By Andrew Bolt ~
Opinion is split.
There are some who claim that the more Europeans they slaughter, the weaker the Islamic State is.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told us [after the Paris slaughter] IS was “fundamentally weak” with “many more smartphones than guns”.
Waleed Aly, television host and lecturer at Monash University’s Global Terrorism Research Centre, agrees IS is “weak”.
Associate Professor Rodger Shanahan, from the National Security College, assured the ABC of “the inherent weaknesses of Islamic State”. And US President Obama told us IS is “contained”.
This week again, after the slaughter in Brussels:
IS is intent on demonstrating a growing operational reach, but this is because it is hurting in Syria and Iraq, losing 22 per cent of its total territory and 40 per cent of revenues from its peak in 2014.
But others naturally believe that the more Europeans the Islamic State kill, the stronger they probably are.
This week’s attacks in Brussels, coming four days after Belgian police arrested Salah Abdeslam — the sole survivor among (and logistics co-ordinator of) the group that attacked Paris last November — illustrate an ominous evolution in Islamic State’s networks in Europe.Writing just after the terrorism in Paris, in my book Blood Year I noted that rather than a one-off event, the attacks “signalled the existence of a paramilitary underground — a better organised, more capable version of the ISIS internationale … operating in cities within France, Belgium and Germany” and that “early indications suggested that Paris might represent the start of a sustained urban guerilla campaign” in Europe and perhaps elsewhere.
It’s still too early to be certain but evidence increasingly points to exactly that: an enduring campaign by an organised paramilitary group (not simply homegrown or remotely radicalised individuals). Between Abdeslam’s capture last week and the atrocity in Brussels on Tuesday this week, there’s fresh evidence of a larger and more sophisticated Islamic State presence in Europe than previously suspected.
Islamic State is also getting stronger. It is nonsense to suggest its recent attacks show weakness. It can inspire deadly lone-wolf attacks by the self-radicalised of the sort we have seen in Australia. But the latest bombings in Belgium demonstrate a resilient vigour and growing sophistication. It appears the Paris and Brussels attacks were linked and carried out essentially by the same group. That is something new, the first time a terror cell has carried out a major attack in the West, lost many of its members, then been able to regroup and carry out further atrocities a short time later.
The tragic attacks in Brussels this week are the latest in a line of eight other jihadist attacks around the world this month alone. Two of these were in Pakistan, two in Turkey, one in Mali, one in the Ivory Coast and one in Nigeria.
The world is experiencing a global jihadist insurgency… Sadly, more attacks this year are highly likely. Intelligence agencies are overwhelmed across Europe.. Our security services fear the inevitable: simultaneous mass-casualty terrorist attacks, in multiple European cities.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.