The militant group is targeting its message at the West with new, deadly forceby Sharif Nashashibi / November 14, 2015 / Leave a comment
Friday’s multiple attacks in Paris represent a quantum leap in the capabilities of the Islamic State (IS) beyond the Middle East and North Africa, its primary arena of operations (the day before, it carried out a twin suicide bombing in Lebanon’s capital Beirut that killed dozens and wounded hundreds).
The group has repeatedly called for attacks against the West, but until Friday it had relied on “lone-wolf” sympathisers. The scale and coordination of the Paris attacks—the deadliest in Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings—suggests a heightened level of planning, and potentially IS’s direct organisational involvement.
The group made its motivation clear in a statement published on Saturday, threatening further attacks against France “as long as it continues its Crusader campaign” of airstrikes against IS’s self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria. “As long as you keep bombing, you will not live in peace.”
France has been carrying out airstrikes against IS in Iraq for more than a year, having been the first country to join the US-led coalition. However, Paris only extended its strikes to Syria in late September, citing national security. As such, while President Francois Hollande declared the Paris attacks an “act of war” by IS, from the group’s point of view the war began long before Friday.
IS’s clear aim, then, is for France to pay such a high price for its air campaigns that they come to an end. The voices of those in France who were already opposed to their country’s airstrikes may become louder, and there will likely be public anger over a major lap…