Anti-terrorism operation in Brussels
A suspect was apparently killed in the latest anti-terrorism operation in Brussels on Tuesday. The raid was connected with the attacks in Paris last November. In politically divided Belgium Brussels is likely to have difficulty casting off its image as a hub of terrorism, commentators predict.
Divided Belgium powerless against terrorism
Belgium's counter-terrorism mechanisms are far too weak as a result of the divisions in the country, the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore observes:
“The Belgian intelligence services don't have the same clout as their European partners. On the contrary, there are not many EU countries whose intelligence services have as few resources and employees as Belgium's. The political and language barriers pose a major hurdle. Belgium suffers from a kind of language apartheid that separates the Flemish section of its population from the Walloon. These are two different worlds. And this has led to a series of complications at the government level, because the Flanders, Walloon, and Brussels-Capital regions as well as the French, German and Flemish language communities each have their own political representatives. … Amidst this chaos it's difficult to guarantee security and take concerted action.”
Brussels needs to shed reputation as hotbed of terrorism
Too little is still being done to counter Brussels’ image as a hotbed of terrorism, the left-liberal daily De Morgen writes:
“Once again the media will be reeling off the film about Brussels’ unenviable role as the hub of Islamic terrorism in Europe. ... It is to be feared that Brussels will be the focus of campaigns against suspected terrorists in the future too. ... The security services urgently need more information about jihadism, and at the same time young migrants must finally be convinced that they are not marginalised in this country. In addition, the democratic forces in the Muslim community need to be strengthened to provide an alternative to radicalism. In other words: we need to concentrate on repression and prevention simultaneously.”