Europe under attack …European Union falling apart?


BELGIUM was recently hit by a spate of deadly explosions with all signs pointing to a well-co-ordinated terror attack.
The terrorists detonated three bombs, killing 34 people and injuring 300 in Brussels.
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the Brussels attacks.
The attacks come barely four months after the French terrorist attack that killed 130 people on November 13.
But the recent attack was felt well beyond the city of Brussels.
Belgium is not only one of the countries of Europe’s core, as is France, but it is also in some sense the capital of Europe.
Brussels is the headquarters of the European Union Commission.
The Maelbeek Metro Station where one of the attacks happened is extremely close to the Berlaymont Building which is the headquarters of the European Commission.
The commission is like the EU’s Cabinet and it oversees the EU’s permanent bureaucracy.
Some of that bureaucracy is also located in Berlaymont, with the rest spread out through dozens of office buildings in the general vicinity.
The European Quarter also features the headquarters of the European Council (which is the name for when the various EU member-states governments meet together) and a building that houses the European Parliament most of the time.
It is also near the headquarters of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
By striking Brussels, the Islamic State was striking at Europe’s core.
Brussels is roughly in the middle of Belgium, a small country in north-western Europe wedged between France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Belgium, a nation of 11 million people, is divided between a Dutch-speaking northern half and a French-speaking southern half.
The divides between these regions are extremely important in the country’s politics and deeply entrenched in its political institutions.
Brussels’s location puts it very much at an international crossroads of Europe.
From Brussels, you could drive north for two hours to Amsterdam, three and a half hours southeast to Paris, or four hours east to Frankfurt or even take a five-hour drive to London through the tunnel beneath the English Channel
And why the sudden and frequent attacks on Europe?
The West’s politics of ‘double standards’ have led to terrorist attacks.
Europe and America are to blame for the crisis in the Middle East.
There was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq until the US and Britain invaded.
And the US has certainly exploited the existence of ISIS against other forces in the region as part of a wider drive to maintain Western control.
The calculus changed when ISIS started beheading Westerners and posting atrocities online.
But this US and Western habit of playing with Jihadi groups, which then came back to bite them, goes back at least to the 1980s war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, which fostered the original al-Qaeda under CIA tutelage.
It was recalibrated during the occupation of Iraq, when US forces sponsored an El Salvador-style dirty war of sectarian death squads to weaken the Iraq resistance.
And it was reprised in 2011 in the NATO-orchestrated war in Libya.
Since the turn of the year, over
100 000 people have fled from the destructive Syrian civil war that has seen the country torn between the regime of Bashar al-Assad and armed militia, including the new proponent of Islamic radicalism; the ISIS.
Although the West have stopped short of armed intervention in the civil war, the United States and Britain have consistently bolstered the Syrian opposition by supplying intelligence, training and ammunition to groups fighting against the government.
This has only helped to exacerbate the severity of the conflict and further tarnish the lives of civilians in Syria.
The highest number of migrants that has travelled to Europe are from Syria.
Per capita, Belgium has the highest number of foreign fighters in Syria of any Western European nation.
Experts say nearly 500 men and women have left Belgium for Syria and Iraq since 2012.
At the same time, more than 100 Belgians have returned home from ISIS territory, many facing immediate arrest.
It is also believed 80 percent of those who left Brussels to fight in Iraq and Syria are children or grandchildren of ‘Moroccan immigrants’.
The fact that even after three generations they are still called Moroccans further creates division and creates a racist gap.
Afghans also constitute a significant number of migrants arriving in Europe, largely due to the fallout from the US and NATO-led War in Afghanistan.
Like in Syria and Afghanistan, recent Western involvement in Libya and Iraq has increased the number of refugees entering Europe.
Europe has also escalated the humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Libya and have played a decisive role in worsening the living conditions of civilians.
In Iraq alone, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that roughly 5,2 million people now need humanitarian assistance, including food, shelter, clean water, sanitation services and education support.
Thus it is not by coincidence that attacks on Europe have accelerated in the past years.
And it seems they would not stop anytime soon.
Europe used to be one of the safest continents in the world.
Since last year, Europe has been rocked by frequent terrorist attacks that have killed more than 500 people.
In addition at least 650 people have been killed in ISIS attacks on sites popular with Westerners, including in Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, according to a New York Times analysis.
Divisions are rife within the European Union (EU) over terrorist attacks and thousands of migrants and refugees coming into Europe from war-torn countries such as Syria.
It is on the verge of collapse.
To make matters worse, Britons will in June this year vote on whether to continue being in the EU or to pull out citing immigration and security issues as the cause for exit.
EU head of parliament last month predicted that EU will not last.
However, it remains to be seen if the Union will stand the test of time.


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