GREECE AND THE MIGRANT CRISIS: THE THREAT OF FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS
Varvoutis, Athansios R.
Yost, David S.
Hafez, Mohammed M.
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Since the June 2014 establishment of the “caliphate” by the Islamic State, there has been an alarming increase in the number of terrorist attacks in Europe. Concurrently, wave after wave of migrants from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan have landed on Greek shores—and the shores of other southern European countries—in search of safety and freedom. Could the increased number of migrants entering Europe have any correlation to the greater incidence of terrorist attacks in Europe? This thesis considers the effects of the Islamic State sending trained operatives, including foreign terrorist fighters, into Europe through Greece disguised as migrants. This thesis also explores the impacts of the migrant crisis on the Greek government and society. Further, it analyzes the security implications for the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This thesis concludes that if Greece, the EU, and NATO policies remain unrevised, the migrant crisis will continue to present grave challenges, including transit and recruitment opportunities for terrorist operatives in Europe. This thesis recommends greater EU and NATO coordination in receiving, hosting, processing, and identifying migrants entering Europe, notably via Greece.
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