Thomas Joscelyn | ISIS Overwhelming Europe’s Counterterrorism Forces

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via The Weekly Standard:


ISIS Overwhelming Europe’s Counterterrorism Forces

by Thomas Joscelyn | March 22, 2016

The Amaq News Agency, a propaganda arm of the Islamic State (or ISIS), has claimed responsibility for today’s attacks in Brussels. The claim is hardly surprising: The Islamic State has had Belgium in its crosshairs since at least 2014.

Belgian and European authorities knew this day was coming and they couldn’t stop it. Beyond the loss of life, that is the most troubling aspect of today’s bombings.

Europe’s counterterrorism defenses have cracked because there are simply too many threats to track. An unnamed Belgian counterterrorism official made a similar point during a recent interview with BuzzFeed News. Citing this official, BuzzFeed reported that “virtually every police detective and military intelligence officer in [Belgium] was focused on international jihadi investigations.”

“We just don’t have the people to watch anything else and, frankly, we don’t have the infrastructure to properly investigate or monitor hundreds of individuals suspected of terror links, as well as pursue the hundreds of open files and investigations we have,” this same official told BuzzFeed.

As a result, we have reached a point where known terrorists are slipping through the West’s defenses. And jihadist networks targeted by counterterrorism officials are still able to carry out attacks even though, in many cases, their members are being hunted.

Belgian authorities certainly knew there was an ongoing threat to their citizens’ security. They have repeatedly launched counterterrorism raids for the better part of the last two years. Last week, Belgian officials arrested Salah Abdelslam, an Islamic State operative who is accused of helping Abaaoud and the other Paris attackers. Abdelslam was perhaps the most wanted man in Europe, yet he managed to live for several months undetected in a Brussels neighborhood.

The jihadists said they were going to attack Belgium. Belgian authorities tried to stop them. But the jihadists succeeded anyway. (Read More)


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