Through France’s own domestic and foreign policy, it has created the perfect storm to continue “watering” terrorism at home and abroad, while its political leaders carefully cultivate the predictable division, fear, hysteria, and violence that is now unfolding. Between attacks in 2015 and 2016, over 200 people have now died in France as a result of violent domestic attacks.
Since 2011, France has played a key role in destabilizing North Africa and the Middle East. In 2011, it participated in the US-led NATO assault on Libya, as well as sending troops to other African nations including the Ivory Coast and Mali. France also currently maintains troops in Sahara, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Central African Republic, and Sahel in Africa, as well as troops still participating in the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan.
While France has portrayed these operations as essential for maintaining global stability and security, it has done anything but. In addition to creating chaos from which torrents of refugees are now fleeing – all the way to Europe – it should be noted that a component of French involvement abroad is also the arming and funding of militant groups. This was especially so in Libya, where France helped install into power terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda.
It retrospect, it was clear that France’s actions had little to do with an interest in “protecting civilians” and instead led directly to the overthrow of the Libyan government. The militant forces, armed, backed, and even provided air cover by NATO would be later revealed to be extremists directly affiliated with Al Qaeda and would later transform into the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) in Libya.
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had for decades subdued and kept in check extremist elements centered primarily in eastern Libya’s Cyrenaica region, particularly in the cities of Benghazi, Tobruk, and Derna which would later go on to become epicenters of US military and diplomatic activity after the war as well as a springboard for Western-backed terrorism in Syria.And France would likewise play a key role in supporting terrorism in Syria – a former French colony – providing arms, funding, and political support to supposed “rebel” groups who, ironically, fly the flags of the French mandate side-by-side those of Al Qaeda.The London Guardian’s article, “France funding Syrian rebels in new push to oust Assad
,” would report that:
France has emerged as the most prominent backer of Syria’s armed opposition and is now directly funding rebel groups around Aleppo as part of a new push to oust the embattled Assad regime.
Large sums of cash have been delivered by French government proxies across the Turkish border to rebel commanders in the past month, diplomatic sources have confirmed. The money has been used to buy weapons inside Syria and to fund armed operations against loyalist forces.
For 5 years now, France, along with the US and overt state sponsors of terrorism including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, have waged proxy war on Syria giving rise to terrorist organizations with full-scale military capabilities including mechanized, anti-tank, and anti-air warfare.
The sheer scale of the terrorist organizations France has helped cultivate in Syria are astounding. Billions of dollars are involved, and tens of thousands of fighters from across the world, including France itself, have created logistical lines wrapping around the planet to feed the conflict.
The London Telegraph’s article, “Islamic State: Where do its fighters come from?,” would reveal that (emphasis added):
Nearly a fifth of fighters are residents or nationals of Western European countries,and an estimated 1,200 people have travelled from France alone.
This flow of foreign fighters has alarmed governments around the world, raising fears that returnees from may plot attacks in their home nations. Scotland Yard said that at least half of the 700 British residents – a statistic from the British police – suspected of fighting alongside Isil are now back in the UK.
That 800 British residents have fought alongside ISIS and returned to the UK, but are not immediately placed in prison, is astounding – but common across all of Europe with some governments even working with those who recruited them to help “integrate” them back into society.
But “integration” is not what is happening.
French Domestic Support for Terrorism
While the French government’s support for terrorism abroad is quite overt – manifesting itself in weapon and cash deliveries and open declarations of support for militant groups – its support for terrorism at home is more subtle.
As in the UK, terrorists returning from French-backed violence in Syria are not arrested and imprisoned, but instead placed on “watch lists” the French government claims it lacks the resources to properly maintain. NBC News would claim in an article titled, “French Intelligence Is Tracking 1,000 Who Have Been to Iraq, Syria: Expert,” that:
“French intelligence is mostly focused today on more than 1,000 French citizens that traveled to Syria and Iraq since 2012,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, the author of “Zarqawi: The New Face of Al-Qaeda.”
He added that one-fifth of them were being tracked around the clock. “This is a problem of resources,” he added. “We cannot follow everyone.”
At the same time French security agencies are failing to follow terrorists who should in fact be imprisoned, French political leaders openly encourage misunderstanding and mistrust between French Muslims and the rest of the population, fostering a climate of hate, fear, division and eventually violence.
An intentionally divisive society “seeded” with experienced terrorists returning from full-scale warfare almost ensures violent terrorist attacks like the “Charlie Hebdo” attack, the November 2015 Paris attack, or the most recent atrocity committed in Nice – if it was even a terrorist attack.
Was Nice the Scene of a Terrorist Attack? Does it Matter?
While the suspect of the Nice attack, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, is so far not being publicly linked to terrorist groups, he did have a criminal record and was well known to French police.
The media has so far portrayed the suspect as especially nonreligious or political, and instead, a man facing immense personal and financial troubles. But because the French government and media has so successfully divided and misled the public, the attack appears to automatically being lumped into the long and growing list of actual terrorist attacks carried out by French-backed terrorists returning from abroad, simply because of the suspect’s name and ethnicity.
Whatever truth emerges regarding the most recent attack, those before it, and the manner in which this most recent attack has been exploited by the media and politicians, reveals France as a nation that has carefully and intentionally sown the seeds of terrorism and violence, and is now harvesting the predictable horrors that have emerged.
If money, weapons, hatred, and bigotry are the necessities of growing terrorism, France withdrawing from its various wars and proxy wars abroad, while defusing racial, ethnic, and religious tensions at home would be essential in strangling terrorism. However, judging by the highly polarized reaction prompted by a dishonest Western media and equally dishonest, opportunistic Western politicians and political groups, it is very likely this harvest will yield many more horrors to come.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.