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Belgium battles 'failed state' tag after Paris attacks

Police officers pat down a woman before she enters the square where people take part in a candle light vigil for the victims of the Paris attacks in the Molenbeek district, on November 18, 2015Belgium is battling accusations that it has become a “failed state” whose linguistic and communal divisions contributed to failures that let it become a jihadist base for the Paris attacks. Years of increasing federalism have deepened rifts between the wealthy country’s French-, Flemish- and German-speaking regions, leaving it with little sense of nationhood and a dysfunctional, multi-layered bureaucracy. A brief moment of unity in the face of its own terror alert in Brussels merely papered over the underlying problems that made Belgium unable to dismantle a leading European jihadist hotspot that produced two of the Paris attackers.

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