The Strategist

The Explosion That Thundered Across the Whole Europe

03/23/2016 - 14:38

The terrorist group "Islamic State" has committed one of the most serious attacks on the European Union in its history by carrying a series of attacks on the union’s political capital yesterday. 34 people perished due to the explosions at Brussels’ airport and metro; more than 150 were injured. The terrorist attacks on March 22 may result in a strengthening of centrifugal tendencies within the EU and tightening of its members’ immigration policy.

Håkan Dahlström via flickr
Håkan Dahlström via flickr
The terrorist attack happened yesterday at the beginning of the working day. The targets were the most lively places - the international airport and the metro station Maelbeek. The country has declared three days of mourning. The border between Belgium and France has been partially blocked. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel described the incident as "a black day for the whole country." The responsibility for the committed terrorist acts was accepted by the "Islamic state." Head of European diplomacy Federica Mogherini could not hold back tears when commenting on information about terrorist attacks.

The Belgian capital was literally paralyzed after the attacks. All public transport in the city stopped. Later in the afternoon, it was decided to close all banks, restaurants and public places, as well as to evacuate employees of the country’s two nuclear power plants - "Tihange" and "Doel".

Sometimes media were receiving reports of new explosions, but they all turned out to be work of Belgian deminers, liquidating suspicious items around the city. In the middle of the day, Belgium and France blocked the border for the movement of trucks and passenger trains. "As soon as it became known about the terrorist attacks in Brussels, I decided to send further 1.6 thousand gendarmes and police to the border", - said Head of Ministry of Internal Affairs of France Bernard Cazeneuve after an emergency meeting at the Elysee Palace with President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Waltz.

Brussels established a state of emergency. Yesterday, security services reported about the first suspects - citizens of Belarus Ivan and Alexey Dovbashi and native of Dagestan Marat Yunusov, who received the citizenship of this country a few years ago. The KGB of Belarus yesterday said they do not have information about the men’s involvement in the terrorist attack, but added that in December 2015, FSB of Russia asked their Belarusian colleagues for information about possible involvement of these people in terrorist activities.

The metro station, where one of the blasts thundered, is located directly under the European Quarter, where stand the buildings of the European Commission and the European Council. Perhaps the terrorists hoped to demonstrate ineffectiveness of the security services of the Kingdom and other EU countries. After the terrorist attacks in Paris committed on November 13, 2015, it became clear that the jihadists’ steps traced back to Belgium. Then, Brussels introduced unprecedented security measures, which, as it occurred, did not help.

Former member of the anti-terrorist units of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation Clint Watts said at CNBC that the Belgian authorities have shown "shocking level of incompetence." According to him, the Belgian intelligence services had to prepare for the local terrorist network’s response after they arrested Salah Abdeslamhis on the outskirts of Brussels last week (the man was one of the organizers of the terrorist attacks in Paris). However, the terrorists were stronger this time.