Brussels: A permanent state of emergency

image.adapt.960.high.belgium_lockdown_06aFive days after having declared the state of emergency, the Belgian government have lowered the threat level for the Brussels region to level 3 (out of 4).Police and army continue patrolling the city, but as of today at least metro and tram services are up to normal, and schools have re-opened.

One is tempted to wonder which new circumstances have allowed the authorities to consider that the security situation has improved. In the course of last week’s raids against suspected terrorists have taken place in many places in Brussels and other Belgian cities, but of the 26 suspects who have been arrested, 25 have been released again. The two persons suspected of having been involved in the Paris terror attacks of 13 November have still not been found and might be hiding out somewhere in predominantly Muslim-inhabited slum quarters of the Belgian capital, waiting for a possibility to carry out yet another bomb attack in a strongly frequented place. One has also heard that the police have confiscated 24.000 Euro in cash, which is hardly likely to have dried out the financial resources of the Islamist terror network.

Thus, there is good reason to believe that the terror threat is just as real today as it was prior to the declaration of the state of emergency. The reason for having lowered the alert to level 3 appears to be not that the threat has diminished, but simply and purely that level 4 is too disruptive to be maintained over a longer period. But if the security alert was not a farce from the very outset, then the conclusion one must draw, given that no decisive success in the fight against the terrorist threat has been achieved, is that we probably should be living in a permanent level 4 state of emergency.

This is not a problem for Brussels alone, but might soon become normality in many other European cities.

Multi-culture yields its benefits…