Friday, 24 April 2015

An attack against two churches in Villejuif was thwarted this Sunday. Questioned on this topic, Stéphane Le Foll indicated that "the struggle against terrorism is constant". What do you think about this statement? 
Thibault de Montbrial: For two years our society has been confronted by the risk of a radical Islam operating within a global framework, partly from the radicalisation of some Muslims in France, partly from the jihad in Syria then Iraq. That ends up translating into action on our territory from French people or foreigners living in France. 
Among these attacks, there were the striking large-scale attacks in January, but there have been less spectacular ones like the Joué-lès-Tours attack against a police station in December 2014 or, another example, the one against a Vigipirate [domestic military] patrol in Nice in February 2015. And that's not counting all the other attacks that have been thwarted. At any moment and at any time, in towns large and small, there could be an attack against a place of worship, a symbolic site or people who represent the Republic. 
So have we reached a situation of perpetual war? 
Today France is confronted by a situation of "low intensity" warfare, including on its own territory: it is fighting against Islamic State in the Middle East through its participation in the international aerial coalition, fighting Islamism in Mali but is also confronted by attacks on its own territory, like other European countries. Radical islamists on the internet are regularly calling for actions in the "land of the crusaders", that is to say here. It is happening and it will happen again in France, attacks which are also occurring elsewhere (Denmark, Belgium, Tunisia, etc.). 
So it's not a war of the kind our country experienced in the last century, with armies in uniform, population displacements and large battles, but the presence of a form of permanent insecurity in a country where each person continues to live almost normally, but where intermittent attacks can occur in any place and at any time. 
...It is thus certain that these attacks mark the beginning of a latent state of war. The head of the DGSE [intelligence agency] also indicated this Tuesday that six major attacks have been thwarted since January...At the same time, from January on the government made many preventative arrests. If you think about the fact that these people are going to get out of prison one day. that many fighters who have gone to the Jihad come back and others self-radicalise without leaving, that means the number of individuals - French or resident in France - who are likely to attack us is continually increasing. 
...The consequences will be difficult to manage for our social cohesion which has already been weakened by a communitarianism that is much deeper than many people think or dare to admit. The follow-on from the attacks in January (demonstrated in schools or on social networks) have thus underlined the presence of a certain number of people, in France, who at a minimum feel real sympathy for radical Islamists. 
Everyone's capacity for resilience will be essential if, as we are entitled to fear, our country is struck by major attacks in the months to come.
Source: Le Figaro

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