Government officials and members of the opposition in Parliament united once again on Wednesday, in the midst of state budget battles, in an effort to reassure Norwegians in the face of a new Islamic terrorist threat. Prime Minister Erna Solberg said that the threat, however, won’t stop Norway from contributing to efforts to stop the terrorists.
“Norwegian participation in the fight against (terrorist organization) IS can increase the chance for a terrorist attack on Norway,” Solberg said from the podium in Parliament after Norwegian intelligence officials raised the terror threat earlier in the day. “But we can’t let ourselves be dictated to by terror organizations.”
Even though the Norwegian government’s decision to send special forces to Iraq and Afghanistan to train local forces can increase the terror threat, Solberg believes it’s important to contribute to the battle against Islamic extremists, especially those terrorizing residents of Iraq and Syria at present. Per Sandberg, a Member of Parliament and its foreign affairs and defense committee, agreed.
“The difference between this threat and the threat last summer is that this one is less concrete,” said Sandberg from the Progress Party, Solberg’s conservative government coalition partner. “We don’t want to scare folks unnecessarily but we must contribute with everything we can and everything we have.” He and others also stressed that all measures would be taken to ward off any terrorist attack in Norway.
Several other MPs from parties usually in opposition to the government supported Solberg’s position. The Labour Party has long supported anti-terror measures and The Liberals’ party leader, Trine Skei Grande, said “we can turn it over to others to fight for the values we think should apply everywhere.” Grande is otherwise currently caught up in a major offensive against the government’s state budget proposal.
Marit Arnstad, parliamentary leader for the small Center Party, also supported the government’s position but opposes sending Norwegian military personnel to Iraq. Arnstad said her party advocates sending more humanitarian aid to refugees of the Islamic extremists instead. Solberg doesn’t think that’s enough.