image of lorry in Berlin attack

Berlin attack

Multiple failures by security and the legal system in Germany and Italy lay behind the Berlin attack might be the first conclusion after the event .

The general belief is that widest and the most encompassing circle of defence is the intelligence service of a country when dealing with terrorist attacks of any nature. As such it is the most important and the first line of defence and failure and oversights at this point will inevitability mean the attack will go ahead unless luck intervenes.

The issues raised after the attack in terms of on the ground changes will have only marginal effects. Measures such as traffic management systems, barriers, permanent re-routing away from attractions and other large scale people hubs can only be considered as last line of defence systems, armed police and military standby units are much the same.

If we examine the movement of the Tunisian Anis Amri and his repeated interactions with the security services in Germany and Italy we can see how bureaucracy and security can make very poor bedfellows.

Of course, there are many other factors such as resources, prioritisation of threats, political climate at the time. One must also consider the huge influx of refugees and the inevitable strains it caused in the systems governing Germany.

Much was made of the movement of the man involved after the event i.e his travels across Europe and his final demise in Italy where he had previously served a three-year sentence and told to leave the country.

Some interesting information has also emerged on the events leading to the attack,  such as the hijacking and killing of the driver of the Polish truck.

But these are of little significance comparing to the attacker being on Germany’s top list of individuals to watch, he was under surveillance for up to six month, his arrests, the failure of his asylum application, failed deportation, his multiple false IDs /nationalities and releases back into society after legal deadlocks.

If one aspect of being part of a wide European umbrella is enhanced security one must see this man’s presence, his constant criminality and his clear slow path into self-radicalisation without any decisive intervention from the authorities as a failure.

Pondering the tactical changes on the ground only deals with some issues but the larger issues will loom large regardless, among them are:

Finding a balance between security and human rights and the impact of any measure on society and quality of life as whole.

The wider European collaboration and coordination for security services.

But the Gorilla in the room is wider foreign policy decisions that has led directly to civil wars, regime changes, mass movements of people, armed radical movements  supported by governments in opposition to their normal treaty statues with each other is to name but  a few.

First circle of security may just be the right political decisions.