By Wayne Litke
Are we learning anything from atrocities around the world, the latest being a series of seven co-ordinated terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris?
The Nov. 13 attacks included three suicide bombings near a packed soccer stadium (where France’s president was in attendance), drive-by shootings with AK-47 machine guns at a bar and two outdoor restaurants and a slaughter at a rock concert. The extremists killed 89 people at the sold-out concert and 50 more at their other targets in Paris. Another 352 individuals were injured, 99 of them critically.
The radical group ISIS was quick to take credit for the bloodbath.
As I pen this column, a massive manhunt is under way for the man who was driving one of the vehicles used in the attacks. Belgian officials launched a massive search after the driver was let into their country (with two companions) when law enforcement officials did not know he was wanted in connection with the Paris killing spree.
France declared a state of emergency after the Friday-night attacks which empowered police to conduct a search without a warrant. By Monday morning, they had carried out 168 raids. Twenty-three people were arrested, weapons and ammunition confiscated including handguns, long rifles and four heavy weapons. In a search of a home belonging to one of the suspect’s parents, police found several automatic pistols, an AK-47 assault rifle, a rocket-launcher and police armbands.
A government official noted six attacks on French soil had been foiled since spring, but let’s not forget the Charlie Hebdo massacre that occurred in January of this year. It resulted in 12 people being killed (including two police officers) and four hostages gunned down at a Jewish supermarket.
According to the Global Research Centre, the 1980s were also a turbulent time for France as there were 35 terror attacks that killed 82 people and injured another 1,023. Last year (2014), there were only three terrorist attacks in France and only four in the 10 years prior to that.
The most recent wave of terrorism came at the hands of Islamic extremists, one of which was born and raised in France. He was known to counter-terrorism authorities and was suspected of attending a jihadist training camp in Syria in 2013-14. Another attacker apparently had a passport showing he gained entry to France by posing as a refugee from Syria who fled to Greece and then made his way through other countries that accept war refugees. At this time, it is not known if the passport is legitimate or a counterfeit. Unfortunately, creating fake Syrian passports is a booming business and there are plenty of customers willing to pay for the service.
The Daily Express in London recently carried a story quoting a Syrian operative who claimed over 4,000 ISIS gunmen covertly entered western countries disguised as refugees. He said extremists are taking advantage of the generosity of developed nations that accept refugees and they have ambitious plans.
In retaliation for the attacks against Paris civilians – the worst in history – France launched its largest airstrike against ISIS targets in Syria. Ten fighter aircraft were deployed and 20 bombs dropped that struck a jihadist recruitment centre, training camp for terrorists and command centre.
When the analysts have compiled their findings, what will governments have learned that may help countries counter what appears to be increases in terrorism in the western world?
I can only answer regarding my own observations and hope our government officials make more informed decisions.
1 – Airstrikes and a ground war against terrorism may be necessary in order to deter terrorism, but such violent action does not address underlying social and ethnic issues that contribute to radicalization of individuals.
2 – Employment and establishing respect and self worth is critical when it comes to living happily.
3 – Education and enlightenment, especially of youth, and the development of basic values such as acceptance of others and obeying laws (not breaking them or making new ones) are essentials that refugees and all Canadians should receive.
4 – Improved screening of refugees is very important, especially for countries that willingly take in large numbers of people displaced by war. Tighter security and better background checks are fundamentals that must not be overlooked as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begins the process of accepting 25,000 Syrian refugees in the next seven weeks.
5 – Careful consideration should be given to all political decisions that may impact freedom, especially regarding foreign policy and our civil rights in Canada which are being slowly eroded in the name of democracy and cultural respect.
6 – Manipulating corrupt leaders and world politics creates enemies and leads to extremists taking action.
7 – Budding jihadists and extremists who encourage violence and hate (and any associates) should face death, immediate deportation or a lifetime of hard-labour rehabilitation on an island north of the Arctic circle.