I want to start this article with the caveat that this is just to offer another perspective and I would never condone or encourage any form of violence.
While there has been some backlash to the multitude of attacks in Europe over the last twenty four months, the attackers have mostly failed in their attempts to divide the victim nations into us and them. The ultimate aim seems to be the creation of a massive social divide between Muslim and non- Muslims that will eventually lead to a catastrophic civil war. This simply won’t happen. I even felt ridiculous typing it. In Western Europe, particularly the UK, France and Germany, there are some challenges of multiculturalism and integration but recent electoral results have convinced me this will not become a defining factor in politics there.
In other posts I have alluded to the almost groundhog day cycle of events that occurs after each attack.
If the terrorists truly want to cause division and potential mayhem they need to focus on an area that has already a) caused a major global war and b) been the source of war and bloodshed between Christians and Muslims. The answer is the Balkans. Even the millennial generation like myself remember the horrible tragedies of Srebrenica and Žepa in the early 1990s. It is simply not that long ago that Europe was torn asunder in war between Christians and Muslims (obviously there was also war amongst Christians and different nations in this conflict, I am not trying to completely oversimplify it).
Tensions still exist and there have even been suggestions of potential land swaps to move religious communities back to the countries where they enjoy a majority. Furthermore there has been plenty of funding of mosques in the region from wealthy benefactors in the Gulf. These have often promoted the more extreme Wahhabist strand of Islam. One major example is the Saudi-funded King Fahd mosque in Sarajevo. In November 2016 the Soufan Group estimated that 875 citizens of the Balkans had fought for ISIS in Syria or Iraq. This number is larger than their estimate for the UK or Germany and just over half the number who had travelled from France.
A large bombing here on a Church or other public monument that resulted in a major loss of life would seriously test the recently meshed fabric of society. A major outbreak of civil unrest or violence either in the EU (Croatia) or right on it’s doorstep (Bosnia, Serbia, Albania etc) could potentially have far reaching consequences. Russia has always viewed the Balkans as in their sphere of influence and, having suffered at the hands of Islamic terrorists in recent years, would feel obliged to intervene.
The United States helped end the genocide of Muslims in the former Yugoslavia in the 90s but I do not see a Trump led US intervening in a similar fashion, particularly with the alleged close ties between the Kremlin and the White House. A conflict where there was on threat of American intervention could quickly escalate.
It is now almost exactly 103 years to the date when Gavrilo Princip shot the the Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. In the immediate aftermath few expected twenty million to die. While Europe has moved on from these dark times, it would be unwise to ever underestimate the potential for war to begin in the one time ‘powder keg of Europe’. As morbid as it sounds it may ultimately be safer for Europe if ISIS continue to aim West and not take a look at European history...