16 November 2015 - Paris Attacks
Rowena Mason, Vikram Dodd, Kevin Rawlinson and agencies (The Guardian)
David Cameron has said the UK must be prepared for a number of British casualties from the Paris atrocity as he condemned the “brutal and callous murderers”.
In a statement from Downing Street, the prime minister expressed solidarity with France and warned that “however much we prepare, we in the UK face the same threat”.
Ahead of a phone call with the French president, François Hollande, Cameron described Friday’s attacks as the “worst act of violence on French soil since the second world war and in Europe for a decade”.
“Shocked, but resolute. In sorrow, but unbowed. My message to the French people is simple: Nous sommes solidaires avec vous. Nous sommes tous ensemble. We stand with you, united.”
Barack Obama calls Paris massacre 'outrageous'
"This is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share," Obama said in a statement delivered in the White House Briefing Room. "We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance the people of France need to respond."
Obama added, "This is a heartbreaking situation, and obviously those of us here in the United States know what it's like and we've gone through these kinds of episodes ourselves."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was scheduled to land in France for a state visit on Sunday before going on to Italy but has now reportedly canceled the trip, sent a message to his French counterpart Francois Hollande calling the attacks “crimes against humanity,” the news agencies of both countries reported.
Hollande also received a phone call from U.S. President Barack Obama, who “reiterated the United States’ steadfast, unwavering support for the people of France, our oldest ally and friend.” He also offered any necessary support for the French investigation of the attacks, according to the White House.
“This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share,” Obama had earlier said in a statement.
Multiculturalism and cultural assimilation
Kenan Malik (The Guardian)
Whoever the Paris killers may eventually turn out to be, until now much of the problem of terrorism in Europe has been created not by foreign terrorists but by homegrown jihadis. The Kouachi brothers, for instance, responsible for the Charlie Hebdo killings in January, were born and raised in Paris. So was Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who, that same weekend, attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris and killed four hostages. Three of the four suicide bombers responsible for the 7/7 attack on London tubes and a bus were born in Britain.
In the past, when London was seen as the capital of Islamism and of terror groups – Londonistan, many called it – French politicians and policy-makers suggested that Britain faced a particular problem because of its multicultural policies. Such policies, they claimed, were divisive, failing to create a common set of values or sense of nationhood. As a result, many Muslims were drawn towards Islamism and violence. “Assimilationist” policies, French politicians insisted, avoided the divisive consequences of multiculturalism and allowed every individual to be treated as a citizen, not as a member of a particular racial or cultural group.
Paris attacks: Why France? Is it particularly vulnerable to terrorism?
And is there anything Australians can learn from the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the atrocities on the weekend that have so far killed 129?
Like Australia, France is a multicultural country, but it does multiculturalism in quite a different way from Australia.
At the heart of its democracy is "laicite" – an extreme form of secularism that Deakin University academic Greg Barton described as "a bit silly".
The policy makes it difficult to measure how many Muslims live in France, because no data is allowed to be collected on ethnicity and religion. But there are estimated to be about 5 million Muslims living there, or 7.5 per cent of the population, the largest Muslim population in Europe.
Europe must have stronger borders
Telegraph View (The Telegraph)
Not for the first time, world leaders are meeting in the aftermath of a terrorist atrocity in the heart of a major European capital. In July 2005, the G8 summit was under way in Gleneagles when news came of the bomb attacks on the London transport network. Yesterday, the leaders of the G20 gathered in Turkey for talks that have inevitably been dominated by the massacre in Paris.
In 2005, as now, the rest of the world united behind the country targeted by the bombers. Tony Blair said they “will not prevail”, just as French president François Hollande now promises a merciless campaign against the Islamist group that has claimed responsibility for the attack and increases his airstrikes against them.
But the biggest shock in 2005 was to discover that the bombers in London were actually British citizens and had not been flown in from overseas to kill and maim, even if they had been trained abroad by al-Qaeda.
After Paris Attacks, Don't Close Doors to Refugees – Open Them
The anti-Muslim ugliness began as soon as the attacks in Paris became international news. Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz said in a statement Friday evening that the U.S. must "immediately declare a halt to any plans to bring refugees" from Syria into the United States. Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said more or less the same, while South Carolina's Jeff Duncan asked cynically on Twitter, "How's that Syrian refugee resettlement look now?"
As German Lopez pointed out in Vox, these politicians have it backwards. Terrorist attacks in Western cities should make us more sympathetic to refugees fleeing Syria: The horror in Paris Friday evening is a daily reality of the civil war they're trying to escape.
There will be more calls in the coming days to close the United States' borders to refugees, and in France and the rest of Europe, those voices will likely be deafening. Already in the midst of a refugee crisis, European nations may give in to anger and fear and shut their doors for good. Congress will urge President Obama to do the same and cancel modest plans to resettle some refugees from Syria.
The deadly attacks that rocked Paris on Friday night raise questions about how effective France's efforts have been to improve security following the Charlie Hebdo killings, and whether lawmakers there will change their position on immigration in the face of Europe's refugee crisis.
Police and other security forces have been a common sight in Paris since the January 2015 attack on the satirical news magazine, drawing on a hard-earned reputation for fighting extremist violence.
"French security services have been dealing with terrorism since the 1960s," said Christian Leuprecht, an instructor with the Royal Military College of Canada.
"But despite all the experience and the legislative framework, they were unable to prevent these attacks," Leuprecht told CBC News by phone from Lyon, France.
"That suggests this type of attack could happen anywhere."
Jeff Guo (The Washington Post)
The eight men involved in the terror attacks last night in Paris have not yet been identified, but tentative reports say that they were a mix of nationalities, with at least one of them being French.
President Francois Hollande hinted at his suspicions about a domestic connection in a speech Saturday. “This is an act of war that was prepared, organized, and planned from the outside, with complicity from the inside that the investigation will establish,” he said.
The country, Hollande said, “will do everything within its power and within the law, on every terrain, domestically and abroad, with our allies who are themselves targeted by this terrorist threat.”
France, more so than any other country in Europe, has been struggling with radicalization within its borders. It’s estimated that France has sent more fighters to Syria and Iraq than any other European country, as these figures from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence show.
Paris Attacker Is an Example of France’s Homegrown Terrorists
How Mostefai went from a hipster teenager in Chartres, about 80 miles southwest of Paris, to suicide terrorist is beyond anyone who knew him in this bucolic hamlet at the mouth of the famous Loire Valley. Mostefai, thus far the only assailant identified in the Paris terror attacks, lived here from at least 2004 to 2012 with his parents, two brothers and two sisters. Neighbors say the 29-year-old married here and had a baby daughter before moving away.
“They were a beautiful family,” says a neighbor of Moroccan descent who moved across the street in 2005 and wished to remain nameless for fear of radical reprisals. “Omar, as we called him, was a normal guy in sneakers and baggy pants. He had long hair and a thin, hip beard.” In the street in front of Mostefai’s former house here on Sunday white, black and Arab boys all played soccer together.
An Act of War
The challenge for threatened countries is huge. The sort of attacks the Islamic State, or ISIS, has launched are hard to anticipate or prevent, yet in Europe each one intensifies the raucous xenophobia of far-right nationalists ever ready to demonize Muslim citizens, immigrants and refugees, and shut down Europe’s open internal borders. The Islamic State must be crushed, but that requires patience, determination and the coordination of strategies and goals that has been sorely lacking among countries involved in the war on ISIS, especially the United States and Russia.
President François Hollande of France defiantly declared the attacks in Paris “an act of war” and vowed a “pitiless” response. On Sunday, French warplanes bombarded Raqqa, the Syrian city that is an ISIS stronghold. Mr. Hollande is expected to offer other proposals when he addresses the French Parliament at a special session in Versailles on Monday. France already has some of Europe’s most intensive antiterrorist policing; adopting draconian measures of the sort demanded by far-right nationalists like Marine Le Pen of the National Front can only further alienate France’s Muslim population of five million, without offering any assurance against more attacks.
What happened in Paris: After the massacre, all that's left is the right in France
John Lichfield (The Independent)
Everyone – left, right, far right – agrees. France is at war. There the agreement ends. Unlike the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo and other jihadist murders in Paris in January, there is no mood of political unity in France. Right and far right have accused the centre-left government of being soft on Islamist radicals and too politically correct to take a tough line with France’s three million Muslims.
The former President Nicolas Sarkozy wants France to join forces with Russia and the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad.
The far-right leader Marine le Pen wants France to shut itself up like a clam and barricade its borders. Various barons of the hard right and far right have called for the mass arrest and “internment” of everyone vaguely suspected of sympathy with extremist Islam. On 16 November, President François Hollande will address a rare joint meeting of both houses of parliament in the Palace of Versailles. He will promise an unpitying campaign against Isis and its minions in France – and in Syria and Iraq. He will also insist that the democratic world must win the long war with Isis by remaining true to our values of openness and tolerance (even if we are not always quite as open and tolerant as we claim).
Michael D. Shear and Peter Baker (The New York Times)
For President Obama, the short-term response to the terrorist attacks in Paris was straightforward and relatively easy: The American military and intelligence agencies provided information to help French warplanes bomb Islamic State targets on Sunday in the group’s stronghold in northern Syria.
Determining the long-term response, however, may be exponentially harder. Even as Mr. Obama searched for ways to step up the war against the terrorist group, which has expanded its operations beyond its territory in Iraq and Syria, senior White House officials on Sunday again ruled out the introduction of substantial numbers of American ground troops.
The French airstrikes may have been a potent show of defiance, but it was not clear that they represented a major shift in the American coalition’s overall strategy.
Paul Farrell (The Guardian)
The French president, Francois Hollande, described the Paris attacks as an “act of war” that must be “mercilessly” countered and on Monday, France launched a major airstrike against an Islamic State stronghold in Raqqa.
The attacks have renewed calls from some for greater military intervention in Syria; up to and including the launch of military forces on the ground. But is it lawful for countries to engage in greater military action against Isis?
Every country that attempts to pursue greater military action will still need to navigate its own domestic legal systems. This might involve approvals from parliament or congress, or the nation’s leader may be able to initiate such action without any approval.
Setting aside these domestic considerations, the basis in international law for France, the US, Australia, Britain and the coalition of nations that have been involved in bombings so far is unclear.
Emma Graham-Harrison (The Guardian)The arsenal of weapons deployed by the eight attackers who terrorised Paris on Friday night underlined France’s gun control problems and raised the spectre of further attacks.
The country has extremely strict weapons laws, but Europe’s open borders and growing trade in illegal weapons means assault rifles are relatively easy to come by on the black market.
They feature regularly in gang warfare and were used by both the Charlie Hebdo killers and an extremist who targeted a Jewish school and paratroopers in 2012 shootings around Toulouse in the south of the country.
The suicide vests are less easy for would-be attackers to source because an amateur would struggle to create one.
“Suicide vests require a munitions specialist. To make a reliable and effective explosive is not something anyone can do,” a former French intelligence chief told Agence France-Presse, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Pour citer cette ressource :
"16 November 2015 - Paris Attacks", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), novembre 2015. Consulté le 21/09/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2015/16-november-2015-paris-attacks