Managing the Migrant Crisis
How Europe Pushes Migrants Onto Boats
The Return of No-Man’s Land
Europe's Asylum Crisis and Historical Memory
A Self-Interested Approach to Migration Crises
Push Factors, Pull Factors, and Investing In Refugees
The Elephant in the Room
Islam and the Crisis of Liberal Values in Europe
Jordan's Refugee Experiment
A New Model for Helping the Displaced
France on Fire
The Charlie Hebdo Attack and the Future of al Qaeda
Laïcité Without Égalité
Can France Be Multicultural?
Europe's Dangerous Multiculturalism
Why the Continent Fails Minority Groups
ISIS' Next Target
Terrorism After Brussels
The French Connection
Explaining Sunni Militancy Around the World
The French Disconnection
Francophone Countries and Radicalization
The Myth of Lone-Wolf Terrorism
The Attacks in Europe and Digital Extremism
Keeping Europe Safe
Counterterrorism for the Continent
The Continent's Leader Needs Intelligence Reform
British Counterterrorism Policy After Westminster
London Can Do More to Prevent Radicalization
Europe’s Populist Surge
A Long Time in the Making
Merkel's Last Stand
Letter from Berlin
There Is No Alternative
Why Germany’s Right-Wing Populists Are Losing Steam
The Schulz Effect Faces Its First Test
Will Reviving Germany's Social Democrats Be Enough to Unseat Merkel?
The Future of Dutch Democracy
What the Election Revealed About the Establishment—and Its Challengers
The Right Way to Leave the EU
Pulling the Trigger on Brexit
And Passing the Point of No Return
Theresa May's Gamble
Why Britain's Snap Election Will Do Little to Ease Brexit
France’s Next Revolution?
A Conversation With Marine Le Pen
Europe in Russia's Digital Cross Hairs
What’s Next for France and Germany—and How to Deal With It
Why French Voters Rejected Le Pen
Austria's Populist Puzzle
Why One of Europe's Most Stable States Hosts a Thriving Radical Right
Europe's Hungary Problem
Viktor Orban Flouts the Union
Europe's Autocracy Problem
Polish Democracy's Final Days?
The recent attacks in Brussels show that terrorists’ ability to strike at the heart of Europe remains apparently undiminished. Early reports suggest a death toll of around 31, with more than 100 injured. The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Belgium may seem an unlikely hub of jihadism, but despite being a small and peaceful nation, Belgian connections to militancy are long established. In the 1990s, bullets and guns made their way from local jihadi crooks in Brussels to the Groupe Islamique Armé, Algerian terrorists aiming to establish an Islamic state in Algeria. Throughout that decade, a smattering of Belgian residents headed off to fight in various foreign conflicts, including the one in Chechnya.
After 9/11, a major terrorism trial in Belgium led to the convictions of over 20 Islamists. Those jailed included Nizar Trabelsi, a former professional soccer player who had joined al Qaeda and planned to commit a suicide attack against a NATO air base. It also included Tarek Maaroufi, who was linked to the assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Afghan military leader whose death served as al Qaeda’s warm-up act two days before its main event.
More recently, as the war in Syria metastasized, Belgians were drawn there in significant numbers. Of the 5,000-6,000 Europeans who fought in Syria, up to 553 are believed to be Belgian. That makes the country the home of the highest number of foreign fighters in Syria, per capita, of any Western European country. Small wonder that even the country’s justice minister admits that his country has “a foreign fighters problem.” Some of those who arranged for the travel of these fighters to Syria were convicted of terrorism in a Belgian court in February 2015.
By most estimates, over 100 Belgians have now returned from the conflict. Although that is concerning enough, it must also be placed in the context of a broader issue. The Schengen Agreement allows for virtually unhindered freedom of movement throughout much of Europe, something that jihadists have taken advantage
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