Christopher Dickey writes: As explosions rocked the airport and the metro in Brussels this morning, fears grew that the threat of terrorism is morphing into the threat of guerrilla war in Europe.
The attacks, which killed more than 20 people, came four days after the arrest in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam, a member of the terrorist cell that attacked Paris cafés, a sports stadium, and a concert hall in November, slaughtering 130 people. On Sunday, the Belgian foreign minister warned that Abdeslam was planning a new attack.
Some reports suggest that this attack, clearly coordinated in the style of the Paris carnage, was what was in the works, and went ahead without Abdeslam. It was known that at least two of his associates were still on the run. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said it was clear Europe was no longer simply the victim of a series of isolated terror attacks. “We have been subjected for the last few months in Europe to acts of war,” he said. “We are at war.”
As French scholar Gilles Kepel has pointed out, the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, which carried out the Paris attacks and which presumably was involved in today’s bombings, is following a playbook written more than a decade ago: The Call for an International Islamic Resistance by Abu Musab al Suri, a Syrian jihadi.
Suri knew Europe well. He had lived for a while in Britain, in the community of Arab and Muslim exiles there. His core idea was that Muslims in the West, though increasingly numerous, felt themselves isolated and under pressure, and this could be exploited to create a breakdown of society, develop insurgency, and launch a civil war where the forces of Islam eventually would be victorious. [Continue reading…]