FPI Resources on the Paris Attacks

November 16, 2015

A series of terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night has left 129 people dead, 352 wounded, and 99 in critical condition. The attacks were coordinated between three teams of shooters and suicide bombers at six locations throughout the city. Seven attackers have been identified while one suspect remains at large. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were planned by a Belgian man who had fought in Syria for the Islamic State.
FPI believes that the following resources will be beneficial for lawmakers and their staff as they consider how the United States and its allies should respond to the attack and counterterrorism efforts going forward.

President Francois Hollande, Address, Nov. 14, 2014

“It’s an act of war committed by a terrorist army—Daesh—a jihadist army, against France, against the values we uphold throughout the world, against who we are, a free country, which speaks to the whole planet…It’s an act of war committed by, organized, and planned from outside with help from the inside…It was an act of total savagery.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Europe’s Terrorist War at Home, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 15, 2015

“[The] Islamic State, or ISIS, is vowing more attacks in Europe, and so Europe itself—not just France—must get on a war footing, uniting to do whatever it takes militarily to destroy ISIS and its so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Not ‘contain,’ not ‘degrade’—destroy, period.”
Harleen Gambhir, The Islamic State’s Trap for Europe, The Washington Post, Nov. 15, 2015

“The Islamic State is executing a global strategy to defend its territory in Iraq and Syria, foster affiliates in other Muslim-majority areas, and encourage and direct terrorist attacks in the wider world. It has exported its brutality and military methods to groups in Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Now it is using tactical skills acquired on Middle Eastern battlefields to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash that will generate even more recruits within Western societies. The United States and its allies must respond quickly to this threat.”
Dalibor Rohac, Five Lessons from the Paris Attacks for Europe, AEI Ideas, Nov. 15, 2015

“The attack is not primarily a reaction to anything that the French did or did not do. Instead, it is the result of a crude ideology, which has gained currency within radical Islamist thought both in Europe and in the Middle East. It is not a ‘medieval’ doctrine, but a totalitarian one. The version of radical Islamism that seems to have motivated the attacks conflates religion and the state, the private and the public sphere, and abhors the idea of an open, pluralistic society, in which Muslims and non-Muslims can peacefully live side by side.”
Zalmay Khalilzad, The War Against Islamic Terror after Paris, The National Interest, Nov. 15, 2015

“The Paris attacks call for a significant adjustment in U.S., allied and global strategy to combat Islamic extremism. This reassessment must start with a recognition that the dysfunctionality of the Middle East -- an outgrowth of Islam’s broader crisis of civilization -- is the underlying cause of extremism and terror.”
Frederick and Kimberly Kagan, What to Do and to Don’t in Response to the Paris Attacks, AEI Critical Threats Project, Nov. 15 2015

“The ISIS attacks in Paris mark a step-change in the threat that group poses to the West.  The tactics employed came straight from the battlefields of the Middle East into the heart of Europe.  The group hit multiple targets simultaneously without detection by French security services, which are among the best in the world, despite a series of arrests aimed at disrupting this operation.  That capability demonstrates superior planning ability, resilience, and operational security.  The successful use of multiple suicide vests shows that ISIS was able either to smuggle them all the way to Paris or, more worrisome, build them from materials available in Europe without detection.”
Bruce Riedel, Modeled on Mumbai? Why the 2008 India Attack is the Best Way to Understand Paris, Brookings Institution, Nov. 14, 2015

“The horrific terrorist attack in Paris was likely modeled on an earlier terrorist horror, the November 26-29, 2008 attack in Mumbai, India, in which ten terrorists killed 164 and wounded more than 300. Mumbai has been studied by both terrorists and counter-terrorists because it set a gold standard for how a small group of suicidal fanatics can paralyze a major city, attract global attention, and terrorize a continent.” 
Josh Rogin, CIA Director: Attacks on Europe No Surprise, More Expected, Bloomberg View, Nov. 16, 2015

“The Islamic State is plotting more operations similar to the Paris attacks, the CIA director said Monday, asserting that Western governments and intelligence agencies are hampered in monitoring terrorist suspects and thwarting plots.”

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The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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