Just days after arresting French-born Belgium national and terror suspect Salah Abdeslam in Brussels, a coordinated terror attack unfolded in the very same city, killing 34 and injuring many more.
NBC News has already announced that European officials are linking the attack to ISIS, though it is unclear whether or not Abdeslam’s network – which carried out the November 2015 Paris terror attacks – was directly involved.
Abdeslam’s “Terror Ring”
Police in Brussels were still hunting for several other alleged accomplices of Abdeslam, including Najim Laachraoui and Mohamed Abrini.
Laachraoui and Abrini, like virtually every other suspect involved in a string of terrorist attacks across North America, Europe, and Australia, were well known to Western security agencies, having both been documented as having traveled to Syria to fight against Damascus under ISIS, with Abrini having been arrested and jailed several times in the past, and Laachraoui already having a 2014 international arrest warrant issued for him in connection to a trial involving recruiting Europeans to fight for ISIS.
The International Business Times would report in their article, “Manhunt for last Isis Paris attacks fugitives: Who are Najim Laachraoui and Mohamed Abrini?,” that:
Mohamed Abrini, 31, is among Europe’s most wanted fugitives since he was filmed with Abdeslam at a petrol station on a highway to Paris on 11 November aboard a Renault Clio that was used in the attacks two days later. Described as “armed and dangerous” in a European arrested warrant the Belgian-Moroccan is believed to have travelled to Syria after serving short stints in jail for petty crime and robberies.
The Independent would report in an article titled, “Najim Laachraoui: Belgian police launch manhunt for suspect who could have made suicide belts for Paris attacks,” that:
Laachraoui is thought to have studied electro-mechanical engineering at a Catholic high school in Schaerbeek, the Institut de la Sainte-Famille d’helmet, graduating in 2012. He was already known to be in Syria in 2013, and was the subject of an international arrest warrant in 2014.
And because Laachraoui’s DNA is alleged to have been found at several scenes linked to the terror network, it appears that he too may have been in custody at least long enough to provide a DNA sample as a reference to now match him to evidence collected in the aftermath of the 2015 Paris attacks.
And even regarding Abdeslam himself, the BBC would report in their article, “Paris attacks: Who were the attackers?,” that:
Some reports have said he spent time in prison for robbery where he met suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud. He had earlier been sacked as a technician on the Brussels tram system, for missing work. Dutch police said they had detained Salah Abdeslam briefly in February, fining him €70 (£49) for possession of cannabis.
In other words, all of the suspects have been under the nose, on the radar, and in the prisons of Western security agencies on and off for years, yet were still able to carry out at least one high profile terrorist attack – possibly two, and with the vast majority of the suspects involved having traveled to Syria to fight alongside ISIS before inexplicably being allowed to re-enter Europe and rejoin society without consequence – as if inviting them to take their extremism to the next level.
Brussels Bombing Already Being Linked to ISIS
The Guardian’s “Brussels attack: were they revenge for Abdeslam’s arrest?,” attempted to link the bombings in Brussels to the arrest of Abdeslam and the Paris attack terror network. The op-ed acknowledges that these terrorist attacks are being carried out by locals – Europeans – using local resources.
Should the Brussels attack be linked to this same terror network, it will greatly complicate efforts by some to leverage this tragedy to further their agendas against refugees and even to change the dynamics of the war in Syria itself.
Europeans are clearly already being radicalized and then leaving to Syria to fight alongside ISIS and then returning – rather than a torrent of foreigners streaming in from abroad and carrying out violence against European targets.
Should the Brussels attack turn out to be the work of this ISIS-linked terror group, considering the familiarity European security agencies had with all the suspects long before even the 2015 Paris attacks, indicates criminal negligence at best, and complicity at worst.
But even if the attacks are the work of foreign ISIS militants, one should consider the West’s admitted role in the creation and perpetuation of ISIS in the first place.
The West Created ISIS as a Weapon of Geopolitical Coercion
ISIS’ own alleged agenda of transforming the world into a “caliphate” is cartoonishly absurd. In reality, it is clear that ISIS shows up and exercises force in regions of the world the US and its allies cannot intervene in directly. This includes North Africa, the Middle East, and even as far as Asia.
Far from a “conspiracy theory,” it would be the US’ own Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) that would admit as much in a leaked 2012 report (.pdf) which stated:
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
To clarify just who these “supporting powers” were that sought the creation of a “Salafist” (Islamic) principality” (State), the DIA report explains:
The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
Between this admission, and an earlier exposé in 2007 by veteran journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker piece titled, “The Redirection” where US and Saudi plans to use Al Qaeda to wage proxy war on Syria and Iran were revealed, it is clear that both Al Qaeda and ISIS are being used by the West to wage war on Damascus, Baghdad, Tehran, and even Moscow.
ISIS supply lines clearly, even admittedly run from NATO territory in Turkey where the US and its regional allies have categorically failed to interdict them and even appear to be aiding and abetting the flow of men and materiel into ISIS-held territory in Syria and Iraq. These supply lines are what has allowed pressure to be continuously placed upon Damascus and its allies over the past 5 years in ways nonexistent “moderate rebels” couldn’t.
In Indonesia, as Jakarta clearly began re-balancing toward Beijing, ISIS carried out its first deadly attack on the Southeast Asian nation. Thailand’s similar re-balancing also prompted threats from the US that an “ISIS attack” was imminent.
In Europe, where the flames of a “clash of civilizations” are being furiously and intentionally fanned, ISIS serves as a constant implement to empower extremists on both sides, while drowning out the voices of unity, moderation, and peace in the middle. It allows for a growing police state and xenophobic tendencies to flourish at home, while justifying further war abroad.
While some Western newspapers are already trying to frame the Belgium attack as “incompetence” by European security agencies, there must be a better explanation as to why this “war with ISIS” continues to drag on, when the source of ISIS’ fighting capacity appears to be within rather than beyond the West – and aiding rather than opposing Western special interests.
Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.