France – ‘Why has France been targeted again?’ (Telegraph, 2015)

By Harry Eagles (2016-17)

Analysis of ‘Why has France been targeted again?’ (The Telegraph, 14th November 2015)

On the evening of Friday 13th November 2015 Paris was hit by eight coordinated attacks. The nine assailants, armed with Kalashnikovs, grenades and Suicide vests, indiscriminately attacked restaurants, the Stade de France and the Bataclan concert hall. At the restaurants Le Carrilon and Le Petit Cambodge in Paris’ 10th arrondissement, 15 young people were killed when three gunmen opened fire[1]. From there the gunmen moved on to the pizzeria Casa Nostra where they killed 5, before launching an attack on the bar La Belle Equipe, killing 19[2]. At around the same time, three explosions took place near the Stade de France during a friendly football game between France and Germany. Denied access to the stadium, all three of the suicide bombers blew themselves up outside, killing themselves and one other[3]. A little over an hour later, three gunmen wearing suicide vests entered the Bataclan concert hall, where the band Eagles of Death Metal were playing, and opened fire on the audience, killing 90. After a standoff lasting nearly three hours, French police stormed the building killing one assailant as the other two activated their suicide belts[4]. The total death toll of the attacks stood at 130 with hundreds more injured; it was Europe’s worst terrorist attack in 11 years.

The group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks, stating that it was in retaliation for France’s participation in airstrikes on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria[5]. The Islamic State is the most important off-shoot of al Qaeda, having broken violently with the organisation in 2013 to pursue its own objectives and tactics[6]. It first received international attention in 2014 when it seized control of large parts of Iraq; then, as the civil war in Syria began to unfold, they quickly established themselves there too[7]. In the areas under its control it has implemented a strict interpretation of Sharia law, and public stoning and beheading is common. The group follows an extreme interpretation of Sunni Islam, considering themselves the only true believers – a justification they have used in attacks against Muslims and non-Muslims alike[8].

Whilst it continues to control large parts of Iraq and Syria, Islamic State ambitions are far more grandiose: its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has outlined his vision of a caliphate that will “conquer Rome and own the world”[9]. Having consolidated its control over key strategic areas such as Raqqa and Mosul towards the end of 2014, ISIS began to claim responsibility for attacks outside of Syria and Iraq. In late 2015 it claimed the bombing of a Russian passenger plane that killed all 228 on board, and twin blasts in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, where 41 people are thought to have died[10]. On the 14th November 2015 it claimed responsibility for the aforementioned attack in Paris.

As is characteristic of attacks of a similar scale, there is a wealth of information on the gruesome details of the Paris attack. Rather than simply regurgitate this information, this critical analysis focuses on the causes and motives behind why it happened. It includes an analysis of how targeted punitive governmental policies and a growing divide within French society has created a volatile situation in which France has become an attractive target for Islamic extremists.

‘Why has France been targeted again?’

As a starting point for my critical analysis I have looked at an article by Harriet Alexander that was first published in The Telegraph on Saturday 14th November 2015, the day after the violence. Alexander’s article, “Paris terror attacks: Why has France been targeted again?”[11], differs remarkably from those that could be found in other mainstream news publications: French morning papers were dominated by the words carnage, horror and war[12], whilst in the UK newspapers spoke of “terror” and “confusion”[13]. Rather than painting a similar picture of the scene, Alexander instead focuses on why Islamic extremists had targeted Paris once again. The strength of the article is that, whether intentionally or not, it begins to deal with an often overlooked, yet vitally important question: How can we stop attacks like the one in Paris if we do not know why they happened?

All too often the media ‘first response’ articles to Islamic extremist violence, whether intentionally or not, barely touch on why the assailants would want to kill so many innocent people. Instead they tend to label the perpetrators by their Muslim faith as if it is reason enough for why they would commit such a heinous act. Journalists often reference that the Jihadists shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great in Arabic), a common Islamic phrase that has been hijacked by the media as much as the jihadists as a means of inciting an instant fear of Islam – this fear sells papers. It is also common for articles to use strongly emotive language to describe the violence, as can be seen in a Daily Mail summary of the attack on the Bataclan, “Armed with AK47 machine guns and shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’, four of the group marched into a rock concert at the Bataclan theatre, massacring up to 100 people and taking dozens hostage.”[14] Emotive language such as “marched” and “massacre” suggest a high level of military efficiency. Such language is typically used to evoke strong feelings of anger, hatred and loathing, which perversely tends to have the effect of drawing the reader in to read more.

Alexander’s article is different to those that can be found in many British papers in that it does not feature the use of highly emotive language, such as “marching” and “massacre”. It also does not include mention of how the assailants carried out the attack, or that they shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they did it. Instead Alexander analyses how Paris is a “tantalising target” to Islamist extremists and why the attackers would be influenced to strike so indiscriminately[15]. She reasons that it is a “potent, explosive mix” of France’s fight with Jihadists worldwide, a large and poorly integrated Muslim population, and a stream of guns entering the country that caused the Charlie Hebdo attack of January 2015, and then the Paris shootings of November the same year[16].

Indeed, France has seemingly led the way in the war against Islamist Extremism over the past few years with over 10,000 troops deployed abroad in places like Mali and Iraq. France’s willingness to intervene against jihadist groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda has placed them in the line of fire from any number of countries and as Alexander noted, “This is for Syria” one of the Paris attackers reportedly said. But he could have said it was for Mali, or Libya, or Iraq.”[17]

Alexander goes on to say that France’s biggest problem, however, is internal. She notes how a lack of high profile Muslim role models, a growing secular state, the banning of the burka and the emergence of the Front National have only raised tensions[18]. Briefly profiling the perpetrators of recent Jihadist attacks, the article demonstrates how Mohamed Merah (the Toulouse shooter of 2012), Mehdi Nemouche (murderer of four in Brussels in 2014) and Cherif Kouachi & Amedy Coulibaly (Charlie Hebdo) had all followed a “similar trajectory of lack of opportunity, descent into criminality, prison and radicalisation.”[19] At the time of writing it was not clear who had carried out the attacks, yet Alexander’s analysis of the path taken by French Muslims turned jihadi was equally applicable to the assailants in the November 2015 attack. Of the attackers, Salah Abdeslam, Brahim Abdeslam, Chakib Akrouh, Omar Ismail Mostefai and Samy Amimour, all had criminal convictions before the night of 13th November 2015[20].

Whilst radicalisation is an apparent problem across much of France, it is in prison that Alexander reports France has the most serious issue, with very few Imams and a limited anti-radicalisation programme[21]. French media and politicians have regularly pointed to the fact that many of the men behind some of the worst atrocities on French soil were radicalised in prison[22]; it is believed that Salah Abdeslam was radicalised during his time behind bars for armed robbery by the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

Government response to the attack and tackling radicalisation

Besides noting the link between radicalisation in prison and the Paris attacks, the article does not give explicit examples of what can be done to prevent similar atrocities in the future. Tackling the aforementioned radicalisation in prison seems like a good first step, but attempts to create change haven’t been without resistance. In the aftermath of the November attacks public support for hard-line measures has been near unanimous, with widespread contempt for any efforts to “understand” why they happened. In the months after, even then French Prime Minister Manuel Valls turned on those “who seek excuses or cultural or sociological explanations for what happened”[23]. It should come as no surprise, then, that in response the government chose to pump an exceedingly large amount of money – some €425m[24] – into increasing the number of security forces rather than more ‘soft’ de-radicalisation programmes.

Since the attacks, France has also been in a state of emergency that has been extended by President Francois Hollande four times and seems likely to run until after the French presidential election this year. The state of emergency has given civil administrators, rather than judges, the power to create search warrants and hold individuals under house arrest without trial. The Guardian reports that since its inception, Muslims have borne the brunt of the measures as subjects of the “regular bag searches and frisking that police carry out in town centres”, yet almost none have been accused of any terrorism-related crime as a result[25].

Tensions were only further exacerbated last August when the burkini became the latest piece of Islamic dress to be banned in parts of France – after the government’s banning of the hijab in state schools in 2004 and the public wearing of the face-covering niqab in 2010[26]. Oliver Roy, a specialist on Islam at the European University Institute in Florence, argues that the measures are an example that, “For the French, integration means shedding one’s religious beliefs, or at least toning them down”[27]. In response, Muslims across France have complained to human rights organisations that the measures introduced since the November attacks are evidence of systemic profiling. Such is the punitive nature that the United Nations has even warned that the state of emergency is imposing “excessive and disproportionate restrictions on fundamental human rights”[28]. What became clear after the killing of 86 people in Nice by a Tunisian truck driver last July, is that the measures have clearly not worked. Like the November 2015 Paris attack, ISIS claimed responsibility for Nice too.

With many young French Muslims seemingly rejecting what they see as a xenophobic and stridently secular French state, the government’s hard-line response to the November 2015 attack is most certainly not what is needed to combat radicalisation. In many regards, increasing Islamophobia in politics and the media before the November attack had already begun to create a Muslim ‘label’ by which all individual Muslims had been stereotyped, regardless of their own individual identity. The result is what labelling theory would term the creation of an ‘other’, whereby individual voice is denied, “because it is a collective label that makes assumptions that an individual’s primary or sole identity is with their religion.”[29] Labelling theory also suggests that these labels create a division within society that is only furthered by accusations that ‘terrorism’ occurs from those within the labelled community[30]. Evidence of the divide can be seen in the rise of the Front National and Marine Le Pen, who has spoken at length of her desire to create a France of “one language, one culture”[31]. The response of the French government and media since the attack only further reinforces the divide and France will remain a “breeding ground” for extremism until it can successfully tackle the divisions within its society.

Classifying the attack

Until this point I have refrained from labelling the Paris attacks an act of terrorism. Mainstream media and politicians have come to overuse the term, applying it to any act of unlawful political violence despite the fact that there is no universally accepted definition for what it actually is. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”, is a well-known precept and it’s certainly clear that the ISIS assailants in Paris believed they were fighting a just war. Under the moral philosophy of the Just War Doctrine, however, their attack was neither permissible nor just. As recognised by Gus Martin in his book Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues, “Criteria for whether a war is just is divided into jus ad bellum (justice of war) and jus in bello (justice in war) criteria.”[32]

By attacking Paris in the way it did, ISIS contravened all three of the conditions for jus in bello outlined by Naomi Sussmann: “necessity, proportionality and discrimination”[33]. In order to be just, the action has to be shown to be necessary to bring about the resolution of the conflict[34] – the attack failed to meet their aims and in the days after the attacks the French government launched a retaliatory air assault on IS targets in Syria[35]. Proportionality dictates that the attack must spare or prevent more harm than it caused[36] – the attacks did not prevent any future harm and only exacerbated the situation in Syria. Lastly, discrimination must be used in the act of violence and there must be a clear distinction between soldiers and civilians, with the latter not a legitimate target[37] – in targeting the Bataclan and Stade de France, ISIS made a clear decision to target civilians. As such, whilst the assailants will have undoubtedly believed their actions to be just, ISIS’ attack on Paris was illegitimate according to the jus in bello conditions outlined by Sussmann.

“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” is of course a matter of perspective, but already debunked as legitimate by Just War Theory, the Paris attacks in November 2015 should be labelled an act of terrorism. Despite there being no universally agreed upon definition of the term, the attack fits clearly within the common features of most formal definitions, as outlined by Gus Martin: “The use of illegal force”; “Unconventional methods”; “Political motives”; and “Attacks against ‘soft’ civilian targets”[38].

ISIS as a group is also characteristic of David C. Rapoport’s fourth wave of rebel terror, the “religious wave” of terrorism[39]. Rapoport identified that since the 1880s we have seen four different “waves” of terrorism: the “Anarchist Wave” from around 1880, followed by the “Anti-Colonial Wave” beginning in the 1920s, then the “New Left Wave” from the end of the 1960s, and then finally in 1979 the “Religious Wave” that we are still experiencing today[40]. With each wave came terrorist groups with new motives, methods and recruitment patterns. The “Religious Wave” saw the tactical innovation of “suicide bombing”, first used at scale by the Tamil Tigers in their assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi[41], and now used by ISIS in the Paris attack of 13th November 2015. Rapoport also recognised that the fourth wave saw a “recruitment pattern unique in the history of terrorism” in al Qaeda, who unlike past terrorist organisations that had recruited from a single national base, sought recruits from “all parts of the vast Sunni world”[42], including those in the West. Whilst al Qaeda has seemingly begun to fall away since the death of Osama Bin Laden in 2011, a number of Islamic Extremist groups have picked up the reigns of recruitment, the most notable and successful of which being ISIS – of the nine IS assailants in Paris, seven are confirmed to be French or Belgian nationals recruited in the West[43]. Rapoport was writing in 2002, but had he been writing today he would likely have included in the fourth wave mention of social media and the power it has had in enabling ISIS to reach out to individuals on a global scale. Abdel Bari Atwan, author of the book Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate, argues that, “Without digital technology it is highly unlikely that Islamic State would ever have come into existence, let alone been able to survive and expand”[44].

Recruitment and motives

In the West, IS recruitment has thrived on the feeling of alienation many young Muslims have been experiencing. As John Horgan, psychologist and professor at the University of Massachusetts, explains, we tend to think that those who go to join a terrorist group such as ISIS are “crazy”, that “Because of what terrorists do, we assume that can be explained via the pathology of those people, but trying to explain terrorism as mental illness is misleading.”[45] Certainly it takes a kind of person to join ISIS and partake in the atrocities it commits, but to merely dismiss all those who do join up as lunatics does nothing to prevent it happening.

Many look to the religious identity of ISIS as a reason for why young Muslims feel inspired to join the fight. It is on the face of it a group strongly driven by religious values, with the desire to create an Islamic caliphate and invoke Sharia Law. Nevertheless, for the average recruit the allure tends to be something completely different: Horgan suggests that for foreign fighters the appeal of ISIS is simply that they can “belong to something special”[46]. Whilst the individual motives of the perpetrators behind the November Paris attack are unclear, there is a definite pattern in young Muslims joining Islamic extremist groups to find meaning for their life.
What is more certain is that the majority of the Paris attackers were relative theological novices. Max Abrahms, a terrorism expert at Northeastern University, suggests that those most likely to join a group like ISIS tend to be, “ignorant people with respect to religion and they are generally the newest members to the religion”[47]. Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan in their book ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, tell the story of a foreign fighter not too dissimilar in background to the perpetrators of the Paris attack. Abdelaziz Kuwan joined ISIS, they say, because he “wanted to be free”, yet he was a “theological novice who barely finished a year of Islamic studies”[48]. In the case of the Paris attacks, despite religion being a motive and justification for the assailants once they were a part of ISIS, their primary motive for joining was for reasons other than religion: a response to alienation from French society, to belong to something special, or to seek new opportunities.

Conclusions

In summary, you cannot hope to ever stop such attacks if you do not understand why they happen in the first place. Alexander’s article represents an ideal of what the first media response to events like the Paris attacks should be. The use of highly emotive language seen in other reports only stirs up hatred and anger directed towards an easily labelled minority.

It would be simple to suggest that the recent diminishing of Islamic State power means an Islamic extremist attack of the size and scale of Paris is now unlikely. Yet the broader movement the group represents remains strong. Recent attacks in France – Charlie Hebdo, Paris and Nice to name but the most prominent – have served as a stark example of the dangers of radicalisation.

What is perhaps of most concern is that the underlying causes of the November 2015 Paris attacks have only been exacerbated by punitive government policies since. With early figures for the upcoming presidential election suggesting a strong performance from the far-right Front National and Marine Le Pen, it seems that, in the short term at least, France could be destined to continue along the same path.

Bibliography

Alexander, Harriet, “Paris terror attacks: Why has France been targeted again?”, The Telegraph, 14th November 2015, accessed 23rd December 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995505/Paris-attacks-Why-has-France-been-targeted-again.html

Appleby, Nicholas, “Labelling the innocent: how government counter-terrorism advice creates labels that contribute to the problem”, Critical Studies on Terrorism 3 (2010): 421-436, accessed 30th December 2016, doi:10.1080/17539153

Atwan, Abdel Bari, Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate, Oakland: University of California Press, 2015

Banco, Erin, “Why do people join ISIS? The psychology of a terrorist”, International Business Times, 5th September 2014, accessed 4th January 2017, http://www.ibtimes.com/why-do-people-join-isis-psychology-terrorist-1680444

Bellaigue, Christopher de, “Are French prisons ‘finishing schools’ for terrorism?”, The Guardian, 17th March 2016, accessed 2nd January 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/17/are-french-prisons-finishing-schools-for-terrorism

Brumfield, Ben, “French jets bomb ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria: few may have been killed”, CNN, 16th November 2015, accessed 29th December 2016, http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/16/middleeast/france-raqqa-airstrikes-on-isis/

Byman, Daniel, Al Qaeda, The Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015

Byman, Daniel, “Understanding the Islamic State – A Review Essay”, International Security 40, no. 4 (2016): 127-165, accessed 9th January 2017, https://muse.jhu.edu/article/617463

Chassany, Anne-Sylvaine, “France: Islam and the secular state”, Financial Times, September 15th 2016, accessed 5th January 2017, https://www.ft.com/content/05c420b8-75a5-11e6-b60a-de4532d5ea35

Dearden, Lizzie, “Paris attacks: France’s state of emergency is imposing ‘excessive’ restrictions on human rights, UN says”, The Independent, 20th January 2016, accessed 2nd January 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-attacks-frances-state-of-emergency-is-imposing-excessive-restrictions-on-human-rights-un-says-a6822286.html

Dubuis, Anna, and Nicola Oakley, “Paris terror attacks timeline: What happened where and when on night of terror and confusion in French capital”, Mirror, 14th November 2015, updated 15th November 2015, accessed 30th December 2016, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/paris-terror-attacks-timeline-what-6830455

Fraser, Isabelle, and Barney Henderson, “Paris shooting: terrorists attack French capital – as it happened on Friday Nov 13”, The Telegraph, 14th November 2015, accessed 2nd January 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995543/Paris-shooting-terrorists-attack-french-capital-as-it-happened-on-Friday-Nov-13.html

Global Terrorism Database, “Bataclan”, accessed 30th December 2016, https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=201511130008

Global Terrorism Database, “La Belle Equipe”, accessed 30th December 2016, https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=201511130006

Global Terrorism Database, “Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge”, accessed 30th December 2016, https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=201511130003

Global Terrorism Database, “Stade de France”, accessed 30th December 2016, https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=201511130002

Martin, Gus, Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues, 4th edition, London: Sage Publications, 2012

“Paris attacks: Who were the attackers?”, BBC News, 27th April 2016, accessed 29th December 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34832512

Rapoport, David C., “The Four Waves of Rebel Terror and September 11”, Anthropoetics, 8 (Spring/Summer 2002): http://www.anthropoetics.ucla.edu/ap0801/terror.htm

Sandford, Alasdair, “What do we know about Marine Le Pen’s policies?”, euronews, 15th November 2016, accessed 6th January 2017, http://www.euronews.com/2016/11/15/what-do-we-know-about-marine-le-pen-s-policies

Stanton, Jenny, Simon Tomlinson and Tom Wyke, “We fell to the floor and crawled over bodies”, Daily Mail, 13th November 2015, updated 15th November 2015, accessed 30th December 2016, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3317776/Paris-attack-sees-150-dead-Eagles-Death-Metal-concert-hostages-killed.html

Sussmann, Naomi, “Can just war theory delegitimate terrorism?”, European Journal of Political Theory, 12(4), (2013): 429, accessed 30th December 2016, DOI: 10.1177/1474885112464478

Weiss, Michael, and Hassan Hassan, ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror (New York: Regan Arts, 2016

“What is ‘Islamic State’?”, BBC News, 2nd December 2015, accessed 7th January 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-29052144

Endnotes

[1] “Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge”, Global Terrorism Database, accessed 30th December 2016, https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=201511130003

[2] “La Belle Equipe”, Global Terrorism Database, accessed 30th December 2016, https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=201511130006

[3] “Stade de France”, Global Terrorism Database, accessed 30th December 2016, https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=201511130002

[4] “Bataclan”, Global Terrorism Database, accessed 30th December 2016, https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/search/IncidentSummary.aspx?gtdid=201511130008

[5] ibid

[6] Daniel Byman, Al Qaeda, The Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 163

[7] Daniel Byman, “Understanding the Islamic State – A Review Essay”, International Security 40, no. 4 (2016): 127-165, accessed 9th January 2017, https://muse.jhu.edu/article/617463

[8] “What is ‘Islamic State’?”, BBC News, 2nd December 2015, accessed 7th January 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-29052144

[9] Abdel Bari Atwan, Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015), 9

[10] “What is ‘Islamic State’?”, BBC News, 2nd December 2015, accessed 7th January 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-29052144

[11] Harriet Alexander, “Paris terror attacks: Why has France been targeted again?”, The Telegraph, 14th November 2015, accessed 23rd December 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995505/Paris-attacks-Why-has-France-been-targeted-again.html

[12] Isabelle Fraser and Barney Henderson, “Paris shooting: terrorists attack French capital – as it happened on Friday Nov 13”, The Telegraph, 14th November 2015, accessed 2nd January 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995543/Paris-shooting-terrorists-attack-french-capital-as-it-happened-on-Friday-Nov-13.html

[13] Anna Dubuis and Nicola Oakley, “Paris terror attacks timeline: What happened where and when on night of terror and confusion in French capital”, Mirror, 14th November 2015, updated 15th November 2015, accessed 30th December 2016, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/paris-terror-attacks-timeline-what-6830455

[14] Jenny Stanton, Simon Tomlinson and Tom Wyke, “We fell to the floor and crawled over bodies”, Daily Mail, 13th November 2015, updated 15th November 2015, accessed 30th December 2016, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3317776/Paris-attack-sees-150-dead-Eagles-Death-Metal-concert-hostages-killed.html

[15] Harriet Alexander, “Paris terror attacks: Why has France been targeted again?”, The Telegraph, 14th November 2015, accessed 23rd December 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995505/Paris-attacks-Why-has-France-been-targeted-again.html

[16] ibid

[17] ibid

[18] ibid

[19] ibid

[20] “Paris attacks: Who were the attackers?”, BBC News, 27th April 2016, accessed 29th December 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34832512

[21] Harriet Alexander, “Paris terror attacks: Why has France been targeted again?”, The Telegraph, 14th November 2015, accessed 23rd December 2016, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11995505/Paris-attacks-Why-has-France-been-targeted-again.html

[22] Christopher de Bellaigue, “Are French prisons ‘finishing schools’ for terrorism?”, The Guardian, 17th March 2016, accessed 2nd January 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/17/are-french-prisons-finishing-schools-for-terrorism

[23] ibid

[24] ibid

[25] ibid

[26] Anne-Sylvaine Chassany, “France: Islam and the secular state”, Financial Times, September 15th 2016, accessed 5th January 2017, https://www.ft.com/content/05c420b8-75a5-11e6-b60a-de4532d5ea35

[27] ibid

[28] Lizzie Dearden, “Paris attacks: France’s state of emergency is imposing ‘excessive’ restrictions on human rights, UN says”, The Independent, 20th January 2016, accessed 2nd January 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-attacks-frances-state-of-emergency-is-imposing-excessive-restrictions-on-human-rights-un-says-a6822286.html

[29] Nicholas Appleby, “Labelling the innocent: how government counter-terrorism advice creates labels that contribute to the problem”, Critical Studies on Terrorism 3 (2010): 421-436, accessed 30th December 2016, doi:10.1080/17539153

[30] ibid

[31] Alasdair Sandford, “What do we know about Marine Le Pen’s policies?”, euronews, 15th November 2016, accessed 6th January 2017, http://www.euronews.com/2016/11/15/what-do-we-know-about-marine-le-pen-s-policies

[32] Gus Martin, Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues, 4th edition (London: Sage Publications, 2012), 15

[33] Naomi Sussmann, “Can just war theory delegitimate terrorism?”, European Journal of Political Theory, 12(4), (2013): 429, accessed 30th December 2016, DOI: 10.1177/1474885112464478

[34] ibid

[35] Ben Brumfield, “French jets bomb ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria: few may have been killed”, CNN, 16th November 2015, accessed 29th December 2016, http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/16/middleeast/france-raqqa-airstrikes-on-isis/

[36] Naomi Sussmann, “Can just war theory delegitimate terrorism?”, European Journal of Political Theory, 12(4), (2013): 429, accessed 30th December 2016, DOI: 10.1177/1474885112464478

[37] ibid

[38] Gus Martin, Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives and Issues, 4th edition (London: Sage Publications, 2012), 37

[39] David C. Rapoport, “The Four Waves of Rebel Terror and September 11”, Anthropoetics, 8 (Spring/Summer 2002): http://www.anthropoetics.ucla.edu/ap0801/terror.htm

[40] ibid

[41] ibid

[42] ibid

[43] “Paris attacks: Who were the attackers?”, BBC, 27th April 2016, accessed 29th December 2016, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34832512

[44] Abdel Bari Atwan, Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015), 9

[45] Erin Banco, “Why do people join ISIS? The psychology of a terrorist”, International Business Times, 5th September 2014, accessed 4th January 2017, http://www.ibtimes.com/why-do-people-join-isis-psychology-terrorist-1680444

[46] ibid

[47] ibid

[48] Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan, ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror (New York: Regan Arts, 2016), xi

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2 thoughts on “France – ‘Why has France been targeted again?’ (Telegraph, 2015)

  1. This is an excellent essay which demonstrates very good understanding of the case study and perceptive critical thinking. It builds on a wide range of relevant sources which it deploys well. It is very well structured, very well written, and very well referenced.

    At the same time, the essay could have perhaps explored in more depth the question of how really such terrorism is to be countered. It mentions tackling some of the sources of radicalisation and it does discuss that a little bit further, but its analysis remains quite broad and general – a more detailed set of recommendations would have further improved the essay. Perhaps more could have been discussed around motives too: what else helps explain the pull of Islamism for these young Western Muslims? Or to ask it the other way around: how come the vast majority do not join align with Islamist violence, and therefore what is it that leads some to do so? You could have also discussed ‘achievements’ further: to what degree would the perpetrators feel they met their goals, and what is your own assessment on that? Questions like these could have helped develop the essay’s very good analysis even further.

    Still, on the whole, this is an excellent analysis, reflecting originality, insight and mastery of the topic, demonstrating critical enough reading of a wide range of texts, built on independent research, and putting forth a persuasively articulated argument.

    Like

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