For how long will terror and economic stagnation be clouding the European skies?

Jean-Claude Juncker President of the European Commission and Charles Michel, Belgian Prime Minister, on the right. Juncker participated at the minute of silence held at the Belgian Parliament for the victims of the attacks in Brussels. Date: 24/03/2016. © European Union, 2016 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: François Walschaerts.

Jean-Claude Juncker President of the European Commission and Charles Michel, Belgian Prime Minister, on the right. Juncker participated at the minute of silence held at the Belgian Parliament for the victims of the attacks in Brussels. Date: 24/03/2016. © European Union, 2016 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: François Walschaerts.

Some days ago the European statistical service, Eurostat confirmed that the inflation rate in the euro area for February was well into the negative part of the chart at -0.2%. This is an infallible sign that Eurozone remains in the stagnation or even the recession region of the economic cycle for a sixth year in a row.

Undeniably, this economic misery has hit much harder the most deprived parts of society and has jostled entire neighborhoods of our urban conglomerates to the poverty region. Social exclusion, disenchantment and revolt is now the order of the day in certain parts of the Old Continent. Not to forget that based on Eurostat data, this newspaper has estimated the real unemployment to be around double the official approximation. Imagine now that, if the EU official unemployment rate remains in the double-digit area, what the real circumstances are in places like Molenbeek.

Why Belgium?

Let’s now change field and focus on the doings of the Brussels terrorists, who apart from themselves, killed last week 31 innocent people and brought an entire country, Belgium to a standstill, hurling the whole Old Continent into a thorny position. At least some of them had a penal record and one was convicted to ten years in jail for armed robbery. This fact relates the terrorists very closely to the decaying urban neighborhoods mentioned above, the worst hit victims of economic stagnation.

As for their operational capabilities, the simple truth is that they are much less than the 8 o’clock news wants us to believe. Their alleged close ties with  ISIS, are limited to their personal allegiance to this murderous organization, which is an authentic offspring of the Middle East chaos. ISIS wouldn’t be able to reach Europe if it wasn’t for people like the Brussels terrorists.

Home grown terrorism

Only born and raised Europeans like the Brussels and Paris bombers can attack their motherland. In reality, their relations with their countries, in which they or even their fathers were born, are actually an issue for the psychiatrists. Their self-destructive attitude and actions are not just a religious issue. The European stagnation and the destruction of the Middle East have played a crucial role too.

It’s not just Islam

As it turns out, it’s mainly neighborhood lads who during the last few years ‘discovered’ Islam as the last resort on which they could gain a personal vindication and find an important reason for their existence. For them the peaceful version of Islam doesn’t do, it has to be the explosive kind.

That’ why ISIS is their spiritual master. Al-Qaeda was quite a different conception. This last terrorist organization was rather an offspring of the Saudi Arabia’s Salafism and the boredom of the golden boys of oil rich country, which is not actually a country-nation but rather a bunch of desert clans. Osama bin Laden was a curious creation of the US and Arabic secret services.

Why did ISIS thrive?

ISIS is quite different. It was born out of the destruction of a number of Middle East state structures. In the heart of it lies a group of dignitaries, mainly military, of the Saddam Hussein regime. It was obvious to them that they could survive the destruction of Iraq only on a solid Sunni religious foundation, a ticket they had already exploited while in power, in order to suppress the Shia and otherwise internal opposition in Iraq.

ISIS then thrived in the vacuum left after the complete demolition of the once well structured Arab countries, which were created in the 1960s and 1970s on the basis of an Arab brand of Socialism of the Nasserite kind. However, only Egypt is in reality a nation-country. That’s why it survived the testing perturbations of the ‘Arab Spring’ and the foreign incursion. Iraq, Syria, Libya and of course Afghanistan and a number of African countries are creations on the map by the victors of the first and second world wars, but not Egypt.

The Belgian police

Coming back to today’s developments, the Belgian police found that the Brussels bombers had produced their deadly fabrication in an under renovation apartment, using materials that can be found at any hardware store or pharmacy. A local Brussels town hall official said that, “Even if someone had stopped them, they could have explained that the materials they carried were for the renovation.”

The Brussels perpetrators were a local bunch of radicalized violent youths. Probably only one of them had been trained in that kind of bomb making in the Middle East, a not at all difficult process to learn though. ISIS is thought to produce these explosives on a large-scale. The Palestinians call it ‘mother of Satan’ for its volatility and its easiness to be detonated. Then just add nails and bolts. This is all the operational and combat experience the Brussels bombers had.

The stagnating economy

Now turning back to the stagnating European economy, it’s very probable that most of those self-made terrorists couldn’t easily find a decent job and start a family. As most of the European Moslem, Christian or of whatever conviction – if any – lower socioeconomic strata of people have problems with. For this kind of youths to get a job is a rather impossible task, let alone if one is born in Molenbeek. Then comes the rhetoric and the – until recently – successes of the ISIS murderers in setting up a ‘Caliphate’. The appeal then looks natural for the unemployed and radicalized Moslem youths of Molenbeek and of similar neighborhoods in Belgium, France and elsewhere in Europe.

Visibly then, the role of ISIS in the European version of terrorism is more of an inspirational character, than of material support. A much greater causality should be attributed to the precarious social and economic environment, that reigns in large districts of many European urban conglomerates, having turned those youths – who have nothing of value than their lives – to hooligans and then to gangsters and terrorists.

The menace will continue

The menacing conclusion is however, that the simple technique and the availability of raw materials to produce this kind of powerful bomb may tempt more similar groups to undertake terrorist action. Add to that the fact that the economic prospects are bleak and offer no easy alternatives to stray youths, and the terrorism predicament of Europe will not be easily countered.

As for the full extermination of ISIS, it doesn’t seem a matter of months, or even years, God forbid. Let alone that the massive immigration flows facilitate the movements to and from the Middle East for accomplished terrorists or terrorists to be.

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