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Terrorism: "France is clearly the most affected country in Europe"

2021-03-15T16:04:26.893Z

FIGAROVOX / INTERVIEW - The Fondapol has published an inventory of Islamist terrorism for forty years. For its director general Dominique Reynié, France alone concentrates nearly 44% of Islamist attacks and 42% of victims in Europe.



Dominique Reynié is a university professor at Sciences Po and director general of the Foundation for political innovation, which published in 2019

a survey on Islamist attacks in the world between 1979 and 2019.

THE FIGAROVOX.

- While they were only 3.5% between 1979 and 2000, the Islamist attacks represent 30% of the attacks committed in the world since 2013. We think of the effects of the indirect confrontation of the American and Soviet powers in Afghanistan, but are there other factors?

Dominique REYNIÉ.

-

From the end of the 19th century to the 1980s, terrorism, as a very diverse reality, was mainly driven by causes that could be qualified as secular: revolutionaries, anarchists and socialists, nationalists and separatists then constituted the bulk of acts terrorists.

The year 1979 marked a first turning point with the internationalization of the Islamist cause, following on from events that precipitated this development: the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, the Iranian revolution, the signing of the Camp David agreements and the taking of hostages of the Great Mosque of Mecca by a group of fundamentalist Islamists, in November-December.

In particular because of the activism of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, the deployment of Islamist terrorism is visible from the years 1980-1983.

It spread to the Middle East and North Africa in the 1990s. In our study,

The Islamist attacks in the world 1979-2019

(Foundation for political innovation, November 2019), we identify 2,190 Islamist attacks that caused the death of 6,818 people over the period 1979-2000.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 mark a new break by consecrating the globalization of Islamist terrorism.

They form the deadliest combination of attacks in terrorist history to date, with 3,001 dead and over 16,493 injured in total.

The planetary spectacle of this event seals the beginning of a new era in the media coverage of terrorism.

According to our data, then there is an intensification of the phenomenon of Islamist violence between 2001 and 2013 with, compared to the previous period, a fourfold increase in the number of attacks (8,264) and more than five in the number of attacks. victims (38,186).

Between 2013 and 2019, Islamism becomes the deadliest terrorist cause.

An unprecedented increase in the number of attacks (23,315) and deaths (122,092) has been recorded over this period.

Jihadism is developing regionally, relying in particular on the proclamation of the establishment of a caliphate by the Islamic State (IS) organization in Mosul in 2014. The rise of ISIS and Boko Haram is facilitated by chaotic geopolitical contexts which offer terrorist groups many opportunities for expansion.

The planetary spectacle of 9/11 marks the start of a new era in the media coverage of terrorism

Dominique reynie

These Islamist attacks are also causing more and more deaths (3.1 deaths by terrorist act from 1979 to 2000 against 5.2 between 2013 and 2019).

What changed ?

Modes of action?

The strategy of the terrorists?

In the last twenty years, the attacks have not only multiplied but they have also become much more deadly.

Several elements, interdependent with each other, explain this shock of violence.

It is first largely attributable to the rise of groups like al-Qaida, then, more recently, the Islamic State and Boko Haram.

These groups place brutality at the heart of their ideological model, it is the strategy of chaos;

it was theorized by Abu Jihad al-Masri, a cadre of al-Qaida, in the text titled

The Administration of Savagery

.

Published on the Internet in 2004, in Arabic, this text expresses a hatred of Jews, Christians, apostates, democracy and its values.

A second element is the intrusion of these armed groups in contexts of civil wars, in Syria or Iraq, where the victims are particularly numerous.

In these territories, IS has taken on the characteristics of a belligerent aiming to establish a totalitarian order and using materials and tactics on a military scale.

In these two countries, 61,513 people were killed in Islamist attacks between 2013 and 2019, i.e. half of the total victims of Islamist terrorism over the same period.

Finally, terrorist groups strongly develop certain modalities of action, for example by inciting individuals to act alone - in particular through suicide attacks, which are particularly deadly.

These are the “lone wolves”.

Read also: Two Islamist attacks were thwarted in 2020 in France

It should be noted that the intensification of the use of digital technology is proving to be formidably effective for propaganda and recruitment actions.

The emergence of social networks allows Islamist groups to interact strongly, most often anonymously, to share documents and information, but also to establish a community of individuals linked together by the cause as much as by the tools of communication.

We know that Telegram messaging was used by the terrorists of the Bataclan.

These attacks have changed in nature, and suicide attacks are also on the rise.

Are we facing a new generation of more determined terrorists, ready for anything?

In the history of terrorism, the use of suicide bombings is not a new phenomenon.

It is not, moreover, a characteristic of the Islamist movements but of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, who made systematic use of it from 1976 onwards as part of a demand for independence, moreover mixing Muslims and Christians.

The technique of the suicide attack then passed into the repertoire of actions of Islamist terrorism during the Iran-Iraq conflict, between 1980 and 1988. Several thousand Iranian children, under the age of 16, were brought to rush to minefields to allow troops to go and fight on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Khomeini.

We then speak of “suicide attacks”.

It is indeed a tactic of war.

It seems that it was then in the context of the war in Lebanon that the first “suicide attacks” were carried out.

In Beirut, on October 23, 1983, two suicide bombings orchestrated by Hezbollah reached the American and French contingents of the Multinational Security Force, causing the death of 241 American soldiers in the first case and, in the second, of 58 people, for most of the French soldiers.

It is indeed a tactic of war

Dominique reynie

Between 1979 and 2000, we recorded 19 suicide attacks resulting in the death of 190 people.

We observed a strong increase from the 2000s, first over the period 2001-2013 (679 suicide attacks and 9,981 deaths), then an increase between 2013 and 2019 (1,820 suicide attacks and 23,315 victims).

The Islamic State organization and Boko Haram have massively resorted to suicide bombings.

This technique illustrates the culture of death maintained and developed among young jihadists.

To carry out its suicide attacks, Boko Haram indoctrinates, manipulates, enlists or coerce above all women, adolescents and very young children.

Note that if, in Western public opinion, the perpetrator of a suicide bombing is more often associated with the idea of ​​a fanatic, a miserable or psychologically unbalanced person, a certain number of studies contrast this portrait highlighting the relatively high socio-cultural level of a majority of terrorists who died in suicide attacks.

Everyone understands that this type of attack, in the middle of a school, a wedding, a funeral, a prayer or a bazaar, makes a lot of victims and that its media impact is considerable.

The recourse to the suicide attack is therefore also part of a new media universe where the images are immediately broadcast everywhere in the world.

As a modus operandi, the suicide bombing resonates with these new tools, instilling extreme fear, both individual and collective, and an unbearable feeling of permanent vulnerability in the face of terrorists capable of sowing death anytime and anywhere.

Civilians are the main target (28.5%) of Islamist terrorists, ahead of the military (24.5%) and the police (18.3%).

Is it a strategy to target the corporate bodies?

Behind these figures, we find a variety of contexts.

We previously mentioned Syria and Iraq, these are countries where the military are indeed targeted in contexts of civil war.

Attacks against police forces are found a lot among the Taliban.

They are part of a political objective of destabilizing institutions.

This is a modus operandi that can also be found in Europe.

To attack the institutions of order (police, army and justice) is also to attack those who protect us.

Here again, the psychological effect is overkill.

This is why, in my opinion, the highest point of collective fear was reached on October 3, 2019, during the attack on the premises of the Paris police headquarters, where three police officers and an administrative agent been murdered by a radicalized employee who held the position of administrative assistant at the Intelligence Directorate of the Paris Police Prefecture (DRPP).

This is how in our democracies, Islamist terrorism acts like poison.

On this point, it is indistinguishable from other forms of terrorism.

Faced with this outburst of indiscriminate violence, amazement, depression and then fear upset nature and political demands.

Desires for repression, control, surveillance, expulsion and border closures are then expressed in broad daylight.

A culture of security, even paranoid, is unfolding.

The necessary measures intended to reassure and prevent inevitably fuel this climate.

Democracies are populated by innumerable systems for controlling access to public places and shops;

gantry cranes and security guards are popping up everywhere, street trash cans become transparent bags, taking a plane requires cumbersome control and search procedures, going in the metro requires the vigilance of travelers, strategic sites are worrying, video surveillance is spreading, while that the fight against terrorist networks intensify police surveillance: files, eavesdropping, tracking on the web and social networks, on video game forums, etc.

In our democracies, Islamist terrorism acts as a poison

Dominique reynie

Finally, the fear of the other crack of open societies where we end up suspecting each other: desire to do battle, xenophobia, conflict of identities and authoritarianism are on the rise.

Through the violence of the jihadists, Islam and Muslims arouse irrepressible and growing fears.

A growing part of public opinion believes it is represented and reassured by leaders who promise to alter the rule of law.

France was the most affected country in the entire European Union.

It concentrates 43.9% of the attacks, far ahead of the United Kingdom.

Why has our country become a target?

France is clearly the most affected country in Europe, with 80 attacks and 330 deaths between 1979 and February 2021, according to our latest updates.

Out of all the countries of the European Union - including the United Kingdom - France alone concentrates nearly 44% of Islamist attacks and 42% of victims.

In France, since the attacks committed by Mohammed Merah on March 11, 2012, and today, there are 56 Islamist attacks that have cost the death of 293 people, including 18 children and adolescents.

Half of these attacks are carried out by the Islamic State.

Read also: In France, are only a quarter of Islamist terrorists foreign?

France is certainly paying for its presence in the world, especially its military commitment.

We are one of the three democratic powers, along with the United States and the United Kingdom, to deploy troops outside our national borders, in particular to fight Islamist groups, as in Mali.

There is also undoubtedly also a link with our colonial past, even if many European countries were touched by Islamism without sharing this past, Germany, Denmark, Sweden or Austria for example.

Finally, apart from Israel, France is the only country where there is a large Muslim community and a large Jewish community.

This could encourage an importation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but obviously the Islamist terrorism which strikes us does not care much for the fate of the Palestinians.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-03-15

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