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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Experts analyze ISIS terror attack in Brussels

More than 30 people are dead and 230 injured after a series of ISIS terror attacks Tuesday morning. The attacks consisted of a series of explosions in Belgium at the Brussels International Airport and a subway station near the European Union headquarters. 
More than a dozen people were killed and at least 100 were injured following two explosions at the Brussels airport during the local-time morning rush hour. The next explosion occurred at the Belgium Metro station which left 20 confirmed dead and at least 130 others injured moments later. 
The Islamic State, commonly referred to as ISIS, has claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to the ISIS’ terror news group “Amaq News Agency.” Some experts are saying the attacks are a direct response to the arrest of suspected ISIS operative Salah Abdeslam, who was detained Friday as a suspect in the November terrorist attacks in Paris.
Andrew S. Natsios, an executive professor of international affairs at The Bush School of Government Public Service and the director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, said he believes these attacks were related to the arrest of Abdeslam. He said it would seem that ISIS is able to plan these attacks at will, which is both remarkable and disturbing.
“Europe has a huge problem that they are only now coming to grips with,” Natsios said. “The larger problem is that they have not integrated their Muslim population into their society, they are completely separate from it.”
Natsios said Belgium was most likely targeted for two reasons.
“Belgium has the least developed police infrastructure for monitoring terror activity in Europe, and it is the capital of Europe  — in a regional sense. That’s why they chose it,” Natsios said.
James Olson, senior lecturer of international affairs at The Bush School and former chief of intelligence for the CIA, said ISIS utilized the strong infrastructure it has in Belgium to organize the attack. 
“I think there is no question that they have several different attacks at various stages of preparation,” Olson said. “[ISIS] has such a strong infrastructure in Belgium already that it did not take them long to get an attack off the shelf and activate it.”
For attacks like these to end, America needs to get more involved in fighting ISIS, said Olson. He said ISIS is establishing itself throughout the world and is working to infiltrate and gain followers in every country, including in the United States. 
“Many young Americans are being seduced by ISIS, and they have very effective websites,” Olson said. “Many Americans are going to Syria, Yemen and Iraq and being trained as terrorists and then dispatched back to the United States.”
Danny Davis, senior lecturer of public service and administration and director of the graduate certificate in Homeland Security Program, said this attack comes down to religious differences. 
“The ideology and religious belief that these people hold is what is behind these attacks,” Davis said. “It does not matter whether the attack is in San Bernardino, Paris or now Brussels. What matters is the motivation behind these attacks.”
Davis said the problem ISIS presents will be a long term one. 
Individuals from around the world who follow ISIS’ beliefs become more motivated when the group continually carries out successful terrorist attacks, said Davis.
“It has to start with defeating the Islamic State or we will continue cleaning up small cells and individuals who want to do us harm,” Davis said. “It is going to take a bigger role of the U.S. military to defeat the Islamic State.”
Leaders from around Europe have promised to stand behind Belgium. President of France, Francois Hollande said that although Belgium was attacked, this was an attack to send a message to all of Europe.
“Terrorism has struck Belgium, but it was Europe that was targeted and everyone who is affected,” Hollande said.

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