Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum – The Acting Man Blog
Hollande Declares War
It is a great tragedy for the innocent victims and their families and friends when a senseless terror attack like the one that occurred on Friday evening in Paris happens. Our heart goes out to all of them in sympathy. We have no sympathy or “understanding” whatsoever for the radicals perpetrating such attacks, but we also remain critical of Western governments, including that of France. Anyone who believes the State is “protecting” us would do better to think again (we will elaborate on this below).
Mr. Hollande declares war and decrees a state of emergency.
Photo credit: Stéphanie de Sakutin / AP / AFP
The entire population of Europe has been defanged by its governments (it is e.g. illegal for the average French citizen to carry a concealed handgun), which guarantees extremely large death tolls in such situations. There are an estimated 19 million handguns in private hands in France. Only 2.8 million of those are legally owned and registered – the rest are “black market” guns, a large proportion of which is held by, you guessed it, criminals. Don’t worry though, surely the introduction of additional restrictions on private gun ownership will fix this problem (a lot more jaw-dropping statistics are presented in the video by Stephan Molyneux posted further below).
View of the Bataclan from the stage during a concert (not the one of Friday, we merely want to show what the place looks like when it’s packed)
Photo credit: Kmeron
It took the “extremely well prepared” French police more than three hours to storm the Bataclan concert hall where the largest number of people was executed in cold blood by the attackers on Friday – almost 90 people died there, and countless people were grievously wounded. It took more than three hours in spite of the fact that it should have been crystal clear what was going on from the testimony of people who managed to escape and from tweets and SMS messages sent from inside the building. Moreover, an anti-terror exercise was taking place in Paris on the same day. We have a hunch that a few upstanding citizens armed with guns might have made a difference.
President Hollande has termed the terrorist attacks an act of war waged by a “foreign army”. He has thereby officially elevated IS to the status it claims for itself, namely that of a State. As we have previously observed, this is in fact precisely what it is, whether or not it is “recognized” by other states. It has all the trappings of a State: it has come into existence by brutal conquest, it has a state-like political and administrative hierarchy, it exercises a force monopoly in the territory it administers, and it funds itself with loot, taxation (i.e., the more sophisticated type of looting preferred by States), nationalized industries (primarily oil) and foreign aid (both in the form of money and armament donations from other States). And it most definitely has an army.
Mr. Hollande is reportedly not yet considering to invoke the mutual defense clause in line with article 5 of the NATO treaty (which was e.g. done after the WTC attack). However, his statements are indicating that this is an option he is keeping open. Since he has to be seen to be doing something, he has ordered the barn door firmly closed after the horse has escaped, by closing the French border, deploying large numbers of armed-to-the-teeth police and army in the streets and declaring a state of emergency.
It has in the meantime emerged that like a latter-day Sulla, he is pushing for the enactment of a new law that will allow him to unilaterally extend the state of emergency for three whole months beyond its current constitutional limit of 12 days. “State of emergency” is statist speak for instituting a de facto police state, by removing all restrictions that normally govern police activity and giving the administration the power to suspend an array of citizen’s rights by decree (this includes introducing curfews, ordering the closing of all sorts of private and public establishments, searches without warrants, etc., etc.).
Poking the Hornet’s Nest
Before it was decided by various Western powers and lately Russia to poke this particular hornet’s nest, IS was largely focused on its conquest of parts of Syria and Iraq. Contrary to Al-Qaida it actually showed little interest in hitting so-called “far enemies” – its leaders simply wanted to erect a medieval Caliphate in a region that looked promising for the success of such a venture. This has obviously changed.
Although not accompanied by 24 hour CNN specials and candlelight vigils, IS has over just a single week alsokilled 224 innocent Russian tourists by bombing a commercial airplane and 44 Lebanese citizens in an attack on a market in Southern Beirut. Note as an aside that a poll conducted in France prior to France joining the bombardments in Iraq and Syria in 2014 revealed that 64% of French citizens were set against the intervention(Mr. Hollande’s approval rating by contrast reached only 13%). The French parliament also voted against the action, to no avail. So much for democracy.
Investigators are poking through the wreckage of the Russian plane that by all accounts seems to have been brought down by an IS – planted bomb
Photo credit: Getty Images
The methods employed by IS in its conquest are barbaric, but in principle they are not much different from those used by other conquering armies throughout history. Looking at the region, the State known today as Saudi Arabia has e.g. been established in a very similar manner in the 1930s. The differences between the administration of justice in IS controlled territory and Saudi Arabia seem largely cosmetic. In Saudi Arabia, people can be beheaded in a public square for crimes such as “witchcraft and sorcery”. Some of the more obvious differences between IS and Saudi Arabia are that the latter is a “valued ally” of the West, while the former is selling crude oil at a big discount.
IS warriors posing in the desert, in one of the many Hollywoodesque propaganda videos the group produces for the benefit of potential Western recruits.
Photo credit: picture alliance / dpa
President Hollande promptly announced that France would now pursue a “pitiless war” against IS, and one of the first actions by France was to bomb Raqqa in Syria, reportedly destroying “a command center serving as an arms cache, and a training center of IS”. Since these locations must have been known, why weren’t they destroyed earlier already? How many people died? Was there any “collateral damage”?
We haven’t been told – all we know is that 20 bombs have been dropped. Clearly though, poking the hornet’s nest some more, this time in retribution, appears to be seen as a good idea. It is worth noting in this context that the region currently under the control of IS has been bombed by Western powers on and off for the past 26 years. The results of these efforts have so far been less than encouraging, to put it mildly.
A few interesting facts have emerged in the meantime. If one looks at the claim of responsibility released by IS on social media, it contains no insider knowledge. In terms of the facts cited, it merely repeats what one could read in the news media. The attackers were primarily home-grown French and/or Belgian djihadists (several have by now been clearly identified as such, and survivors of the attacks uniformly reported that the attackers spoke French fluently).
In other words, a French cell of radical Muslims that has declared “allegiance” to IS has planned the attacks. It has likely received logistical help from another French citizen who is with IS in Syria. One or two minders, who have reportedly traveled from Syria to France posing as refugees appear to have joined it as well. Even those were French citizens though. Several of the attackers have at some point in time taken part in the IS jihad in Syria and have returned from there.
The man currently suspected of planning the attack is 27 year old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian citizen with Moroccan roots, who still resides in Syria. Incidentally, a vehicle loaded with AK 47s, hand grenades and explosives was stopped in Bavaria en route to France only a few days earlier – the driver was a 51 year old man from Montenegro (it is not yet clear if he worked for IS or was a “normal” arms smuggler)
A few less than well-integrated Muslims protesting in the Netherlands – “shariah is the true solution and freedom can go to hell”.
Photo via sodahead.com
This suggests that one of the reasons why it is difficult to actually stop such attacks is that they don’t necessarily require much effort by way of coordination or infiltration. People willing to die for the Islamist cause are already present in many Western countries. An estimated 10% of the French population consists of Muslims, a large number of whom are economically marginalized, are living in ghettos and are providing 70% of the country’s prison population (one of the sadly all too typical “success stories” of multi-culturalism). Fundamentalist groups have little problem recruiting and radicalizing young men in these ghettos. This creates a distributed network of cells that see themselves as part of IS and its cause. They don’t necessarily need to be in contact with the central command structures of IS.
There have also even been a number of so-called “lone wolf” cases in which someone previously held to be devout but harmless became willing to commit murder without regard for his own life at the drop of a turban, so to speak. For instance, the young Kosovar Arid Uka, who shot two US GIs at the Frankfurt airport in early 2011 reportedly took this decision within a few days of seeing a video that outraged him. He had never aroused suspicion previously and reportedly hadn’t been in touch with Salafist radical circles. It is impossible to prevent such attacks
The attacks have also shown (and this should surprise no-one) that in spite of adopting ubiquitous surveillance of its citizenry and introducing numerous restrictions of civil liberties (such as e.g. limiting the use of cash), the French government is unable to stop attacks executed by well-trained professional jihadists. Whatever genuine successes the authorities can claim to have had are more likely the result of tried and true old-fashioned sleuthing (excluding cases in which mentally challenged morons are persuaded to plan amateurish attacks by agents provocateurs of the security apparatus itself).
It is worth noting though that Turkey has warned the French authorities of Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, one of the ringleaders of the attacks, months ago already. Not once, but twice (in December 2014 and July 2015). Both theIraqi and Israeli securities services have warned France of an impending terror attack as well. Evidently terrorist groups like IS must have been infiltrated quite thoroughly. This does give one pause.
The Goals and Playbook of IS
It is by now well-known how IS has come into being. It is a monster our own governments have helped to create, by constantly intervening militarily in a region that is none of our business, and then tolerating and even furthering the emergence of jihadist groups as long as they were deemed useful in the pursuit of other goals (such as e.g. the unseating of Assad in Syria). Good summaries of this with plenty of links to supporting evidence can be read at antiwar.com and Washington’s blog. If there are any remaining doubts, note that even Tony Blair recently thought it necessary to apologize for his part in helping to give birth to IS.
However, this certainly doesn’t mean that organizations like IS or Al Qaida don’t have their own dynamics and goals. They definitely see the West as an enemy and it appears that they are fervently hoping to incite Western countries to join a ground war in Syria and Iraq. They cannot shoot down allied planes, but they can definitely shoot at soldiers. A ground war would likely reinvigorate IS.
With respect to Europe, IS initially appears to have viewed it mainly as a recruiting area rather than a target. After all, as many radical Muslim preachers have frequently stressed in the past, the Muslim conquest of Europe is just a question of time, as the Muslim population is breeding at more than twice the rate of the indigenous population (see also the video further below).
This prompted a friend of ours to comment that the Paris attack seemed short-sighted, as it would be far easier to “take over Europe slowly via demographics and the suicidal openness and self-flagellating guilt of Northern Europeans.” However, we believe the attack was actually very well timed from the perspective of IS. One must keep in mind that radical factions like IS are not representative of the broader Muslim community. IS is e.g. very much against Syrians seeking refuge in Europe, as it undermines its claim of having created a “haven” for true believers.
The aim of IS in Europe is to sow discord between the indigenous and Muslim populations as well as to shake the unity of the member states of the EU. It achieves both with terror attacks. The fact that the Paris attacks have come at a time when there are already growing tensions due to the wave of refugees flooding Europe has made them all the more effective.
Marine Le Pen of the Front National – terror attacks tend to increase her support (after the Charlie Hebdo attack, support for the FN surged as well).
Photo credit: Francois Mori / AP
One only has to ask who will actually gain from these attacks. In France itself, Marine le Pen and the Front National will be the biggest winners. The same applies to the political landscape elsewhere in Europe: nationalist extremists are likely to gain support. This in turn actually helps IS: If e.g. Ms. Le Pen’s party ever comes to power, there will be confrontation with the EU (possibly even leading to a break-up) and the Muslim community in France. IS and other radical Islamist factions will gain numerous new recruits.
Radical fundamentalist groups like IS are not all that much interested in whether moderate Muslims are gaining ground in Europe. They primarily want more fighters willing to die for the cause. The more alienation, distrust and hate there is between the Muslim and indigenous populations of European countries, the better from the perspective of IS.
The playbook of IS in Europe is eerily reminiscent of that the fascists and communists used prior to and between the two World Wars. As Scott Atran writes in the Guardian, IS wants to “eliminate the gray zone” in which a peacefully side by side existence of moderate Muslims and Europeans is imaginable. This is incidentally in full agreement with George W. Bush’s black and white “with us or against us” doctrine – as confirmed by the late Osama bin Laden himself:
“It’s “the first of the storm”, says Islamic State . And little wonder. For the chaotic scenes on thestreets of Paris and the fearful reaction those attacks provoked are precisely what Isis planned and prayed for. The greater the reaction against Muslims in Europe and the deeper the west becomes involved in military action in the Middle East, the happier Isis leaders will be.Because this is about the organization’s key strategy: finding, creating and managing chaos.
There is a playbook, a manifesto: The Management of Savagery/Chaos , a tract written more than a decade ago under the name Abu Bakr Naji, for the Mesopotamian wing of al-Qaida that would become Isis. Think of the horror of Paris and then consider these, its principal axioms.
Hit soft targets. “Diversify and widen the vexation strikes against the crusader-Zionist enemy in every place in the Islamic world, and even outside of it if possible, so as to disperse the efforts of the alliance of the enemy and thus drain it to the greatest extent possible.”
Strike when potential victims have their guard down. Sow fear in general populations, damage economies. “If a tourist resort that the crusaders patronize … is hit, all of the tourist resorts in all of the states of the world will have to be secured by the work of additional forces, which are double the ordinary amount, and a huge increase in spending.”
Consider reports suggesting a 15-year-old was involved in Friday’s atrocity. “Capture the rebelliousness of youth, their energy and idealism, and their readiness for self-sacrifice, while fools preach ‘moderation’ (wasatiyyah), security and avoidance of risk.”
Think of the group’s appreciation of focus on cause and effect: “Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly.” Ditto for France , the UK and other allies.
There is a recruitment framework. The Gray Zone, a 10-page editorial in Isis’s online magazineDabiq in early 2015, describes the twilight area occupied by most Muslims between good and evil, the caliphate and the infidel, which the “blessed operations of September 11” brought into relief.Quoting Bin Laden it said: “The world today is divided. Bush spoke the truth when he said, ‘Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists’, with the actual ‘terrorist’ being the western crusaders.” Now, it said, “the time had come for another event to…bring division to the world and destroy the gray zone”
In short, groups like IS are ultimately pursuing the same goals that are pursued by those who are held to be their most vociferous opponents – both gain power by increasing the polarization between ethnic and religious groups.
This out-of-focus picture is the only image of Abu Bakr Naji we could find. He is said to have penned the playbook the jihadists of IS are using.
Photo via lifelines10.rssing.com
Freedom vs. Statism
Another sector that keeps making gains in spite of its evident failure to prevent attacks from occurring is the security apparatus itself (a.k.a. the Deep State). As an example, the first reaction of the UK government to the Paris attacks was to announce that it will increase its intelligence agency staff by 15%. One can also be reasonably certain that the new security-related legislation that has been tabled in the UK in reaction to the Snowden revelations (the goal is primarily to make legal what was hitherto illegal but has been done anyway) will no longer meet with much resistance.
This is a good moment to take a look at the video by Stephan Molyneux, who does a very good job of summarizing the relevant facts as far as they are known, and presents a number of truly stunning statistics. To mention a few of the more glaring ones: 70% of the inmates in French prisons are Muslims; a poll in France (conducted before the recent attack) revealed that roughly a quarter of the population aged 18-44 held a “positive view of ISIS” (about 10 million people); France is the world’s 4th largest arms exporter in the world on an absolute basis and the 2nd largest on a per capita basis.
Guess who its biggest customers are? Autocratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa are three of its five biggest customers (the other two are China and Singapore). As Mr. Molyneux points out, the UAE, France’s top weapons customer, is widely criticized for its lack of human rights and the role shariah plays in its legal system. This evidently poses no problem whatsoever for the French government (this shows how much it “cares”, but the Middle Easterners allegedly hate us all for our fast fading freedoms).
As Stephan Molyneux remarks in closing, one can either have death merchants selling weapons to autocrats, intervening in every madcap conflict abroad and bombing foreign countries to smithereens while erecting a welfare state at home, or one can have a free society. One cannot have both.
Stephan Molyneux’s comment on the attacks in Paris – a wealth of valuable background information.
Governments are notoriously prone to doing what hasn’t worked so far, only more of it. We doubt that bombing Syria and Iraq some more will do the trick. Declaring a state of emergency over several months seems just as futile an exercise. After a major attack, terrorist cells usually tend to lie low until everybody’s guard is down again. At best this will produce a psychological effect in that it may make some people feel safer. The things that actually make them unsafe seem unlikely to change.
The conflict that has brought terrorism to Europe didn’t just drop unbidden from the sky. As Stephan Molyneux says, there are certain choices before us if we want a free society. To keep bombing countries to “failed state” status while selling arms to despots in the region is unlikely to bring forth peace and harmony. There will of course always be radicals who pursue violence no matter what anyone does or doesn’t do, but in recent years their numbers have vastly increased and they have been provided with a playground where they can hone their martial skills. At the very least one should stop playing into their hands.