Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Soldiers in Brussels kill a terrorist before he could carry out his attack.

Soldiers stand guard in Brussels after the attack. CBS/Getty. 

Soldiers in Brussels shot and killed a terrorist after he set off a small explosion at the main train station. CBS. The suspect was ranting and raving about Islamic extremism and screamed "Allahu Akbar" before setting of a device in a baggage cart. Soldier shot the suspect soon after and were not able to provide medical treatment because they suspected he had a bomb. Police confirmed that the suspect had an explosive belt and a backpack. The government of Belgium said that the soldiers involved in the situation stopped a terror attack. 

My Comment:
Good on these soldiers for stopping this terror attack. It just goes to show that having people with weapons can help prevent a terrorist attack. They reacted quickly and correctly to the threat and their actions probably saved quite a few lives. If this guy had managed to get onto a train or a crowded area he could have killed dozens. Instead, he was the only one that died. 

That being said, this seems like another example of an incredibly stupid terrorist. I think this guy was watching too many action movies. Instead of being stealthy and making sure to get himself into a place with a large amount of civilians he went on a rant and set off a minor explosion. None of that makes sense. It seems like something the bad guy in a movie would do and like a movie it gave the heroes a chance to stop the villain. Why draw attention to yourself when your goal is to kill as many people as possible? Especially when attacking a defended target like a train station? Not a smart way to go. 

This failed terror attack comes right after another failed one in Paris. In that attack someone rammed a police van despite being armed with a rifle and some handguns. Just like the Brussels attack, the suspect in France would been able to kill a whole lot of people if he had just used some common sense. Part of that is because the security forces in both cases were on the ball, but still, a better plan could have been effective. Once again, thank God for stupid terrorists. 

Another point is that these terrorists are acting like lone wolf attackers but have the weapons of someone with terrorist connections. The suspect in the Paris attack had multiple firearms and the suspect in the Brussels attack had explosives. I guess it is possible that a lone wolf attacker could get his hands on those kinds of weapons, but I doubt it. There have been lone wolf attacks in the past where one guy got a hold of firearms and explosive, but they are fairly rare and I don't think it is likely in this case. 

Still, the level of planning with both of these attacks seem to indicate a less sophisticated style of attack. Instead of actually trying to inflict as many casualties as possible they tried to pull off a terrorist attack in a flashy cinematic kind of way. They seemed to be more focused on style points instead of inflicting casualties. That tells me that both of these attacks were lone wolf attackers, probably inspired by ISIS instead of being directed by them. 

I do think there is a different possibility explaining the Brussels failure though. It's possible that the bomber tried to set off his explosives belt... and it failed miserably. That would explain his actions quite a bit better. If his belt failed he might have tried to set off his secondary explosive and then, when that didn't do anything, he just got shot. That would mean that his bombmakers screwed him over in which case the bombmaker is the one that's an idiot. 

After a hot start, Ramadan hasn't been so bad. This is due in a large part to the failed attacks in Paris and Brussels. There have been attacks outside of Europe, most notably in Mali, Somalia and Afghanistan, but the European attacks have largely failed outside of the London Bridge attack. Still, we have some time before Ramadan is done and we should remain vigilant. 

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