Revenge strike? Evidence of a new cell and incompetent security services? A sign that the network of Salah Abdeslam, the man behind last year’s Paris attacks (arrested in Brussels on Friday after a failed joint counterterrorism operation with French police), is still active?
Three explosions erupted in Brussels. Both the airport and Maelbeek metro station were attacked, the latter during rush hour (up to 21 are reported dead). This attack proves that the threat of terrorist attacks do not disappear when a single figure within a terrorist organization is arrested. When Salah Abdeslam was captured, authorities said he was “worth his weight in gold.” His capture last week was considered a major blow to ISIS’s capabilities in Europe. Now he looks less significant.
This just proves how difficult the ongoing battle against contemporary terrorist threats is becoming. One week, the counterterrorism guys get one up and say they have dealt a major blow. The next, they look completely incapable of doing anything to counter the threat of terror attacks on their own soil. For the terrorists, their aim is to show they can still operate without their master (Salah), continuing to effectively pull off complex terror attacks despite the loss to their organization. This is not so much about revenge, but rather a simple demonstration of their continued capability, downplaying the effectiveness of the services trying to stop them. The battle is as much about propaganda battle.