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November 7, 2005
French Riots Come After Multiple Warnings Of Islamist Attacks

The riots in France have little connection to the Islamist terrorist offensive against the West, if the American media coverage gives any indication. However, alert CQ reader Mr. Michael points out that both American and French media sources warned of coordinated Islamist action against France in the weeks before the riot. Agence France Presse even had a quote from the maligned Nicolas Sarkozy noting the imminent nature of the threat in its 9/27 dispatch:

An Algerian Islamist organisation, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), has issued a call for action against France which it describes as "enemy number one", intelligence officials said Tuesday.

"The only way to teach France to behave is jihad and the Islamic martyr," the group's leader Abu Mossab Abdelwadoud, also own as Abdelmalek Dourkdal, was quoted as saying in an Internet message earlier this month.

"France is our enemy number one, the enemy of our religion, the enemy of our community," he was quoted as saying. ... Interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday that the risk of terrorist attack in France is "at a very high level... There are cells operating on our territory."

The French government took that warning seriously enough to make a sweep of Paris for GSPC operatives. It didn't make a dent, however, according to the Washington Post. On October 19th, John Ward Anderson reported to American readers that the Islamists had recruited French citizens for Middle East training in jihad, with the intention of having them initiate warfare within France:

French police investigating plans by a group of Islamic extremists to attack targets in Paris discovered last month that the group was recruiting French citizens to train in the Middle East and return home to carry out terrorist attacks, sources familiar with the investigation said.

One French official said the extremists were using a virtual "underground railroad" through Syria to spirit European and Middle Eastern citizens into and out of Iraq. A senior French law enforcement official, who declined to be quoted by name because he was speaking about classified information, said French citizens had undergone terrorist training at camps in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

"There's always been an enormous jihad zone to train people to fight in their country of origin," the official said. "We saw it Afghanistan, in Bosnia, in Kosovo, and now we're seeing it in Iraq."

That prelude certainly seems more than a mere coincidence to me. Within six weeks of the GSPC announcement, we see a massive and coordinated uprising originating from the ghettoes in which Algerian and other Muslim refugees and their families live. The "riots' have sophisticated coordination between cell leaders, using the Internet and instant messaging as well as cell phones -- an odd tool for a spontaneous demonstration where one neighborhood would hardly have those phone numbers at the ready.

The Islamist connection might get ignored by the media now, but when it involved Iraq as a training base (as the Post article did), they had no hesitation in writing about it. One wonders why they have suddenly developed amnesia about it now.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 7, 2005 7:12 AM

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