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Old 03-25-2012   #41
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Originally Posted by JMA View Post
Seriously, one needs to ask what weapons they were using that you can hit a person 18 times and he can still move and fire? He was seriously high on something?
Maybe sometimes guys just won't go down. The Filippinos and the Moros were famous for that 100 and more years ago.
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Old 03-28-2012   #42
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French spy agency denies Toulouse gunman was an informant. intelNews.org, 28 March 2012.
Quote:
France’s domestic intelligence agency has denied allegations, made by its former Director, that it employed as an informant the militant Islamist who recently killed seven people in Toulouse. Yves Bonnet, who headed France’s DCRI between 1982 and 1985, made the allegation in an interview with La Dépêche du Midi, one of France’s largest regional newspapers, headquartered in Toulouse.
This angle hasn’t really shown up in the English language press; it is centered on around the comment made by Yves Bonnet and reporting in the Italian newspaper Il Foglio.
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Old 03-28-2012   #43
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Default Online Attribution of the French Killer

A very interesting aspect covered by KoW Blog, which opens with:
Quote:
Mohammed Merah, the culprit of the killing of 7 people in France last week, was found using a mix of traditional and online forensics. This case highlights that online attribution/identification is possible with a sound Internet governance model, but it also raises a few questions.
Link:http://kingsofwar.org.uk/2012/03/onl...french-killer/
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Old 03-28-2012   #44
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Not really having time for posting links but according to French press:
Merah had psychiatric past. He was detained for 15 days in a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt.
But more important, there could be a third man (the seccond one being his brother). Al Jazira received videos of the murders that were posted out of Toulouse by someone who is not Merah.

I tend to believe that a cell with less than 3 to 4 people is almost not detectable before it becomes active. Even more when it is a one person who becomes active in a 3 to 4 person dormant cell.
That said, I have no clue or expertise to say if Merah was part of such a cell.
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Old 03-28-2012   #45
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Originally Posted by carl View Post
Maybe sometimes guys just won't go down. The Filippinos and the Moros were famous for that 100 and more years ago.
Were drugs involved?

I can tell you that you hit him with one 7.62x51mm NATO and it puts him on his ass... but in the close confines of a small house or apartment I concede a short, light weapon may be needed (9mm) then its all in the ammo, yes?

What use is ammo that you hit him with but does not stop him firing back at you? Too damn sporting for my liking! I wouldn't send my troopies into a situation like that.
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Old 03-28-2012   #46
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JMA: To my knowledge there were no drugs involved, just very highly motivated guys who were moving very fast often times swinging razor sharp edged weapons. I read that the Army troops started out with .38 cal double action pistols and many went back to using .45 cal single action pistols because they were a bit more effective in putting people down quickly. Google Juramentados but there is at least one bad error about pig remains in the Wiki article. There should be a lot of other good refs on the net.

Try this site also, very interesting.

http://www.morolandhistory.com/

The war in the Philippines and Moroland in the early 1900s is fascinating. I don't know if you can easily get books about that in SA but if you can I think you would find it interesting. Once upon a time, we knew how to fight small wars.
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Old 03-31-2012   #47
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Default Issues often pushed out of sight

An interesting commentary on the wider issues in France, which are often seen in other places, that opens with:
Quote:
In 'sensitive urban zones' where a third of residents live below the poverty line and unemployment among young people is over 40%, it is difficult to see how people like Mohammed Merah can become part of France’s social fabric.
Which ends with:
Quote:
Just as the riots which took place last summer in the UK were a symptom of youth unemployment and disengagement from society, so Mohammed Merah’s actions were an indication that people like him need to be provided with opportunities for employment and be made to feel a part of their country of birth as opposed to a discriminated-against minority. France needs a real debate about why these attacks were carried out as opposed to focusing on cosmetic solutions which deviate from the problem entirely.
Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/elena-g...ulouse-attacks

At the same time it is possible to see other French Muslims have taken steps to leave 'sensitive urban zones', like the murdered paratroopers and Merah did seek to join the French Army.
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Old 03-31-2012   #48
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Default Islamic militants raided

A BBC News report on a series of police raids yesterday and it is quite clear there is a measure of political direction alongside a bureaucratic re-appraisal of militancy:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17558564

Incredibly the police "struck gold", slightly edited:
Quote:
..the Forsane Alizza (Knights of Pride) group's... suspected leader, Mohammed Achamlane. Police sources told AFP that three Kalashnikovs, a Glock pistol and a grenade were seized at his home.
Not to overlook the context:
Quote:
The BBC's Christian Fraser: "Everything that is happening at the moment also has to be seen through the prism of the election"
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Old 04-09-2012   #49
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Default Afghan Blowback in France

Afghan Blowback in France

Entry Excerpt:



--------
Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.
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Old 04-09-2012   #50
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Default Lessons of Toulouse?

There is a SWJ Blog article 'Afghan Blowback in France' and the present IT difficulties prevent making comments there.

Link:http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/afg...back-in-france

There is the unanswered question was this:
Quote:
A Plot Inspired and Driven by Al-Qaeda?
And under:
Quote:
New Challenges for French Counter-Terrorism
Which I have summarised as first:
Quote:
The modus operandi is strikingly different from past Salafist-Jihadist attacks in France. ... Merah’s M.O. is consistent with Abu Musab al Suri’s recommendation to engage in small-scale independent acts of anti-Western terror.
Secondly:
Quote:
Mohammed Mehra is a loner... it indicates that the painstaking work of monitoring and preventing new attacks will need to be adapted.
Finally:
Quote:
Merah behaved like a ‘serial killer.’...The confluence of terroristic and criminal motivations and tactics present new challenges for both the French government and French society. Among those challenges: how does the government detect those individuals before they spur into action?
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Old 04-09-2012   #51
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Default Beltway to Toulouse?

Perhaps American LE members can comment, it struck me upon reflection that the 'Beltway Sniper' has similarities to the Toulouse crime series: an unusual M.O. in a crime series - of murders - with initially no known motive and the consequent creation of public fear.

A reminder of the 2002 'Beltway Sniper Series':http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beltway_sniper_attacks and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Allen_Muhammad
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Old 04-10-2012   #52
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Default In France, a new type of Lone Wolf Threat

Raffaello Pantucci who has written before the 'Lone Wolf' has written a commentary for CNN and is here:http://raffaellopantucci.com/2012/04...e-wolf-threat/

He concludes and with my emphasis in bold:
Quote:
Merah is clearly a more dangerous proposition; not only since he was more successful, but also because to some degree he seems to have been able to operate using effective operational security. Clearly, French intelligence will have some explaining to do about how someone it was attentive to was able to accumulate such an arsenal, and also about how he was able to stay on the loose. Whether this is the product of a more trained or a more dedicated mind is unclear, but what it does show is that intelligence services need to be more attentive to people who they may have considered peripheral figures on terrorist networks. Previously, they would have been able to focus on the core, and leave the more fragmentary elements of the network on a looser leash. But with the growing instance of individuals like Merah and Geele, and their increasing lethality, it will have to be reconsidered which individuals are of concern.

The question becomes how such individuals can be effectively focused on and how intelligence services can distinguish them from the large community of individuals that exist on the periphery of known terrorist networks but who never move into action. While much has been made of the French tendency toward human rather than electronic intelligence as a potential reason why Merah was able to seemingly accumulate his armory and was able to stay below the radar for so long, it is unclear that greater electronic information would have necessarily uncovered him.

Within the United States, where electronic intelligence is the foundation of counter-terrorism work, individuals have managed to proceed quite far staying beneath the eyes of electronic watchers. Whatever the case, the key lesson is that it is increasingly becoming the norm that individuals less central to terrorist networks are going to move to the heart of terrorist operations. Figuring out how to distinguish them from the noise surrounding them is going to be a challenge for the next few years.
The identification of a less central individual amidst the noise has featured in the UK's CT campaigning, notably the apparent linkages between some of the 7/7 bombers and others who featured higher on the "radar" which were not pursued by the police or the Security Service.

What role will informants play? Will the use of entrapment be allowed for such individuals? Can their own community play a part?

In times past disruption was seen as an option, just a casual visit to discuss issues or a "warning off". Could such action actually accelerate such an individual. It is alleged that one Atocha bomber was radicalised by by the attention he was given when visiting Morocco.
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Old 10-12-2012   #53
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Default France 'uncovers biggest bomb plot in years'

Quote:
Prosecutors in France have said an alleged Islamist terror cell was planning the biggest bomb attack on France since the mid-1990s.Police arrested 12 people in raids at the weekend, during which one suspect was killed as he fired on officers. Five of the detainees have since been released but seven remain in custody, on suspicion of terrorist activity.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19907272


Quote:
One of the two suspected of recruiting jihadists had made trips to Egypt and Tunisia, a former French colony, spending three months away from France with the man who was killed in the weekend raids, Molins said.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...89A1BB20121011

Quote:
In the garage, investigators found rifles, ammunition, a bottle of candle wax, 3 kilograms of potassium nitrate, a bag of charcoal, 1-1/2 kilograms of sulfur, electric cables, batteries, five car headlight bulbs, and a pressure cooker, Molins said.
http://www.ajc.com/ap/ap/crime/franc...-market/nSZgF/
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Old 01-13-2013   #54
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Default France's other, offshore insurgency

Corsica has been racked with nationalist and criminal violence, on a scale rarely reported beyond France; arson attacks and murders - although not of those essential 4m tourists:http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_15860/cont...tguid=vdYYWwW0

An indicator of the problem:
Quote:
Of the 85 gangland killings and attempted assassinations in Corsica in the past eight years, only one case - a plot against a former nationalist turned president of Corsica's biggest soccer team - has ended in conviction.
A Corsician says:
Quote:
Bianchi, the former mayor, was once jailed for his links to the group and has since publicly renounced violence. But he, like many Corsicans, couldn't bring himself to condemn the bombings in a place they consider their homeland.

"Even if I don't approve, I understand. I understand because in the current climate of Corsica, where there is enormous land speculation, there is a revolt," he said. "We don't want their country ... to become a place just for rich retirees in the next 10 or 15 years. We don't want it to become another Cote d'Azur."
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Old 02-24-2013   #55
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Default Update on French CT

According Marc Trvidic, Frances most prominent investigative judge dealing with terrorism:
Quote:
since a Frenchman of Algerian ancestry, Mohamed Merah, 23, killed seven people last March in Toulouse, the French police and intelligence agencies have been opening more investigations but have not been given more investigators, and have also become less willing to monitor terrorism suspects for longer periods of time before intervening and detaining them....many suspects have been arrested, but at least 20 potential cases have been thrown out for lack of evidence.
The NYT article's headline is 'French Intervention in Mali Raises Threat of Domestic Terrorism, Judge Says' and covers that too:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/wo...pagewanted=all

I particularly like his reflective comment:
Quote:
For all these problems its always the same. We talk only to the people who agree with us.
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Old 10-28-2014   #56
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Default The Case For The French: Isis And The Use Of Boots On The Ground

The Case For The French: ISIS/ISIL And The Use Of Boots On The Ground

(original at: http://lalternatif.com/le-cas-de-fra...ur-le-terrain/)

Quote:
Many academics, policy officials, and military leaders agree on the complex problem that Iraq in the post-US imperial pull-out represents. Politically, the US is unwilling, incapable, and does not have the political stamina to return with combat troops to Iraq. Outside the city of Hit the reality is increasingly grim. ISIS is gaining ground and poses an existential threat to the government of Iraq.

Media reports show Iraqi soldiers are demanding that US armed forces return to Iraq to fight alongside them rather than the US government trying to deal politically with the incompetent leadership in Baghdad. It is evident that the remaining vestiges of the Iraqi army are close to collapse.

ISIS, on the other hand, shows structure, political and religious indoctrination, and most importantly, its troops are fighting for a cause. The brutality ISIS employs in its efforts to wipe out evil non-believers and terrorize the general population into submission dominates the media landscape. A gloomy picture of foreboding horrors emerges with ISIS becoming a real threat to the stability of the entire Middle Eastern region beyond merely taking control of Iraq.

Strategic blunders aside, what next, oh fearless leader?

President Obama’s pull-out from Iraq was a strategic blunder of colossal miscalculation for political gain. Though the pull-out appeared perfectly justifiable in the economic and political sense, the reality remains that the Maliki administration is as much to blame as the US administration for failing to comprehend the devastation of the Iraqi society that the US occupation wrought and the lack of a credible and sustainable governance of Iraq. Iraq is a failed state.

Claiming otherwise is to court a naïve potpourri of wishful thinking of “mission accomplished” and “no boots on the ground.” Both are failed strategies. It is recognized that staying in Iraq is not economically feasible. But like the Roman Army in Galilee, the US military, and by extension the political leadership in Imperial Washington, is faced with the question of “What next, oh fearless leader?”

Washington does have a few options, one of which is do nothing. But despite the gloomy situation, act it must and act it should. First, airpower, although sexy, is not the solution. Dragging in the Europeans as a whole into the American mess is not going to happen. Thanks to the post-World War II de-militarization of the Euro-zone, Europeans as a whole have no intention of getting dragged into what is essentially still an American problem. Limited air support is not going to make a difference. But, watch the French. We will cover this later.

Second, Special Forces are boots on the ground. They are not just “trainers” but provide air support elements, search and rescue, combat air controllers, and so forth. But a few hundred Special Forces troops are not sufficient to make any real difference. Gathering the leftovers of the disillusioned Iraqi army to stem the fast growing ranks of ISIS will be a difficult, if not impossible, task. Long term muddling in a low-intensity/counter insurgency warfare scenario is militarily a workable solution, but still requires a political strategy.

Third, the US could do nothing and sit back and watch the slow and agonizing death of Iraq as it turns into some bizarre state of hate outranking Iran at the height of its revolutionary madness. Compared to Iran, ISIS will come home to eat its neighbors.

Political ignorance is a strategy; it has served the interest of the United States repeatedly and should come as no surprise. Abandonment of allies has been a fixture in US strategy since Vietnam despite guarantees from the empire. So keeping the region instable is a strategy in and of itself. Abandonment as a regional strategy will keep Iraq’s neighbors Saudi Arabia, Iran, and even Syria on their toes.

Although abandonment is a short-term solution, it will be hardly containable for the long term. ISIS will convert Iraq into an Al Qaeda type of regime that Osama Bin Laden could have only dreamed about. The Sword of the Revolution will reign.

Intervention by force of arms

The new US colonialism is part of 21st century Realpolitik. Denied by the current U.S. administration the imperial realities of the situation in Iraq and the U.S. administration having lost the appetite and the political will to intervene with ground forces to defeat the ISIS threat may come to the conclusion that forceful intervention with a force of arms maybe required to save democracy and may not be such as bad strategy after all. The Anbar province in fact requested intervention by U.S. and coalition forces to prevent the province of being overrun.

The U.S. administration now has the option to deploy its armed forces or wage a proxy war. Whereas the deployment of a brigade size element may not be realistic or sufficient, it might become a tactical necessity in order to protect U.S. interests in Iraq. More forces are, however, required to defeat the ISIS threat.

Enter the French: The Legion Returns

With France, Great Britain, and Australia are coalition partners and the UK and Australia providing boots on the ground, deployment of French ground forces may not be such a far-fetched idea. It is a little known fact that since 1921 the French have had a detachment (and by 1939 a full regiment) posted throughout Syria, Lebanon, and later Tunisia and Algeria until the 1950’s.

The 6eme Régiment Étranger d’Infanterie, 6eme REI, nicknamed “Régiment du Levant” (“Levant” is the historical name of the French Syria and Lebanon territory), numbered almost 3,300 men. Historically, the Levant has been dominated by the French. The Lebanese still speak French as a second language, and the territory of Syria and Iraq provides ideal combat conditions for regiments of the French Foreign Legion. Deploying these regiments to Iraq provides a few strategic advantages.

First, the units of the French Foreign Legion in Afghanistan had one of the best combat fire-power/efficiency ratios. Second, these are combat seasoned regiments. The social mix of Legionnaires in the ranks provides a better social engagement with the local populous that will favor a return of trust for the embattled Iraqi government. And if required, the Legion can be aggressive as needed to deal with threats.

Second, the Legion regiments are combat experienced in fighting Islamic insurgents in Mali and Afghanistan. Returning to the Levant would be in line with their social structure and its historical context. But they are part of the regular French armed forces and subjected to the laws of land warfare. The Legion is, despite the units’ history and perpetuated myths, part of the French Rapid response force capability.

The deployment of the Legion would also reduce the call for mercenaries such as Blackwater returning with a mercenary army, not unlike the Biafra wars in the 1950s. But combat hardened troops being used to fight small unit warfare would be a formidable enemy for ISIS.

Third, Legionnaires are expendable and this is oddly socially expected in the context of the unofficial motto of the Legion: Marche ou crève (March or Die). Unit cohesion is based on allegiance toward the regiment first and is embodied in the official motto of the Legion: Legio Patria Nostra (The Legion is our Fatherland). ISIS has yet to show its true colors if faced with an aggressive combat force fighting irregularly, as the Legion does. To unseat ISIS in Iraq will require both aggressive combat leadership and a force en masse.

The Legion’s combination of modern weaponry, superior fire power, and air support would pack a formidable punch if coupled with US air power and the Special Forces technical expertise. It will provide the embattled Syrian army with breathing space to reform and rebuild their battered morale. Like any other elite fighting regiment, the Legion units need the protective screen of long range weaponry to reach entrenched enemies.

Fourth, Legion units train regularly in desert, urban, and cold weather conditions. The units’ ruggedness is based on a tradition of dealing with tres dur (very hard) conditions. Suffering of men is part of the battle attitude of Legion units going to the battlefield.

And finally, the Legion is expected to face casualties in war. Exhaustion or complete annihilation of units is not uncommon in the long history of the Legion but it is acceptable in both political and military terms.

The use of the French reduces the political issues of U.S casualties at home providing the force needed to combat ISIS operating within the range of a coalition. The units of the Legion are combat units. Tactical defeat, if experienced by the Legion provides strategic space for getting the Iraqi army in order. Death on the battle field is accepted by Legionnaires as a political reality for the general public. So is ISIS in Iraq. This is perhaps a harsh and political uncomfortable position to take but it is a daily reality we experience seeing hundreds of young Iraqi, Syrians or foreigners being beheaded, shot and dumped in the rivers running deep with the blood of a new extremist revolution. Perhaps this type of combat attitude is needed to stem the tide of defeat and unhinge ISIS in the Levant, the traditional home of the French Foreign Legion.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-28-2014 at 06:06 PM. Reason: Text in quotes, PM to author
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Old 10-28-2014   #57
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Julian,

In two other threads, on Syria and Iraq post-Mosul SWC have argued over the current coalition response and on SWJ there are articles.

No-one has suggested the French put "boots on the ground", whether they could be Foreign Legion or other units. I cannot currently see France wanting to do so either, even if you indicate:
Quote:
Legionnaires are expendable...
Part of the argument over any Western "boots" is that is what ISIS wants, so why give that to them?

A smaller point. I would not agree with you that the Legion has an affinity to the region. French rule of Lebanon was 1920-1943 (troops finally left in 1946) and Syria 1920-1944 (ditto). The Legion fought in Syria in 1941, for Vichy and the Free French - perhaps a period they'd prefer to forget? If the Legion had a "home" it was Algeria, where they had a presence for far longer: 1831-1962.
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Old 01-07-2015   #58
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Default Je Suis Charlie (Paris attacks Jan '15)

The attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine's editorial office in central Paris earlier today dominates the headlines here. It is still somewhat uncertain what actually happened, even if we know ten journalist / cartoonists and two police officers were murdered.

Awhile ago there were unconfirmed reports that the three attackers had been id'd, apparently leaving ID documents behind in a stolen car! Plus the police knew where they were. Nothing officially has been confirmed.

I have linked three very different commentaries. First Clint Watts (SWC & FPRI) who presents what is known and whether it fits the "usual suspects". He uses a method, known as ACH for short, in full Analysis of Competing Hypotheses:http://www.fpri.org/geopoliticus/201...is-vs-al-qaeda

Simon Jenkins is a columnist for The Guardian and writes on the wider context, alongside the implications and the headline & sub-title (in part):
Quote:
Now is the time to uphold freedoms and not give in to fear Terrorists can kill and maim, but they cannot topple governments. We must not hand them victory by treating this massacre as an act of war
Link:http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...-massacre-war?

Professor John Schindler combines history and knowledge of intelligence to ask aloud 'Parisian Terror: Will Europe Finally Wake Up?'.
Link:http://20committee.com/2015/01/07/pa...nally-wake-up/
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Old 01-07-2015   #59
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Normally I refrain from posting cartoons on SWC, but as the victims were mainly cartoonists it is appropriate today. Just two from the UK. There are a number on Twitter.



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Old 01-07-2015   #60
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There are a few relevant, background threads:

France, terrorism & CT (merged thread), which covers a series of attacks in 2012 into 2013: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=15299

Londonistan: Muslim communities in France & UK:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=16376

Reforming CT: Institutions and Organizational Routines in Britain and France: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=18025

I have included French urban rioting (catch all) as it refers to the causes of disorder. I would draw special attention to Posts 32 & 34, which review a 2013 book 'The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=4399
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