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Brussels attack

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, March 23rd, 2016 - 55 comments
Categories: International, war - Tags: , ,

Isis has claimed responsibility for the horrific attacks in Brussels that left 34 dead.

The Guardian’s ongoing coverage is here.

This piece covers reaction from US presidential candidates. Naturally Trump calls for ‘more than waterboarding’ – because that will help.

55 comments on “Brussels attack ”

  1. esoteric pineapples 1

    Does anyone really believe we are ever going to “destroy” ISIS or “terrorism”.

    • Sabine 1.1

      no, and we were never ment too.

      If we really wanted to defeat ‘terrorism’ we would have not invaded Iraq / Afghanistan in the first place, but instead made it a Police action with the full co-operation of the international services, i.e. Interpol, and the secrete services of all the countries.

      then once the perpetrators apprehended we would have held fully puplicly available trials for murder, consipracy, terrorism etc etc, instead of going the way of indefinite detention, water boarding and extrajudicial killings be it by drone or ‘human flown plane’.

      instead we went to invade a country that had nothing to do with anything, had no weapons of mass distraction err……and voila, 14 years later we are still fighting against Hydras heads.

      But I am sure the usual suspects have made a killing.

      Not sure if anyone has ever read about the Wolfowitz Doctrice, it should be required reading.



      In the meantime, the war that we (western world) have started is coming home to roost.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        I don’t remember Belgium invading Afghanistan or IraqIraq.

        • Matthew Hooton

          Belgium was strongly critical of the Iraq adventure, as of course was France.

          • Colonial Viper

            Belgium was strongly critical of the Iraq adventure, as of course was France.

            Iraq? That’s ancient history.

            Why don’t you look at what EU and NATO have done to Syria and Libya in the mean time.

            Its not an accident that the train station hit was just a few hundred metres from major EU institution offices.

        • AB

          Your reply is disingenuous – because Sabine is not asserting that terrorists make such a direct calculation and retaliate in kind.
          I take her assertion to be that western military and economic dominance creates an environment where some people are driven mad in response. You would be silly to dismiss this as a factor in the psychopathology of terrorism.

          ‘Disingenuous’ is being kind actually – more of a cheap rhetorical trick. And as the cheap rhetorical trick is the standard MO of Matthew Hooten, I see he has chimed in along the same line.

      • Matthew Hooton 1.1.2

        If terrorism was caused by the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, what caused the attacks of September 11, 2001?

        • Molly

          Matthew, does your knowledge of western intervention in the Middle East conveniently start on Sept 11th 2001?

          • Macro

            🙂 Nothing like rewriting history.
            Of course the Balfour Declaration never happened.

            • McFlock

              Actually, the bigger one is Sykes-Picot.

              That’s the real betrayal of the Arabs. And then propping up oppressive regimes in return for oil also helped piss people off.

              • Macro

                Yes – the Balfour Declaration was an attempt to smooth over the mess – as has almost every attempt since. You would think that after 100 years of meddling the west would have learned to keep their noses out by now!

        • McFlock

          Something that is not conducive to defeating terrorism does not in any way imply that the something was the original cause of terrorism in the first place.

          I’m surprised that you have such difficulty with basic English. Or, indeed, with recent history.

        • Stuart Munro


          “God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the Towers, but after the situation became unbearable—and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon—I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were those of 1982 and the events that followed—when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust the same way: to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we were tasting and to stop killing our children and women.”

          — Osama bin Laden, 2004 (wikipedia)

        • saveNZ

          I believe most of the terrorists from 9/11 were Saudi Nationals. The regime that is one of the worst for human rights and recently crucified a body of a rival who was just a youth. Saudi Arabia was in “Granny” Herald yesterday as imprisoning a migrant worker who dared complain about his employer. We love to give Saudi businessmen bribes to kill lambs in the desert in the hope of a ‘free trade’ agreement. Lordy, lets hope not, or with all that free movement of Nationals we will be facing the same terrorism issues as Europe.

          As for France their government was bombing Syria. Yes the French public is against it, but governments now seem to think they can follow their own agenda and use twisted intelligence to justify in secret their bombing. It is the public that has to live with the growing insecurity from these issues, made worse by the

          ISIS never existed before the US started bombing the crap out of Iraq. Now with globalism the chickens have come home to roost.

          Obama set out to create a religious war with the West. Thanks to bad decisions of members of the US government they took the bait.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Iran, etc, etc

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1.1.3

        I should have known it was the West’s fault. For once, could we not just blame the terrorists and their fucked up religion?

        • saveNZ

          @The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

          Last time I looked Saudi Arabia was not part of the west.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell

            It’s not always about you, saveNZ. I was addressing this:

            If we really wanted to defeat ‘terrorism’ we would have not invaded Iraq / Afghanistan in the first place

        • Puddleglum

          It is hapless to cite religious fanaticism as the ’cause’ of terrorism. Such ideas have always been present.

          The sensible question is what is it that now allows such ideas to flourish and what makes them coalesce with financial and geopolitical interests to both recruit and sustain a terrorist movement on such a scale?

          People don’t get ‘seduced’ by extreme ideas unless they serve other, rather less intangible and rather more obvious, purposes. Cults, for example, can only exploit those whose lives have made them need what the cult claims to offer – e.g., in the case of ISIS perhaps, a sense of justice, a sense of power, a sense of hope.

          Defeating an idea is a ludicrous notion. Far better to make sure there are as few ‘minds’ and geopolitical interests produced by this world of ours which are likely to be receptive to it.

          That’s the long term strategy, of course. More immediate responses, sadly, are also needed. The ‘minds’ and geopolitical interests have already been produced this time around.

      • Paul Campbell 1.1.4

        WE didn’t do those things, the blame should go to those who did. People who’s egos were more important than actually solving the problem.

  2. Ad 2

    I feel incredibly helpless that terrorism appears to be getting worse across the world not better. I don’t see any way to unwind it. I can see a few of the causes. I can see how it could be made less worse. Not how to ever eradicate it.

  3. Wayne 3

    Do you think ISIS should be left with its proto-state in North East Syria and Northern Iraq?

    While I am sure terrorism can be never fully eradicated, it would nevertheless seem reckless to leave the prime sponsor of ISIS terrorism in place.

    While the Iraq invasion clearly has its role in the formation of ISIS in Northern Iraq, that is not a reason to allow it to continue to exist.

    The Syrian civil war can’t be primarily blamed on the West. The prime cause was Assad’s response to the popular uprising. The regime was so unpopular that in large parts of the country the people were able to eject the government, get access to the weapons stores and conduct a civil war. And with the Kurds and ISIS in Iraq, they have been able to sustain their compatriots in Syria (and of course then fight each other).

    • Ad 3.1

      What do you think the probable framework for resolution in both northern Iraq and Syria is?

    • Yuri 3.2

      The prime sponsor of ISIS terrorism, in the final analysis, is Saudi Arabia.

      The prime sponsor of global terrorism, as in the root cause and enabler, is the USA.

      • adam 3.2.1

        Yuri, I think ISIS is an unexpected bite back for the USA.

        I don’t think they enabled it, they don’t want this, they the empire, this is not suppose to happen. /sarc

        They are Pax Americana

        Well obviously not, all empires are violent, especially on the fringes of empire – like the middle east. Just most of the time, people bow down to empire.

    • Roflcopter 3.3

      Do you think ISIS should be left with its proto-state in North East Syria and Northern Iraq?

      That option is inconsistent with the ideas of ISIS’s caliphate, which does not recognise any boundaries, and has stated that their caliphate will be global… the only way you would confine them to a proto-state is by military means.

    • Sabine 3.4

      Al Quada, Isis, wonder what we will name the group, once we kill their leaders several times over.

      • One Two 3.4.1

        Mujaheddin Freedom Fighters, in the 1980’s

        ‘The West’ (Oil and Banking Oligarchs) only sponsor, ‘moderate terrorists’

        The ‘real terrorists’ wear suits, ties and run/manage corporations which are murdering, injuring and abusing the global bio-sphere, and all its inhabitants, using weapons of mass destruction

        Weapons of physical warfare and weapons on ‘paper’ (legislation, treaties, contracts, agreements et al)

    • Stephen 3.5

      In a lot of cases, follow the money trail works. If a lot of the financial support ISIS gets comes from Saudi Arabia, which apparently it does, why can we not bring pressure to bear there. Or is the fact that SA is a “friend” of most of the West make them untouchable?

      • saveNZ 3.5.1

        +1 – the system is screwed up because the worst terrorists are protected and both regimes use the terror excuses as cover for other activities and to seize power even from their own people.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.5.2

        The fact that Saudi Arabia has huge amounts of oil and thus influences the oil price makes them untouchable.

        • saveNZ

          all the more reason to get away from oil, to cleaner energy.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Yep but the present set of rich/corporate/political schmucks don’t see it that way. They see it as another way to wield power.

    • adam 3.6

      Wayne silly question, do you think the Kurds are the enemy too?

      As I think ISIS need to be smashed, and we have allies in the middle east who can do just that. The Kurds. if we can get Turkey to pull their heads in.

      And don’t under estimate the influence of the USA in the civil war in Syria. The US ambassador going to an opposition rally of Assad’s, sent signals, not sure if it was planned – because the Americans did not initially help the opposition very much. But it sent signals they would have USA support.

      I agree Assad was not popular, it would have been the smart move to avoid taking on his regime, violently. Why? because Assad had overwhelming military support. He still does, the bulk of the military has stuck with Assad.

      And anyway the issue is way more complex than a few words on a message board.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.7

      Do you think ISIS should be left with its proto-state in North East Syria and Northern Iraq?

      Would you have asked the same thing when the Anglo-Saxons invaded England?

      After all, we now have English culture because of it.

      Personally, I’d say that we should leave them to it. If they settle down then they may produce a viable culture. If they don’t settle down then the people there will probably do something about it. Just as the US did about the bloody British. And the British did about the bloody British as well.

      The only thing that we should be doing there is stopping the influx of arms from the rest of the world. If they want weapons, they can make their own.

    • Stuart Munro 3.8

      Do you think the attacks in Paris and Belgium were ordered, or adventitious? If they are adventitious then destroying the formal ISIS structure will not prevent them. It might be wise to control radicalising acts like bombing, and give some thought to reconstruction.

    • Colonial Viper 3.9

      Do you think ISIS should be left with its proto-state in North East Syria and Northern Iraq?

      Wayne, can you answer a question for me please?

      Why has the EU, NATO and the USA tolerated Turkey (a NATO member with huge armed forces) actively helping and resourcing ISIS in Northern Syria. For years now.

  4. Manuka AOR 4

    The responses from the people of Belgium themselves have been inspiring:
    “On social media, people rose to the horrific occasion with heartfelt grace, grit and wit, creating hashtags aimed at following the mandate to, “Find shelter. Organize. Help.”

    “Through #Brüssel, #IkWilHelpen (I will help), #openhouse, #porteouverte, #Bruxelles and #enterrasse (still sitting outside in fearlessness on terraces), they have offered rides, beds, couches, hugs, meals, empathy and images of “many class acts full of light, even in a moment of darkness.” Many posts struck a determinedly down-but-not-out tone that rejected fear, the goal of terror.” http://www.commondreams.org/further/2016/03/22/ikwilhelpen
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/people-brussels-provide-aid-shelter-free-rides-deadly/story?id=37839354 (This includes photos and tweets)
    ” While tens of thousands of Twitter users all over the globe are using hashtags like #PrayForBelgium, #JeSuisBruxelles and #PrayForTheWorld to offer their thoughts and prayers, those in Brussels or in nearby towns are using other hashtags to offer direct help.

    “Hashtags like #PorteOuverte (French for “open door”), #OpenHouse and #BrusselsIsWelcome are being used by those opening up their homes to anyone in need of shelter”

  5. Manuka AOR 5

    While the attack in Brussels receives instant world wide media coverage, the attack on a marketplace one week earlier, in which 120 people – more than 20 children, – were killed, receives little or none. Entire families were blown up in this instance, and the bodies often destroyed “beyond recognition”. The weapons used may well have come from the Belgian arms supply to the Saudis. https://theintercept.com/2016/03/22/families-were-blown-up-scenes-from-a-saudi-led-bombing-in-yemen/

    • saveNZ 5.1

      +1 Manuka AOR, while we have so many double standards terrorism will flourish. In fact most of the anti terrorism measures made by governments and double standards, seem to be increasing it.

      Don’t worry Trump is on his way to create ‘world peace’. sarc. But since Clinton loves wars so much, I think folks who want to reduce Terror attacks, need to hope for Bernie Sanders. Maybe that is why youth want him, ultimately they bear the greatest price of the F-up so far.

      Yep there are blood thirsty psychos everywhere, (look at Anders Behring Breivik) but it doesn’t help when governments start multiple bombing attacks on an entire countries in retaliation, escalating the terror and amplifying the attacks.

  6. Bill 6

    So ISIS claim responsibility. But what does that mean? It probably doesn’t mean that some-one traveled from Syria or Iraq to Belgium.

    Within ‘western’ countries, there are now people, some born in western countries, who are understandably upset about how ‘the west’ conducts its affairs in the Middle East (and elsewhere). And every night when they put on the news, they, like us, are informed that Muslims are terrorists and that Muslims are the enemy and that Muslims are illogical and that Muslims are backwards and that Muslims are violent…the humanity is stripped away and “Muslim” is broadcast far and wide as some vile caricature of malevolence.

    Muslim and non-Muslim alike are never informed that drone strikes, invasions or sanctions are, or might be unacceptable and wrong. ‘Double tap’ drone strikes on wedding parties are…well, there were a terrorist there weren’t there? And if the dead family members of the maimed bride and groom want to hang with alleged terror suspects or suspiciously gather in crowds numbering more than two or three…

    Growing numbers of people in the west may have family or have been close to people who have been obliterated in drone strikes or invasions or by sanctions. And aside form the ‘official’ dehumanised caricature being broadcast every night and every day in the news, on the radio, on TV and in films…probably in books too, Muslims are subjected to the ongoing ‘petty’ discriminations of the street, in the search for a job, in housing allocation…etc.

    It adds up. It damages.

    Our state governments and the media have seemed to revel in ‘othering’ and marginalising. Where there has been fleeing refugees from Syria or Afghanistan, the wests immediate reaction has been to condemn and reject them as ‘economic migrants’ at best or terrorists at worst- belittling and dismissing their experience and desperation…and holing many up in detention centers miles from anywhere in the middle of vast oceans.

    When a bomb is planted or a killing takes place, the western media insists that domiciled Muslims, not just condemn the act, but leave it hanging as an atrocity bereft of context beyond that of being perpetrated by some conveniently illogical and bestial Muslim enemy of the west’s imagination.

    Y’know, tell some group you’re fucking on that they are ‘x, y or z’ often enough, or for long enough, and the chances are that some within the group will become precisely that ‘x, y or z’. And after you’ve created a real live version of your bogey man and it’s encouraged it to act in precisely the way you always claimed it would…

    Fuck the bombing of people, but fuck the mind bombing of people too, y’know?

  7. shorts 7

    Belgium has one of the largest Muslim communities in Europe – there has been racial/cultural tension there as a result (similar to France) for a very long time

    As a consequence the potential for an attack from a resident for whatever reason are high – if they are connected to ISIS who knows (yet), it sure suits both sides to consider it to be ISIS

    And for those worried, terrorism is no worse than its ever been… and the causes are no newer than ever either – the reaction too also follow a very depressingly familiar line too

    No one is tackling the causes, nor the results so these sorts of attacks will continue – I wish this wasn’t so

    • Chooky 7.1

      +100 shorts…my heart goes out to those innocents killed and maimed and their families …however until there is honesty about tackling the causes, probably “these sorts of attacks will continue”

  8. As usual, the Guardian ties itself in knots trying to avoid naming the ideology involved. This article refers to “European extremist violence,” “radical activity,” “militancy” and “violent ideology,” anything other than use the word “Islam.” It’s like reading about Sendero Luminoso or the Red Army Faction with any reference to communism excised.

    • From the linked article:

      Many of my students live in Molenbeek and were shocked by such statements. “Is it because we are Muslim?” they asked me. “Is it because we are of Moroccan origin?” “What did I and my parents do wrong?”

      Well, duh-uh. You set up a Muslim enclave in Belgium, members of your enclave attack Belgium, and now you’re asking yourselves “Gee, why are Belgians not enjoying having our foreign enclave in their midst?” Try engaging your brains, dumb cunts.

  9. She'll be right 10

    Warfare between Islam and the West has been going on for a long time – ever since the days of Muhammad’s successors circa AD: 650-700 when Europe was threatened.

    This continued for many years including the times of the Crusades.

    For several centuries the warfare reduced – primarily as Western technological inventions pushed the means of warfare heavily in favour of the West.

    This culminated in the break up of the Ottoman Empire following WW1.

    You can forget about pointing to any individual incident that fuels the hatred and terrorism – it comes down to the fundamental beliefs involved.

    The religion/ideology established by Muhammad requires its adherents to convert the world by force. Those who do not wish to be converted are to be killed or enslaved. Opposing this ideology are non-Muslims who (for obvious reasons) do not wish to be destroyed or enslaved.

    The reason why it has been getting worse over the last 20 years or so are due to technological advances in means of terror and because the West has lost its mojo.

    Once upon a time (Empire building) nations of the West were quite confident that their way was the right way and were happy to fight for it. Now with the advent of PC liberalism, the belief system of the West (Christianity) has been rejected and all the cultures should hold hands and sing Kum by Ya.

    A nice thought but its not reality. It makes the West weak and just encourages more acts of war by the adherents of militant Islam who see the weakness as a sign from Allah that they will fulfill the long term goals.

    Also as many know Muslims see death (especially death by jihad) as free entry into Paradise so they have no qualms in the likes of suicide bombing or sending their children as suicide bombers etc whole world by force. If other nations refuse they are to be destroyed or enslaved.


    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      The reason why it has been getting worse over the last 20 years or so are due to technological advances in means of terror and because the West has lost its mojo.


      You mean it’s nothing to do with the USA and NATO continuously killing off secular governments in the Middle East and Central Asia?

      Mossadegh/Iran, Afghanistan, Saddam/Iraq, Gaddafi/Libya, Assad/Syria, as a short list of examples.

      And then allowing extremist Islamism or theocracies to take hold in those same countries?

      Not to mention ongoing US financial and military support for the most extremist Islamic country of them all, Saudi Arabia.

      You don’t think that’s got something to do with it?

      Seriously mate, get real.

      • Psycho Milt 10.1.1

        They have a little to do with it, just like the victors’ actions against Germany in the Treaty of Versailles had a little to do with the Nazi terror, and western countries’ invasion of the Soviet Union in support of the old regime had a little to do with the Bolshevik terror. They’re relevant if you want to take a really comprehensive overview of what prompted those reigns of terror, but only an apologist for extremist violence would try and make out that they’re central to or downright caused those reigns of terror.

        Still, the fact that only an apologist for violent totalitarian ideologies would peddle that bullshit does explain your comment.

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