For decades, Europeans have been forced to come to grips with far more than Arab terrorism. European government have been infuriated and often frustrated by the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland, the Basque separatists in Spain, the Baader-Meinhof gang in West Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy, and many other deadly though smaller groups like the Armenian nationalists. Far more Europeans than Americans have been killed by terrorists during the five years of the Reagan Administration.
Europeans even differ with American officials in their perception of the Libyan problem. They insist that Libya, despite the fiery oratory of [Moammar Kadafi], is a less important source of terrorism than Syria and Iran.
Outside Europe, however, there is a good deal of suspicion that much of the European hesitation in dealing with terrorism also stems from its economic and geographic vulnerability. In 1984, Libya's trade with Italy amounted to $4.3 billion, with West Germany $2.8 billion, with Spain $1.3 billion, and with France $1 billion. Several thousand Europeans work in Libya.