Wednesday 28 June 2017

Corrupt and fragmented Belgium a breeding ground for extremism

Soldiers and police officers patrol outside Maelbeek metro station. Photo: Getty
Soldiers and police officers patrol outside Maelbeek metro station. Photo: Getty

Tim King

The explosions in Brussels are sickening and shocking, even if we residents sensed that they were coming.

In the wake of November’s attacks in Paris, it seemed that the whole world discovered that Belgium was a breeding ground for radical jihadism. The security lockdown in Brussels that famously followed those attacks was not just an admission of the links between the perpetrators of the Bataclan and Stade de France massacres and Belgium. It was also a public declaration that Brussels was a target – and that the city’s luck could not hold forever.

Brussels had, until now, escaped lightly, by the crude arithmetic of death-counts. Four people were shot dead at the Jewish museum in Brussels in May 2014, but the incident faded quickly from the public memory, partly because the alleged perpetrator was picked up very shortly afterwards in Marseille.

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