By Aramie Louisville Vas
In swift retaliation for the Paris bombings, France began bombing Syria Sunday in a series of airstrikes. Daesh took responsibility for Friday’s bombings, which killed at least 129 and left 352 wounded. President Francois Hollande declared Monday that “France is at war”.
“France will destroy IS” said Hollande, in a statement to a joint session of parliament. He called for a global coalition to defeat Daesh. Hollande also stated that he would meet with President Barack Obama and President Vladimir Putin to urge them to pool their resources. We won’t hold our breath waiting for that to happen. Hollande has pledged to extend, for three months, the state of emergency declared directly after the bombings. France will focus on intelligence efforts, and has already commenced to smashing the fuck out of – I’m sorry: “intensifying” – their military efforts in Syria to stamp out Daesh via airstrikes. Hollande also suggested changes to the French constitution.
“We need an appropriate tool we can use without having to resort to the state of emergency” said Hollande regarding the proposed constitutional amendments.
Hollande’s other proposals include instituting 5,000 new paramilitary police posts over the next two years, increasing the penalties in France for arms trafficking, making zero new cuts to the defense budget and rendering it easier to strip the French part of any dual citizen convicted of terrorist offenses while quickly deporting immigrants who seem especially shady or who “pose a grave threat” to France’s security.
Speaking from Turkey, Obama maintained that the U.S. led coalition against Daesh is still making progress. He ruled out sending ground troops. Skipping over anything to do with “Freedom Fries”, Obama made the statement “tonight, we are all Parisians.” But curiously, we weren’t “all Kenyans” in April, when 148 students were killed by terrorists, though Kenya is one of the strongest African allies of the U.S.
As far as suspects still at large: Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Salim Benghalem are two well known members of Daesh and suspected of masterminding the attacks. They are now believed to be in Syria or Iraq. Belgian-born Abdeslam Salah is also a suspect at large and an international warrant has been issued for his arrest. Salah holds dual citizenship in Belgium and France. He was stopped by the police after the attacks, driving towards the Belgian border, and questioned but not detained. He is one of three brothers suspected in the Paris attacks. According to Le Monde, a French newspaper, Salah had not yet been linked to the bombings when police questioned him. One of Salah’s brothers was killed in the attacks and the other brother was arrested but later released. These are but a few of the terrorist planners; according to CNN, six of the suspects had spent time in Syria. What exactly that proves can’t be clearly be figured; they had to spend time somewhere, right? But it can be agreed that time in Syria does create a stronger link to Daesh.
Daesh has also threatened the U.S., saying it would be next.
“I swear to God, as we struck France in its stronghold Paris, we will strike America in its stronghold, Washington,” said a Daesh fighter in a video released Monday.
A Syrian passport found near one of the bodies after the attack has led authorities to believe that at least one of the bombers was part of the refugee population who arrived on the Greek island of Leros on October 3. According to a French senator, the fingerprints of the passport holder matched those of the man who detonated himself with a bomb at the Stade de France. This information has led to some states in the U.S. declaring they will disallow Syrian refugees based on the fact that a terrorist bomber might be amongst them. A rather too-convenient excuse to reject all refugees from Syria. One hopes for caution and discernment to win over the complete denial of refuge, but one carries little hope that this will prove to be the case. No one wants to deal with the refugees. No one.
Our hearts go out to all victims of terror across the globe. Perhaps we will someday see an end to this plight.