Terror attacks in Brussels

J’ai été interviewé par Anton Bespalov pour le compte du “Club Valdaï” au sujet des attentats de Bruxelles. L’interview à été publié sur le site de Valdaï dans une forme “courte” à l’adresse suivante: http://valdaiclub.com/news/compromise-with-radical-islamists/

On trouvera ici l’interview complète.

 

Anton Bespalov : Was the Belgian government prepared for an attack like this?

It seems that if the Belgian government was aware of a possible terrorist attack following the arrest of Abdelslam in Brussels, it grossly underestimated the actual risk. The Belgian government policy looks like a curious mix between overestimating the threat (when it “closed down” Brussels for several days in November after the terrorist attack in Paris) and underestimating it. Quite clearly, with the arrest of one of the Paris commando in Brussels, it would have been prepared to such an attack. The fact that the EU main administration is situated in Brussels, and NATO to would have implied a serious assessment of the threat. But, actually the Belgian government seems to have seriously underestimated the threat. The fact this government is still the result of complicated horse-trading between various political parties, and between “French-speaking” and “Flemmish-speaking” groups seems to have played a deleterious effect on its resolve to face the terrorist threat. The weakness of the Belgian Government, weakness resulting in this oscillation between underestimation and overestimation of the terrorist threat, refers to the weakness of the Belgian state. There are now many people who are saying that Belgium is no more a country but a kind of a loose federation. It is not impossible that this fact has played a hand into the underestimation of he terrorist threat.

 

AB: Do you expect any crackdown on radical Islamic clerics in Belgium and beyond?

A crackdown on Islam “hate-preachers” would be a logical thing. But I don’t think it will really happen. Belgian political class is in a logic of compromise with radical Islamists. Even when these political activists are a tiny minority, the political class does not seem ready to face them politically. She prefers to make compromises. Yet these Islamists groups absolutely not represent a significant proportion of the Muslim population. They are actually quite isolated. But, the « culture of compromise » which is obvious in the way Belgian politicians are managing the “Islamist” issue reflects a deeper fact: the Belgian political class is no longer aware of what would constitute a « country. » She prefers to get lost in the delights of the European Union rather than confront difficult questions about what constitutes a real Belgian nation. It is therefore interesting perspective to compare France and Belgium. The fact that France is still a Nation, even if this Nation is weakened, largely explains the difference in reactions to attacks. So we should not underestimate the historical depth in the reactions of France and Belgium against these terrorist attacks.

 

AB: In what ways can the rise in violence be related to the refugee crisis?

These terrorist attacks are in no way related to the refugee issue. It is clear that terrorist cells were and are largely the product of a radicalization that is unique to French and Belgian societies. In a sense this radicalization tells us more about France and Belgium than on Islam. What is essential is the loss of bearings, particularly of benchmarks of what constitutes a nation. From this point of view, the radicalization teaches us more about the process of disintegration of states engendered by the mechanisms of the European Union. The fact that some of the terrorists were able to come back to Europe from the Middle-east and Syria taking advantage of the disorder created by refugee movements do not implies a causal link between the refugee issue and the issue of terrorism. But, the question of acceptance of refugees is now determined by the reaction of various countries deal with these terrorist attacks. It is obvious that these attacks provoke a backlash on the refugee issue.

 


Jacques Sapir

Ses travaux de chercheur se sont orientés dans trois dimensions, l’étude de l’économie russe et de la transition, l’analyse des crises financières et des recherches théoriques sur les institutions économiques et les interactions entre les comportements individuels. Il a poursuivi ses recherches à partir de 2000 sur les interactions entre les régimes de change, la structuration des systèmes financiers et les instabilités macroéconomiques. Depuis 2007 il s'est impliqué dans l’analyse de la crise financière actuelle, et en particulier dans la crise de la zone Euro.

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