maximum alert around the terrorist risk (1/2)

maximum alert around the terrorist risk (1/2)
maximum alert around the terrorist risk (1/2)

Security at the Paris Olympic Games constitutes a very important issue for the organizers of the event, the public authorities, the police, the athletes, the spectators, but also for the President of the Republic. Emmanuel MACRON wanted to produce extraordinary Games and above all, as the consecration of his second five-year term!

TRIBUNE : Terrorism represents the biggest risk of the Games today. EI-K claimed responsibility for the attack on Moscow on March 22. However, this group has already been active several times in recent years and intends to do it again very quickly on the European continent. All the great powers are targeted and the various current conflicts work in its favor. With its 4,000 fanatics, this group is much more bloodthirsty than Al-Qaeda, at the height of the Islamic State, could be. An inauguration on the banks of the Seine seems suicidal for many security specialists. The risk of demonstrations and strikes is also a sword of Damocles hanging over everyone’s heads. Let us not forget, either, the health risk: the pollution of the Seine may not be resolved by July 26.

Increased risk of terrorist acts

The terrorists of the EI-K group say they are ready for action. We must also fear Al-Qaeda. Terrorism is a violent mode of action in the service of an ideology. Historically, three forms of terrorism appeared in France from the end of the 19th century: revolutionary terrorism which wishes to radically change the form of the state by pushing the population towards armed struggle; liberation terrorism which demands the independence of part of the territory of a state; state terrorism which reflects the desire of a state to increase its capacity for influence outside the diplomatic field, through clandestine actions contrary to international law.

Protean, international terrorism has targeted France since the 1970s. This threat first finds its Source in conflicts outside our borders, serving national demands or state interests until the mid-1980s. The 1990s saw the emergence of a terrorist threat of radical Islamist inspiration, in relation to the Algerian civil war. It is favored by the development of Salafist ideology in France, carried by Algerian Islamists who fled their country or by the networks of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA).

Finally, from the beginning of the 2000s, France was targeted by the global jihadist threat brought about by the Al-Qaeda movement and then by the Islamic State. This threat today tends to become more independent by partly emancipating itself from the influence of these terrorist organizations.

“National liberation” terrorism and state terrorism in the 1980s

Coming from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Palestinian terrorist factions have targeted Israeli interests and the Jewish community in Europe since the 1970s, like the attack on the Munich Olympic Games, committed by the “Black September” organization in 1972. In France, the “Carlos” group committed several attacks during this period, which it claimed in the name of the Palestinian cause. At the same time, Palestinian groups target the Jewish community in France. On October 3, 1980, a bomb attack targeted the synagogue on rue Copernic in Paris, killing four people and injuring hundreds. On August 9, 1982, a dissident group from the PLO committed a deadly attack which targeted a Jewish restaurant on rue des Rosiers in Paris. At the end of the 1980s, due to an unfavorable development in the international situation and increased pressure from the targeted states, terrorist groups lost their main sponsors and supporters, and this form of violence gradually dried up.

In the mid-1980s, Iran, then at war with Iraq and the main standard-bearer of political Islamism, sponsored attacks in France, in retaliation for various disputes opposing the two states and the support provided by France. to Iraq. At the same time, French interests in Lebanon and then in France were hit by Hezbollah. In 1986, a terrorist network linked to him committed a series of bomb attacks in France: ten attacks caused the death of 14 people and injured 300 others, notably on rue de Rennes in Paris, on September 17, 1986.

The appearance of jihadist terrorism in the 1990s

In 1992, following the interruption of the electoral process in Algeria, Islamist militants went underground and notably founded the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which engaged in a radical approach of Salafist-jihadist inspiration (massacres of civilians, assassinations of French cooperators). The GIA strongly criticizes France, accused of supporting the Algerian regime. On December 24, 1994, four terrorists from the group took control of an Air France aircraft at Algiers airport. They shot down three travelers before taking off towards Marseille, where they held the plane’s passengers hostage until their neutralization by the GIGN. In 1995, the GIA decided to go on the offensive on national territory. During the summer, six attacks struck France, notably in Paris, where a bomb attack left 8 dead and 119 injured, at the Saint-Michel RER station, on July 25, 1995. Members of the GIA network present on the national territory are arrested or neutralized during the following months.

The influence of Al-Qaeda on the French radical Islamist movement

Since 1996, individuals from various Salafist-jihadist movements in the Arab world have come together in Afghanistan, then controlled by the Taliban. Al-Qaeda established itself at the end of the 1990s as the spokesperson for a new mode of jihadist engagement by declaring war on the West. France is among the countries targeted, due to its status as an ally of the United States and its historical role in Africa.

Under the influence of Al-Qaeda, recruitment networks are being structured on the national territory, connected to successive theaters of jihad. Two main areas attract French volunteers: Afghanistan and Iraq. They all volunteer to join the 72 virgins of their paradise and die as martyrs. Organized groups, sophisticated equipment, drones, explosives, for elaborate strategies: we must not forget the individual acts of uncontrollable freaks. Today, the Paris Games are becoming their priority target.

Games disrupted by social movements?

In addition, those avenging the defeat of the pension reform want to leave their mark on the Games. Unions such as FO and the CGT have already filed strike notices during the Games in the three branches of the civil service (State, territorial and hospital sector).

Transport is also affected. The police are also threatening to strike if the bonuses promised for maintaining order during the Games are not paid. The “Waste collection and treatment” sector also challenges the State. The RATP provides leverage for their demands by organizing strikes for the Olympics. What about other movements not controlled by the unions, and dissatisfied with all-out government actions?

All these angry movements can greatly disturb athletes and spectators! This is a disaster scenario for the public authorities: that our national sport, the strike, becomes an Olympic event! Let the unions seize the opportunity to present to the world local specialties, baguettes, bon-vivre and… demonstrations.

But here it is: six months after a historic mobilization against pension reform, and six months before the start of the events, the probability of a general strike seems remote. According to the Paris police prefect, Laurent NUNEZ, the organization of demonstrations is possible: “The organization of the Games does not crush freedom of expression or the freedom to demonstrate, explains the manager, in office since 2022 .

Hotels and restaurants, shops, tourist sites: this is the great unknown. Let us add that the management of the SNCF assures that there will be no strikes and the air traffic controllers affirm that they will respect the Olympic truce! As incongruous as it may seem, social France negotiates.

Let’s hope… or better yet, we invite Christians to burn candles to Saint Rita, the patroness of lost causes…

End of the first part

Jean-Paul ALLOU

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