News Release

From Brussels: Blowback and Internal Divisions


brussels-attack-suspects-300x168GILBERT DOCTOROW, [in Brussels] gdoctorow at
Doctorow is a U.S. citizen who has been based in Brussels for decades. He is a journalist and European coordinator of the American Committee for East West Accord. He regularly contributes to Russia Insider and His latest book is Does Russia Have a Future?

He recently wrote, “Why Belgium? The Ugly Truth Behind the Brussels Bombings,” which states: “The alienation of the Molenbeek Muslim population has to be examined in depth. But one can safely assume that it has roots in two factors, one of which was named by the Brookings Institute experts: high youth unemployment. The other is blowback for Belgium’s participation in every NATO and Western military expedition in the Middle East and North Africa (Libya) since the start of the new millennium. …”

Doctorow also highlights the importance of understanding the linguistic and other divisions in Belgium and distinctions among how different Muslim populations are viewed. He writes: “In point of fact, the Sunni Muslim residents in France have been predominantly Algerian, whose feelings towards their French neighbors carry collective memory of colonization and of a long and bitter war of liberation that led to independence. Algerians are viewed in Belgium as aggressive, potentially violent and spongers on the French welfare state. Sunni Muslims living in Belgium have been Moroccans in the majority. …

“The mutual recriminations among Belgian politicians over the alleged laxness and incompetence at the federal ministerial level that allowed the murderous bombings of the 22nd to take place began with the acknowledgement by the two most exposed officials, Minister of Justice Koen Geens and Deputy Prime Minister holding the portfolio of Internal Affairs and Security Jan Jambon, that cues may have been missed. They offered to resign but this was refused by Prime Minister Charles Michel, who invoked the need for his team to stick together in the midst of the crisis. However, the rest of the political establishment was not so forgiving. Both ministers are politically on the Right and came to office as defenders of law and order. Thus, they were fair game for the Socialist opposition. Moreover, both are Flemish, and one, Jambon, is a leading figure in the Flemish separatist or independence party, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA).”

Doctorow referred to Jambon as “a somewhat odious personality in the view of the Francophone parliamentarians due not only to his aspiration for tearing the country apart but also for his scandalous expressions of sympathy for war-time collaboration with Nazi Germany…”