THE MASSACRE IN BRUSSELS: A COMMENT
"The bomb atrocities in Brussels are a reminder, if any were needed after last November’s jihadi assault on Paris, of how easy it is for terrorist cells to attack neuralgic targets in European cities and bring them to a standstill.... Such horror calls out for firm but measured conclusions. Europe cannot cocoon itself from the arc of fire to its east and south, the killing fields that run from Iraq and Syria to Libya. That is made obvious not just by terror attacks but the European Union’s inability to act together to deal with the waves of refugees from these and other countries — a dispiriting response that betrays the values of the union.... There are obvious practical measures that need urgently to happen, chief among them better intelligence-sharing about jihadi networks. Belgium, with multiple and overlapping layers of government that do not talk to each other, presents a particular problem. The federal government warned after Mr Abdeslam’s arrest that it might trigger an attack, but was powerless to stop it. But there needs to be far greater pooling of information in real time across the EU and with its allies. After Paris, remember, Mr Abdeslam’s car was checked by police at the French border with Belgium but they seem to have had no idea who he was. Member states need also to learn more about minority communities and what motivates their members. This is not just about ostensible religious affiliation but the search for identity of some Muslim youth, disaffected and directionless but offered a deranged superhero status by Isis and its ilk. It is chastening to learn Mr Abdeslam, pursued across the continent, was hidden by neighbours for four months. Above all, the EU and the west need constantly to demonstrate the values they defend, eschewing simplistic bombast and knee-jerk repression. For Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner to contest the US presidency, Brussels is another brick in the wall he purports to believe will keep Muslims and Mexicans out of the US. For Marine Le Pen of France’s far-right Front National, an attack on the EU capital is an excuse to call for a Battle of Algiers-style razzia — a vast armed police raid — on immigrant “neighbourhoods on the fringes of the Republic”. Such policies undermine our open societies, built on individual and collective freedoms and religious tolerance. Together they would run up the white flag of surrender. Isis and its acolytes are learning how to tear apart our civic fabric. We need to make that civility more resilient, not do their work for them.Leader, "An assault on Brussels, and on European values". The Financial Times. 22 March 2016 in www.ft.com.
"During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition which is called war; and such a war as is of every man against every man....No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short".Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan. Part I, Chapter 13. (1651). The massacre in Brussels follow form in that they repeat the pattern shown previously in Paris back in November 2015. It is readily apparent that the terrorists of the odious ISIS network have had close to free reign to engage in this type of terrorism. As the Economist correctly states the rationale for to-day's terrorist outrage is three-fold:
Large numbers of young men have gone from Europe to fight in Syria with IS[IS] and other militant groups. Some of them have returned with the aim of carrying out attacks in Europe, like those seen in Brussels and Paris. The terrorists’ goals were threefold. First was the propaganda coup of dominating the world’s headlines for several days, distracting from news of the setback of the arrest of Salah Abdeslam. Second, if the attacks were already being planned, the terrorists might have feared that Abdeslam was spilling information under interrogation from Belgian authorities and decided to act quickly. Last, they aim to inspire other young Europeans to support jihadists. Though IS appears to be weakening in Syria and Iraq, its ideas continue to inspire young men to strike fear at the heart of Europe 1.The key question is the eternal: what is to be done? If the authorities are to stand-pat and in essence recapitulate the failed and failings strategies and tactics of yesteryear then we can fully expect more of the very same that occurred in Brussels on Monday. If and only if, the authorities were to employ new, iron-fist tactics akin to what the admittedly not very admirable Mme. Le Pen advocates, can we see some light at the end of this currently very very dark tunnel. The truth of the matter is that our contemporary problem of terrorism in Europe springs from the presence of its existing Muslim / Arab population. Only by massive police presence, expulsions and other tactics employed so successfully in Israel, can we hope to remedy successfully the plague of Islamic fanaticism and violence. The late Albert Einstein once stated that: "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". The mindset of our bien-pensant elites, as represented in the leader in yesterday's Financial Times, is it must be said akin to insanity as defined by Einstein: doing the same things over and over again and expecting different (successful) results. Only when our elites realize the errata of their ways can we expect to achieve some real progress in the struggle with Islamic fanaticism. Otherwise in the not too distant future, we can fully expect large parts of Europe to revert to the type of Hobbesian existence of bellum omnium contra omnes. 1.The Economist. "Days after the arrest of Europe’s most-wanted terrorist, Islamic State has struck back". 22 March 2016 in www.economist.com