Raid in Saint-Denis: France At War (Dispatch 3) – Vice News Published on Nov 18, 2015


Five days after Islamic State militants killed 129 people in a series of coordinated terror attacks across Paris, the French capital remains on edge. On Tuesday, the Eiffel Tower was evacuated because of a bomb scare, police on the scene told VICE News. Heavily armed cops and soldiers cordoned off the area for several hours, while tourists took selfies and watched from surrounding buildings.

Early Wednesday morning, security forces raided a building in the north Paris suburb of Saint-Denis in search of the suspected architect of the attacks. Seven people were arrested in the operation and two killed, including a female suicide bomber blew herself up.

Nevertheless, life in Paris continues. VICE News spoke with Parisians who had gathered to watch the France-England soccer match — in a pub just around the corner from one of Friday night’s bloody attack sites.

ISIS’ Mistake in Paris | By Daniel Byman November 2015


Why Going Global Might End Badly

`While France and its allies sift through the mountains of evidence and try to understand what happened, it is worth looking at the benefits and risks to ISIS of going global.

Initial reports about the Paris attacks suggest a disturbing possibility: that the Islamic State (also called by its old acronym ISIS) is changing its strategy and going global. Although this might seem like a no-brainer—hasn’t it always hated America?—in reality, ISIS has long focused its energies locally and regionally. The group gained the spotlight in 2014, when it surged across Iraq and Syria, conquering swaths of territory. But it has existed with different names (al Qaeda in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and so on) since at least 2004. For over a decade, it has conducted guerrilla and conventional war against the Iraqi and later Syrian governments, battled the moderate Syrian opposition and Kurdish fighters, and brutalized Muslims, particularly Shia, that it deemed as enemies. It also lashed out at Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other neighboring states to exacerbate sectarianism, punish governments for opposing the group, and win over supporters. ISIS did regularly call for attacks in the West, but such operations were largely the work of lone wolves.

Source: ISIS’ Mistake in Paris | Foreign Affairs

How US policies to stop terrorist financing end up hurting innocent families abroad – Vox – Updated by Dylan Matthews on November 18, 2015, 1:00 p.m. ET


A Western Union receipt. Remittances are particularly in danger from derisking. Matt Cardy/Getty ImagesOne of the most significant, but least covered, parts of the war on terror has been the Treasury Department’s effort to shut down al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups’ access to financial institutions. It’s an attractive way of tackling the problem: Freezing accounts here isn’t as expensive as sending in troops or airstrikes, and no civilians get hurt.Except the second part might not be true. A report released last week by the Center for Global Development, authored by a working group chaired by visiting fellow Clay Lowery and senior fellow Vijaya Ramachandran, argues that laws meant to counteract money laundering and terrorism financing are encouraging broader “derisking,” in which Western banks cut off ties with financial institutions in the developing world so as to reduce the odds that they’ll run afoul of regulations. The result is that developing-world banks, money transfer organizations (which handle remittances), and nonprofit organizations are losing access to the financial system as a whole.That can have real human consequences. People in countries like Somalia or Nigeria who rely on remittances from relatives in rich countries like the US could see fewer transfers or higher fees. NGOs doing health programs or cash transfers could see programs scaled back due to lack of banking. Foreign investment in developing countries could decrease due to fewer big international banks dealing in those countries.

Source: How US policies to stop terrorist financing end up hurting innocent families abroad – Vox

Europe Will Unite Against Security Threats – By SIMON NIXON Nov. 15, 2015 6:44 p.m. ET


The forces that bind together the EU are stronger than those threatening to rend it

Demonstrators attended a Paris unity rally in January.

Demonstrators attended a Paris unity rally in January. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

The last time Islamic terrorists attacked Paris, they brought Europeans closer together.

Following the Charlie Hebdo murders in January, citizens from across the continent took to social media to show solidarity using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie. European leaders walked arm-in-arm in Paris in defense of European values and free speech. Governments promised to work even more closely together to combat terrorism and religious extremism.

The latest attacks on Paris have engendered similar displays of sympathy, but they do so against an altogether more contested political landscape.

The arrival of more than a million refugees in the European Union this year has fueled tensions both within and between countries. Razor wire fences once again run along some borders between EU members; several governments have reintroduced border checks; trust in the willingness and capacity of countries to enforce EU rules has been severely eroded; and the principle of free movement of people within the EU—a cornerstone of integration—has been widely called into question.

Only the day before the Paris attacks, European Council President Donald Tusk warned that the survival of the EU’s Schengen passport-free travel zone was at stake.

The fact that one of the Paris terrorists appears to have entered Greece alongside refugees in October—and evidence of a possible Belgian link to the plot—is bound to further erode public confidence in open borders. It may also boost support for right-wing populist politicians who insist that the answer to the terrorist threat and migration crises lies in national—rather than European—solutions.

Yet there is little sign so far that any national government is tempted by this populist agenda. Even the new right-wing Polish government, which initially responded to the Paris attacks by saying it would no longer participate in the EU’s refugee resettlement program, backtracked somewhat from its position on Sunday.

Instead, the attacks seem more likely to underline the central message behind Mr. Tusk’s warning: that unless EU governments swiftly take the necessary steps to restore trust in the security of the EU’s external borders, the wider benefits of European integration, including its single market, risk being lost.

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http://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-will-unite-against-security-threats-1447631040

 

Fear And Tolerance: France At War (Dispatch 1) – Vice News Published on Nov 15, 2015


On Friday evening, eight heavily armed gunmen wearing suicide vests opened fire and detonated bombs at locations across Paris, killing at least 129 people and injuring more than 300 in Europe’s deadliest terrorist attack in over a decade. Soon after, the French government declared a state of emergency and put the capital city on lockdown. Residents of Paris were warned not to leave their homes.

On Saturday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the coordinated assaults. A Syrian passport was found near one of the suicide attackers, and a Greek official later told reporters it belonged to a man entered Europe through Greece in October. French President Francois Hollande referred to the massacre as “an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army.”

Hours after the attack, VICE News arrived in Paris to witness a city in mourning. At the Place de la République, reaction to the mass killings was mixed. Some French citizens issued pleas for tolerance and unity in the days ahead. Many expressed fear about future Islamic State attacks. And others argued the shootings would inspire a backlash against the ongoing flow of refugees into Europe.

Watch “Exclusive Interview with ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Cartoonist Luz” – http://bit.ly/1X0kT8W

French Police Identify One of Assailants in Paris Attacks – By NOEMIE BISSERBE Nov. 15, 2015 4:11 a.m. ET


Omar Ismail Mostefai identified from severed finger at Bataclan concert hall

Flowers and tributes on the sidewalk on Sunday near the scene of Friday's attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

Flowers and tributes on the sidewalk on Sunday near the scene of Friday’s attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris. Photo: Getty Images

 

PARIS—French police named a 29-year-old Frenchman as one of the seven attackers who killed at least 129 people in Paris on Friday and left hundreds wounded.

Police said that Omar Ismail Mostefai was identified from a severed finger found at the Bataclan concert hall, where gunmen killed 89 people before blowing themselves up using explosive belts when police moved in.

French police haven’t yet named any of the other attackers.

At Paris Stadium, Attacker May Have Been Thwarted

A man apparently set to detonate his suicide vest tried to enter the France-versus-Germany soccer match at Stade de France, but was turned away by security guards and subsequently set-off his explosives. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday has the details. Photo: Associated Press

Around thirty-six hours after gunmen wreaked havoc at the sports arena, as well as at a concert hall and through Paris’s streets, French officials have begun piecing together the scenario of coordinated attacks.

Another of Friday’s attackers recently entered Europe as a Syrian migrant, people familiar with the matter said, suggesting gaps in the continent’s security as it copes with the biggest refugee crisis in decades.

Article continues:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/french-police-identify-one-of-assailants-in-paris-attacks-1447578692

 

The Easy Days Are Over – By William Saletan NOV. 14 2015 8:06 PM


After Paris, this period of relative peace and easy libertarianism is coming to an end.

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If you’re an 18-year-old American, you were 3 or 4 when al-Qaida hit the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. You haven’t seen a major terrorist strike in your country since then. Maybe you heard about the attacks in Madrid in 2004, London in 2005, or Mumbai in 2008. But aside from the occasional lone-wolf incident—Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, or the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013—you’ve been lucky.

You’ve grown up in an era of peace at home: no world wars, no cold war, and little fear of being blown up or gunned down by militants. It’s an era of libertarianism: We’re less afraid of bad guys coming to kill us, so we don’t see why Uncle Sam should track our phone calls. It’s also an era of isolationism, because our troops have fought two wars overseas, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they haven’t turned out well. We’re sick of those wars, and we feel pretty safe at home. So we don’t want to go fight again.

The libertarianism and isolationism of our time crosses party lines. It affects President Obama, who came into office promising to bring our troops home. But it also affects Republicans. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Republican presidential candidate who has campaigned on a platform of sending troops to fight ISIS, couldn’t even garner enough support in the polls to get into his party’s undercard debate last week. And if you study surveys on national security and domestic surveillance, you’ll find that Republicans are, by some measures, more hostile to surveillance than Democrats are.

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