Press TV has interviewed Said Zulficar, a political analyst in Cairo, to discuss the recent bomb explosions in the Belgian capital city of Brussels.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Again, we are looking at another terrorist attack. This time around, is it going to make a difference - because we have seen from Paris, the Paris attacks to Brussels; we still have seen a continual support by many Western capitals for some of these same terrorist groups that seem to be striking them in Europe? Do you think that there is going to be a change in strategy by these governments or not?
Zulficar: Well, I think it is a bit late to change the strategy because these people who have been provoking or causing these attacks on Western capitals are people who have left Europe a few years ago and who were encouraged to do so at a time when they were themselves the Western powers’ foot soldiers in Syria.
As long as they were part of the Takfiri groups, fighting against the Syrian government and against Bashar al-Assad, they were being encouraged. The people in Jabhat al-Nusra very often were trained in Turkish camps and in camps in Jordan by the secret services of various European countries. They were, at that time, encouraged to go and fight there.
So, now we have a backlash. But the thing is that in 2012, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius himself publicly made a statement where he was boasting that Jabhat al-Nusra, which is al-Qaeda basically, they have been receiving French help and he said in French, ‘ils font du bon boulot’ which means, 'they have been doing a good job.' So, they were the foot soldiers of Western powers trying to overthrow the Syrian government.
Now that they are coming back to Europe, it is sort of backlash or shall we say a blowback of the people that they have been nurturing, training, arming and encouraging to fight the Syrian regime who come back to sow terror and death in Europe because European policy has now changed and no longer is supporting Jabhat al-Nusra or Daesh who were in origins European or should I say Western creations, basically American creations. But now this is the backlash and I doubt it now that the strategy which has changed recently will make much difference.
These individuals who are now trained and well-armed that have been fighting for several years in Syria and Iraq are very difficult to find. According to French government, there are at least 5,000 suspects in France. Now 5,000 suspects and you would need at least 10 policemen for each one to keep an eye on each one which is practically impossible. In Brussels, the whole area of Maalbeek where they have been hiding is entirely of North African extraction; the people living there are all North African. It is extremely difficult to weed out them.
Press TV: Based on what you have said that basically this is blowback because of the Western strategy and encouraging these type of people to go and fight in Syria, were there not any political analysts, strategists in any of these European as well in American capitals to think that at the end of the day these individuals are going to return to Europe?
Zulficar: Of course there were. There were some, for instance the head of the DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency which is the equivalent of the CIA for the American military, a man called General Michael Flynn complained that between 2014 the American government, the CIA in particular, had been training these people to create, the aim was to create an emirate, a Salafi Takfiri emirate run by Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra on northeastern areas of Syria and northwestern parts of Iraq and he warned them, he warned the government, he warned the Senate several times, they removed him after two years.
In France, the head of French intelligence also warned the government that this was going to have a blowback effect but politicians are only there for a short time, they never look at the long term; they are only interested in immediate returns, they are like businessmen and basically they were businessmen and the blowback has come despite the fact that it has been warned by their own secret services that this would happen.
Press TV: So, obviously they did not care about the people in this region and creating these entities and encouraging them to go to Syria; but are you also saying that they did not even care about their own back in Europe?
Zulficar: Well, they did not think this would happen. They disbelieved the reports sent by General Michael Flynn, who was head of Defense Intelligence. They disbelieved the French intelligence; they just did not take it into account, and basically these people did not believe it would happen.