Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Extraordinary Incompetence

"Fortunately, there are many people who believe me and I get a lot of messages of support, from a lot of French in particular, families of victims."
"I totally understand their anger against me and my family. But I also want to tell them that, while unfortunately we did nothing, we did not want what happened in Paris."
Mohamad Adbeslam, brother of terrorists Salah and Brahim



The Mayor of Molenbeek, the district of Brussels long considered a den of terrorists for its jihadist links has affirmed that she was in possession of a list with the names and addresses identifying over eighty people suspected of being Islamist jihadis, all resident in her area. On the list was Abdelhamid Abaaoud known to have fought with Islamic State in 2014 and killed several days after the November 13 Paris attacks as its mastermind, when police surrounded an apartment he was hiding in, in a Paris neighbourhood.

Also on the list in the possession of Mayor Francoise Schepmans was Brahim Abdeslam who had blown himself up on boulevard Voltaire on November 13, and his brother Salah Abdeslam who had left the scenes of slaughter to preserve himself from justice. "What was I supposed to do about them? It is not my job to track possible terror, [that is] the responsibility of the federal police", she said defensively. She's right there; she didn't and nor did they.

Now it appears that the hunt for Salah Abdeslam may have been in vain. Nowhere to be found, it is now assumed that he has left Europe and gone to Syria to fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. No clues since November 13 as to his whereabouts, the 26-year-old has slipped from potential detection. In Syria he will be feted as a heroic figure. While the others involved in the Paris attacks have achieved immortality as martyrs, this man may be celebrated as a living hero.

He had rented the vehicles that were used by the attackers in their "Allahu Akbar!" moment of infamy. The gross incompetence of French and Belgian authorities, that their intelligence services and their police were incapable of ferreting out clues to an impending attack, leading to preemptive measures is mind-boggling and costly to the extent of 130 human lives forfeited. On the other hand, it appears there are so many possible future jihadis that have infiltrated those nations perhaps the job of detection is beyond possible.

Mohammad Abdeslam, right, the brother of Paris attackers Salah and Brahim Abdelslam, lights candles with an unidentified man on the balcony of his house in the town square of Molenbeek, Belgium on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.
AP Photo/Virginia Mayo   Mohammad Abdeslam, right, the brother of Paris attackers Salah and Brahim Abdelslam, lights candles with an unidentified man on the balcony of his house in the town square of Molenbeek, Belgium on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. 
 
While his brother Brahim died in the attacks, Salah Abdeslam's brother Mohammad claims to have had no knowledge of what his other two siblings were up to. It is thought that the intention was for all those involved in the Paris carnage were meant to become martyrs; an unused suicide belt was discovered abandoned, and perhaps represented a last-minute decision to abort martyrdom on the part of Abdeslam.

He was last seen by a friend, Ali Oulkado, who had driven him to Brussels the day following the Paris atrocities. Dropping him off, Oulkadi was told by Abdeslam: "You'll never see me again", which could mean anything; that he had no intention of returning to Europe ever again, or that he meant to fight alongside other ISIL fanatics in Syria to the death, meeting his assignation with martyrdom, after all, however belatedly.

He had been reported to have bought ten detonators from a fireworks company, items which might have been among those used by the massacre's suicide bombers. The manager of a company in the Val d'Oise region northwest of Paris had recognized Abdeslam from a wanted poster, and contacted police. Now that is something, a manager of a fireworks company recognizes the wanted man, but at a road check stop by French police he was cleared to proceed.

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