Brutal terror in Paris.
In order to understand why and how, we have to begin with statistics. Over the last month, the Russians carried out 672 air strikes targeting ISIS. The Americans and the aircraft of the Western coalition carried out 314 strikes, for a total of approximately 1,000 air strikes.
The outcome was not remarkable. But let’s assume that each one of these strikes killed just one ISIS member. Then 1,000 ISIS fighters would have been liquidated.
If we add to that the ground attacks by the Kurds, the Yazidis, the Iraqi army and the remnants of Assad’s army in Syria, then ISIS is absorbing blows on the ground as well. They have lost contiguity between the important city of Sanjur and their capital of Raqqa.
From here it is clear that they are under pressure and decided to react. It is also clear that their reaction would not be in Iraq or in Syria — they’ve already maximized their abilities in those two countries. Their new tactic is to emerge beyond the narrow borders of Iraq and Syria and to strike those who have launched offensives against them.
The Russians are attacking from the air. They downed a Russian plane in the area where it is easiest to do so, in the Sinai Peninsula, exacting 224 victims.
Hizbullah attacks them — so ISIS sends five suicide bombers to blow themselves up in the Dahiyya quarter in Beirut, a Hizbullah stronghold, at a time when senior organization officials were scheduled to be there for a meeting. The result: 49 dead, 180 wounded.
The French are fighting them, and this week, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is scheduled to reach Lebanese waters to launch strikes at ISIS. So they preempted and pummeled France with eight suicide bombers who exploded almost simultaneously, killing 131 and wounding more than 300.
These are not attacks that were conceived by ISIS members over a day or two. This is an organized and carefully planned terror attack with a delayed fuse. It was prepared ahead of time in the event that it was decided to carry it out; that time came now, after the attacks on ISIS began to take a toll. That’s when they implemented the old al-Qaida tactic: When you are under pressure, transfer the front lines to the enemy’s territory. Hit him where he least expects it and try to cause as many casualties as possible — preferably all at once to intensify the effect.
This is a combination of revenge by ISIS and an effort to deter further attacks on them. If, until now, when radical Islamist organizations wanted to act they chose two or three attackers to act independently, this time it was a full-blown, well-planned and organized operation of a central entity that does not hide behind a wall. It admits openly that it carried out the attack.
Acting against eight different targets requires months of preparation, high-quality intelligence, advance patrols of the area, accumulation of weapons, a good connection between masterminds and executors, and high motivation. This is all in order to tell the West: If you harm us and create a situation that we are not secure where we are, you will not be secure either.
Hundreds of terrorists trained by Islamic State for operations in Syria and Iraq have already left that scene — some of them willingly and others as per orders from higher up.
They were dispatched back to the countries from where they came with orders to be ready to take action at any moment.
These are the people who carried out the attacks in Beirut and Paris, while many others are waiting in Germany, Britain, and perhaps even the United States and Russia. Let’s not be surprised if the next attacks take place there.
There are many executors. True, only eight of them blew themselves up in Paris, but each one has assistants, drivers, bodyguards and scouts who reported what they saw. These were operations from large, complex cells, not individuals.
Did Hizbullah not know that ISIS, which had moved from Lebanon to Syria, had now returned to Beirut and were like a ticking time bomb? Did the French not know this? They knew, and how. But they failed to effectively track the returners through intelligence, and were unable to thwart the bombs which, it was clear, would explode sooner or later.
For years, the Europeans tried to walk the thin line that divides the necessity of dealing with terrorists in an uncompromising fashion from their lack of desire to be perceived as violating privacy rights. That’s probably going to come to an end. Now, after an attack of the scope that took place in Paris, everyone understands that the time has come to take off the gloves — even at the expense of violating someone’s freedom or privacy rights.
In upcoming elections in every single country in Europe, we will see a significant rise of the right and parties demanding a harsh crackdown.
We saw this in recent elections throughout Europe, and that was just the beginning.
The French are now paying a dear price for their foolishness and their reluctance to admit that there is “Muslim terror” in their country. Until today they refused to even utter those two words as a phrase.
For the French it is not only a failure of intelligence to detect the planned attacks. It’s much more than that. It’s a failure of the approach, of Paris’ attitude — shared by most of the West — that does not understand that it is part of a general war that radical fundamental Islam has declared on it. And in war, one needs to attack with all the resources at one’s disposal, air, sea and ground, until a decisive victory is attained.
The recent events are not connected to Israel, but sooner or later, Israel and the Jews will be forcibly sucked into it. We saw that happen in the attack by fundamentalists in Mumbai, India.
This is an opportunity for Israeli hasbarah to make it clear to everyone that it is not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that brings terror. Israel is not the problem; it is perhaps the solution, with the anti-terror techniques it has developed, which the world will now have to learn and adopt.
And finally, all gloating aside, because we are deeply pained by the deaths of French citizens as well as anyone throughout Europe, it is perhaps the time to ironically ask Paris if it’s not worthwhile to issue a call for dialogue with the other side, the way France does in other conflicts. Or if the time hasn’t come to speed up negotiations with ISIS and, in general, let us remind the French to display restraint so as to prevent an escalation.
And it might be worthwhile for the French to examine discrimination against the Muslim minority in France, which is perhaps the central cause of the fact that these young people are acting out of desperation…