By Daniel Leon
Yesterday evening, the lovely city of Paris was hit by a horrendous terrorist attack, likely carried out by Islamic State. About 130 people lost their lives and almost 100 more are in critical condition. The French president, François Hollande, visited the scene where one of the attacks occurred and vowed to retaliate. He was accompanied by several cabinet members, including the prime minister, Manuel Valls, to show that the commitment and support of the government are behind the president’s words.
At this early stage of this developing and horrendous story, there are many pressing questions. The first one is why France was targeted, and not other countries much more active in the Syrian conflict such as the United States, Saudi Arabia, or Russia. Paris underwent a similar attack earlier this year, which was much smaller in scale. The scale and coordination of this attack shows that an organization such as Islamic State must have been behind it to pull it off. My early take on this is that the level of organization required to carry out such attacks likely made use of established human networks with the necessary training, capacity, and commitment. They were probably more present in Paris–a sensationalist target as the birthplace of Western liberalism–than in other capitals.
Without a doubt, this event will have important repercussions to the hot refugee debate ongoing here in Germany. We will have to wait and see if the Paris attackers are French returnees from the Syrian civil war or not. It will also be important to know how they entered Europe. Whatever the answers are, one thing is certain: Europe will increase its involvement in the Syrian conflict beyond the question of how many refugees to take in. It is a game-changer. However, time will telI if European policies change for better or for worse.
For the moment, we at The Leipzig Glocal send our condolences to the families of the victims.