Lorenz Berger’s face is still pale. His week as a captive of the terrorist militia “Islamic State” has left marks. His back hurts from the gun and baton blows he received for the cross pendant on his necklace. The contaminated water which he had to drink still causes him stomach cramps. Berger is not his real name, and he can handle extreme conditions. He is an ex-soldier and has been in the Middle East for a while working for different European secret services, more or less as a freelance agent.
But during those days in Northern Syria, he did not think he would come out alive. Bombs from the dictator Assad’s air force fell on them. Panic broke out among Berger’s tormentors. When he saw one of them dead in the corner, Berger grabbed his rifle, storming off, shooting himself a passage. “I can still see the surprise in the eyes of those men,” he remembers. “But when they saw me, it was too late for them.”
That was ten days ago. Berger is sitting in an airport hotel in Istanbul, waiting for someone from the IS, with whom he gets on a little better. He wants to know who sold him to the men in Syria. Around lunchtime his contact, Raduan, enters the lobby. Berger has not seen him for a long time. Now he learns why: Raduan was in Tanzania, but the authorities have just expelled him.
Islamism is settling in Europe
The reason (for the expulsion) Raduan holds in his hand. It is a Bulgarian passport. He wanted to use it for his flight from Dar es Salaam to a Scandinavian country, and from there on to Germany. “The passport was completely authentic” says Berger. “Only his real owner was dead. And the photo really bore very little resemblance to Raduan” he added with a grin. When he speaks next with Raduan on Skype, Berger is back at home in a peaceful EU country. The Syrian is already back in Bulgaria, in a safe house, set up by allies of the IS, and is waiting for his new passport. Today he might already be in Germany.
And Berger realises that the war, which earns him money far away from home, is gradually following him home. That is why he is telling this story. Because there something has started which frightens him.
Almost exactly one year ago, on 29 June 2014, the IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed his caliphate. He declared himself as the successor of the prophet Muhammad and started a new, highly explosive terrorist project: Instead of attacking their avowed enemy on his territory, the IS was looking for a territory of their own in order to create their own government.
Arab fighters are smuggled in
An Islamist dream empire with brutal punishments and slave markets, beyond the traditional Islam. A heavily armed simulation of a state instead of spectacular terrorist attacks as made by the old star performers of al-Qaida. But now the IS seem to be preparing a new, additional strategy: Numerous indications suggest that IS systematically smuggle Arab fighters into Europe. Overtly, they set up networks. And it is certain that they want war. The IS is expanding the war all over Europe. Continue Reading →