Already at the start of this year, on January 7, 1915, terror struck Paris. Jihadists with French citizenship carried out a massacre of the staff of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and against Jews in a kosher supermarket. Why have effective measures to prevent further attacks not been taken since then? Why has France still not internalized the fact that terror must be fought until it is extirpated? To understand why we have reached this point and the reasons why France is a primary Western target, the following points are essential: France is the symbol of liberty, enlightenment, and democratic values, which stand in complete contrast to the dark, barbaric ideology of the global terror organizations. France is indeed a Catholic country that separates religion and state. It is a secular republic where freedom of expression and freedom of the press are a supreme value anchored in basic laws. Apparently, the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were published and sparked the massacre last January did not deter the journalists or the authorities. In the past, France was a colonial empire that exploited the colonies’ natural resources and oppressed the local populations. France is a signatory to the Sykes-Picot agreement concluded 100 years ago. Today it is still trying to uphold that agreement – in stark opposition to the Islamic organizations that seek to dissolve it and erase the borders that the Western countries, and especially France, laid down in disregard of the national feelings and tribal intricacies of the local populations. France has continued to uphold the sovereignty of Lebanon and fight the regime of Bashar Assad whom it seeks to overthrow at any price. Yet, at the same time, it is fighting the Islamic State.
The Iranian Connection: Iranian President Rouhani was supposed to pay an official visit to Paris this week. Although the visit was canceled at the last minute because of the attacks, it would have been the first for Iran in a Western capital since the Vienna nuclear deal was signed on July 14, 2015. Shiite Iran, of course, is fighting the Sunni Islamic State and Al Qaeda-linked organizations in Syria and Iraq. On Thursday evening there was a terror attack in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut, a stronghold of Shiite Hizbullah, which is also fighting on Assad’s side. There is no doubt that the terrorists who attacked in Paris wanted to take revenge on France, which is not only fighting the Islamic State with aerial bombing but also was scheduled to receive the president of Iran, the sworn and loudly proclaimed Shiite enemy. Thus Islamic State has scored a double victory: mass murder in Paris and the canceled tour of the Shiite foe.The French have still not forgotten the Algerian War. For their part, the French-born children of Maghrebi immigrants harbor a deep resentment toward the authorities and have been joining the ranks of the Islamic State and other Islamic movements with vengeance as their aim. The presence of eight to ten million Muslims in France strongly influences governmental decision-making as well as intelligence work. France indeed has good intelligence services and advanced military and technological capabilities. But it failed in this instance just as in January, and the intelligence failure that undoubtedly occurred must be investigated immediately and thoroughly. France also must invest huge resources in intelligence and skilled manpower. At the same time, it has to be pointed out that because of a measure of arrogance France has refused over the years to cooperate with Western countries including Israel. Since September 11, 2001 that has changed for the better and there are now closer ties with France. Numerous French intellectuals, opinion leaders, and radicals still see the terrorists as freedom fighters, as underground activists who wage a just fight against all occupation and repression. This is particularly evident regarding the Palestinian issue even though France has no direct connection with the conflict.