This past month – the fall of Kabul, the 20th anniversary of the atrocities of 9/11, and the historic trial of the Paris attacks – has been a time of deep emotional turmoil. The Paris Perspective examines these events by analyzing the evolution of international jihad.
It was “nothing personal.” Salah Abdel Salam, the main suspect in the 2015 massacre that killed 130 people in Paris, told a French court this week.
Abdul Salam was part of an Islamic State cell that carried out gun and bomb attacks on bars, restaurants, the Bataklan Concert Hall and the Stade de France Sports Stadium. November 13, six years ago..
He is thought to be the only surviving criminal.
This trial is a moment of reckoning for the families of the victims and for the thousands of others trapped in the horrors of that night. Old wounds are being reopened, as they were during the recent resumption of 9/11 military trials at Guantanamo Bay.
Now, after the spectacular fall of Taliban militants in Afghanistan, global powers – rivals and allies alike – are fearing an increase in terrorist activity as jihadists around the world celebrate. Chaotic withdrawal of Western forces From Kabul
Good for al Qaeda, bad for ISIS.
Al-Qaeda, a multinational Sunni insurgency, sees the resurgence of the Taliban as a “sign from God,” according to Wasim Nasr, a French terrorism expert who oversees radical Islamic strategies.
“Movements that belong to al-Qaeda or sympathize with al-Qaeda because they see it as evidence that with patience, armed jihad – after negotiations – they can get what they want.”
Return of the Taliban Islamic Emirate Rejuvenated Al Qaeda’s Central Command and its affiliates. However, the situation was different for the Islamic State group, which lost its “caliphate” in Levant and saw its leaders killed by international forces.
“From the first day of its creation. [Islamic State] Khilafah in 2014 [Al-Qaeda] I think it’s illegal, “Nasr explained.
“I had a few questions for a key al Qaeda leader in the Arabian Peninsula, and he was going to tell me for the first time in 2014. [Islamic State] Were illegal and [Abu Bakr] Al-Baghdadi was a traitor.
“So al Qaeda is happy, and not the Islamic State.”
Young people deprived of the right to vote.
As a journalist and broadcaster, Nasr keeps his ears on the ground, analyzes social issues and reaches out to vulnerable youth. France’s backward. Suburbs, Or the suburbs.
In these areas, disenfranchised people are the main target of radicalization by religious extremists who often manipulate the recruitment of disaffected youth who want to give meaning to their lives.
Abdul Salam has tried to use it. The Paris attacks as a trial In a way, his microphone was eventually silenced by a judge. So how did his words get received in the suburbs, or so-called. “Difficult neighborhood”?
Nasr says he is not paying much attention. “They’re not following these tests. They don’t feel upset at all. That’s what I think,” he says.
On the other hand, the media was watching from day one what Abdul Salam was going to say.
Nasr added that the marathon trial has been running for nine months, things may change, depending on what Abdul Salam says or does not say.
Political representation for molecules in France?
In the wake of the 2015 Paris attacks, is a new generation of Muslims growing up who feel their voice is being heard by the government? Before the 2022 presidential election in France, do French Muslims have any political representation?
The myth of the Muslim vote.
Since the 2015 attacks, France has been forced to look in the mirror to recognize the realities facing its Muslim population and the ghetto of Muslim communities.
When it comes to political representation, however, not much has changed in the last six years.
Anything about the Muslim vote prepared by France for April. 2022 presidential election. Nasr says this is nonsense. France is not like other countries, because Muslims vote either right or left.
“If you talk about it. SuburbsFor example – what can be understood as a ‘Muslim vote’? The majority votes. Jean-Luc Milanchon.“It’s far, far away,” he says.
“But if you talk. [voter] Participating or going to the polls is rare. Many people do not even bother to vote. “
From the turmoil of the 2015 Paris Massacre – and the subsequent notion of “lone wolf” attacks across the country Islam of France. born.
The idea is simple: a state-approved, comprehensive interpretation of the Islamic faith, keeping in mind the principles of secular democracy in France, to prevent radicalism and promote integration.
But it is also a roadmap for the future. Islam and Muslims in France Got a lot on earth?
No, Nasr says – because the purpose. Islam of France. It was never political, it was established from the beginning. Monitoring of extremist views Coming from individual mosques or imams.
“French Islam didn’t work. It’s still a project, but I don’t know if it will work or not. Whenever a state is involved in such issues, people usually Do not follow. “
Trying to bring the Islamic faith into the secular mainstream, if any Muslim in the world sees “islam.gov”, it will not work.
Yet since Paris and other European cities were hit by terrorist attacks, international jihadism has flourished – especially in response to large-scale global investment in security, surveillance and international cooperation.
At the Paris tribunal, all the accused were tracked through technology. So what has changed from the jihadists’ point of view?
“As legal measures were prepared, the jihadists adapted their way of working,” Nasr explained.
The 2001 and 2015 attacks on the United States and Paris were exceptions. These included recruiting staff, training them, sending them to target countries, purchasing weapons and making explosives.
Nasr added that in the years that followed, it was difficult to assemble such teams and prepare fierce fighters to return to their homes and attack.
However, this trend has changed.
“Islamic State has achieved what al Qaeda could only dream of: managing to incite many people to take action. Terrorist acts in their own countries – as citizens, residents or refugees,” Nasr said. “
“And that’s the trend today … It’s less deadly than major attacks like 9/11, but the political impact is still the same.”
Have French policies worked to combat radicalism?
Low cost jihad business model.
Financially, the expensive “terrorist spectacles” of the last 20 years are turning into cheap operations with “terrorist profits” as illegal funding. Channels are closed Through international forensic monitoring of accounts
In the 2020s, terrorism is more cost-effective.
“It simply came to our notice then Attack on Kabul [airport]. This is a suicide bomber with an explosive belt.
“It doesn’t hurt much about the death toll.
Nasr added that jihadi movements live in the micro-economy and, over time, accumulate a small amount of money to build a large kitty that allows them to carry out low-cost and high-profit operations.
Is the future biological?
Another possible evolutionary branch of terrorism is the structure, vector and delivery of weapons. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has recently warned that The next wave of attacks Biological attacks were more likely than conventional, physical attacks.
Will jihadists end security measures in the future in this way?
Nasr believes Blair has a point, but the jihadists’ development of chemical or biological weapons is limited. Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Islamic State in Iraq both tried to develop separate chemical weapons.
“But they were very low-tech chemical weapons. And even when they were used, the casualties were minimal,” he says.
“the aim. [Blair] I was talking about psychological effects. They’re trying … you can build a weapon, but then you have to develop the ability to deliver it. “
For jihadists, it’s one thing to develop a biochemical weapon in a MacShift laboratory, but it’s another to “put it on an airplane and use it.”
So once the Paris tribunal reaches its verdict on the November 13 attacks in nine months, what can we expect, and how will the decisions affect the future of domestic radicalism in France?
For Nasr, Justice will work its way. At least, unlike the United States.
The bottom line is that France and European countries are doing what the United States did not want to do – by prosecuting terrorists in regular courts, not military courts.
It makes court proceedings a public process, which is essential in a democracy.
The most important message of the United States – with trials. Sheikh Muhammad At Guantanamo – is this a military case?
“These are not formal laws. This is not a formal court. On the other hand. [over the past 20 years], Western powers are using drones to kill people. And this is out of court, “says Nasr.
There is a contradiction in this.
“When you have the opportunity to decide people in court – as a democracy – you need it.”
Written, produced and presented by David Kofi.
Recorded, mixed and edited by Cicile Pomeani, Nicholas Doreau and Yann Bourdelas
Wasim Nasr is a Paris-based journalist, broadcaster and author.