Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, has told Prospect that IS may not be responsible for the Paris attacks.
"My own theory is that this is probably al Qaeda rather than IS (though for some fundamentalists the border between the two is porous)," said Dearlove. "This is al Qaeda revalidating its credentials having lost ground to the more violent IS." Dearlove made clear that his remarks were speculative.
Dearlove was in Paris only 48 hrs ago, speaking to A French security think tank. "Talking to DGSI [French intelligence] contacts in Paris they were saying to me that the level of'La Haine in France between deprived young Muslims and traditional Catholic France is unprecedented and that they have been expecting the worst," he told .
"The social exclusion of young Muslims in the banlieu of Paris is also of a level you don't find in the UK," she said.
Dearlove served a significant period of his career in Paris and has remained close to the French intelligence and security services.
"I would expect to discover that the shooters were in the majority of French nationality or resident there for some time," said Dearlove. "This attack may well have a specifically French signature," he said, adding that "its relevance to the UK as such is rather less than will be claimed by the government and majority of the media."
Dearlove said that, in France: "There may be a rerun here of the sort of emotions released by the Algerian war; that was certainly referred to in my conversation in Paris."
"Expect Marine LePen and the Front National to do even better than expected in the forthcoming Regional Elections."
He also commented on "the sheer difficulty of coping with urban shooting events that are planned simultaneously, read here Mumbai."
"There is a danger of copycat events," he said.