Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Satya_anveshi » 24 Nov 2015 07:45


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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Lalmohan » 24 Nov 2015 13:26

re picture: i was in turkey recently and quite a few times burly looking gents in the bazaar (and tourist spots) would ask me if i was pakistani. when i replied hindustani (they understand that word) there was a bit of a smile of relief and a 'welcome to turkey'.

now, they may have been mush-afficcianado's, but i suspect they were actually 'civil servants' keeping an eye on paquis

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Philip » 24 Nov 2015 13:47

The cracks developing in the EU "Brussels' Wall" to keeping Russia out of the European high table,is alarming the US. EU-ropeans are more worried about terror attacks in their respective countries than bothering about what happens in the UKR.Ask anyone in the street or Parisian cafes. Brussels,the HQ of the EU is in indefinite "lockdown".Just imagine that. The Capital of Europe paralysed by fear of ISIS.

The only nation doing anything serious about ISIS to destroy it is Russia and Putin.The US is b*ggering its EU allies ,who are being shafted royally by agreeing to asinine sanctions against Russia.These sanctions are hurting them badly.The EU is losing billions in exports particularly of farm/agri produce,the staple commodity of many of its nations.

When the EU-ropeans will revolt against the US is anyone's guess,but it will happen eventually. France is the weakest nation that can be prised out of the US's insidious grip. Putin is offering carrots of defence cooperation in exchange for good relations and "business as normal". He too can play the Yanqui game. All he has to do is to go after anti-Assad forces as was done initially,and pussy foot with ISIS ,kabuki strikes,just as the US has done in cahoots with the Saudis and Wahaabi jihadis and watch France and the EU-ropeans wriggle.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Lalmohan » 24 Nov 2015 14:23

brussels role as capital of europe is largely ceremonial. nothing of any importance for europe or even nato really happens there. it was chosen as a neutral venue. just like for the wars between britain, france and germany... and just like then, the real decisions are made in berlin and paris and some in london

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby deejay » 24 Nov 2015 16:32

Paris Attack new infographic on suspects:

https://twitter.com/AFP/status/668957352037638144
Agence France-PresseVerified account
‏@AFP
#ParisAttacks gunmen and suspects
Image


Stadium attackers No 2 and 3 look TSPian to me.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Philip » 24 Nov 2015 16:48

The hooting down of a Russian SU-24 and the probable murder of a Russian pilot on the ground,has raised the mercury massively.This seems to be a way of distracting attention from the global war on ISIS which now has a UN mandate.Here's US assessment of how the US intel has misread the true motives of ISIS.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... -West.html
US intelligence officials have 'underestimated' Isil's plan to attack the West

In echoes of the criticisms after the 9/11 attacks, a top former intelligence official and Iraq expert has said the CIA and other key spy agencies are drawing flawed conclusions about the nature and intent of the jihadist group

By Ruth Sherlock, US Editor
24 Nov 2015
The US intelligence community is failing in its duty to protect America against the threat of future attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a former senior intelligence official has warned.

In echoes of the criticisms after the 9/11 attacks, Derek Harvey, who worked as a top intelligence agent and advisor on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan said the CIA and other key spy agencies have drawn dangerously flawed conclusions about the jihadist group.

"John Brennan and others continue to underestimate Isil and not understand their intent,” Mr Harvey said citing the CIA’s director. “I don’t even know if they read Dabiq [Isil’s propaganda magazine] or their speeches closely.”

Up until the Paris attacks, US intelligence agencies widely believed Isil was focused almost exclusively on its wars in Iraq and in Syria, leaving attacks against Western nations up to “inspired” volunteers.

But in an interview with the Telegraph, Mr Harvey poured scorn on this assessment, insisting that far from being "lone wolves", perpetrators of attacks in the West were part of a command structure.

“Their intent is to strike with organized decentralised operations focused on the West,” he said. “This isn’t just lone wolves inspired by propaganda. This is coordinated.”

Derek Harvey has worked as an intelligence agent and advisor on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan

Mr Harvey, who worked for the Defence Intelligence Agency in Iraq, and later as the director of Afghanistan-Pakistan for the Pentagon’s Central Command said he had quit in frustration at the intelligence community’s “lack of creativity” when it came to thinking about and understanding jihadist insurgencies.

He said that because the jihadist group behaved differently to Al-Qaeda, which focuses on “bigger, high profile” attacks, the agencies were underestimating the Isil threat.

He described an institution where little importance is given to experience, with key positions focused on the Middle East being filled by "young people" who had never been to the countries they were analysing. Little attention has been paid, he said, to the jihadists' ideology and literature.

Mr Harvey, said many of the people plotting these attacks in the West were the "same people" he had monitored as an agent in Iraq. He was familiar with their operations and still had contacts in the field, he said.

The intention is less to kill on a mass scale in one hit, than to launch several smaller attacks that spread fear and paranoia in Western societies.

“Isil understand that it doesn’t have to be a complicated and or complex operation like 9/11,” he said. “Isil will put a bomb in a taxi and then send the taxi someplace, and driver won't know he is carrying the explosive.”

As per the attacks in Paris, the jihadists will seek to attack in the “grey zones” of a country’s social makeup, seeking to increase tensions between Muslims and other religious groups, or between immigrant and non-immigrant communities.

To this end, it has been gathering domestic volunteer recruits. Whilst the jihadist group has imposed stringent measures on the formation of partnerships with other extremist groups – for example, it reportedly took several months of negotiations before Isil partnered with Boko Haram – it is said to form partnerships with individual volunteers with relative ease.

James Comey, the director of the FBI recently said the bureau has more than 900 active investigations ongoing in 50 states that may be Isil linked.

Despite all these, there have been "no specific or credible threats" of a planned attack on US soil on the scale of the Paris bloodshed, Jeh Johnson, the secretary for homeland security said this month.

Members of the New York City Police Strategic Response Group are seen in New York's Times Square following the attacks in Paris

An intelligence source that monitors jihadist activity in the country also warned against putting too much stock in Isil’s “exaggerated propaganda”, describing the group’s slick videos warning of attacks against the West as a tool designed to spread panic – which is often not backed by a specific threat.

Nonetheless, the source said there had been a marked increase in the number of people expressing sympathy and support for the group within the United States.

“Since this time last year to now, my work load, in terms of the number of people I have to track, has more than doubled,” the source said. “As the group gains notoriety, it is seen as more legitimate and so receives more support.”

He described the intelligence community as “playing catch up” to find ways to monitor Isil in the US. Sometimes there were “too many people” to follow.

The group also did not use traditional lines of communication he said, making them harder to trace.

Once supporters volunteer to be part of a terror attack, they do get “coordinated” support from Isil: “A lot of the funding comes directly from Isil,” the source said. “So there is some coordination to it.”

The source agreed with Mr Harvey’s assessment that because Al-Qaeda traditionally engaged in operations that took a lot of planning, he and his colleagues had had a better chance of thwarting the attacks: “their communications were easier to monitored because there was more of them,” the source said. “The focus on smaller attacks makes them faster and harder to stop.”

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby rsingh » 24 Nov 2015 17:12

Lalmohan wrote:brussels role as capital of europe is largely ceremonial. nothing of any importance for europe or even nato really happens there. it was chosen as a neutral venue. just like for the wars between britain, france and germany... and just like then, the real decisions are made in berlin and paris and some in london


Wrong Saar. You have no idea. European commission is DA power.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby rsingh » 24 Nov 2015 17:21

Went to Airport in Brusselabad. No security what so ever. Just two military guys standing near gate( passport control inside Airport, after you have your boarding pass). I think Indian Airports are better secured then Belgian National Airport. how stupid.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Lalmohan » 24 Nov 2015 17:25

Rsingh - beg to disagree Saar, but you are entitled to your pov

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby rsingh » 24 Nov 2015 17:27

^^

Ok agree to disagree then :mrgreen:
On serious note. Belgium as a geographical entity ............you are right. But otherwise European commission calls the shot. Everybody in Europe has love and hate relation to EC. Ask any Brit, if you are not sure.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby K Mehta » 24 Nov 2015 17:57

Rahul M wrote:
K Mehta wrote:Regarding Nigeria-
I feel that there is a lack of indocentric information sources especially a country specific primer ala CIA factbook or BBC country profile, that Indians to use. This is something I have been requesting BRF to create, just like the Indian military pages it created, leading to greater interest in military matters by Indians.

saarji, please use the BR wiki which was created for this purpose.
http://bharatrakshak.wikia.com/

Rahul m Ji
I have not traveled abroad, I don't have the knowledge to contribute for such content. But I hope my request is considered.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Lalmohan » 24 Nov 2015 21:46

Rsinghji, I am pretty sure! ;-)

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby UlanBatori » 24 Nov 2015 23:48

No security what so ever. Just two military guys standing near gate

Understandabe confyuujun. In Brussels, all their comrades were probably dressed in Armani suits and sitting in Meetings in the Parliament d'Oirope sipping L'Eau de Pepe and debating how much tax to impose on EU to pay for airport security. And how much to fine the French for the Global Warming and Carbon release from all those soosai bums and TV cameras.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Mukesh.Kumar » 25 Nov 2015 00:09


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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby ramana » 25 Nov 2015 00:11

Lalmohan wrote:re picture: i was in turkey recently and quite a few times burly looking gents in the bazaar (and tourist spots) would ask me if i was pakistani. when i replied hindustani (they understand that word) there was a bit of a smile of relief and a 'welcome to turkey'.

now, they may have been mush-afficcianado's, but i suspect they were actually 'civil servants' keeping an eye on paquis



Was it early September this year?

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Singha » 25 Nov 2015 06:28

brussels seems to be in permanent lockdown mode while police try to unearth the numerous cells. lockdown is extended till atleast next monday.

a good excuse not to do much work in the various UN and NATO sinecure offices there. wonder why all the UN HQs need to be in europe or new york? FAO HQ in rome? why? all of these need to be shifted out of these sinecure places.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Satya_anveshi » 25 Nov 2015 11:45

Chicago Police is releasing video of black teen killed by police. In anticipation of protests, city mobilized forces and alerted all systems.

Why am I posting this here in this thread?

Because one of the purposes it serves for US is to drill, prepare, and respond for the events like Paris. These drill opportunities sometimes arise on their own or created in a controlled manner at opportune times. I suspect this one to be such a case.

I believe India does it too but must be more frequent and comprehensive to test all response parameters.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Philip » 25 Nov 2015 14:47

Bravo Mayor Mayeur! This is exactly the insidious scheme of the jihadi scumbags.Terrorise civilised nations into submission,where the burqa and headscarf and the Sharia rule over Christian nations in particular (Europe).The EUro-peons have only themselves to blame by pandering to Islamism and even in Britain,Christian prayers are being banned on TV along with Christmas ads "for fear of offending other religions and atheists."

Brussels lockdown: State of emergency has created 'Islamic regime' in Brussels, says city's mayor
'We cannot continue to live in these conditions. We will not live under the Islamic regime.'


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 46956.html
Hardeep Matharu
The mayor of Brussels has accused the Belgian government of creating an “Islamic regime” as the emergency lockdown which has shut most of the city continues.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said yesterday that the city would remain on high alert for at least another six days.
Read more
Brussels schools and Metro reopen with security presence high

The state of emergency, which was introduced on Saturday, has seen schools, universities, museums, the Metro system, shops, restaurants and bars shut.

But the city’s mayor Yvan Mayeur is far from pleased with the situation, branding it a “general disaster” in an interview with the RTBF news channel.

He said: “We cannot continue to live in these conditions. We will not live under the Islamic regime.

“This is to say that if schools are closed, if we banned the cultivation, if we banned the practice of commerce, if we [do not allow] people to live, to have fun, to relax. If it prohibits all, under what system do we live?”
Brussels-soldiers-REUT.jpg
Brussels is on high alert for a Paris-style terrorist attack

The emergency measures are being enforced to try to prevent a Paris-style attack in the city, where it is believed that Salah Abdeslam – one of the gunmen who carried out the restaurant killings in the French capital – is hiding.

Following the attacks in Paris, friends said the 26-year-old travelled to Brussels and was trying to make his way to Syria.

Mr Mayeur said the city must “now take measures to return to a normal situation while continuing the hunt for these people

He added: “I do not want to return too quickly to normal, but I do not want to rush headlong into a regime that is not ours.”

He criticised a suggestion by the country’s Education Minister Joëlle Milquet that “safe rooms” should be built into schools.

“We will not build bunkers in schools. We do not have the first hundred [Euros] for it. So do not come up with proposals that do not make sense,” he added.

The Molenbeek district of Brussels has come under particular focus for its links with suspected Jihadists. It is believed that the Paris attack may have been planned from there.

Mr Mayeur said the city should “avoid the hysterisation” and “remain reasonable”.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Yagnasri » 25 Nov 2015 15:12

I do not see any drill in Mumbai which faced two major attacks in the past.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby shiv » 25 Nov 2015 16:43

Satya_anveshi wrote:Chicago Police is releasing video of black teen killed by police. In anticipation of protests, city mobilized forces and alerted all systems.

Why am I posting this here in this thread?

Because one of the purposes it serves for US is to drill, prepare, and respond for the events like Paris. These drill opportunities sometimes arise on their own or created in a controlled manner at opportune times. I suspect this one to be such a case.

I believe India does it too but must be more frequent and comprehensive to test all response parameters.

Sad that a drill to stop public demonstrations after the pumping of police bullets into a teenager is being passed off as an anti terror drill with social utility. Drills need to be held without such excuses - in this case it is not an anti-terror drill but an anti-riot drill. Not much difference in terms of responses

Yes there have been drills in Bangalore - at least 3 that I know of. Perhaps Mumbai has had some

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Lalmohan » 25 Nov 2015 18:20

ramanaji - no, but close

roubaix seige - related to a bank robbery apparently

US response so far re refugees, terror strikes, syria is horribly confused - need some smart people to slap everyone into their senses there; not sure any left in their political front runners any more

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Satya_anveshi » 25 Nov 2015 19:11

shiv wrote:Sad that a drill to stop public demonstrations after the pumping of police bullets into a teenager is being passed off as an anti terror drill with social utility. Drills need to be held without such excuses - in this case it is not an anti-terror drill but an anti-riot drill. Not much difference in terms of responses

Yes there have been drills in Bangalore - at least 3 that I know of. Perhaps Mumbai has had some


US is a weird place when it relates to minorities. I am wondering whether pumping bullets into a teen is more heinous or using riot as potential drill oppty (right after paris attack) is.
Thanks for confirming about bangalore and mumbai. My pt of concern is just about having those drills regularly and ensuring the system response is as quick as it can be.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Singha » 25 Nov 2015 21:39

we dont make a huge fuss over it, but it does happen . someone posted a pic of nightly nsg drill being done in vizag.
another time c130 landed and took off from juhu.

there are no ex-armymen in our state police so you can expect a military type response unlike the khanate where everyone is packing heavy army surplus weapons and many town and state cops are ex-army.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby habal » 25 Nov 2015 21:41

france strikes and strikes hard


Hassan Ridha ‏@sayed_ridha
#France carries out airstrikes on #IS in #Mosul, ended up hitting a school killing 27 children http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/french-w ... al-1247282

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby UlanBatori » 25 Nov 2015 23:53

Ooooo! They probably hand out the Order of St. Surrender for that.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Lalmohan » 26 Nov 2015 13:43

come now ulan, you know better than that


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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby UlanBatori » 26 Nov 2015 18:36

UlanBatori wrote:Ooooo! They probably hand out the Order of St. Surrender for that.

My bad. It should have been St. Surender.
So the Frogistanis sit on their Louis XIV Chaise De Derrieres Avec La Parfum for years as part of NATO, which controls airspace over Iraq, watching the ISIS rape and murder the Yazidis in 70mm Technicolor, and NOW they go with their Intelligantz Superiore and find a target to bomb with their super-bombeures et les Avions de Guerre, and HIT A KINDERGARTEN??? Why? The school did not post a sign on the roof saying "Le Montessori"?

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Gagan » 26 Nov 2015 20:21

UlanBatori wrote:So the Frogistanis sit on their Louis XIV Chaise De Derrieres Avec La Parfum for years as part of NATO, which controls airspace over Iraq, watching the ISIS rape and murder the Yazidis in 70mm Technicolor, and NOW they go with their Intelligantz Superiore and find a target to bomb with their super-bombeures et les Avions de Guerre, and HIT A KINDERGARTEN??? Why? The school did not post a sign on the roof saying "Le Montessori"?

:rotfl:

But very sad too...

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby UlanBatori » 26 Nov 2015 21:49



Of course, I was right:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/26/europe/be ... index.html
Powder that alarmed Inspecteaur Clouseau and Detective Erquool Pwaoreau at Brussels mosque is flour
Ashley Fantz-Profile-Image
By Ashley Fantz, CNN


Let's think about that for moment. It's the ultimate in Oiropean Original Thinking. 9/11/2001 attacks in US - then the Anthrax Scare that was eventually traced to some disgruntled research scientist/nutcase.

So France has its Moment of "Je Suis Parisien" etc. just because some Faithful inflated themselves at a couple of French dens of vice and orgies, and the French / Belgians immediately assume that they too HAVE to have an anthrax attack.

The trouble with their logic is that Belgium is so full of cows that most Belgians are quasi-bovine, and probably well-immunized against Anthrax. Now if they were to find some blue-painted containers, that might be the Satan Bug, and much more serious.
Last edited by UlanBatori on 27 Nov 2015 00:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby Prem » 26 Nov 2015 23:57

UlanBatori wrote:

The trouble with their logic is that Belgium is so full of cows that most Belgians are quasi-bovine, and probably well-immunized against Anthrax. Now if they were to find some blue-painted containers, that might be the Satan Bug, and much more serious.


Last time in World Wars these Belgian Cows were liberated by IA Bulls in less than 2 Hours . They may need IA again for Half day again.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby UlanBatori » 27 Nov 2015 17:08

Belgium sentences French 'Comic' for emulating Wendy Doniger inciting hatred.
"homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic" comments made during the performance.
They were also "regarded as furthering National Socialist ideology," an offense under Belgian law,
"We are very satisfied with this judgment," (Eric Lemmens, a lawyer for Belgium's Jewish organizations) told CNN.
He praised the judgment's finding that a conviction was necessary in the face of such repeated offending, or social harmony would suffer.

The 49-year-old comic has repeatedly denied he is anti-Semitic, but has been fined numerous times in France for anti-Semitic comments. The French government said last year that it wanted to ban his live performances, while the British government banned him from the UK, amid a storm over a hand gesture popularized by the comic.
Critics hold that the "quenelle" -- which involves pointing the right arm straight down and touching it with the left hand -- is a modified Nazi salute; Dieudonne counters that it is anti-establishment, but not anti-Semitic.
French soccer star Nicolas Anelka, a friend of Dieudonne's, was banned for five matches and fined 80,000 pounds ($130,000) after making the gesture as part of a goal-scoring celebration in a Premier League match in 2013. He subsequently quit his club over the punishment.
In March, Dieudonne was given two month suspended sentence by a French court for "condoning terrorism" over comments that suggested he sympathized with the attackers in January's Charlie Hebdo attacks.
The comedian had written a since-deleted post stating "I feel like Charlie Coulibaly" -- combining the surname of one of the terrorists with the popular slogan expressing solidarity with victims. CNN's Tim Hume reported and wrote from London, and Pierre-Eliott Buet reported from Paris.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby UlanBatori » 27 Nov 2015 17:39

Le Frogs demonstrate the old dic**tum:
When u have them by the ****, their hearts and minds will follow


Frogistan now says no problem with Syrian 'regime troops' being 'used' to fight ISIS - BUT.. only within 'framework and process' leading to Assadlessness.

The BUT will provide pretty weak in due course. Next, Frogistan will quietly accept that Assad will be leaving after an election expressing the Free Will of the Syrian People - all 3 of them left in Syria - but of course the Conditions For Free Elections will not exist until ISIS is totally smashed. How can u have elections when Aleppo, Homs and Raqqa are in war situation, hain? :((

Bottom line: Hollande finds that he is obstructed by his Allies from countering the Islamic Invasion of France. It's only a matter of time b4 ISIS directs full force to wipe out the French presence in Mali etc. and not a thing that Hollande can do about it.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby ramana » 27 Nov 2015 19:52

Lalmohan wrote:ramanaji - no, but close





Too bad.We could have run into each other in that grand bazaar sipping pomegranate tea and eating halwa.


So whats the consensus on Paris attacks? Is it a bigger than Boston or is it like 9/11?

I see that its more like bigger than Boston but France is making bigger deal to attack Syria. More akin to Austria attacking Serbia. By claiming to attack ISIS its confining the potential for escalation.

If France attacks Assad regime under this ISIS rubric it will escalate.

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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby rsingh » 27 Nov 2015 21:35


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Re: Terrorist Attack in Paris

Postby UlanBatori » 28 Nov 2015 06:32

A loong :(( :(( about poor Belgium.
BRUSSELS — A month before the Paris terrorist attacks, Mayor Françoise Schepmans of Molenbeek, a Brussels district long notorious as a haven for jihadists, received a list with the names and addresses of more than 80 people suspected as Islamic militants living in her area.
The list, based on information from Belgium’s security apparatus, included two brothers who would take part in the bloodshed in France on Nov. 13, as well as the man suspected of being the architect of the terrorist plot, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Molenbeek resident who had left for Syria to fight for the Islamic State in early 2014.
“What was I supposed to do about them? It is not my job to track possible terrorists,” Ms. Schepmans said in an interview. That, she added, “is the responsibility of the federal police.”
The police guarded a Paris hotel where President François Hollande spoke on Thursday. France has stepped up use of its emergency powers since Friday’s attacks.
The federal police service, for its part, reports to the interior minister, Jan Jambon, a Flemish nationalist who has doubts about whether Belgium — divided among French, Dutch and German speakers — should even exist as a single state.
As Brussels remained locked down for a fourth day, facing what the authorities say is its own imminent terrorist threat, the failure to stop two brothers clearly flagged as extremists before the Paris carnage highlighted the tribal squabbles of a country that holds the unenviable distinction of going without a functioning government for 541 days.
Flemish nationalists, ever eager to show that Belgium in its current form does not work, have jumped on the mess, with Karl Vanlouwe, a member of the Belgian Senate, writing in the newspaper Le Soir on Tuesday that “20 years of laxity” by the French-speaking Socialist Party had turned Brussels into a “rear base of Islamic barbarity.”
The perennial dysfunctions of a small country with just 11.2 million people would not normally transcend its borders, but they are now blamed for having helped turn Belgium into a hub of terrorist activity that is threatening lives as well as the Continent’s troubled enterprise of integration and intelligence sharing.
Belgium has a government, unlike the long stretch of limbo after inconclusive elections in 2010. But with its capital paralyzed and its political elite pointing fingers over who is to blame for letting jihadists go unchecked, the country is again being ridiculed as the world’s most prosperous failed state.
An Italian newspaper called it “Belgistan,” and a German one declared Belgium “kaput.” A French writer, Éric Zemmour, suggested in a recent radio interview that instead of bombing Raqqa, Syria, the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State, “France should bomb Molenbeek.”
Belgians, accustomed to being derided, particularly by the French, {Didn't someone attack poor moi for pointing this out, hain? :(( } have, in the main, not risen to the bait, although the editor in chief of the newspaper La Libre, Francis Van de Woestyne, complained on Tuesday that “French condescension has no limits.” :rotfl: But Belgians, too, are wondering what went wrong in Molenbeek and in the system as a whole.
A Political Maze
With three uneasily joined populations, Belgium has a dizzying plethora of institutions and political parties divided along linguistic, ideological or simply opportunistic lines, which are being blamed for the country’s seeming inability to get a handle on its terrorist threat.
It was hardly difficult to find the two Molenbeek brothers before they helped kill 130 people in the Paris assaults: They lived just 100 yards from the borough’s City Hall, across a cobblestone market square in a subsidized borough-owned apartment clearly visible from the mayor’s second-floor corner office. A third brother worked for Ms. Schepmans’s borough administration.
Much more difficult, however, was negotiating the labyrinthine pathways that connect — and also divide — a multitude of bodies responsible for security in Brussels, a capital city with six local police forces and a federal police service.

Brussels has three Parliaments, 19 borough assemblies and the headquarters of two intelligence services — one military, one civilian — as well as a terrorism threat assessment unit whose chief, exhausted and demoralized by internecine turf battles, resigned in July but is still at his desk.


Lost in the muddle were the two brothers, Ibrahim Abdeslam, who detonated a suicide vest in Paris, and Salah, who is the target of an extensive manhunt that has left the police flailing as they raid homes across the country, so far without results.

To the system’s rising chorus of critics, the scale of the lockdown itself — the security alert has closed schools, many shops and the subway system in Brussels — is a reflection less of focused authority and actionable intelligence than of diffuse incoordination.

Of 16 people detained in a huge sweep on Sunday evening, 15 were promptly released. No explosives or guns were found, a blow to efforts to avoid what the federal government asserts is a “serious and imminent” threat of Paris-style terrorism. Lars Bové, the author of a book on the Belgian security system, said that cooperation between different layers of government and different security services was improving but that information sharing remained a problem, particularly between federal agencies and local authorities.

Responsibilities, he said, “tend to overlap,” with only fuzzy rules for who is supposed to do what.

Muriel Targnion, the mayor of the eastern town of Verviers, where the federal police stormed a terrorist safe house in January, said she had been told by security services in Brussels that her town had 34 residents suspected as jihadists. But that was all she was allowed to know.

“All I was given was a number,” she said. “No names, no addresses. Nothing.”


History of Rivalries
Information sharing does not come easy in a country with fierce rivalries between groups that, in some cases, cannot talk to each other, at least not in a common language. On top of language, said Sus van Elzen, a Flemish writer and former political magazine editor, “it is in our genes to reject all centralizing power” and, on all sides of the linguistic divide, to mistrust outsiders.
Belgium’s history, he added, is a “very unhappy story” :(( of constant retreat from intruding forces, notably the Spanish, the French and the Germans, that have sought to impose a centralized order.
Belgium was formed from part of what were known as the Low Countries, which for centuries were fought over by the dukes of Burgundy, Hapsburg emperors and the rulers of France. The chief languages, Dutch and French, became instruments of those in power, and both fell in and out of favor. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the Congress of Vienna made the largely Roman Catholic Belgium part of Holland, which was ruled by a Protestant king. The union led to unrest, and eventually rebellion, and in 1831 another gathering of Europe’s great powers established the kingdom of Belgium.

Today centralized order hardly seems the problem, except when it comes to tracking terrorists. Even if intelligence professionals all speak Belgium’s two main languages, they are still divided into feuding fiefs. Luc Verheyden, a veteran intelligence officer who in 2006 helped set up OCAD, a coordinating agency for threat analysis, resigned four years later, citing his frustration over the refusal of the police and other security services to cooperate.

“The creation of OCAD was not appreciated by certain services because it forced them to share information,” he told the Belgian news media when he quit. “They were waiting around the corner for revenge,” he added.

OCAD’s chief and Mr. Verheyden’s former boss, André Vandoren, resigned in July after political sniping and complaints from a secretive parliamentary committee that he had trespassed onto intelligence gathering turf that belonged to Sûreté de l’Etat, Belgium’s more established intelligence service.

“Everything in Belgium is politicized; you cannot have an administrative function, particularly a senior one, if you don’t have a political affiliation,” said Claude Moniquet, a former French intelligence officer who runs a risk analysis company in Brussels.
Language Divisions

Language divisions might not prevent intelligence experts from communicating, but they shape the political environment in which the experts operate and decide who fills the ministerial positions that set their priorities. Mr. Jambon, the Flemish nationalist interior minister, has infuriated many French-speaking Belgians with what they see as insinuation that they alone are to blame for the growth of Islamic militancy in Belgium. “The link that has again been established between terrorism and our country forces us to look into the mirror,” Mr. Jambon said two days after the Paris attacks. The reflection he saw, however, was heavily filtered by the lens of Belgium’s tribal politics.

“The question I ask myself is: Why did we succeed to eradicate radicalism in Antwerp and other Flemish cities, and why doesn’t it work in Brussels?” he said, contrasting his Dutch-speaking region of Flanders with Belgium’s mostly French-speaking capital.

Antwerp, the largest city in Flanders, has cracked down on Islamic extremists. This year the city was the site of Belgium’s biggest terrorism trial, with more than 40 defendants accused of traveling to fight in Syria or of encouraging others to do so. But the trial was held in Dutch-speaking Antwerp only because that was where its principal defendant, Fouad Belkacem, and the now-banned organization he led, Sharia4Belgium, a well-known recruiter for jihad, had operated for years. From there, Mr. Belkacem reached out to French-speaking areas, notably Molenbeek, where in 2012 he organized a rally outside a police station to protest the arrest of a woman wearing an Islamic head covering.

Before the trial, when he was sentenced to 12 years for supporting terrorism, Mr. Belkacem was “very active here,” Ms. Schepmans said, and he set alarm bells ringing about the dangers of extremism. The federal authorities were so worried that they offered to help Molenbeek with money to set up a unit to combat radicalization. But the money offered was paltry — initially 40,000 euros, or about $42,500, and later €60,000. The borough found funding from its own budget and the radicalization unit now has four employees. Only one speaks Arabic. Molenbeek’s police force, housed in a big concrete block adjoining City Hall, knows the neighborhood and its residents, but the mayor said that it “has neither the means nor the powers” to keep tabs on Islamic militant suspects. Arthur van Amerongen, a Dutch writer on the Middle East who lived in Molenbeek a decade ago while doing research for a book on Islamic extremism, said it had been obvious for years, particularly under a Socialist mayor who governed until 2012, that militants were making inroads there, but “nobody wanted to know because this did not fit their political agenda.” Neither local authorities nor the central government showed interest, Mr. van Amerongen said, noting that his book, “Brussel: Eurabia,” :rotfl: was greeted with accusations of racism and bias against French-speaking Molenbeek.

Intelligence services, too, have struggled with the same political calculations and constraints.

While long derided for its often chaotic and fractious ways, Belgium is if anything “overorganized,” with so many overlapping bodies and agencies that nobody is ever really in charge, said Hubert van Humbeeck, a Belgian political commentator. “It works more or less normally, but when something so unpredictable like terrorism happens, all the institutions collide.”

“This is the Belgium disease,” he added. “Everyone always says it is not their fault, and they are often right.”
Correction: November 25, 2015

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of a former French intelligence officer who runs a risk analysis company in Brussels. He is Claude Moniquet, not Moniqué. :mrgreen:

Milan Schreuer contributed reporting.


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