On the surface, there really isn’t anything mysterious about Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Brussels. Belgium carried out a small bombing campaign against ISIS last year, and roughly 100 of their military personnel remain in the Middle East in advisory roles. Couple that with the fact that Belgium has a sizeable migrant population from the Middle East, and many of their urban neighborhoods have become no go zones for the authorities, and it becomes shocking that an attack like this didn’t happen sooner.
The country is so out of control, that it has become a breeding ground for Islamic terror groups who use the country as a staging area for future attacks against Europe. In fact, the assailants who committed the brutal terrorist attack in Paris last November were originally based in Belgium.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a terrorist attack was attempted in this country, and it isn’t first time this has happened. The only thing that’s unique about it this time around, is the scale of the devastation. What is surprising however, is the fact that the Belgian government couldn’t prevent this attack. According to some sources like Haaretz, Belgian authorities should have known this was coming.
The Belgian security services, as well as other Western intelligence agencies, had advance and precise intelligence warnings regarding the terrorist attacks in Belgium on Tuesday, Haaretz has learned.
The security services knew, with a high degree of certainty, that attacks were planned in the very near future for the airport and, apparently, for the subway as well.
Despite the advance warning, the intelligence and security preparedness in Brussels, where most of the European Union agencies are located, was limited in its scope and insufficient for the severity and immediacy of the alert.
And that’s not all. Turkey’s President recently said something along similar lines.
Belgium had been notified of the terrorist links of one of the suicide bombers involved in the deadly Brussels attacks when he was deported from Turkey last year, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Belgian citizen was detained in Turkey’s southeastern Gaziantep province, which borders Syria, in July of 2015, and was subsequently deported, Erdogan said.
“One of the attackers in Brussels is an individual we detained in Gaziantep in June 2015 and deported. We reported the deportation to the Belgian Embassy in Ankara on July 14, 2015, but he was later set free,” Erdogan said, as cited by Reuters.
“Belgium ignored our warning that this person is a foreign fighter,” he added.
Similar accusations were hurled at the Belgian government following the Paris terror attack. They had all the intel they needed to foil the terrorists, but completely bungled their counter-terror efforts. For many of you reading this, I’m sure alarm bells are ringing in your head. You may be wondering if a conspiracy of some kind is afoot. It almost seems too convenient for Belgium to repeatedly drop the ball on these attacks.
However, it’s just as likely that Belgian authorities are simply incompetent. That’s certainly what many U.S. intelligence officials believe.
News of Tuesday’s attack was met in some parts of Washington with resigned frustration.
“There was only so much we could do to help,” one official explained to The Daily Beast.
“Belgium has been stepping up the amount of people they’re devoting to intelligence and law enforcement but they’re playing catch-up and we’re seeing the terrible results of that today,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the senior Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said on MSNBC.
Indeed, an official said there were warnings as recent as this weekend.
A frustrated U.S. intelligence official bemoaned the state of the counterterrorism apparatus in Belgium and across Europe.
“Even with the EU in general, there’s an infiltration of jihadists that’s been happening for two decades. And now they’re just starting to work on this. When we have to contact these people or send our guys over to talk to them, we’re essentially talking with people who are—I’m just going to put it bluntly—children. They are not pro-active, they don’t know what’s going on. They’re in such denial. It’s such a frightening thing to admit their country is being taken over.”
So what do you think is going on? Is the Belgian government completely incompetent, or are they letting these attacks happen? Honestly, neither would surprise me at this point.