Yesterday I wrote that it was appropriate to avoid easy comments and rather think well on what to say; indeed there is a time for pain and a time for analysis. Today the analysis can begin.
Yesterday was a sad and complex day, because I can assure you that when bombs explode in the city where you live, close to you, the feeling you get is a very different one.
I would be a hypocrite if I told you that what I felt yesterday is the same as what I felt when I wrote of the massacres in Turkey, in Mali, in France or anywhere else, when human beings lose their lives, their only guilt being that of passing by in a particular place in a given time. In the latter case you’re sorry, but able to analyze those facts with coldness (as many simpletons of politics did yesterday), in the former case, instead, you can immediately feel how real and close to you the threat is.
Let’s make it clear: we are talking about an extremely complex issue; but we can try to focus on some points. Let’s start from a premise: it is now clear to everyone that when we talk about Daesh/IS and jihadist terrorism, we are not talking about an improvised neighborhood gang; we are not talking about misfit thugs who spend their time planning how to blow themselves up in crowded places; we are not talking about exalted Islamist extremists who follow some religious beliefs. Instead, we are talking about a military organization (or paramilitary if you prefer) who declared war to the West for a variety of reasons and contributing factors and on which we can dwell to reflect for months. It is crucial to have this concept clear in mind for any further reasoning. Yesterday’s attack was prepared – and perhaps even anticipated – because of the arrest of Salah Abdelslam, by a group which was seriously organized at the military level. This group of death-professionals enjoys logistical, financial and strategic support and has its headquarters in Belgium, for reasons which I shall analyze later.
I had said that today I would have started my analysis, so this morning – being the Parliament closed and the airport shut – I decided to go around Brussels, from Place de la Bourse, a place full of pain, to Molenbeek, the neighborhood where the terrorists live calm and protected, and which has now become a symbol of European jihadist frenzy.
My reasoning starts from Belgium. Why Belgium?
Belgium is the state with the largest number of foreign fighters (they say about 600, of which a hundred have returned from Syria); a state with a form of federal government (which generates in itself a problem of information exchange at the internal level); it is also located in a strategic position between France, Germany, Holland and England. People living there enjoy free movement and are granted the same logistic facilities that would be enjoyed in the surrounding countries, while at the same time being subject to the authority and control of the Belgian Federal Government.
This is the first big problem: EU (which is always at the forefront when dealing with facilitating economic and financial interests) has never provided any effective mechanism to ensure cooperation and exchange of information among member countries. This means that each single state has its own intelligence system (more or less evolved and effective) and jealously defends its skeletons in the closet from the neighbor states and the so-called allies.
The second assumption to keep in mind is that the Belgian intelligence system and the Ministry of the Interior are leaking boats. We don’t know if this is due to their evident incapacity or to other embarrassing reasons, but it sure is a chasm opened in the center of Europe.
This does not mean that the other states of Europe are free of operating jihadist cells, nor that they have no major flaws at the internal level, at the intelligence and information exchange level. The risk is real everywhere: Belgium is just the tip of a widely (we don’t know if deliberately) underestimated iceberg by the ones who are at the helm of the ship.
How can such a system, pretending to be self-sufficient, work when dealing with an enemy that moves nimbly and with great speed among all states? Surely, it will never work with the chatter and ridiculous announcements made by this European so-called “leaders”. Incidentally, these are the very same announcements they did after the attacks in Paris. Starting from November up to now, the unique concrete things we saw are, on one hand, the absurd agreement signed with Turkey (a state who has always been duplicitous on the issue of terrorism) in which we give an enormous amount money while giving up on the issue of human rights and protection of innocent lives; we have seen bizarre proposals for armed interventions, which would have the only effect to worsen the situation, as the recent history of Libya sadly teaches us.
The second part of my reasoning, strictly linked with the first, deals with the actual will of UE Member states – and more generally, of the Western states – about the creation of a really united front in respect of the dirty war that jihadist terrorism wants to fight against the West.
Here the economic factor and crappy ambiguities of the Western Governments come into play. The question I ask myself and I share with you is the following: how can one think of defeating an enemy that is funded by your business partners (if not by you) directly or indirectly?
In the US list of the so-called “rogue states” Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and even Turkey are not included. Similarly, also other States are missing from the list of those with which the West should avoid having business relationships. These (and other) states do not appear on the black list of Washington, nor in that of other OTAN countries.
They all are friend-states of both the West and terrorism. They are states to whom we sell weapons without any scruples or control (including the Government of Matteo “crocodile tears” Renzi) and with which we maintain profitable business without whatsoever qualms. Business first, business first of all, this is unfortunately the axiom that governs us.
If the defeat of international terrorism is a real intention, and not just a proclaim, then the international community should act in a rigid and uncompromising way, by cutting all the financial channels supporting terrorist groups. It should act in an appropriate manner with those states that facilitate the existence and proliferation of terrorism. The Daesh and in general all other Islamist terrorist groups do not manufacture weapons, they surely buy (or receive) them from someone. Similarly, the terrorists have to sell someone the oil they take from the fields under their control. Who is this “someone”?
If the fight against terrorism was a priority, I do not think it would be so impossible to determine who does what, where and how. It would absolutely be possible to defeat international terrorism if this became a real priority for the international community.
From the National point of view, this would actually become possible through a real and effective cooperation among security services of different countries; from the International point of view, stopping the before mentioned ambiguity shown with states supporting terrorism should be the first and most important issue on the agenda.
I think I have written enough for today. I will continue to gather useful sensations for the committee (I am a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament) which will resume after Easter. I hope that this time the Committee will work with a real intention of solving problems in an effective way, instead of continuing with idle chatter.