The violent riots spreading across France took several worrying directions Sunday night, Nov. 6, and Monday. The mostly Muslim gangs of youths began surging out of the immigrant suburbs to invade town centers; they fired their first gunshots at policemen; the number of torched cars peaked to 1,400; and disturbing new slogans were hurled, depicting Paris as "Baghdad-on-the Seine" and their campaign as the start of Europe's Ramadan Intifada.
A single slogan made a mockery of president Jacques Chirac's efforts of the last three years to distance France from President George W. Bush's Iraq war. Furthermore, the French government's helplessness in quelling the trouble is encouraging other European communities to follow suit - in Denmark, Belgium, Spain and Sweden, for starters.
The Israelis have been dealing with "intifadas" long enough to understand that the jihadists respect strength and consider cultural sensitivity to be bywords for weakness and indecisiveness, which they take as an invitation to press ahead with their violence.
Chirac, after lying low for 10 days, finally called an emergency security meeting in Paris Sunday, Nov. 6. He then promised arrests, trials and punishment for those who "sow violence or terror" across France. But politics as usual held him back from instituting tough measures or naming those responsible for the violence, let alone deploying the necessary forces. French police are still under orders not to open fire unless fired on first. No names have been released of ringleaders despite several hundred arrests.
Saturday, Nov. 5, as the disorders went into their second week, the French prosecutor-general Yves Bot said he had detected an organized hand and a strategy behind the riots. Witnesses reported vehicles without number-plates distributing petrol bombs. A fuel bomb factory was in fact discovered Sunday in Paris with 150 bottles and gallons of gasoline ready to distribute to the bands of arsonists. Also found there were masks to hide rioters’ faces. In Clichy-sour-Bois, where the accidental electrocution of two teenagers in flight from the police ignited the first protests, residents said: This is just the beginning.
There are plenty of indications that the riots are not simply spontaneous outbursts of frustration by disadvantaged youths of North and black African descent, but centrally organized mayhem, an "intifada" activated by Muslim networking.
It is one thing to have many of these thugs merely playing off the same sheet of music that they all keep hearing preached in their mosques, along the lines of what we touched on regarding the UK in Part 7. But, one wonders how much time these thugs spend in their local mosques. Well, here we are seeing that organizers of the intifada will bring Acme Instant Jihad kits, complete with Molotov cocktails, to the appropriate neighborhoods - all you need to supply for your intifada is the thugs!
The Chirac-de Villepan government, trying to live down interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy's provocative pledge to deal with what he called "scum," is not acknowledging this. Because they refuse to recognize the rampage for what it is, they are withholding the forces required to restore order and so letting the danger get out of hand. Police, firemen and paramedics are no match for a fast developing civil war. The army will have to be brought in at some point, preferably sooner rather than later. For a start, marksmen need to be posted to pinpoint the ringleaders and the bottle-bomb wielders targeting cars, schools, shops, warehouses and public buildings.
France's leaders, like the British and Dutch, are clinging to the hope that sympathetic dialogue with moderate Muslims will calm the street, despite all the evidence that radical, activist Muslims do not heed established Islamic authorities. On Nov. 6, the Union of Islamic Organizations in France, UOIF, issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims to seek "divine grace" by blindly attacking private and public property and urging meditation and calm.
First of all, perhaps the jihadists are heeding "established Islamic authorities" - just not the same ones the government recognizes.
But, there is another aspect to this, a more important point.
The following night, bands of marauding Muslim youths extended their areas of attack from outlying city districts to urban centers and started shooting at police officers.
The controlling hand, far from being legitimate Muslim authority, is beginning to emerge as the very organization that has for several years been recruiting young fighters in French Muslim ghettos fight al Qaeda’s wars against the West in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and other sectors.
On February 20, 2004, DEBKA-Net-Weekly and DEBKAfile were first to reveal the extent of al Qaeda's penetration of West Europe. They turned up French intelligence statistics which estimated that "al Qaeda had recruited in France between 35,000 and 45,000 fighters and was organizing them in military-style units. They meet regularly for training in the use of weapons and explosives, combat tactics and indoctrination and are controlled from local and district command centers under the organization's national French command."
"In Germany, Al Qaeda’s numbers are estimated at 25,000 to 30,000 men."
Today, French counter-terror sources are willing to admit, albeit on the quiet and not for attribution, that those clandestine terrorist cells may well be at the bottom of the current riots. They note the history of the Palestinian uprising, which kicked off in 1987 with stones and petrol bombs, only to evolve into a suicidal terrorist war by the late nineties. They fear this process may be beginning - not just in France but in the rest of Europe too, that the covert nucleus of trained and indoctrinated Islamic terrorists al Qaeda buried inside Europe is being turned against the continent, starting in France.
We now consider more background related to the jihad in France, as we examine GSPC Joins al-Qaeda and France Becomes Top Enemy by Kathryn Haahr, dated September 26, 2006:
Al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri's recent September 11 threat to France, coupled with al-Qaeda's official integration with the Algerian Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC), is significant for two principal reasons. First, from al-Qaeda's perspective, it is a formal alliance with an "out-of-area" Islamist group to specifically engage in jihad against Europe and elsewhere. Secondly, the GSPC's merger with al-Qaeda formalizes the GSPC's participation in al-Qaeda terrorist-related activities against Western targets. This development brings the GSPC to the counter-terrorism debate in a different way than before. The GSPC-al-Qaeda integration portends increased opportunities for al-Qaeda to recruit European jihadists for ongoing terrorist operations in the West and the Middle East and signifies the potential for an increased operational tempo by the two organizations against French and Western targets.
This intifada in France is not an aberration, nor is it an isolated incident. The more important point mentioned above is this: the Islamic extremist snake has bitten into the House of War, declaring jihad on infidel and takfir alike - especially, as we have seen and will see again, on women - and refuses (perhaps is unable?) to retract its fangs.
Al-Qaeda's threat to France raises the stakes for French counter-terrorism officials, especially given al-Zawahiri's September 11 designation of France as "prey" in the global jihad (Le Figaro, September 14). It is not surprising that France is the target for future terrorist attacks: France remains the GSPC's preference for terrorist operations due to the legacy of the 1990s and the GIA's violent struggle against the Algerian government as well as its targeting of France (the GSPC is a splinter group of the GIA). Moreover, various French foreign and domestic policies have caused France to lose its "neutrality" and make it a target for terrorism: participation in Desert Storm; participation in the international force in Lebanon, which Islamist groups view as a joint U.S.-Israeli operation to protect Israel's position in the Middle East; and laws to regulate Islamic religious symbols in schools, such as headscarves. Al-Zawahiri said that the "blessed union" of al-Qaeda and the GSPC should "be a source of chagrin, frustration and sadness for the apostates [of the regime in Algeria], the treacherous sons of [former colonial power] France," and urged the group to become "a bone in the throat of the American and French crusaders" (Le Monde, September 18; Libération, September 19).
Do you recall from Part 6 how we keyed in on the connection to Algeria amongst the jihadists of the French intifada?
According to the French minister of the interior, France is under a "vigilance absolute," and the threat level was raised and will remain so indefinitely (Le Monde, September 18). Moreover, it is not insignificant that there is an active and large Muslim community in France. In February 2005, for example, the French domestic intelligence agency, Renseignements Généraux, estimated that there are about 5,000 sympathizers and militants in France part of the Salafi-Jihad, grouped around 500 hard-core individuals (Radio France Internationale, September). The French Ministries of Defense and Interior said that France will enact specific counter-terrorism actions to deal with the threat, but will design the policies to not intentionally "provoke the Islamists" (http://www.algerie-dz.com, September 19). According to a September 2005 report produced by the French Antiterrorist Coordination Unit, France was considered a prime target for terrorist groups inspired by Islamism, most notably from combatants from Maghreb countries trained to undergo terrorist operations by the GSPC (Le Figaro, September 19; El Watan, September 20). In 2005, the GSPC singled out France as its "enemy number one," and in August of the same year appealed to Muslims living in France to attack those officials linked to the Algerian regime living in France (Radio France Internationale, September 14).
There are many wonderful, decent people in the Islamic world. The problem is not Muslims; the problem is Islam, combined with the foreign support for extremism, which turns jihadists into proxies.
As you read Islamic texts and their calls for jihad, you begin to understand how the extremists have such an ample supply of ammunition in their ideological war to radicalize Islamic communities, and this, then, makes every Islamic community in the West a cause for concern - is it a place where extremist violence is propagated? - is it a ticking time bomb of violent intifada? "Moreover, it is not insignificant that there is an active and large Muslim community in France."
The key is the foreign support these communities receive - Saudi (and other) sponsorship of terrorism and militant extremism builds upon opportune passages in Islamic texts, and while some elements in the Middle East actively encourage the jihad, other elements in the Middle East - our "friends in the War on Terror" - wage a duplicitous proxy war for imperialistic conquest of infidel lands, while our own leaders are too foolish to see it, too corrupt to acknowledge it, or both (Obama, Bush, Cheney, McCain, Clinton - categorize them yourself).
Numerous terrorist operations in Europe planned by individuals identified as belonging to the GSPC indicate that the group has an agenda to expand its range of operations to new battlefronts where al-Qaeda has been active. In May, for example, it threatened to attack "American military bases in Mali and Niger," and planning for these operations was taking place "in Algeria and in Mauritania" (Terrorism Focus, May 17). The GSPC certainly calculated that a partnership with al-Qaeda would increase the GSPC's appeal to Algerians to continue fighting the Algerian government, which in turn would enhance the organization's continued existence. In addition, integrating with al-Qaeda elevates the GSPC into a new hierarchical international position, one that will increase its Salafi Islamist appeal to European Muslims. The GSPC has been an established actor in Europe's North African network of Salafi Islamists, which have supported jihadi activities in Algeria, Iraq and in Europe, and is active in recruiting from the North African and Muslim communities in European countries.
For al-Qaeda, partnering with an organization that has actively tried to overthrow an apostate government through terrorism lends a certain "state" legitimacy to al-Qaeda. The GSPC contributes to al-Qaeda's ongoing objective to significantly mobilize global Muslim support for its agenda, a development in which al-Qaeda has not completely succeeded. As al-Qaeda's operational capabilities around the world have diminished, a partnership with a Salafi Islamist group might provide al-Qaeda with more manpower and other resources, including access to possible targets in Europe and elsewhere. Due to the GSPC's network of recruitment cells throughout Europe—many of which have been disrupted and its members detained in recent years—al-Qaeda can conceivably draw upon new European Muslim recruits for jihad in Iraq, Europe and elsewhere.
Nice - a strategic partnership among terrorists. Osama bin Laden is certainly a businessman.
The integration of the two organizations was very calculated and should be taken seriously. The unique capabilities of each group—propaganda techniques, recruitment activities and technical means to conduct a variety of terrorist operations—are now doubled. Foremost, the GSPC specializes in attacks against military targets and its training of potential recruits for activity in Iraq would certainly be important in helping al-Qaeda find technically qualified commandos who understand the nature of attacking convoys, military quarters, etc. Moreover, the GSPC is known to train terrorist recruits from other countries in North Africa, notably Tunisians, Libyans, Moroccans and Mauritanians. A second consideration is assessing the impact of the merger: is al-Qaeda trying to strengthen itself by formalizing partnerships with selected Islamist groups, or is it an indication of a weakening organization that needs to rely on regional jihadi groups for personnel and materiel?
Consideration should be applied to what the merger means for al-Qaeda's evolving ideology, as well as its propaganda activities to continue to portray itself as the ideological leader of global Islamist movements. Similarly, command-and-control implications for al-Qaeda are important since the integration could give GSPC leadership figures the authority to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe as well as in other regions. A possible evolution of leadership authority could result in al-Qaeda remaining "in charge" of Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries, whereas the GSPC could be the head of all Europe and Africa operations. An additional factor is the implications for al-Qaeda and GSPC fundraising activities as it could result in an integration of networks that are devoted to financing terrorism operations.
The GSPC's new political agenda of international terrorism and integration into the worldwide jihad is one which supports al-Qaeda's view of a worldwide conflict between "true" Muslims and the "Zionist-crusader alliance," exactly the characteristic that the GSPC now attributes to France. Most importantly, the formal alliance portends strengthening Europe as a battleground, and likely will engender more sympathy for Iraq and other causes, potentially attracting more European Muslims to the global Salafi-Jihad.
The question now remains: does this Islamic extremist snake have the ability to swallow its prey, or will it instead die trying?
Stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest as Pride of Lions continues.