Terror in Paris: The Beginning of the End for Islamic State?, an article by Dr. Leonel FernándezNovember 16, 2015
A few days ago, the world was shaken by barbarous terrorist attacks in Paris, the international center of knowledge, art, and culture.
The chaos, despair, and pain extended everywhere, with rage and impotence coloring the feelings of most observers.
In the face of this horrific drama, French president François Hollande declared that the action carried out by the so-called Islamic State against his country constituted an act of war, and
thus declared a state of emergency, announced the closure of French borders, requested military support, and affirmed that no pity would be taken on the enemy.
More than 120 people were killed as a result of the terrorist attacks executed simultaneously in six places in the French capital, while nearly 300 wounded received attention in various Parisian hospitals.
It was the second time in a year that France was the victim of jihadist terrorism. In fact,
it was precisely one year ago, in January 2015, that the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was the target of a surprise attack by a branch of al-Qaeda, causing the death of 11 people and leaving an equal number injured.
On the other hand, in early November a Russian airliner exploded shortly after takeoff in Egypt in an act of aggression for which Islamic State also took responsibility.
More recently, in a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, two suicide bombers
ended the lives of 43 people and injured more than 200 in the most lethal bombing in the Lebanese capital since the end of the civil war in that country more than two decades ago.
The beginning of the storm
Spokespeople for the terrorist group identified as Islamic State, also known as Daesh for its initials in Arabic, declared that the recent Paris attacks are just the beginning of the storm, implying a direct threat of future
Apparently, the immediate motivation for the France attacks were, supposedly, the recent bombings that the European nation had carried out in oil zones under Islamic State control in Syria.
These bombings are part of an agreement made between the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, and Bahrain to halt the advance of Islamic State in
Iraq and Syria as well as its horrific, ruthless terrorist activities in different parts of the world.
This coalition was formed when it became evident that the exit of U.S. troops from Iraq, occupiers of that country since the 2003 operations to topple Saddam Hussein, would create a power vacuum.
This did in fact occur. The withdrawal of U.S. troops announced by president Barack Obama allowed the al-Qaeda group, which had been operating in the former
Mesopotamia since the start of the U.S. occupation, to broaden its territorial control in western Iraq and eastern Syria.
Al-Qaeda, as is widely known, began to come together in 1979 during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. At that time, the group even received support from the United States. But after Iraq occupied Kuwait and U.S. troops established a presence in Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda and its leader Osama Bin Laden became irreconcilable enemies of the United
The civil war in Syria, which began as part of the Arab Spring, offered fertile ground so that in addition to the insurgent groups battling the regime of Bashar al-Assad, operatives of the Islamic State, originally part of al-Qaeda, could venture into Syria to broaden their territorial base.
The strategic aim of Islamic State is to set up a Caliphate, which in fact they did declare in June 2014.
This Caliphate would be a
politico-religious state, that is, a theocracy, with authority over the world’s entire Muslim community, and would attempt to recover the glory that Islam enjoyed in its Golden Epoch in global history.
The Caliphate was created after the death of the prophet Mohammed in the year 632. The Caliph, chosen in the city of Medina by a group of Muslim elders, effectively becomes the current successor to the Prophet of the Islamic faith.
Caliph was Abu Bakr, father-in-law to the Prophet. But since 1924, with the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the modern state of Turkey, the function or office of Caliph has been vacant.
However, in 2014, the leader of Islamic State auto-attributed this function to himself; and like this has come to be known as Caliph Abu Bakr, that is, the same as the first Caliph, although he has added the surname al-Baghdadi.
The link between al-Qaeda
and Islamic State has been broken. With the deaths of Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musah al-Zarqawi, the leadership of the fight against the West has fallen into the hands of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Al-Baghdadi and his group of followers within the Sunni branch of Islam aim to impose a resurgent Muslim Caliphate on the world, opposed to the values and lifestyle norms of the Western world.
Thus they issue threats that the recent terrorist attack in France is
simply the beginning of the storm. Likewise, that they are prepared to commit any form of terrorist action: to kidnap, behead, and incinerate human beings.
The beginning of the end
Islamic State currently aspires to politically represent Sunni Muslims. It is thus in permanent antagonism with the Shiites and other Muslim groups, which explains the coalition of Muslim Arab countries opposed to the Islamic State.
State, from a politico-military point of view, is the direct result of the U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003, when it began to act as a faction of al-Qaeda in that Middle Eastern country, and the civil war in Syria, begun in 2011.
As is well known, the erroneous U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003—like the justified one in Afghanistan—was due to the reaction against the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, against the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington,
D.C., by al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.
After intense battles that removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and dispersed the terrorist nuclei of al-Qaeda, the central objective of U.S. power consisted of physically eliminating al-Qaeda’s main leader, particularly Osama Bin Laden.
And that is exactly what happened. Despite all al-Qaeda’s audacity, all its tactical and mobilization capacity, and the network of contacts it could
turn to, in the end, the military force and technological power of the most powerful nation in the world prevailed: Osama Bin Laden was found and executed.
Now, with the downing of that Russian airliner and the terrorist attacks in central Paris, the strength of the great world powers has been challenged, and the stability of Arab countries that do not support Islamic State put at risk.
The limits have been overrun, the line in the sand trampled over,
and patience put to the test.
Obviously, there will be a response. Everything indicates that this will be the beginning of the end for Islamic State—that like what happened with al-Qaeda, there will be no truce.
French president François Hollande has already said so. France, within the framework of the rule of law and together with its allies, members of the coalition, will simply intensify its military operations, both inside and outside its
From now on, as a natural reaction to the attacks it has suffered, France will spare no effort in implacably facing its adversaries by air, sea, and land.
The French national anthem will inspire its troops. The Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower will again be symbols of the country’s glorious past.
The world will be with France, defending the values of its civilization in the face of barbarity and
The attack on the City of Lights will never be forgotten.