Counter-Terrorism: The Lessons Of Belgium Ignored

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April 8, 2016: The recent ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) attacks in Belgium were a wakeup call for security forces and intelligence agencies throughout Europe. Belgium was shaken and went on high alert in the wake of the November 2016 Paris attacks when it was discovered that the source of the planners and attackers were in Belgium. This was not surprising as many had long criticized Belgium for a dysfunctional counter-terrorism policy that created a de-facto sanctuary for Islamic terrorists.

The recent Belgium attacks were also organized in Belgium and now Belgium is under even more pressure to clean up its mess. But other countries have checked and found that, despite their own energetic counter-terrorism efforts it often wasn’t enough. France, for example found that in the last year the number of suspected Islamic terrorists had risen 50 percent to 8,250. Worse, the French admitted they had problems with some Moslems in their own security forces. France had identified 17 M0slem policemen who had been radicalized since 2012. It was already public knowledge that by early 2015 at least ten Moslem French soldiers had deserted and joined ISIL in Syria. Some of these deserters have since been identified as training other terrorists in skills they learned in the French military. One of these deserters had risen to a leadership position in ISIL. The problems with radicalized police were worse because police have access to police databases containing information about terrorism suspects, counter-terrorism tactics and ongoing counter-terrorism operations. Not all the details of this Islamic terrorists infiltration of the security forces has become public and it is believed there is more of it and the French are, for obvious reasons, not revealing exactly what they are doing about it.

Britain and Germany have similar problems and at one point it was noted in the British media that more Moslem men of military age were joining Islamic terrorist organizations than were joining the British military. In the wake of the 2005 Islamic terrorist bombings in Britain a survey of British Moslems was conducted. Not surprisingly 88 percent of the million Moslems in Britain were either hostile or unsympathetic to Islamic terrorism. But 24 percent has some sympathy for the motives of the terrorists (“defending Islam” and all that) while six percent believed the Islamic terrorist violence was justified. More troubling was the 18 percent of British Moslems who felt little loyalty towards Britain and instead believed “Islam” was where their main loyalty was. Islam stresses this in its scripture.

You would think that Moslems who move to the West would all be hostile to Islamic terrorism no matter who the victims were. That is not the way it works. Fewer of these Moslems support Islamic terrorism, but there are still a lot who do. A 2014 survey of European nations to discover support for ISIL resulted in some surprising results. In Germany two percent of the adults supported ISIL, while in Britain it was seven percent and in France 15 percent. While many of these supporters are Moslems, only 4.6 percent of Germans, five percent of Britons and 7.5 percent of the French are Moslems. Thus there is support from non-Moslems and a closer look at the data shows that ISIL support is higher among the young and falls sharply among older people. Many of the ISIL supporters are actually angry at their own government for various reasons. Still, the ISIL support is part of the overall support (or tolerance) for Islamic radicalism in the West and the recent growth of European anti-Semitism.

 


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