Finding the ‘sweet spot’ is necessary to battling global terrorism
RT: The surviving gunman from the Paris massacre Salah Abdeslam is believed to be at large (and armed) in Brussels. Do you think they're likely to find him?
Jack Rice: I think they will have their hands on him but it is not surprising to me that one person can melt into an entire community. We have to take a look at the number of various disparate communities around Europe that have really in some ways isolated themselves, or have been isolated and as a result to melt into one of those communities as one simple individual is something that can certainly happen. The US has to deal with this; the Russians had to deal with this in the past, too. And many intelligence organizations worldwide have seen this happen before.
RT: What do you make of the current measures Europe's taking in response to the terror threat?
JR: I think it is a short-term question. The problem is you need to come back and understand why it is there are various organizations and peoples who feel so desperate, so isolated, so affected by the countries themselves that they feel compelled to be involved. That in itself is absolutely critical. At the same time, you do have to deal with the security aspects of this and so they are trying to find that ‘sweet spot’, that balance in order to deal with the threat that is very real and it is international in scope.
RT: If schools are closed, public transport shut down and people are being told to stay indoors, aren't the terrorists winning?
JR: It is a great question. Obviously, the concern is - we don’t know exactly what intelligence information that they do have. But I think there does need to be a balance here. We saw this in the US after 9/11 as well. And in the US there wasn’t overreaction. People were afraid in Wyoming, in Austin, Texas where in fact there was no legitimate threat in any of those places. And so, the balance is critical here in order to make sure that the country is running, to make sure the country doesn’t come to a standstill, whether that be the US, whether that be France, whether that be Belgium. This is critical on a worldwide basis.
RT: Russia's successfully carried out an anti-terror operation on its soil today and it's also fighting terrorists in Syria. How do you assess Russia's strategy so far?
JR: This is a complicated one and in some cases there is a longer history with Russians and the Caucasus. We have to think about Chechnya, we have to think about the Northern Caucasus itself. And again, the difficulty that you have is you want to clamp down and take down the terrorists and extremists involved. At the same time, if you overstep, if you go after people who are innocents, who are just on the fringe or are just on the outside of this, you actually exacerbate the problem, you make it potentially worse. This has happened in the Caucasus, this has happened in the region itself by the Russians themselves. That is one of the problems that they face - to find again, we used this term before, the ‘sweet spot’ – they need to find it.
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