Friday 13th in November 2015 has become another black night in the history of France. A series of coordinated bomb and gun attacks claimed lives of 130 civilians in Paris not to mention seven perpetrators themselves and hundreds of wounded people. This tragedy became another red flag pointing to the severe threat to peace in Europe as well as the welfare of the global community. However, what were the underlying reasons for the attacks and why did terrorists choose France as their target?
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The first explosions took place at the Stade of France at 21:20 local time. There were three suicide bombers at the stadium. The first one was rejected to enter the stadium because a suicide bomb belt was detected during a routine security check. So, he detonated his bomb vest right on the northern gate. The other terrorists managed to enter the stadium and commit acts of terror just 10 and 33 minutes later.
The second explosion was at one of the entrances while the third terrorist blew himself up near one of the fast-food cafés. Even though the bombings were horrible, it is possible to view them positively because, in fact, the places of the detonations were not too overcrowded. So, the number of victims was lower that it might have been.
Nevertheless, the worst thing about these explosions is the fact that they were not the only attacks in Paris, as others bombings and acts of violence started almost at the same time across Paris city centre. These included shootings at Le Carillon bar, Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, La Casa Nostra pizzeria, Cafe Bonne Biere, and La Belle Equipe Bar. These were gun attacks.
They were primarily focused on places located in the heart of Paris. Another act of terror was the suicide bomb attack at Le Comptoir Voltaire restaurant. The final chord was the Bataclan concert hall gun attack. It had the most dreadful consequences, as 89 people out of 130 total were killed in the concert hall and more than one hundred victims were hospitalised in critical condition (“Paris attacks: What happened on the night,” 2015). That said, the terrorists have chosen crowded places as the targets for their attacks, as most of them were located in the central parts of Paris while concert hall and stadium tickets were sold out guaranteeing overcrowding.
It has not taken a long time to find those responsible for the attacks, as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) officially claimed that they were the perpetrators, and establishing identities of all suicide bombers proved it. One of the official versions of the explosions is that they were planned in Syria by terrorists from ISIL training camps (Farmer, 2016).
The primary question under consideration is to find out what were the reasons for committing these horrific acts of terror. The underlying cause of the attacks might be seen in France’s airline bombings in Syria on September 27. The primary objective was to prevent terrorism threats because the French government believed that one of the ISIL camps terrorists, Abaaoud, was planning attacks on Paris. The authorities even knew that the concert hall was a potential target (Hughes, 2016). However, as the future events demonstrated the attempts to prevent acts of terror were not successful.
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The consequences of the terrorist attacks were not only 130 killed and hundreds of injured people but also the decision to strike back. On Monday, the President and the French Defence Ministry commanded to drop bombs on the capital of the ISIL caliphate, Raqqa, Syria, demonstrating that France will not forgive the vain deaths of its citizens. Moreover, France called Europe to control the national borders limiting illegal migration from Syria and intensified security initiating the anti-terrorist operation (Steafel et al., 2015).
I believe that hundreds of innocent victims and official military response together with tightening anti-terrorist policies are not the only outcomes of the bomb attacks in France although they are the most visible ones. What I find even more paramount is that these acts of terror demonstrated that the face of the global terrorism has changed. What I want to say is that if earlier the primary objective of terrorism was to fight for political recognition or acknowledging particular moral demands, ISIL terrorists strive for glory.
The motivation for such statement is that ISIL does not want political recognition. Instead, it wants to show its power and that Western countries preferring democracy and diplomacy are weak casting fear on their citizens. Nevertheless, I am strongly inclined to believe that terrorism is not a tool for demonstrating might. We live in the twenty-first century, and the supremacy of physical power has given way to the domination of intellect. From my perspective, it means that people and countries should have learned to reach vital decisions through negotiations and prove their power by reaching higher levels of economic, social, and cultural development instead of competing, which state is better in inventing intricate technologies for cruelty and bloodshed.
Farmer, B. (2016). Who is Salah Abdeslam and who were the Paris terrorists? Everything we know about the ISIL attackers. The Telegraph.
Hughes, C. (2016). France tried to kill Paris terror mastermind before the attacks with bombing raids on ISIS. Mirror.
Paris attacks: What happened on the night. (2015). BBC News.
Steafel, E., Mulholland, R., Sabur, R., Malnick, E., Trotman, A., & Harley, N. (2015). Paris terror attack: Everything we know on Saturday afternoon. The Telegraph.