Carnage in Brussels: Isn’t It Time to Ask Tough Questions?

By Shahzad Masood Roomi

Multiple explosions have rattled Brussels airport and the metro station leaving more than 20 dead.

Two blasts tore through the departure area of Zaventem airport shortly after 08:00 local time (07:00 GMT).

An hour later, an explosion hit Maalbeek metro station, close to the EU institutions. The airport and whole metro system have been closed.

The attacks come four days after Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the Paris attacks, was captured in Brussels.

Belgium has now raised its terror threat to its highest level.


Today’s unfortunate bombing incident in Belgium is yet another reminder that the world will have to think about the issue of terrorism in an entirely different way.

Root causes of such incidents will have to be worked out. After Paris bombing in November last year, it was ensured that measures were being taken to eliminate such threats from EU but today’s attack proves that these measures haven’t work after all.

An even more unfortunate aspect of this bombing is that now the migrants from Syria and other war torn parts of Middle East would be facing more troubles. Any strict action by Belgium government would marginalize and radicalize young Arab migrants and this is exactly what terrorists group who carried out this heinous attack would want to happen so that they can get new recruits for their future attacks around the world.

What the world today requires is a globally acceptable legal framework against terrorism which must be based on the shared values of humanity and peace above every prejudice or bias but in order to do that, Middle East would have to be stabilized politically and socially. This is where the biggest concern and possibility of our collective failure stems from. In Syria and Iraq, Violent Non-State Actors (VNSAs) are not waging wars against local regimes to further their own agenda only; there are many groups which are fighting proxy wars on behalf of their sponsors. In this backdrop, it seems that incidents like Britain 7/7 bombing, Paris bombing, San Brenadino shooting and Brussels bombing would continue. Every nation state is fighting this menace in its own way and there is no collective effort, and this is the weakness in the system these terrorists are exploiting. Sooner the world leaders initiate a debate to define terrorism, the better it would be for global peace.

Policing or intelligence would reduce the threat level but these are no long term solutions. These attacks after the arrest of Paris suspect Saleh Abdullah is yet another proof of the fact that same or some other group has carried out the attack. If tomorrow, police crack that group, day after tomorrow another will replace it. The solution lies in denying the terrorists the ability to recruit new cadres. World needs cognitive appeal to those who can become next terrorists. But for that, a comprehensive narrative is required which can only be possible if the use of terrorism and NSVAs for political purposes stops. And this is something not going to happen in foreseeable future. Consequently, the world would remain shackled in a vicious cycle. Brussels bombing is another sad incident indeed but it is yet another opening for a debate to define the term terrorism, to examine its uses as doctrine of warfare and to study its impact on societies around the world regardless of their geography, culture or creed.