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Old 03-22-2012   #21
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Suspect is thought to be dead
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Old 03-22-2012   #22
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Default It's over

The suspect Mohamed Merha died during the assault by RAID. During the exchange of fire inside the appartment, 300 live ammunitions have been fired and several explosives (at least 3 detonnations) have been used.
3 police men have been injured, one is said critical, during the final phase which started around 10.30 AM and ended around 11.30AM.

The suspect after saying he wanted to surrender changed his mind and said he wanted to "die a gun in his hands".

Bravo pour l'equipe du RAID.
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Old 03-22-2012   #23
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The description of the raid by RAID is pretty incedible. He was hiding in the toilet, burst out of the room guns blazing and then jumped out of the window.
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Old 03-22-2012   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-A Lagrange View Post
The other question now is how did he get the funds and the logistic to get that many war weapons in France. Cause France is not US, you don't just go to the grosserie store to get an AK and a UZI. Basically you pay 1000 time their price and get it through criminal networks with a 95% of chances to get screwed in the process.
My bet is that he will have had previous ties to criminal activity – drugs probably, low level stuff – but has contacts in North African hash smuggling networks. He would know the right people to go to.


Seems like he tried the whole drugs, girls and fast cars thing – didn’t fill his internal hole – so he eventually drifts into radical religion. Second generation immigrant who feels like neither an Algerian or a Frenchmen - seeking an identity – first as a gangster, then as a Jihadi.

It is a pattern. He isn’t the first, and he won’t be the last.

As I have said before, from the definitive book/movie of our times:
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"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy s##t we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

- Tyler Durden, Fight Club
Psycho-babble aside, I am glad to see RAID put the sob down.
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Old 03-22-2012   #25
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Default A tossout for discussion - if anyone wants

According to the media, we had a French citizen Mohammed Merah, who racked up 7 KIA. Based on a 5x multiplier, that's equivalent to 35 KIA in the US.

Let's posit that 13 French citizens (or whatever country you want, preferably your own) join together into 3 fire teams with a leader. Looks something like a USMC rifle squad.

At what point (if at all) do the rules re: that group move from law enforcement rules (apparently employed by RAID in this case) to military rules allowing the members of the group to be treated according to their status as combatants ?

I believe this question is important because we probably will see future home-grown organized Mombai events somewhere in Le Monde. The question is fundamentally a policy question. The answer to that policy question will drive both military and legal COAs.

I've declared my position in a conversation with Bill Moore, I can't see any material difference, so far as killing is concerned ...; and will keep my mouth shut if there is a discussion (...Have a good cup, etc....).

If no one else thinks the question is worth discussing, then silence in itself will be feedback.

Thanks in advance

Mike

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Old 03-22-2012   #26
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Quote:
At what point (if at all) do the rules re: that group move from law enforcement rules (apparently employed by RAID in this case) to military rules allowing the members of the group to be treated according to their status as combatants ?
I'm a bit at a loss here - why should a small band of AQ shooters on domestic soil be treated any differently than, say, Hutaree types or other kinds of nutjob active shooters? Do they possess any sort of special powers or capabilities that make them somehow too capable for normal U.S. law enforcement?
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Old 03-22-2012   #27
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Hello Mike,

This is a good question. Just to provide more information to start it:
The R.A.I.D. is a POLICE unit and its name stand for Research, Assistance, Intervention, Dissuasion. This despite the name was first chosen in the first place for its meaning: military assault.
RAID police officers are under the commandment of the National Police General Director and its purpose is to intervene in case of “grave events” necessitating the use of specific techniques and means to neutralize a dangerous individual through negotiation or intervention. They also provide support for specific mission for the anti terrorist coordination unite (UCLA).
The “marquee de fabrique” of RAID is indeed negotiation even if they are known for their interventions.
RAID is different from GIGN, National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, which is a military group from the gendarmerie.
GIGN is specialized into counter terrorism operation and hostage liberation.
In the case of a Bombay like operation, it is the GIGN rather than RAID that would intervene as their missions are:
- intervention in case of high jacking of plane, boats, nuclear attack, chemical attack, French citizen taken hostage overseas
- VIP protection, embassies protection, extraction of French citizens, foreign territory crisis management, security of major events, training.

That said, to come back to the discussion on engagement rules:
RAID goes by the rules of engagement of the police: mainly based on self defense.
My bate is that in the case of Toulouse, when the suspect jumped out of the window while firing, the “self defense” rule is extended to allow snipers to neutralize him.
Also, in that particular case, there was a political will to catch the man alive. His death is then a last extremity option.

In a different scenario, as the hostage crisis in a kindergarden in 1993, the security of the children taken hostage and being evacuated by the RAID was put as a first priority. The RAID executed the hostage taker while they were evacuating the children. The man pretended to have a bomb on his chest. RAID managed to put him asleep but as he started to wake up, he was neutralized.

This to say, rules of engagement may differ with context of operation.

Hey Bourbon,

Sure he had links with criminals. But the question of his support remains open: how did he get the financial support? An organisation close to AQ is saying that he was one of their members. This remains to be verified.
There are strong possibilities that he was just a jihad looser as labeled him one AQ French specialist.
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Old 03-22-2012   #28
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Originally Posted by M-A Lagrange View Post
Sure he had links with criminals. But the question of his support remains open: how did he get the financial support?
What kind of financial support are we talking about here? A few plane tickets to Pakistan, and then later money for a couple guns – he could have self-financed that through grifting and selling hashish.

Might even have been a criminal informant or low-level intelligence asset at one point; playing both sides for the cash and the kicks. That is a cynical suggestion, I know; but frankly the French are very good when it comes to this stuff, so when I read the following my suspicions are raised:

Mohamed Merah and the War on Terror’s New Front, by Christopher Dickey. The Daily Beast, 22 March 2012.
Quote:
It’s not as if they’d never heard of Mohamed Merah or his family. His older brother, Abdelkader, was known to be “implicated” at a low level in a network that smuggled jihadists to Iraq in 2007. The fact that Merah himself went to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region twice in the last two years apparently set off no alarm bells. In 2010 he was picked up by Afghan police at a checkpoint and turned over to American troops, who “put him on the first plane bound for France,” according to Paris Public Prosecutor François Molins. In 2011, after two months in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, Merah returned to France again last October, ostensibly because he’d contracted hepatitis. Five months later he launched his murderous campaign in the Toulouse area, killing three French paratroopers, a rabbi, and three little Jewish children.

French authorities continue to play down the 23-year-old Merah’s claims before his death that he was tied to al Qaeda, but their explanation for skepticism is weirdly circular. He went to Afghanistan, said Molins, without using routes “known to the French and foreign specialized services” and without using “the facilitators who are targeted by [those services] and without passing through the countries that are usually under surveillance.” A security source close to the French presidency tells The Daily Beast that on the first trip Merah wasn't on the ground long enough to draw attention, and on the second he traveled with a visa, supposedly in search of a bride. (Frenchmen of Algerian backgrounds looking for Afghan or Pakistani brides apparently raise few suspicions among the French intelligence services.)

“He knew how to avoid them,”
says a senior American intelligence officer.
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Old 03-23-2012   #29
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Well, I think that it is more complex than that.
Being sympathetic to the radical Islam ideology is not enough to turn you into a “combatant”. This even if you claim to be part of an AQ affiliated group. There is a need of evidence of such affiliation.

The case of Merha is interesting in that sense. The organization which claims he was one of their members is a “new one”.
The fact it was not known does not make it nonexisting, I agree. But it has to be proven in the first place that such organization does exist and in a second time they have links with AQ, as they pretend.
I am no expert on radical Islamic organization in Europe so I will go with what the police say for the moment.

To come back to Mike topic, it really does impact the rules of engagement. If you face a lone wolf psycho is different than if you face an armed group which infiltrated in a country. One is a police matter, the other one might be assimilated to a military operation.
That said, as I mentioned in my previous post, even for a police operation, rules of engagement may evolve with the gravity of the threat.
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Old 03-23-2012   #30
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Default Under pressure

There are a number of issues here and distinct time periods, each with their own time pressures.

Pre-shooting and intelligence:
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A lot of French people will have assumed that if a known radical returns from the Afghan-Pakistani al-Qaeda-ruled badlands, then he will be more or less permanently tailed by the secret service....Interior Minister Claude Gueant's answer to this is that "it is impossible to arrest someone just because he has Salafist views. In France - and this is a good thing - holding a particular point of view is not a crime."
The French have taken an almost exclusively law enforcement approach to CT and none of the 'Prevent' activity once so in vogue in the UK (and about to emerge in the USA, known as CVE). Well illustrated by the French Prime Minister's comment:
Quote:
There was no single element allowing to detain Mohamed Merah. We don't have the right in a country like ours to permanently monitor without judicial authorisation someone who hasn't committed an offence ... We live in a state of law.
Political statement caveat; we know that French executive action follows different legal and non-legal rules.

Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...med-Merah.html

The post-shooting investigation:
Quote:
And when police began combing through computer IP addresses linked to the first victim, it was the appearance of Merah's mother's name on one of the accounts that gave them their first big lead.

It is certainly a matter of huge regret that the link with Merah was not established before the killings at the Jewish school on Monday.

Had the relevant IP account (one of 575 they were checking) been higher up the police list, conceivably they could have saved four lives.

But that is surely just the hazard of high-pressure police work. No-one has seriously questioned the competence or diligence of the investigation.
From:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17476996

President Sarkozy has referred to criminalising: repeated visits to websites that preach hate / terrorism; going abroad for ideological indoctrination and tackling extremism in French jails. partly covered here:http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...82L0MH20120322

As for R.A.I.D., a superb job, especially since some reports indicate they entered the flat without lethal weapons and the BBC had a great picture of a Paratrooper shaking the hand of a RAID officer upon returning to their barracks.
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Old 03-23-2012   #31
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Default A tossout for discussion - if anyone wants: riposte

JMM99 asked, in part:
Quote:
At what point (if at all) do the rules re: that group move from law enforcement rules (apparently employed by RAID in this case) to military rules allowing the members of the group to be treated according to their status as combatants ?
This is an issue that appeared in the Mumbai thread, when discussion turned to what if it happened here (US & UK). I expect that the police remain in command when the threat is contained and is within the capability of the police. Note in France there was a much clearer and closer political role, the Interior Minister was there at the scene.

Mumbai thread:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=6345

The military role is when the threat is mobile, cannot be contained and not within the police's capability. In the UK the threat's legal status remains that of a criminal suspect, even when signed over to the SAS for example for a few minutes, as we saw in Princes Gate in 1980 - seventeen minute period and in Gibraltar in 1988.

JMM, would a handover to the US military change the attackers legal status if an incident happened today?
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Old 03-23-2012   #32
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Originally Posted by TDB View Post
The description of the raid by RAID is pretty incedible. He was hiding in the toilet, burst out of the room guns blazing and then jumped out of the window.
That was some shoot out!

3 bangs and 300 rounds fired. Three friendlies wounded, one bad guy killed.

Who won?
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Old 03-23-2012   #33
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Exclamation Can't Hear Well - Cone of Silence in Use



David: I'll think about this question:

Quote:
JMM, would a handover to the US military change the attackers legal status if an incident happened today?
and ("coin"cidentally), have been looking at some related "stuff" [e.g., here, Steve Vladeck is a centrist, left side; my "Mumbai" question is, in the US, an Ex Parte Quirin question; or, in today's parlance, a Title 18 (Dept. of Justice) vs Title 10 (Dept. of Defense) + Title 50 (National Security) question]. It strikes me that the topic would be useful as a comparative policy, military-civil courses of action conversation. In a separate thread, of course, in the appropriate forum - not Law Enforcement (IMO) because it goes beyond that; and not AQ-GWOT because it goes beyond that as well. Maybe you, Lagrange and I can kick this around privately.

Not to discourage anyone from answering the question here (as Marc-Andre did and well), but I said I wouldn't butt into those responses. So, I won't.

Regards

Mike

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Old 03-24-2012   #34
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The Officer commanding R.A.I.D. has given a very short, interesting interview:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17495739
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Old 03-24-2012   #35
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Interview with Bernard Squarcini, director of French domestic intelligence, about the Toulouse killer:

http://worldcrunch.com/exclusive-fre...se-killer/4945

Quote:
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Alain Jupp said I understand that you could ask yourself the question of whether or not there were mistakes. Is that a criticism of your department?


The meaning of that phrase has been taken out of context. People, including children, died in a particularly cruel way, so we are certainly asking ourselves the questions like - Could we have done it differently? Did we miss something? Were we fast enough? But it was impossible to say, on Sunday evening, It is Merah, we have to catch him. He himself hadnt planned to attack the Jewish school on Monday morning. According to his declarations during the raid, he had planned to kill another soldier, but he arrived too late. Since he knew the neighborhood well, he improvised and decided to attack Ozar-Hatorah (school).

Mohammed Merah spoke with you during the raid and siege?

He wanted to speak with the officer from the regional intelligence service with whom he'd spoken in November 2011. The officer arrived during the negotiations, and Mohammed seemed to trust him. He confided in him, he cooperated with him. He told us where the scooter and the two cars were. The rapport was good, but not without cynicism. He even told the officer, Anyway, I should have called you to tell you that I had a tip for you, but in reality, I was going to demolish you. He was very two-faced.

You have to go back to his troubled childhood and his psychiatric problems. To have done what he did, there are really more signs that he suffered from a medical problem, delusions, than that he was a simple jihadist. According to the officer who had spoken with him in November, it was the second part of his personality who spoke on Wednesday. He spoke of a second section of his life, a part of his life that he had not wanted to reveal when he was interviewed in November. In a way, he completed the second half of that interview ...

He wasn’t the victim of a radicalizing gang in prison?

He seems to have gotten radicalized on his own.

He had an unusual personality then?

He did not show any obvious fundamentalist attributes. When convicted by the juvenile court, a slight psychological weakness was detected. He didn’t cope very well with his parents’ divorce, and his father returned to Algeria. He had a very particular relationship with his mother. He lived off odd jobs, which he kept for a month, a month-and-a-half. It was actually his mother who covered his costs. And he also told us through the door on Wednesday that it was his business and his small thefts that allowed him to save up and buy guns ...
He apparently traveled widely throughout the Middle East, including Israel, before making his way to Afghanistan via Tajikistan.
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Old 03-24-2012   #36
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
The Officer commanding R.A.I.D. has given a very short, interesting interview:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17495739
David, I would respond to that like 'Mandy Rice Davies'.

As the say it all comes out in the fullness of time.

French serial killer had 20 bullet wounds after gunfight

Quote:
A post-mortem on the Islamist serial killer who died in a siege in Toulouse revealed he suffered some 20 bullet wounds.

Police officials last night said the body of Mohamed Merah (23) was riddled with bullets, but only two were fatal.

...

Revelations that the self-styled al-Qa'ida terrorist was shot 20 times by police "in self defence" will raise further questions about the handling of the operation, which was yesterday described as a tactical disaster.
They killed him twice?

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?

Then a little professional rivalry:

Quote:
Yesterday, Christian Prouteau, who founded the GIGN, a rival elite unit answerable to the French gendarmerie, asked: "How come the police's best unit did not manage to arrest a man all alone? They should have flushed him out with a high-dosage tear gas. He wouldn't have lasted five minutes. Instead of which, they throw volleys of grenades.
More to follow no doubt.
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Old 03-24-2012   #37
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Here is the assault related by RAID commander.
Quote:
Le chef du RAID raconte l'assaut l'AFP: "Je n'avais jamais vu a"
Le plan consistait "le cerner dans la petite salle de bain o il s'tait retranch, de le saturer de grenades lacrymognes aprs avoir fait une brche et de s'assurer de sa personne", explique-t-il.

Ses hommes taient tous munis "de masques gaz et, en plus de leur armement individuel, de fusils pompe gomme-cogne et de lanceurs de balles de dfense".

Au moment o nous arrivons hauteur de la salle de bain, il n'y a toujours aucune raction de sa part, on commence effectuer une brche pour passer de la grenade lacrymogne", ajoute-t-il.

A cet instant "il se met tirer travers la paroi, nous engage et malgr cela, je donne l'ordre qu'on lui envoie des grenades offensives de manire pouvoir essayer de le choquer, l'apprhender vivant".
http://fr.news.yahoo.com/chef-raid-r...174523261.html

I translate just the assault but there is more in the interview, in French, I'm sorry but google translate is a nice tool.
The plan was to surround him in the tiny bathroom where he was tranched, saturate him with crying gaz grenads after having created a breach and ensure of his person. He (RAID commander) explains.

His men were equiped with gaz mask and, in addition to their individual weapon, of riotguns with rubber-shock bullets and flashballs.

At the moment we arrive at the bathroom level, there is still no reaction from him (Merah), we start to creat a breach to throw gaz grenads. He adds.

At this momment, he start to shoot through the wall, engaging us and despite this, I give the order to throw offensive/shock grenads in order to shock him and catch him alive.

I have no particular preferences for RAID or GIGN. I cannot evaluate if the right decisions were made at the right time.
Individual weapons for RAID are:
Glock 17,
Beretta M-92F,
Glock 19,
Glock 26;
Glock 18 ;
But this might explain why Merah died twice.

To understand the rivalries between RAID and GIGN, you have to keep in mind that RAID is "the favorit of the president". Mr Sarkozi knows them from the hostage crisis in a kindergarden when he was mayor of Neuilly.
France is in a electoral campaign. Military (GIGN) and police may have some messages to send to the future president.

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Old 03-24-2012   #38
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Default Under the microscope

Given the high profile of this incident and France's success in averting terrorist attacks for many years everyone involved is under the "microscope". Plus of course speculation on alternative explanations.

The BBC have assembled a reasonable article:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17487320

One journalist writing a book on internal French security has a good quote:
Quote:
The technical means are very advanced but they do not replace human sources
He should have added the human actor within the agencies.

Below is the photo I mentioned yesterday - when RAID returned to the Paratrooper's barracks.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg RAID.jpg (18.3 KB, 97 views)
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Old 03-24-2012   #39
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I think this is quite a unique case. Someone who became redicalised, as most do, in order to fill a void in their lives. However it seems to have been in a rather (to use a British turn of phrase) cack-handed way. The interviews listed above explain all of that. I'm sure this will cause a review into how French intelligence manage cases. Though, as said and as was said by a pundit from the Eurasia forum, after 9/11 (a term I cringe to use) France was considered to be the hotspot of Islamic terrorism in Europe. This has been avoided, this surely is a success.
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Old 03-24-2012   #40
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"Waal, Ah reckon you should keep shootin' 'em 'til they stop doin' whatever it was that made you start shootin' 'em in the first place." Anon. LEO.



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