Brussels and the enigma of international security

March 29, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Sattar Rind

European security has failed badly and is not working, something we have for a long time been hearing, especially after 9/11, when European countries’ security measures had supposedly been increased. This was proved further following the 7/7 attacks in London, the tallest claims of any such strengthening falling for the world to see.

The attacks in London of 2005 had however given European countries another chance to review their security in light of 7/7  and that they must take more measures to tighten and be more vigilant.

But when the attacks in Paris occurred on 13th November 2015, terrorists killing 130 people in a few hours, it was once again clear that Europe still needed greater security. Their every step security-wise has been proved as a failure, the terrorists somehow breaking their most advanced measures and vigilance.

It therefore becomes more obvious that the terrorists wouldn’t have any issues with security, when and wherever they wanted to strike, feeling as if they were in Syria or Iraq. For this reason they are capable of demonstrating terrorist activity in any European country.

With this in mind, the European high alert security status was bound to fail, again and again, this being disturbingly true in the wake of the Brussels attack.

Despite the Belgian government knowing that terrorists were in their country and waiting for an order or opportunity to kill commuters in the heart of Europe, the attacks still went ahead.

Symbolically they conveyed a strong message to the rest of world as to their power, as not only were they attacking the people of Belgium, the country is also headquarters of European Community (EC) and NATO. In other words they attacked the whole of Europe.

Many have termed the situation with hopelessness. When Edward Snowden’s 2013 leaks made clear that the United States was already undertaking surveillance on virtually the entire planet, what therefore was its result?

They are monitoring all phone calls, satellite images, drone footage, emails and other texts all being scrutinized, but even then nothing was stopping terrorists from attacking when and where they wanted.

I repeatedly watched the pictures of three suspected Brussels attackers issued to the media soon after they killed 35 people, who only earlier were rushing to get airplane and metro tickets to reach their required destinations as part of their every day life, but were only to be killed by two brothers who blew themselves up.

Though I am not an expert, one could still tell they were not normal passengers who had just arrived at the airport. Two out of the three wore gloves on their left hands.

Now it is being claimed they were hiding detonators in the gloves and that one is still at large and assumed to be planning a similar kind of activity. All three were extremely suspicious yet were there no experts monitoring the CCTV cameras? At that time the Belgian government was searching for the Paris attacker. Is this not extremely irresponsible for one of the most modern countries today?

It is also being explained that with the monitor and interception of billions of communications each day, it could still be possible that even with the most sophisticated computer programs, specially designed for the purpose of detecting “suspicious” activity, they could face major difficulties.

A recent article by a counselor to the US Defence undersecretary stated that everything can be analyzed — and a lot of time gets wasted on false positives.

Even if that would be accepted one must not forget that the world is at war with global terrorism. Thus you have been equipped with the required standard to counter them? The mastermind of the Paris attacks Salah Abdeslam was in Belgium for five months; he must have been in contact with their other terrorists one way or other. He must has been receiving and giving messages or getting other daily required things for living in what must have been a hidden location.

The Belgian security services, along with the EC and NATO secret service personnel and other resources, all did not detect any movement from anyone allegedly in contact with Salah Abdeslam.

When he was finally arrested, four days before the Brussels attack, the security services of the entire world, especially those of European countries, never knew what their next step would turn out to be.

Now it is being blamed on Schengen countries that the free visa service has created trouble for them and provides an opportunity for terrorists to attack these countries. What a naïve notion. If this should be accepted then what justification would be provided for the attacks on the US or UK thus far?

News has appeared in French newspaper La Dernière Heure that the suicide bombers Khalid and Ibrahim El Bakraoui were originally planning to attack Belgian Nuclear Power stations, but that Salah Abdeslam’s arrest put pressure on them to quickly change the targets.

It is simply nothing but an intelligence failure. Or it is another thing we are unable to understand as it is also being claimed that the terrorist who managed the Brussels attacks was the same who attacked Paris in November.

An intelligence and security expert, and whistleblower formerly with MI5, Annie Machon is claiming that “after all, the movement and activities of the terrorists involved in the Brussels attack were already known…”

A few people are referring to it as the Eurosceptic and that it is playing an important role up to the point that they are killing their own people in the name of ISIS (?) However, even if this is the case, it is a matter they will need to solve amicably.

I have no reason to believe this, rather that it is another move to change the focus from ISIS and its increasing influence in Europe.









Sattar Rind

Sattar Rind lives in Sindh, Pakistan. and is an Author with four books to his credit. three poetry and one on politics. As a Columnist he has written for a number of newspapers and magazines since 1991. Sattar can be contacted at the following email address: [email protected]


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