OPINION | Brussels : Systems Failure
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OPINION | Brussels : Systems Failure

By Federica Fanuli
Editor-at-Large, IndraStra Global

Image Attribute: Gathering at the Bourse, in honor of victims of terrorism, Brussels 23 March 2016. Valentina Calà under a Creative Commons License

The "Holy Week" has begun with the terrorist attacks in Brussels. The media folklore that celebrates on-air the pain of the victims and the testimonies of those who have survived, however, has moved away from reality the need to make a decisive political and military position, which implies an effective European cohesion in the field of security and defense.

For several years, DAESH was the group affiliated to al Qaeda operating in Iraq. The rift between the two terrorist organizations comes after a series of confrontations generated by the rivalry between the leaders - al Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda after the death of Bin Laden, and al Baghdadi - and the methods and strategies adopted. ISIS and al Qaeda, both point to the creation of an Islamic State on the model created by the Prophet Mohammed and his successors, the Caliphs, but they differ on the methods used to achieve that objective.

Firstly with Al Qaeda and then with DAESH, the Western powers have tried to monitor and control the operations of these terrorist groups, especially in order to safeguard its national interests. Exporting Democracy jointly with the Arab Spring, although functional to try to eradicate the decade dictatorship, have not favored the rooting of democratic liberalism where the Islamic culture contemplates the merger of religious principles to politics and ignore the universal values ​​of democratic institutions.

On the contrary, on the rubble of the regimes, the instability and the political vacuum of the countries swept by revolutionary movements have accelerated the clash between democratic liberalism and the response to that form of modern imperialism, through which the Western powers have imposed democratic political choices distant traditions, and other faith-based beliefs. An apt summarization would be the clash of cultures that rides through the wave of colonial policies, getting germinated on the seeds of hate.

In the name of Allah, DAESH employs paramilitary guerrilla formations and miniatured cells to carry out attacks and hit airports, theaters, metro and crowded tourist areas. Operations supported by a careful use of the mass media, the internet, tools that facilitate the rapid spread of jihadist propaganda, psychological war to leverages black flags and doomsday scenarios reconstructed on video messages to inspire fear and recruit foreign fighters, the sons of immigrants fled from the usurped lands and welcomed from France or Belgium, perhaps to assuage a sense of guilt that has colonial historical roots.

After Paris, Brussels became the latest victim of suicide attacks, just few days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam. The attack has claimed by the Islamic State and implemented by operating units that have deftly exploited the political instability in Belgium, even called by some scholars "failed state" because of the insolvency of governments.

Now there is a talk about an European intelligence, a network of services linking together the EU Member States to ensure an effective exchange of information and increased readiness for action, so as to assume that the EU should be inspired by the Israeli model. Like the Israelis, it is inevitable that sooner or later we will have to accept the idea of ​​having to learn to live with the daily threat of terrorism, at the cost of giving up part of our freedom and privacy because governments can jointly engage in the protection of our security. A debate that leads to think that terrorism hits Europe at its weakest point, in the absence of that European Defence Community.

During the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, the August 11, 1950, Winston Churchill suggested the creation of a European army. European armed forces would have only one uniform, not be recruited by each states but by the unified Commissioner. The member States would be allowed to have forces only for the defense of the President of State and for the colonies, the police and those intended for civil protection service. The European Commissioner would have been coordinated with the controls and NATO and at the top would have be placed the European Minister of defense. At that time, politicians like De Gasperi and Monnet were pointing to the military unification to reach the goal of the United States of Europe with greater range than every single European State. The approval of the treaty by Germany and the three Benelux countries was rapid, less in Italy because of domestic political problems. The issue was discussed again in April 1954 by Scelba government. France refused to ratify the treaty. Today a European Community of defense that would have guaranteed an effective system of intelligence and security is a missed opportunity, which weakens the European institutions manifestly failing to face the challenges of the new millennium.

About the Author:

Federica Fanuli was graduated with honours in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Salento and she has obtained a Master’s Degree in Political Science, European Studies and International Relations at the same University. Foreign Affairs analyst, she is Editorial Manager of Mediterranean Affairs, a project aiming to provide analyses that cover the Mediterranean area. Columnist of the Sunday Sentinel, she is Editorial Board Member of Cosmopolismedia.it and Editor-at-large of IndraStra Global. She can be reached at her LinkedIn profile. / Thomson Reuters ResearcherID : M-9093-2015