Mark Collins – France vs Islamist Terrorism: “Merciless”

Further to this post,

Fighting Islamist Terrorism: A Darker Future for Freedom?

also sprach Sarko:

Islamists attack French church, slit priest’s throat


…former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is expected to enter a conservative primary for next year’s presidential election, accused the Socialist government of being soft.

“We must be merciless,” Sarkozy said in a statement to reporters.

“The legal quibbling, precautions and pretexts for insufficient action are not acceptable. I demand that the government implement without delay the proposals we presented months ago. There is no more time to be wasted.”

The center-right opposition wants all Islamist suspects to be either held in detention or electronically tagged to avert potential attacks.

Far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who is also expected to run for the presidency, said both Sarkozy’s and Hollande’s parties had failed on security.
“All those who have governed us for 30 years bear an immense responsibility. It’s revolting to watch them bickering!” she tweeted…

At the Guardian:

A nun who witnessed the murder described how the men forced Father Jacques Hamel to his knees before killing him and filmed themselves preaching in Arabic by the altar. They also tried to cut the throat of a parishioner, leaving him for dead…

The French in the past certainly could be merciless when the state was truly threatened (fictional below but with the ring of truth):

Torture Helps

In “The Day of the Jackal” the crucial information that eventually leads to the assassin hired by the OAS to kill President de Gaulle derives from torture (to death, more here); oddly enough that did not seem to cause a stir at the time…

And consider Algeria

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


2 thoughts on “Mark Collins – France vs Islamist Terrorism: “Merciless””

  1. July 21 piece at the NY Review of Books before the above murder–the conclusion:

    “France at War
    Christopher de Bellaigue

    France is hurtling toward a presidential election that will bring more hostility, fear, and division, and be fought against the expectation of further attacks. In the meantime, the racial profiling and frisking of Arabs in the street, the police raids in the middle of the night—these will intensify, contributing to further alienation of French Muslims. Under the state of emergency, prefects have been able to order house searches, confine people to their homes, shut mosques, and ban assemblies without a court order. The results of this expansion of police powers have been thin: five terrorist prosecutions have been launched as a result of 3,500 house searches, while those being searched are stigmatized as suspect outsiders and would-be jihadists. Here is the tension that exists between the short-term imperative of preventing terrorism and reassuring the populace and the long-term need to integrate a large Muslim minority into society. Both the terrorists and Le Pen have made the resolution of this tension increasingly remote.

    There are about five million Muslims in France, a large majority of them French citizens. It suffices to step from a mixed-race Paris suburb into its columned prefecture, the basic unit of the “imperious state,” and see all the white-faced, salaried, suited, unionized civil servants, to understand that integration hasn’t gone nearly far enough. Hollande’s appeal for unity is no longer being heard because at the very moment that French voters need to wake up to the disaffection of so many, assuage alienation, and draw Muslims out of their sullen sense of victimhood, the call of “foreigners out” is the most seductive.

    So, France is at war. It is hard to define this war of which everyone speaks, let alone imagine how best to wage it. Is it against ISIS, whose territory is now shrinking but whose ideology will survive—and, no doubt, again mutate? Against people like Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel [Nice killer], a violent and unstable libertine who discovered jihadism a week before his outrage? Against Islam? Or France itself?”

    Mark Collins

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