Last Friday evening’s carge in Paris has perhaps raised more questions than it may be possible to answer. This is because the death of 129 and injuries to over 300 people came out of the blue when such carge was least expected. After all, none of the dead or the injured had done anything to invoke death at the hands of terrorists in concert halls and restaurants where they were savouring the good life. The first lesson that one is beginning to learn in a perverse sort of world is that one does not have to do anything against killers to invoke death. It is enough that someone else has caused the death of someone else supported by terrorists or indiscrimite killers who believe in some ‘cause’. It is enough to be a part of a society that is regarded as being inimical to the killers because of a course of action pursued long ago at some other remote location.
But there are people in Paris who were expecting some unspecified and unpredictable kind of trouble from a large number of foreign radical elements who had started living in the city since about two decades. There are many Islamic terrorists scattered all over the world who have not taken kindly to the two US invasions of Iraq and the execution of Saddam Hussein. Nor have they taken kindly to the support that France and other countries like Britain had provided to the United States during those two invasions. The typical reaction of most terrorist groups is to pick soft targets—women and children included—to strike terror and to fill people’s minds with a crippling fear of similar unpredictable carge of innocent people. To radical groups like the Islamic State (IS) that has taken ‘credit’ for last Friday’s holocaust in Paris, the innocent targets are not difficult to decide on. All that they have to do is to pick citizens of English-speaking countries and their supporters. That would mean countries like Britain, the United States, Cada, Australia, New Zealand and now even South Africa and their supporters in Europe. For once, France has decided to do what would be normally regarded as being uncharacteristic of the French. Francois Hollande, President of France has vowed to be “unforgiving with the barbarians” of the Islamic State after the carge in Paris that he described as an “act of war”. French Air Force planes bombed the Syrian city of Raqqa (the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State) on Sunday night in one of the most aggressive air strikes against the IS. The decision to do so was arrived at on Saturday in a meeting with President Hollande’s tiol security team. The air attack succeeded in destroying two IS targets in Raqqa. Much of the information required for the airstrike was provided by the United States.
On the ground, most of the IS terrorists involved with the Paris carge who had not blasted themselves or were not shot down by the police have been traced in France or Belgium. Till Monday, 23 persons had been taken into custody with seven detainees being identified following a massive manhunt that continued on Monday for surviving members and accomplices suspected to be involved in the Paris carge of last Friday. The search for the perpetrators of the Paris attacks led the authorities to Molenbeek, the impoverished suburb of Brussels with a history of links to terror plots. At least two roads in Molenbeek, with a substantial Muslim population of mainly Moroccan and Turkish immigrants, were cordoned off by the police since the early hours of Monday. Belgium’s Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said that there would be “more action” in Molenbeek, and urged intelligence services across the rest of Europe “to exchange more and more intelligence”.
There is no doubt that such action will thwart any further terrorist action in any part of Europe for a few days while the investigations into the Paris carge are continued. Thereafter, it is reasoble to expect that there will be similar terrorist attacks in other parts of Europe too, especially in countries like Belgium and Germany that have helped France in the investigations to last Friday’s carge in Paris. There is every likelihood of this possibility considering (a) the conviction of the IS that it has a valid reasons for taking further ‘revenge’ for the kind of action that France is likely to unleash against it in the next few days and (b) because it believes that picking soft targets in other European cities as well might be the best way of ensuring that France does not get the kind of support and assistance as it is doing now.
It is futile for the IS or similar terrorist organizations to imagine that there will be any slackening of support for France and other European countries that are targeted by the IS for irratiol terrorist attacks like the one carried out in Paris last Friday. In fact, if there was any diffidence about what needs to be done to organizations like the IS, last Friday’s carge in Paris has perhaps steeled the resolve of all peace-loving tions that organizations like the IS must be completely elimited if humanity is to be saved and people are to live in peace and amity. Two world wars should have sufficed to teach us the lesson that in wars there are no winners. Everyone is a loser. The need of the hour is to prevent further major wars. The only way to ensure this is probably through a much smaller war that will not just contain the IS but defeat it and elimite it for all times to come The problem now is that Europe lacks a leader like Winston Churchill or a commander like Eisenhower with the ability to take on the IS and completely elimite the monster. And while the world is looking for such a leader, life must go on as before, albeit with more fear in people’s hearts that they may be vulnerable not for doing anything against anybody, but merely for being what they are.