The Washington Post reports that Norway’s prime minister has lost her parliamentary majority because one of the parties in her coalition withdrew in protest over the repatriation of a suspected ISIS member from a Syrian camp. The Prime Minister, Erna Solberg of the Conservative Party, says she will try to govern with a minority coalition.
The party in question is the Progress Party which the Post describes as “right wing.” It was on board with repatriating the woman’s children, one of whom is said to require urgent medical treatment, but not the ISIS woman (who denies she was an ISIS member).
Norway, like other European nations, is under pressure from the Trump administration to repatriate ISIS fighters. President Trump has warned that captured fighters will be released unless European governments are willing to take them back. In this regard, Trump stands with human rights groups, and there are various court proceedings through which these groups hope to force the repatriation of the terrorists.
Yet, European nations continue to resist. Only a few ISIS fighters have been repatriated.
Repatriation of a given ISIS member doesn’t mean that the member goes free automatically. The home country can, and presumably will, try to convict the fighter and send him or her to prison.
The problem is that it may be difficult to convict ISIS fighters under the exacting standards that apply in criminal cases. Moreover, judges in countries like Norway may be sympathetic to the defendants, just as portions of the American legal community were sympathetic to al Qaeda terrorists and suspected terrorists.
That’s why, according to one expert quoted by the Post, “even people who are usually quite liberal on immigration issues [opposed] Norwegian authorities helping [the ISIS woman] to get back to Norway.” One might have thought that President Trump, who isn’t usually quite liberal on immigration issues, would have more sympathy for this sentiment.
In any case, the Norwegian prime minister’s loss of her majority sends a warning to other European leaders who are under pressure to repatriate ISIS fighters. The pressure doesn’t come in just one direction. There is political pressure coming from the opposite direction.