“The Paris attacks prompted intense scrutiny of ineffective and convoluted governance in Belgium, where a vast majority of the attackers had ties.”
New York Times (December 24 2016)
“We must accept to live with the idea that other attacks are likely, that other attacks will happen. The potential actors are already here.”
Alain Winants — Former Head of the Belgian State Security Service
November 13 2019 — The November 2015 Paris attacks were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks that took place on Friday November 13 2015 in Paris, France and the city’s northern suburb, Saint-Denis. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: Paris attacks — Belgium formally charges Yassine Atar
RELATED POST: Welcome to Belgistan! [Is Belgium a Failed State?]
RELATED POST: How Europe Left Itself Open to Terrorism
Beginning at 21:16 CET, three suicide bombers struck outside the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, during a football match.
This was followed by several mass shootings and a suicide bombing, at cafés and restaurants.
Gunmen carried out another mass shooting and took hostages at an Eagles of Death Metal concert in the Bataclan Theatre, leading to a stand-off with police.
The attackers were shot or blew themselves up when police raided the theatre.
The attackers killed 130 people, including 90 at the Bataclan Theatre. Another 413 people were injured, almost 100 seriously.
Oussama Atar, a Belgian of Moroccan descent, is now widely believed to be the mastermind of both the Paris and Brussels attacks.
On November 7 2018, the French DGSE confirmed Oussama Atar’s death.
French news website Mediapart, citing France’s General Directorate of External Security (DGSE), confirmed that Oussama Atar was killed by an airstrike by the international anti-jihadist coalition in Syria.
“On November 17th, 2017, a strike by the international coalition in Syria killed the Belgian Oussama Atar.”
The Belgian Federal Prosecution Service did not wish to comment upon the information.
So, Oussama Atar is dead, but many questions regarding his activities in Belgium remain unexplained.
According to an official letter, the Iraqis (Read: “the Americans”) had released Atar on two conditions. First, Atar would not be allowed to travel, and thus the Belgian Foreign Ministry would not give him a passport. Second, his activities would be monitored.
Even though Atar’s name was on the Belgian foreign fighters list, he visited his cousins — the El Bakraoui brothers, who had been arrested for criminal activity — at two separate prisons on the outskirts of Brussels 20 times. These two cousins are two of the suicide-bombers who later carried out the Brussels attacks.
The Belgian Foreign Ministry did issue a passport to Ousama Atar. The reasons for this remain a mystery to this day.
One should never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
At the same time, one should not rule out malice altogether. Four years after the attacks, there are still many darks corners to that affair.
Atar’s lawyer — Vincent Lurqin — had appealed to Belgian intelligence for more information.
A letter from Belgian Intelligence shows that they denied knowing anything about Atar. At the same time, they refused a court order to turn over his intelligence file!
In May 2006, the CIA informed the Belgian Intelligence Services that Oussama Atar is jailed at Cropper Camp in Irak. [Keep in mind that he had been arrested in Ramadi, then under the control of al-Qaeda.]
A Belgian Intelligence officer — André Jacob — was sent to Irak to interview Oussama Atar. The ‘interview’ lasted about one week.
On April 9 2008, Atar’s release from jail is decided at the highest level of the Belgian Government by the Comité Ministeriel de Renseignement et de la Sureté [CMRS].
On April 18 2008, the Belgian Foreign Ministry requests Atar’s release. In exchange, it offers promises to the Iraqi government that Atar will be monitored and not allowed to travel (no passport).
According to Didier Reynders — who was a member of the CMRS in April 2008 — the Belgian Intelligence Services had a keen interest in the release of Oussama Atar. And why would that be?
In a piece titled “The Islamic State of Molenbeek” published by the New York Times on April 11 2016, Roger Cohen — a former journalist who worked for Reuters in Brussels — wrote:
“A jihadi loves a vacuum, as Syria demonstrates. Belgium as a state, and Belgium as the heart of the European Union are as close to a vacuum as Europe offers these days. (…) There is a vacuum. Vacuums are dangerous.”
It is becoming increasingly difficult to disagree with the harsh criticism expressed by Cohen and other experts. It would seem fair to quote William Shakespeare: “There is something rotten in the State of… Belgium.”
But, as the French Newspaper “Le Monde” wrote after the Paris attacks, Belgium is a Nation without a State.
1985 May 4 — Born in Laeken, Belgium
1999/2000 — First visit to Syria. Lives in Idlib
2002 — Ousama Atar travels to Syria
2004 — Atar goes back in 2004 before travelling to Iraq.
2005 — Arrested in Ramadi for crossing the border illegally/weapons trafficking
2005 May 24 — Life sentence
2006 May — The CIA informs the Belgian Intelligence Services that Oussama Atar is jailed at Cropper Camp in Iraq.
2006 — A Belgian Intelligence officer — André Jacob — is sent to Iraq to interview Oussama Atar. The ‘interview’ lasted about one week.
2007 February 28 — Under pressure from the Belgian government, the sentence is reduced to 10 years
2008 April 9 — Atar’s release from jail is decided at the highest level of the Belgian Government by the Comité Ministeriel de Renseignement et de la Sureté [CMRS].
2008 April 18 — The Belgian Foreign Ministry requests Atar’s release. In exchange, it offers promises that will be monitored and not allowed to travel (no passport).
2009 — A letter sent from the US Embassy to Belgian officials in Jordan outlines how Atar attempted a prison break with terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
2010 May — Amnesty International raises concerns about Atar’s general state of well-being to the Iraqi authorities
2010 Summer — Atar receives a consular visit from the Belgian embassy in Amman
2010 October 9 — The Belgian government [Website of Foreign Affairs] publicly reveals that repeated requests were made by Belgium to the Iraqi government to consider an early release of Oussama Atar for humanitarian reasons
2010 October 9 — Belgian politicians Zoé Genot, Ahmed Mouhssine, Jamal Ikazban and Ahmed El Khannouss participate in a campaign to free Oussama Atar
2010 November 14 — Amnesty International “call for action” to activists. “Oussama Atar, a 26-year-old Belgian national, is in need of urgent medical care at al-Rusafa Prison in Iraq.” [This information is false]
2012 September 16 — Oussama Atar returns to Belgium
2013 — Belgian Foreign Ministry delivers a passport to Oussama Atar
2013 December 30 — Atar is arrested in Hammamet, Tunisia. He is released and disappears. He later reappears in the Syria-Irak area.
2015 (Summer) — Belgian Police learns that Khalid El Bakraoui asked friends to gather “as much Kalashnikov ammunition as possible”.
2015 October 21 — Khalid El Bakraoui’s house is searched. Investigators find “calls for jihad” and “photos of known terrorists” on his laptop. Nothing is done. He is NOT arrested.
2015 November 13 — Paris attacks
2015 December — After the arrest of two “returnees” from Syria, the investigators learned about known as ‘Abu Ahmad’, a terrorist involved in recruiting a number of Islamist militants for attacks in Europe. Later, a computer — found in garbage — establishes the identity of Abu Ahmad as Oussama Atar.
2016 March 22 — Brussels attacks
2017 June 2 — Yassine Atar — brother of Oussama — is charged with ‘terrorist assassinations’
2017 November 17 — Atar is killed in Syria
2018 February 22 — Oussama Atar is reported dead
2018 November 7 — Atar’s death is confirmed
Special Report: Paris Attacks Aftermath & Manhunt (Sky News)
Paris attacks: Did intelligence fail in France?
November 2015 Paris attacks — Wikipedia
On This Day — The Paris Attacks (November 13 2015)
On This Day — The Paris Attacks (November 13 2015)