TW Viewpoint | Is France Under Attack?

December 19, 2018 | Michael Heykoop

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Just before lunch time on January 7, 2015, two brothers forcibly entered the offices of a weekly newspaper. Brandishing rifles, the men sprayed bullets throughout the lobby killing a maintenance worker. They then forced a woman to show them to the newspaper's offices on the second floor where they continued until a total of 12 lay dead. The Charlie Hebdo attack was, at the time, "France's worst terrorist attack in a generation." It does not hold that distinction today. Is France under attack?

Fast-forward nearly 4 years and add more than 200 additional deaths from attacks on theatres, a supermarket, at restaurants, and a crowd celebrating in the streets. In the wake of the Bastille Day attacks, where a 19 tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds of people, Manuel Valls, the French Prime Minister, stated, "The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism."

This was not a statement of subjugation. Rather, he wanted to implore his nation to react with calm and steadfastness, to realize that France has become a target of terrorism. When we think of terrorism, most think of massive, multi-faceted, coordinated efforts which take years of planning and everything developing just right in order to occur, like the 9/11 attacks, 2004 Madrid train bombings and the London bombings of 2005.

Instead, the strategy now seems to be that of bombarding the target nation, in this case France, with repeated attacks carried out by an assortment of small terror cells and radicalized individuals. The effects upon the nation of France are evident. The loss of life and long term injuries of course are the most tragic effects. Homes, restaurants and theatres needing to be rebuilt and massively increased security are inescapable proofs of a new reality.

The Schengen Information System database allows European nations to compare notes on the continent's most dangerous residents. In 2017, more than 134,000 individuals were flagged for checks. 60 percent, or more than 78,000, of those came from France. The next highest nation was Britain with only 16,991 individuals flagged.

While some are calling this a misuse of the system, clearly there are those who believe France is under attack and that this system offers greater information with which to defend the nation. France is hardly the only Western European nation with a large immigrant population from predominantly Muslim nations. Germany, and the Netherlands have a similar proportion of Muslim immigrants. Yet France has seen far more incidents of terrorist activities. Why? Because France is under attack! In 2014, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, a spokesman for ISIS gave the following rallying cry to radical Muslims including would be ISIS fighters:

"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European - especially the spiteful and filthy French - or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that are in the coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah and kill him in any manner . . . "

With guns, knives, and cargo vans, it appears his listeners have obeyed.

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