This morning, explosions rocked the airport in Brussels. Shortly thereafter, “at least 20 people were killed and 55 injured, some critically, when a blast hit a Metro station just 400 metres from the EU headquarters in the city centre.” Minutes later, “there were reports of a firefight between police and the attackers who shouted in Arabic moments before detonating their bombs.”
Brussels is just under 200 miles from Paris. Brussels and London are approximately 250 miles apart. Amsterdam is just 130 miles from where the terrorist attacks happened. Authorities have confirmed that an “unexploded suicide vest was later found in the rubble and a Kalashnikov rifle beside the body of a dead terrorist.”
The frightening thing about these terrorist attack is that authorities think there are more attacks planned. Various cities in western Europe are preparing for additional attacks. Additionally, the border between Belgium and France was closed, Eurostar services were delayed and Belgium already on high alert after the capture of 26-year-old Salah Abdeslam in Brussels on Friday. Abdeslam is thought to have been part of the terrorist attacks on Paris last fall. French officials hoped to extradite him so he could stand trial for his participation in ISIS’ attacks on Paris.
Though these attacks didn’t happen on US soil or were attacks against US interests abroad, the Obama administration bears some responsibility for the upswing in violence over the last year. It’s clear that President Obama’s reluctance to robustly attack ISIS while they were still developing their international terrorist capabilities contributed to the attacks in Brussels, Paris and San Bernardino.
There’s no question that western Europe, north Africa and the United States are less safe now than they were 4 or 8 years ago. Whether a more aggressive bombing campaign would have degraded ISIS enough to have prevent some of these terrorist attacks isn’t knowable yet. What is knowable, though, is that President Obama’s reluctance to wage war emboldened ISIS.
It’s knowable because terrorists fill the voids when the American president doesn’t lead. They’ve repeatedly done that, whether in Iraq, Syria, Libya or Yemen. When the US hesitates to take decisive action, terrorists attack.
Armed police have been deployed to airports, train stations, ports and border crossings around the world in the immediate aftermath of today’s suspected suicide. From New York to Moscow, security measures were stepped up at transport hubs across the globe with police and military personnel carrying out extra high-visibility patrols and additional checks.
London mayor Boris Johnson said there would be an increased security presence at transport hubs in the city, while the country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer Mark Rowley said police forces across the UK had increased their presence at key locations as a precaution in the wake of the Brussels attacks. And in the US, the NYPD said it would be increasing security measures at mass transit points, bridges and tunnels, and other landmarks following today’s attacks.
Police and soldiers carrying guns were also seen at airports in the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy, while in France, still shaken from the November attacks in Paris, officers remained on high alert.
In 2013, President Obama said that “the threat has shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11.” President Obama underestimated the threat posed by terrorists with global reach:
After launching costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is tiring of conflict and while combating terrorism is still a high priority for the White House, polls show by large margins that Americans’ main concerns are the economy and healthcare.
Whether the American people were “tiring of conflict” or not, terrorists clearly haven’t tired of killing infidels, whether they live in Brussels, Paris or the United States. President Obama clearly thought that he could declare peace.
This morning, ISIS reminded him again that they aren’t going away anytime soon.