At first glance, Mumbai and Paris may not seem to have much in common.
The first is the biggest city in India, formerly called Bombay. The second is the capital of France.
Mumbai has seen a number of terrorist attacks in recent decades. One of the most memorable was a series of attacks that took place on 13th July 2011. On this day, there were three different attacks in three separate parts of the city, all within the space of a few minutes. The bomb explosions targeted the Opera House, a bazaar and another locality. They left 26 dead and 130 injured.
Western anti-terrorist experts have long feared something similar in a major Western city.
Paris may now be experiencing something very similar spread over three days.
Just two days ago, the offices of a French satirical magazine were attacked. Twelve people were killed, including two policemen. A few hours later a separate attack on two police officers took place elsewhere in Paris, leaving one policewoman dead. Reports are now coming in of a third attack, this time on a Jewish kosher supermarket. Speculation is that it’s the same gunmen (one man and one woman) who killed the policewoman. They were holding at least five people hostage. The city is now on edge. Jewish supermarkets are closing, fearful of further attacks.
Reports are now coming in of a possible fourth attack at the Trocadero Center near the Eiffel Tower. The Metro is no longer stopping at the center.
There are increasing fears that all of these attacks are a distraction and that something bigger and far worse is about to take place, involving mass casualties.
Why would Paris be the preferred target? Why not London or New York?
No city is immune. Both London and New York have been attacked before. They have also thwarted many other attacks. Recently, there were Islamic extremist attacks in Ottawa and Sydney. All five countries mentioned are participants in the campaigns against ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Additionally, France has the highest number of Muslims of any European country and the satirical magazine has caricatured Islam and its founding prophet.
To what extent the terrorist attacks are coordinated is not known. The attack on the magazine’s offices seemed very professional, but an interview this morning with a French neighbor of one of the perpetrators emphasizes the normality of the killers. The neighbor commented on how one of the attackers was a good neighbor, always willing to help and particularly caring of the disabled and the elderly.
Certainly, so-called “lone wolf” attacks are being inspired by terrorist websites.
It maybe that the lone wolf attacks really are committed by individuals who do not work with each other. But a lot of lone wolves soon add up to a dangerous pack.
French police have just announced that all the terrorists involved in this week’s attacks belong to the same jihadi group.
No matter how good the security forces are in any country, terrorists still have the advantage of surprise. Additionally, they have no fear of death. The two men who are on the run outside of Paris, not far from Charles de Gaulle international airport, have both expressed the desire to die as martyrs. Inspired by thoughts of instant entry to paradise and the promise of 72 virgins, they simply want to earn their reward by killing as many infidels as possible. The writers and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were particularly reprehensible to Muslims who believe that it is a grave sin to depict the prophet Mohammed in any form.
Nothing should surprise us. Except, perhaps, the continuing naivety of western liberals, who are always quick to defend Islam in general and extremists in particular. When a presenter on the BBC’s Newshour (Thursday) talked over the phone with a resident of Paris, he asked the man in France what he thought was behind the terror attack that killed twelve French nationals. The man replied that it was due to France letting so many Muslims into the country. The BBC presenter was quick to interrupt and point out that the perpetrators were just two men and that the majority of Muslims could not be held to blame.
This misses the point.
The point is that France and other western countries did not have to fear terrorism from Muslim extremists prior to World War II as few Muslims resided in their countries. The current problems have been caused by lax immigration policies, whether in the US, UK, Canada, Australia or France. Even now, this issue is not being addressed, in spite of huge demonstrations in a number of countries against growing Islamization.
It’s not only Paris that’s on edge. The whole western world is on edge, fearful of when and where the next attack will take place. This is not only “A Tale of Two Cities” – dozens of cities will suffer terrorist attacks until our politicians wake up and effectively deal with the problem. Don’t hold your breath!
This is exactly what the terrorists want. They are trying to provoke a bigger conflict between Islam and the West, an escalated war, which they believe will be won by the Islamic world, soon to be united under a single caliphate!