Brussels Attack

John Kerry: ISIS Striking in Europe Because It's Losing Its 'Fantasy' of a Caliphate in Middle East

John Kerry visiting Belgium after terror attacks


State Dept.

Secretary of State John Kerry visited Belgium in the wake of the Brussels terrorist attack, as the Belgian government faces pressure from other European countries and the United States to scale up its counterterrorism efforts.

"It is very important for us today to receive your support," said the Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, as he acknowledged that Belgium needed "to accept that we need to improve the fight against terrorism in Europe and in Belgium."

While in Belgium, Kerry said ISIS was striking in Europe because "its fantasy of a caliphate is collapsing before their eyes."

"It's territory is shrinking. Its leaders are decimated. Its revenue sources are dwindling, and its fighters are fleeing," Kerry said. The Pentagon announced earlier today that the ISIS finance minister was killed in an operation intended to take him alive for questioning.

Critics of the Belgian counter-terror effort point to what they call an under budgeted and poorly trained security force in that country, as well as laws that, for example, prohibit police from raiding residences between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless a crime is being committed, and prohibit intelligence services from sharing information about Belgian nationals with other countries. Law enforcement agencies in Belgium are a "patchwork" of regional and federal agencies that speak either Dutch or Flemish.

Kerry called the "carping" over possible missed opportunities to stop the Brussels suicide bombers "frantic and inappropriate" four days after the attack.

Reuters reports on U.S. counterterrorism officials that blame cultural differences between the U.S. and Europe and "Europe's deeper commitment to personal privacy" that "sometimes prevents or delays sharing of information such as travel data," which is "taken for granted in the United States."

France has been in a state of emergency since the November ISIS Paris attacks, one that offers law enforcement vast detention powers the Socialist government is looking to make permanent.

Counter-terrorism authorities in Belgium raided an apartment last week in connection with the Paris attacks—a gun fight left one suspect dead and another, Salah Abdeslam, briefly on the run. Authorities now believe one of Monday's suicide bombers was Najim Laachraoui, a Belgian citizen and Abdeslam's alleged bomb maker. Laachraoui is believed to have trained in Syria in 2013. Turkey, meanwhile, says it warned Belgium about the other suicide bomber, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, another Belgian national, labelling him a "foreign terrorist fighter."

The AP reported on warnings from anonymous counterterrorism officials, and a French lawmaker, last week that ISIS could have sent at least 400 fighters to Europe. More than 500 Belgian nationals have travelled to Syria and Iraq, according to terrorism analysts, usually to fight ISIS, and are the top source of Western foreign fighters in Syria on a per capita basis.

Counterterrorism raids continued in Belgium today, with bomb detection units deployed and police wounding and arresting one suspect near a Brussels bomb factory.

French authorities say they made an arrest last night in a terrorist operation in its "advanced stages" but say they haven't connected the suspect to the networks authorities are linking the Paris and Brussels attacks to.

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  1. Uh, ISIS is striking targets in Europe, because that’s where the cameras are.

    1. Exactly. Kind of a Terrorism 101 deal. One would expect a SecState to be up on this. Also, why would they blow shit up in the territories they know Europeans and Americans don’t care about? Same reasoning, not causing terror in the correct people.

      ‘Fantasy of a caliphate collapsing,’ is going to haunt him, I suspect. It will be his “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”

    2. And I would say they’re striking where the cameras are because its influence and funding is dwindling.

      They’re like the SPLC, occasionally you gotta make news during a funding drive.

  2. ISIS is expanding the war because they’re losing? That’s the best spin you can come up with and still keep a straight face or what?

    1. I’m aure they could replay Japanese denunciations of Doolittle’s raid and get the same statemwnt.

      1. Wow. Fuck you phone.

    2. It reminds me of what many Japanese noticed during WWII: the victories kept happening closer and closer to the home islands.

    3. Whether or not they’re striking Europe because they’re losing is certainly debatable. But there’s a lot of evidence they are in fact dwindling and shrinking within Syria. Soldiers are deserting because they’re not getting paid, their black-market oil operations have collapsed with oil prices, and their other sources of funding have been drying up.

      1. No. John Kerry is *always* wrong. Where do you come off with this shit?

        1. John Kerry is a botched joke.

          1. Indeed, but broken clocks and all.

            If one were to believe only and exactly the opposite of what John Kerry believes, does that make one smarter or dumber than John Kerry?

            1. His grades at Yale were lower than Bush’s so probably better off not doing what Kerry does.

    4. He keeps a straight face because the face he has is immobile.

      1. He’s the ultimate straight man. Unfortunately, the punchline involves our nuts.

  3. Have no fear, John Kerry is here!

  4. Critics of the Belgian counter-terror effort point to what they call an under budgeted and poorly trained security force in that country, as well as laws that, for example, prohibit police from raiding residences between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless a crime is being committed, and prohibit intelligence services from sharing information about Belgian nationals with other countries. Law enforcement agencies in Belgium are a “patchwork” of regional and federal agencies that speak either Dutch or Flemish.

    America could teach them so much. First of all, poorly trained can be turned into an advantage. Your forces got caught doing something wrong? Well, punishment isn’t needed, just more training. And when people are half asleep and not sure who’s breaking into their house at the butt crack of dawn is when you want to be busting down doors. And no Department of Homeland Security equivalent in Belgium? How do they even determine what color the current threat level is?

    1. US LEOs could teach an entire weeklong course on improper use of flash bang grenades. Sponsored by PoliceOne dot com.

  5. I look forward to 10 more years of “We are just thiiiiiiis close to destroying ISIS for good” stories.

    If I were of a more conspiratorial bent I’d be inclined to think that maybe the leaders in the US and Europe are actually just fine with ISIS’s continued existence. In their current state–not an actual existential threat to all of Western civilization, but dangerous enough to keep people scared and yearning for the security state to protect them–they serve an undeniably useful purpose to the political class.

    1. you don’t have to be conspiratorial to imagine that those in power first seek to keep it and secondly, seek to expand it.

      Who was the last person to run for office with the express purpose of dialing back the scope and power of that office?

      1. Calvin Coolidge.

        1. Coolidge came in when Harding died. Was never actually elected.

          1. Coolidge was elected in his own right in 1924.

            1. Fair enough – I was working the angle that the magic of Calvin is that he didn’t actually *seek* the office. But if I were a more perfect pedant I would have picked up on “run for,” which he did actually do.

      2. Possibly Margaret Thatcher? Honestly not sure.

      3. I am going to say Ron Paul in part just to see if MIKE HIHN shows up.

  6. The new spin coming from the Obama administration is that the Belgians are just screw-ups. The story on day 1 was that America was asking Belgium to spread its model for countering extremism to the rest of Europe. They had to spread the word of their success.

    1. A counterterrorism advisor to Belgium’s ministry of the interior spoke of “raising awareness ? and providing training to “high risk communities,” and of how “reintegration and speedy prosecution helped promote resilience” with the 10 hot spot cities. The program’s main focus, he said, was Antwerp.

      U.S. officials then asked the Belgians to share what the cable called “their unique and successful grassroots approach” with other countries seeking to counter the fast-growing threat posed by ISIS within their borders, according to the cable.…

      That narrative obviously wasn’t going to fly.

  7. Just think how much better off we’d be if Kerry had won that election.

  8. They’ve only killed 10% of ISIS’s leaders? It doesn’t sound like the battle is over just yet.

    1. And they killed tons of Taliban leaders back when we went into Afghanistan, yet 15 years later, the Taliban is retaking parts of the country.

      You can replace leaders, so killing 10% of ISIS’ leaders means absolutely nothing if they just get replaced.

      1. Look, I’m just making a decimation joke. Please don’t twist it to make an actual point.

        1. You are dying breed – one that knows the unadultered definition of decimate.

  9. “”Europe’s deeper commitment to personal privacy” that “sometimes prevents or delays sharing of information such as travel data,” which is “taken for granted in the United States.””

    This is complete nonsense. The idea that Europe, which is wiretap central, has too much of a commitment to personal privacy is laughable.

    The reason Europe has more problems than the US is because American Muslims tend to be more moderate than European Muslims and are much more spread out throughout the country so there are very few Muslim ghettos in the US where radicalism can spread. (The fact that American Muslims tend to be more upper class and educated than European Muslims probably also has something to do with there not being many Muslim ghettos in the US). Places like France and Belgium also have much larger Muslim populations, so if the same percentage of Muslims were radicals in Europe and America, there’d still be a higher percentage of radical Islamists in Europe than we’re ever going to have to deal with.

    And despite that the US has still been hit with a number of terrorist attacks, so it isn’t as if American authorities have managed to stop the smaller number of terror threats that exist here when compared to Europe.

    1. It’s estimated that as of 2012 61% of legal immigrants coming to U.S. are Christian and 83% of illegal immigrants are as well.

      These stats bode well for the continuation of the trends you mentioned as they relate to the U.S.

  10. John Kerry: ISIS Striking in Europe Because It’s Losing Its ‘Fantasy’ of a Caliphate in Middle East Europe Has a Lot of Muslims

  11. Hey Ed they speak Flemish or French and a little bit of German. Flemish is a form of Dutch spoken in Flanders or northern Belgium. Google is your friend.

    1. Flemish is Dutch by a different name – because they don’t want to call it “Dutch”.

      1. *balls up fists*


        1. At least they don’t speak Swiss! (waiting)

      2. If I eat too much spicy food I get a bit flemish.

  12. He misspelled “Because they want a Caliphate in Europe”.

    That goal is over a thousand years old and the jihadis seem to hold historical grudges. September 11 isn’t a random date. It was the day they almost had Vienna before the Polish King showed up and routed the Ottoman army. Pasha’s express goal had been to create that European Caliphate.

    1. I think you’re overcomplicating it. September 11 = 911. A little joke on the American public.

      While the Arabs and the Ottoman Turks refer to their respective religions using the same word, the Arabs have never considered the Turks to be “friends,” or even really legitimately Muslims, so I doubt that this was intended as some sort of shout-out to past struggles.

      This jihad has its roots in the 20th century, not the eighth.

      1. I really miss seeing the Fez.

  13. ISIS was given the opportunity to open a second front when Europe stupidly opened every possible door and orifice to the “Syrian” “refugees”.

    Opening up a second front may or may not mean they are losing back home. Even if they are losing, opening the second front will likely help them at home (although its remotely possible the Euros could decide to respond by going after them root and branch).

    1. I suspect that blowing up European cafes is cheap compared to setting up functioning governments in Syria– complete with logistics, ministers-of-such-and-such and so on.

      More bang for your buck, so to speak.

      1. +1 Serbian Black Hand

      2. And there is plenty of money coming from the Wahabis in Saudi Arabia to fund those cafe attacks.

        There’s always the option as well. Crowd sourced suicide bombers are not far off.

  14. And it’s funny because Assad and Iranian backed militias are the ones gaining ground. Hopefully we’ve learned to not do this overthrow thing again.

  15. ISIS has a finance minister???????!!!!

    1. It is TRYING to be an actual state so I imagine it has some group of people that function like a finance ministry.

      1. Once The Ministry of Silly Walks is up and running they will finally be a legitimate nation-state.

    2. Its finance minister uses iTunes gift cards. The federal government wants Apple to give it access to everyone’s accounts to track ISIS and prevent puppies from dying.

  16. There is so much wrong with what Kerry said I’m going to focus on what he said correctly:

    Kerry called the “carping” over possible missed opportunities to stop the Brussels suicide bombers “frantic and inappropriate” four days after the attack.

    Kerry is correct there. Everyone knows what you did wrong already since they’ve been telling you about it before this event. Start arming your citizens. Problem isn’t solved because it never will be, but at least it’s somewhat mitigated.

    1. How would arming their citizens prevent suicide bombers from blowing up airport security lines?

      1. Nothing will ever stop that. I’m not going to go into my diatribe on 4th generation warfare and the irrelevancy of borders in this war because I just did that in yesterday’s thread about terrorism, nor why 2 out of 3 solutions to terrorism lead to a police state. Long story short: you can’t stop this. Only solution that allows for any freedom is to arm your citizens.

        1. There is another, longer term, but admittedly difficult solution: Stop considering Islam a respectable religion. Publicize the scholarship that discredits the Koran. Treat it like a dangerous, violent political cult. Unfortunately, we are probably too “civilized” to do that before things get much, much worse.

          1. “Treat it like a dangerous, violent political cult”

            Yeah – that *always* works! Take a billion people who already feel like their religion is under global persecution and persecute them harder. That’ll make them give that religion up!

            1. And it definitely won’t lead to mass murders.

              1. They are already doing mass murders.

            2. Trouble is, Square, that it’s basically impossible to say: “The Islamic religion is fine, you just can’t take a whole lot of the words of Allah seriously.” The Islamic religion is entirely based on taking the whole of the Koran as the direct, perfect, literal, final word of Allah (who speaks archaic Arabic, don’t you know). That includes all the violent and oppressive parts.

              The true root cause of Islamic terror and oppression is the Koran. Discredit it, and you’ve removed the theological justification for terror and oppression. If you don’t discredit it, you still have theological justification for terror and oppression.

              1. I have absolutely no objection to any attempts by non-state actors to discredit the Quran.

                I actually agree with you in many ways – not all religions are created equal, and I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest that Islam is a totalitarian religion that asks for a total fusion of religion and government.

                It’s the call to persecute them that I can’t get on board with. Not only do I think that using the power of government to persecute other people’s religions is abhorrent, even when those religions are themselves abhorrent, but it’s also profoundly ineffective.

                Islam, like Christianity, is a religion that positively thrives on persecution and martyrdom. There are a billion Muslims in the world. You are NOT going to stamp out Islam by persecuting it.

                *Parts* of the Quran say that you need to show people the way through example, and that there is no other way. I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that part, and that echoes much of the sentiment of the New Testament, as well.

                1. “Ineffective”? I don’t know: how many Aztec human-sacrificers are around these days?

                  Can we “stamp it out”? Not quickly or easily, no. But “respecting” it gets us nowhere. It’s like advising your kid to respect the bully who takes his lunch money every day. “Don’t fight him, he’ll only get madder!” As I often say, the whole “innocent Muslim”/”terrorist Muslim” distinction functions as a Good Cop/Bad Cop routine, even if all the participants are not in on the trick.

                  Yes, the power of government is problematic, but Islam is also government (political) power, every place it gets the chance. There is no separation of church and state recognized in that religion. So we are at a great disadvantage in confronting it.

                  When Christians were persecuted, they didn’t turn to terrorism. The fact that people (even here) think it’s just natural for Muslims to do so tells us something about Islam, doesn’t it?

                  1. Christianity used to be a religion as well as a political system. What caused this system to break down was the rising economic freedom of the average person. When people become better off economically they don’t need religion as much.

                    When taken as a whole the Muslim world is not very developed economically. There are the ruling class, a small middle class and then the raving hordes beneath them.

                    Maybe the best way to defeat the Islamic political/religious system is help create a real middle class in their counntries?

                    Not sure how to go about that but without putting a wedge in between the religion and the political system you will never rid the Earth of the scourge of radical Islam.

                    1. “Christianity used to be a religion as well as a political system”

                      This is wrong. Mohammed advocated political goals, Jesus didn’t.

                    2. Self proclaimed Christians may have political goals, but that doesn’t make the religion a political system anymore than the existence of ISIS makes Islam a political system. What makes Islam uniquely political are the texts and the key figures/ figures, which advocate for using political means to achieve religious ends. Unlike Islam, Christianity is personal and being a good Christian is not dependent on having the right government in place.

  17. Kerry thinks more dead Europeans means we’re winning.

    Not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.

    1. Kerry is the Democrat’s Trump, i.e. BUFFOON. The fact that he looks like Frankenstein is just icing on the cake.

      1. Kerry is the Buffoon Understudy, under Biden.

  18. My gut feeling is that I wouldn’t often agree with Simon Jenkins, the author of this piece, but I think he makes a good point here. As horrible as ISIS terrorism is, it’s still (for now, anyway) a statistical blip, as far as the number of people killed or injured.

    “So on Tuesday the TV news channels behaved like Isis recruiting sergeants. Their blanket hyperbole showed not the slightest restraint (nor for that matter did that of most newspapers). The BBC flew Huw Edwards to Brussels. It flashed horror across the airwaves continually for 24 hours, incanting the words “panic”, “threat”, “menace” and “terror”. Vox pops wallowed in blood and guts. One reporter rode a London tube escalator to show possible future targets, to scare the wits out of commuters. It was a terrorist’s wildest dream.”…..ty-belgium

    1. I rarely find reason to disagree with anyone pointing out the press acts like morons.

    2. I’ve said it before, but the statistical argument against terrorism is flawed. Even if bathtub falls (or whatever accident statistics people cite when poo-pooing terrorism) kill more people, bathtubs are not conscious entities trying to kill you. Bathtubs are not conspiring to install a global totalitarian theocracy. Bathtub deaths are not cheered by scores of millions of people around the world. It makes perfect sense to fear terrorism more than some sort of accident.

      Plus, I remember the Salon (IIRC) article circa 2000 talking about how few deaths terrorism had caused, and how we really didn’t need to worry about it. Then 9/11 happened and made the author look like an idiot.

  19. Isn’t it Dereliction of duty for a president and a senate to put a retarded person on the cabinet?

    1. Not if the President and Senate are all retards.

  20. Obviously ISIS is collapsing because their attacks could have been worse.

  21. Critics of the Belgian counter-terror effort point to what they call an under budgeted and poorly trained security force in that country, as well as laws that, for example, prohibit police from raiding residences between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless a crime is being committed, and prohibit intelligence services from sharing information about Belgian nationals with other countries. Law enforcement agencies in Belgium are a “patchwork” of regional and federal agencies that speak either Dutch or Flemish.

    I don’t know – sounds like the Belgian police forces are *exactly* where they should be.

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  23. ISIS doesn’t need a caliphate in the middle east because they already have large enclaves of sympathetic Muslims in every western European country from which to launch their operations. The European governments will never be able to dismantle these enclaves legally and they are growing very rapidly. Even if Europe was to stop all immigration of Muslims tommorrow the demographic tidal wave is already gathering.

    The only way this problem gets resolved is through a general European Civil War leading to the destruction of these enclaves followed by the expulsion of millions of Muslims back to their country of origin.

    I’m not saying I want this to happen. But it’s the only real solution to the problem.

  24. OK wow, now there is a guy that does not have a single clue. Wow.

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