Why Belgium? (Google translate from La Presse)
Belgian intelligence services were not surprised by the attacks that have bloodied Brussels yesterday. Rather, they feared them for years, but their warnings were never heard by the politicians of the country, guilty of procrastination, claims a former member of the General Intelligence and Security (GISS).
“I accuse Belgium of ignoring the problem for years and having never given the means to intelligence services to do their job professionally, to try to prevent this kind of attack,” wrote Bernard Snoeck in a stern letter to Belgian authorities.
The letter, entitled “J’accuse! The attack that services were concerned, “is a train out attack against the country’s leaders, accused of underfunded intelligence services and do not have in place legislation that would allow effective action. “I’m not the only one to think in this manner, but I have more freedom of speech than my former colleagues,” said, in a telephone interview, Mr. Snoek, who left the GISS in 2012.
“I accuse politicians of having never wanted to understand the rise of radical Islam and deliberately ignoring it because of electioneering and being “politically correct”, he wrote. I accuse them of having allowed several Belgian municipalities develop a jihadist radicalism for years, to the point that socialist leader had said to me one day: “We know the problem of Molenbeek, but what do you expect, it’s a electorate that can not be overlooked. ”
Molenbeek is a district of Brussels is where some members of the cell that carried out the attacks of 13 November in Paris came from. It was here that one of them, Salah Abdeslam found refuge until his arrest Friday.
Too long, Belgium has erred on the side of communitarianism, “what you in Canada call reasonable accommodation,” said Alain Chouet, former French intelligence officer, who also worked with the GISS.
“In Belgium, the real power lies among mayors, that is to say in local municipalities mayors, he said. Some of the mayors, especially around Brussels, have built their entire careers based on the votes of Muslim communities. In practice, they forbade the Belgian Federal Police to interfere with their Muslim communities and it pry. ”
Mr. Chouet recalled that in the 60s, the Belgian king had entrusted the leadership of the Muslim communities to the King of Saudi Arabia.
“The Saudis have it framed Islam in Belgium by Wahhabi imams or from the international Salafist movement.”
Alain Chouet former French intelligence officer
Today, Belgium has the highest proportion of Syrian jihadis among Western countries. In January 2016, there were 470 Belgian fighters in Syria and Iraq, according to an estimate by Rik Coolsaet of Ghent University.
“I remember a member of State Security who got angry when I said in 2001 that Belgium was a rear base of terrorism for decades. A situation known for over 20 years and for which little has been done for lack of resources and will. Always this political correctness that governs our country! “Writes Mr. Snoek in his letter.
INEQUALITY AND EXCLUSION
But if Belgium did so against Islamic terrorism is due to many factors, for its part considers Benoît Gomis, analyst reports to Chatham House in London. He cites “political, economic and social inequalities and failures of integration policies” as well as “institutional difficulties of the Belgian state and the City of Brussels, which alone has nineteen municipalities and six authorities police. ”
An analysis shared by Jabeur Fathally, an expert on international terrorism at the University of Ottawa. “Where the economic, political and social is unfavorable, there is a further tendency to commit or committing such acts. In some European countries, including France and Belgium, there is that spirit of ghetto. Molenbeek has become a ghetto. ”
That said, “these are years of mismanagement and of foresight which are at the origin of this situation; the current government is only trying to plug the holes with a legacy of its predecessors. But now we must react and propose solutions. It is no longer a choice, it is an obligation we owe to the victims of terrorism and to address our incompetence “says Snoeck.
Mr. Chouet agrees: “The awareness is extremely painful for the Belgians, but I think we will now in Belgium leave a little more leeway to the security services to do their job. ”
But for the victims of the subway and Brussels Airport, it is too late, laments Mr Snoeck. “All my thoughts are directed of course to the victims and their families. But my anger is now turning to politics. If the culprits are obviously the jihadists, there are also people responsible for having allowed these attacks are perpetrated; and they will be accountable to Belgian citizens. “