Marco Rumignani's blog

France : État d’urgence ? (State of emergency?)

January 9, 2015
  1. Jihadist took over Paris


Ø  It isn’t the first time France faces radical religious terrorism (Groupe Islamique Armé in the 1990’s).

Ø  It isn’t the first time terrorist attacks are conducted against Charlie Hebdo (the one in 2011 following the re-publishing of Danish caricatures), nor against French news agencies (shootout against Libération).

Ø  Charlie Hebdo has already been put on a list of targets, along with Salman Rushdie.

Ø  Like in the case of Merah 2012, the French police and SWAT teams faced individuals heavily armed (AK-47 and RPG’s , meaning weapons of war, far superior in fire power than standard police weapons), trained (in Afghanistan and Pakistan for Merah) and capable of repelling assaults.

Ø  The attacks of January 7th have a political and religious character: the attackers shout “Allah is great”, told to some people working in Charlie Hebdo that they were acting in the name of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and targeted precise drawers from Charlie Hebdo, and also policemen and women. The French Republic and its constitutional principles were thus attacked.

Ø  The youngest of the brothers-attackers was already under surveillance, which has proven to be useless, not to mention that police forces have shown (more than once) to be under-equipped, loosely trained for more and more violent criminals, and not funded enough.

Ø  Some security specialists appearing on French TV claimed that the surveillance of people like the Kouachi brothers would require more than 30 people for each individual.

Ø  The DGSE (French external intelligence), and the DGSI (French internal intelligence) didn't foresee the attacks, and thus were not properly working.


  1. What the French government should do on a national level


Ø  The Ministry of the Interior should plan new management and training technics and policies as soon as possible.

Ø  New weapons and new material for the police forces: SWATS, but also simple street officers (the officer shot in Montrouge was only a rookie agent, barely promoted), who nowadays face criminals often better equipped.

Ø  A stronger and more repressive criminal law  is necessary. The current legal system doesn’t match with the new security priorities (suburban riots, jihadism, new radical left and right groups, cyber terrorism).

Ø  Establishing laws of exception (like state of emergency) in such cases as the ones that occurred over the past 2 days in France.

Ø  Entertain the possibility of re-establishing Death penalty for worst crimes committed.


  1. What the French government should do on an international level


Ø  Better cooperation with intelligence agencies from countries facing the same threats (USA, Russia, Israel), and exchanging data between countries.

Ø  French intelligence and militaries shouldn’t be afraid of working with their Syrian and Iranian counterparts. Those are indeed the de-facto allies of France against the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.


       4. Conclusions


The word "emergency" isn't chosen by mistake. Since the attacks, France (and the rest of Western Europe) will have to take measures that will ultimately numb certain liberties in order to preserve the other liberties that European law allows to people.

In other words, Western Europe will face the ambiguous and cornellian choice between self preservation (security, a postivie right of the state) and freddoms (a negative right of individuals towards the state). France faces what Russia has faced in the 1990's. How time passes by!

What "freedoms"? May one ask himself. Basically the same ones that 2 Millions demonstrators sought to share on Sunday 11th January in the streets of French cities.

But also the ones that allowed three individuals to live free and prepare those attacks, left for free and unwatched by the French intelligence services, which yet knew the dangers and the jihadist past of these men.

Those same freedoms that allowed caricaturists to publish elements that put their lives and the lives of others at risk.

So yes, those attacks, in a certain way, "killed" freedoms, pushing millions in the streets, along with the leaders of nations that bear (as leaders) the responsibility of the lives and security of their fellow citizens, and, thus, the responsibility of the attacks themselves.

Nietzsche often pointed out that "God is dead".

I'll just add that we killed God.

This is why "je ne suis pas Charlie" (I am not Charlie).

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