Brussels Closed Second Day; Spain and UK Consider Joining Fight Against ISIS; Creating Enemies When None Exist
Belgium Terrorist Manhunt Continues
Following Saturday's imminent attack alert in which Belgium shops were closed and sporting events cancelled, Brussels Remains on Terror Shutdown
Brussels remained in lockdown for a second day on Sunday as Paris sought to spearhead an international response to retaliate against Isis in the wake of the attacks that killed 130 in the French capital.
Belgium raised its terror alert in Brussels to the maximum on Saturday, cancelling major sports events and concerts. Many big shops, museums and restaurants were also closed, after Charles Michel, prime minister, said there was an imminent risk that a group of jihadis was preparing simultaneous attacks with guns and explosives.
Public fears centre on Mr Abdeslam, who was driven back to Brussels immediately after the Paris attacks.
Some of Mr Abdeslam's friends, who had spoken to him via phone since then, told the US broadcaster ABC that he felt trapped between French and Belgian authorities on one side and Islamic State, known as Isis, on the other, which was angry that he had not detonated his belt in the Paris attack.
Koen Geens, the justice minister, said that the hunt for suspects was continuing, and stressed that he knew the identities of at least some of the jihadis being sought. He said that Belgium would re-evaluate the risks on Sunday afternoon, but added that the metro was likely to resume services on Monday.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, French defence minister, on Sunday saluted signs that France was no longer isolated in Europe in the fight against Islamist terrorism.
Spain is considering sending troops to Africa to relieve French soldiers deployed to contain the threat of jihadis in Mali and across the Sahel desert, Mr Le Drian said. "Some are considering to bomb Daesh (Isis), I know the UK is, but there are others. Some are willing to provide logistical support, in the form of a tactical carrier aircraft or a helicopter." Belgium and the UK have deployed a military ship in the eastern Mediterranean, he added.
Le Drian also pointed that Russia had shifted position in Syria, following the bombing by Isis of a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai. "They are bombing Raqqa," he said.
He acknowledged however that troops on the ground would have to be sent to eradicate Isis. "A victory, the destruction of Isis requires troops on the ground," he said. "Not necessarily French."
UN Passes Resolution on ISIS
Last Friday the UN Passed Resolution Urging Action Against Isis.
The UN unanimously approved a resolution on Friday calling on governments to "take all necessary measures" in the fight against the Islamist militants of Isis.
Introduced by France, the Security Council resolution was an attempt to show international unity in the wake of the Paris attacks that killed 130 people and the Mali hotel attack, which took place only hours before the vote.
The vote on Friday represents a rare moment of international unity over Syria at the UN following several years of divisions that have often pitted western countries against Russia. Earlier in the week, the Russians introduced their own counter-terrorism resolution that had a broader focus than Isis and implied international co-operation with the Assad regime in Syria, however it was not taken up for consideration.
The resolution calls on UN members to "take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law" against Isis and called for the eradication of "safe havens" in Syria and Iraq. As well as Isis, it also includes Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
It does not invoke Article 7 of the UN Charter, which provides an international legal underpinning for outside military intervention.
However, the main powers on the Security Council remain divided on one of the central issues of how to bring about an end to the Syrian conflict and the long-term role of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad.
Assad Is No Threat
Given Assad is no credible threat to the US, it is absurd the US wants to make the overthrow of Assad part of the package.
Mindless meddling, inane overthrows of state leaders like Saddam Hussein, and nation building, created this mess.
Cameron Seeks Parliament Support for Attacks on ISIS
David Cameron is hoping to win House of Commons approval for RAF air strikes against Isis targets in Syria next month, amid signs that dozens of Labour MPs could defy party leader Jeremy Corbyn and vote for military action.
The UK prime minister will on Thursday give a detailed statement on the case for British attacks on the terrorist group in Syria, as part of a wider diplomatic and humanitarian settlement in the country.
Meanwhile Mr Corbyn, who is opposed to military action, is under mounting pressure to let Labour MPs have a free vote on the issue, reflecting a deep split in the party.
The prime minister's team is now increasingly confident that a sufficient number of Labour MPs will back military intervention in Syria to secure a Commons victory in a vote that could come before Christmas.
Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne are haunted by their failure to win Commons support for military intervention in Syria in 2013, although at that time the government wanted to target the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Reflections on Assad
Had Assad been overthrown, it's likely ISIS would now be in control of the entire country.
Mindless meddling, the CIA's hopeless training programs, and the sending of US weapons to the region all strengthened ISIS' hand.
"The experience of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya has convinced many of our own people that the elite's enthusiasm for endless military interventions has only multiplied the threats to us -- while leaving death and destabilisation in their wake," said Corbyn.
Assad was never a threat. ISIS is. Ironically, ISIS is a US/UK creation that is a direct result of US/UK actions against non-threats.
We blew up Iraq for no reason, killed or wounded hundreds of thousands of innocent people in the process, destroyed the country's infrastructure, and ignited a religious civil war, in a country that had religious freedoms.
In the process, US/UK actions created millions of extremely upset citizens. An incalculable number of those Iraqis became radicalized terrorists.
Haunted by "Action"
The Financial Times' comment "Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne are haunted by their failure to win Commons support for military intervention in Syria in 2013," is preposterous.
The UK is haunted by action, not inaction.
Tony Blair's "action" of joining president Bush in the militarily and socially stupid overthrow of Hussein directly led to the creation of ISIS.
With perpetual warmongering the clear goal, the US and UK fabricated an enemy
where none really existed.
Tony Blair has admitted mistakes (see Tony Blair Apologizes for Creation of ISIS) but obviously no lessons were learned.