Brussels bombings: What do the terrorists want?

Drawing by Dmitry Divin

Drawing by Dmitry Divin

The timing of the bombings that rocked the Belgian capital in the morning of March 22 was no coincidence – the terrorists are sending a clear message to the world following the arrest of the last of the organizers of the Paris attacks of November 2015.

By setting up explosions in the Brussels metro and airport, the Islamist terrorist underground is sending multiple signals to the global community.

Signal One: You will not be able to defeat and decapitate us.

Just at the end of last week, the Belgian secret services carried out a successful operation, arresting the organizer of the terrorist attacks in Paris last November, Salah Abdeslam – the man perceived in Europe as a symbol of a new wave of terror.

It seemed that the jihadist underground had been neutralized for a while, and would not be able to recover from such a strike at once. Alas, it only seemed so. The attack was defiantly organized in Brussels. It means that the eliminated cell was not the only one. There are others. Therefore, there will be more attacks.

Signal Two: The terrorists want to show the people of Europe that all the security measures taken by the authorities are ineffective, that the jihadis are stronger, that they retain the initiative and are always at least one step ahead of the security services.

After the operation to arrest Salah Abdeslam in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, it was clear that the country has taken higher, extraordinary security measures. But they did not help. So, nothing and no one will help.

“You can be killed at any moment – at an airport, railway station, cafe, theater or football match. You have entered a war that you cannot win. We will win in any case. Because you are afraid of death, and we are not.” This is the idea that the terrorists want to convey to the Europeans.

Signal Three: The success of the international forces in the fight against Islamic State achieved in Syria and Iraq in recent months does not affect either the appeal of the ideas of global jihad or the fighting capacity of groups operating in Europe. They have enough strength, means, money and determination to continue their struggle.

How should Europe – and the entire civilized world, including Russia – react? The only possible response is to keep living the way you have been living, do not let them break you, continue to fly on airplanes, go to restaurants and football matches. Because the only alternative would be only an unconditional surrender to these medieval fanatics, who will be making more and more demands and still will not stop.

We cannot and will not capitulate. We will be getting used to living in a new world – a world where terrorism is becoming an everyday reality. Not only in hot spots, but everywhere. Even in those countries which, like Belgium, seemed to be a quiet European province, where nothing bad could happen by definition. There are no quiet provinces in the world anymore.

But this is no reason to panic and to stop the fight against the enemy that has declared war on all of us. The enemy is strong, ruthless and unprincipled. But it will still not win this war.

The opinion of the writer may not necessarily reflect the position of RBTH or its staff.

First published in Russian in Kommersant

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