Behind Network. A terror group referred to as Action Directe emerged in 1979. This terror group started with material targets and it later revolved to political assassinations.
Shapiro and Suzan (2003) report that most terror attacks in France are usually politically motivated especially with the long reign of regional separatist groups that are rampant towards France. Since 1980, France has been a major culprit of international terrorism both at home and abroad. The new wave of terrorism is attributed to Islam extremist groups such as Al-Qaida. The TE-SAT (2011) report asserts that in 2010, a large percentage of terror attacks on France were attributed to jihad against France.
Over the years, the French government has taken various measures to combat terrorism both at home and abroad. To deal with the mischievous undertakings of the Black Resistance Network, the French government formed a secret Army to probe their activities and arrest them In the 1970s, the French government was prone to using the accommodative strategy which revolved around formation of deals with terror groups in their quest to minimize and prevent terror attacks. Following massive terror attacks in the 80s, the French government employed a suppressive strategy which involved strengthening of the French police force in order to keep track of terrorism groups and their plans (Shapiro & Suzan, 2003).
Further, the judiciary system was reviewed to offer more stringent jail terms and detention periods. In addition, specialized magistrates stationed at the Paris court were deployed to deal with terror cases. During this period the new organs in government were formed such as the Justice Ministry, in order to coordinate all the intelligent units towards curbing terrorism. In the past decade, France has also employed other strategies such as terror prevention through conducting indiscriminate detentions of terror suspects and increasing surveillance and pressure on terror groups within and outside France (Shapiro & Suzan, 2003).