Is Paris burning? Inside the ISIS attack, past and future questions

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

Published in The Jerusalem Post November 16, 2015
The state of emergency declared by French President Francois Hollande on November 13 in response to the massive terrorist attacks in Paris put in place a number of measures that hadn’t been used since the Second World War. A citywide curfew went into effect and martial law was declared. With more than 120 killed in the attacks and almost another 100 critically wounded, this is the highest death toll since 1944 as well.

One fugitive on the run

One fugitive on the run

There is a palpable feeling that the attacks on France represent a turning point in history. Commentators wondered how the “city of light” could be invaded by gun-wielding terrorists, intent only on murder. As many have pointed out, there has been a slow build-up to these Islamist attacks: the Toulouse and Montauban shootings in 2012, the Charlie Hebdo and kosher supermarket attacks in January, the Lyon beheading in June and the Thalys train attack in August.
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THIS ARTICLE reveals a number of details about the large number of ISIS fighters who came from France:

  • “There are 3,000 Europeans in Iraq and Syria…do you realize the threat this represents…there have already been nearly 90 French people who have died…” Prime Minister Manuel Valls
  • International Centre for the Study of Radicalization estimated that some 1,200 French citizens were in Syria and Iraq
  • France should “stop people from leaving because those who leave and come back, they come back after having seen executions, beheadings and crucifixions,” Bernard Cazeneuve, Interior Minister, September, 2014
  • Ed Royce, Chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN that 185 IS members were in France after returning from Syria and Iraq.
  • One of those identified came through the Greek island of Leros last month. “It shows how important it is for us to have some clarity on who is in our country,” said Horst Seehofer, the Bavarian state premier.

I conclude: A new kind of evil in the form of IS has tried to do what he prevented, and we must stand vigilant that this evil’s long trail of murder, going back to the genocide of the Yezidis and others, is finally stopped.

2 responses to “Is Paris burning? Inside the ISIS attack, past and future questions

  1. Hi Seth, I love reading your articles, but this is the first time I will be writing a comment.
    When I look upon current events, I feel the inclination that European media has taken an excessive ideological perspective on this issue. As people are overtly ideological, they may interpret these attacks as strictly symbolic, whereas I believe there may be a strategic intention to ISIS tactics. Although politicians and public outlets can, and should react, I have concerns that these reactions may not only be desired, but also sought by ISIS. In other words, they know exactly “which buttons to push”.
    Allow me to explain further: it would be hard to deny that ISIS has learned one thing over the last two years, and that is how many recruits they have managed to enlist from Europe during their campaigns. I might be wrong, but is there a possibility that even ISIS was surprised over the recruitment potential they have in Europe’s suburbs? That these attacks are part of a new strategy to ferment discord among native Europeans and immigrant populations? Such discord would lead to fear, and more marginalized youth to recruit (the French police now have emergency powers which have on earlier occasions singled out France’s muslim community).
    Or as events have already unfolded, the attacks were an attempt to provoke greater military intervention, for regardless of their intentions, western military operations have in the past always resulted in an anti-American/European sentiment, no matter how meticulous. If this is the reaction ISIS desires, then we are in fact dancing to their tune.
    Best regards,
    Kristoffer

  2. Pingback: Two years of covering ISIS, and I got it right | Seth J. Frantzman·

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