Within hours of the killings in Brussels, commentators were speculating about whether the bombings were “revenge” for the arrest of Salah Abdeslam.
Abdeslam is said to have been involved in the Paris attacks last November, and linked to Isis.
Whoever is responsible for the horrific bombings, politicians and the media will use them as an excuse to ramp up more racism and Islamophobia.
There will be more attacks on Muslims in Britain, who are already demonised and scapegoated by politicians and the media and hounded by the government’s Prevent strategy.
Politicians will point to the Brussels bombings to justify their assaults in Syria and tightening of the border controls that leave refugees to drown.
Such measures will only make further terrible events more likely. The root of these horrors is the devastation inflicted by imperialist war and intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and other countries.
Wars launched by the leaders of the US, Britain and France have created huge resentment and created the space in which groups such as Isis can grow. These same leaders back the brutal governments that have turned back the tide of Arab revolution—which offered hope.
There is nothing remotely anti-imperialist about the bombings. But the reality is that more repression will mean more attacks. In the wake of the Paris attacks the French government declared a “state of emergency”—that’s still in place—banning protests and increasing border controls.
In the first 12 days French cops carried out more than 1,600 raids, mainly in poorer Paris suburbs with higher Muslim populations such as Saint-Denis. Almost 300 people were placed under some form of house arrest.
The French state also took the opportunity to ban large gatherings, protests and demonstrations.
At the time Brussels was placed under lockdown after police traced Belgian-born Abdeslam there.
The army patrolled the streets and police carried out raid after raid.
In Britain many said that Britain’s border controls which trapped thousands of refugees in the Calais “jungle” camp were essential to keep terrorists out.
And the Tories, backed by a significant bunch of Labour MPs, launched a drive for war that led to British planes bombing Syria in “solidarity” with France.
Neither the bombing of Syria, the scapegoating of Muslims or the callous treatment of refugees did anything to halt Tuesday’s bombings in Brussels.
Everyone who marched last weekend, and all those who opposed the bombing of Syria must now work to ensure that these bombings are not used to increase the tide of racism, Islamophobia and war.