“France is at war. We are not in a war of civilizations. These assassins don’t represent a civilization. We are at war with jihadist terrorism which threatens the whole of the world and not only France.” So said French President François Hollande as he called for a global coalition to fight ISIS in the wake of Friday’s horrific attacks in Paris. “The faces of the dead, of the injured, of their families, haunt my mind. This memory feeds my unwavering resolution.” (Liberté, égalité, fraternité, sécurité.)
+ “ISIL is the face of evil.” President Obama gave a press conference on ISISduring the G20 meeting in Turkey, after apparently making some progress with Vladimir Putin regarding a political transition in Syria.
+ Hollande said the terrorist acts were “planned in Syria, organized in Belgium, perpetrated on our soil with French complicity.” A fierce manhunt is underway in France and Belgium as authorities search for Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to have taken part in the attacks; and Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the 27-year-old Belgian man currently believed to have plotted the mass murder.
+ WaPo on Molenbeek; the Belgian neighborhood indelibly linked to jihad.
Most of the time, reducing a geopolitical war to a battle between good and evil is an oversimplification. Occasionally it’s not. In this moment, we need to oblige those willing to die for an evil cause, but also give options to those willing to live another way. The brewing global war is between fundamentalism and sanity. You can kill terrorists. But you need another strategy against the fundamentalism. Here’s a must-read Graeme Wood piece in The Atlantic to help us understand what we’re up against: What ISIS Really Wants. “We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.”
+ NYT: Beirut, also the site of deadly attacks, feels forgotten. It’s not just Beirut. ISIS has killed or enslaved thousands of people in Iraq and Syria, and has extended the reach of its violence. This is what a year of Islamic State terror looks like.
+ Jeffrey Goldberg: Crimes jihadists will sentence you to death for.
A growing number of state leaders have responded to the Paris attacks by insisting that they will not allow any Syrian refugees to enter. Here’s Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a letter to President Obama: “Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity.” He’s right. The Syrian refugees are all part of a terrorist activity. They are its victims.
+ Obama responded to those who have suggested closing state borders to Syrians (or only opening them to Christians): “The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism; they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife.” To understand Syrians’ life on the run, you have to consider the remarkable civilian death toll in what used to be their country.
+ Harleen Gambhir on the Islamic State’s trap for Europe: “The group hopes frequent, devastating attacks in its name will provoke overreactions by European governments against innocent Muslims, thereby alienating and radicalizing Muslim communities throughout the continent.”
+ The Daily Beast: ISIS targeted Muslims in Paris. (To get ISIS, you have to get this.)