The decision by France to conduct airstrikes on Syria’s oil infrastructure last Sunday and previous strikes on ISIS positions and a training camp in eastern Syria in late September contributed to the attacks on innocent Parisians on Friday.
The Islamic State has warned France not to participate in U.S.-led attacks against ISIS in Syria.
In February the group released a video featuring two French-speaking terrorists warning ISIS elements in the country awaited instructions for attacks. The nine minute video surfaced a month after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
“Islamic State fighters are deployed everywhere and your nightmare begins now, along with the real war,” the Walla news site quoted the video as stating.
France escalated rhetoric against Syria following its Operation Serval and subsequent Operation Barkhane in Mali against Islamist radicals.
The French government decided on military action against Syria, a former colony, despite a parliamentary vote against any such action and national polls showing 64 percent of the French people opposed intervention.
After the Hebdo attack, the French government evoked “legitimate defense” under the U.N. Charter to support strikes in Syria. By September, it had conducted over 200 strikes.
As the bombs dropped, the government played up “a political transition” in Syria, in other words forcing Bashar al-Assad from power and ushering in the rule of Islamists who want to turn the country into a Wahhabi principality ruled by sharia law.
In the days ahead urgent calls for a no-fly zone over Syria will be renewed. Secretary of State John Kerry revisited the idea in mid-October and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and a number of Republican contenders have also called for one to be established.
The attacks on Friday night will undoubtedly lead to more draconian state security measures in France and Britain. The latter introduced “comprehensive” measures in mid-October, including “extremism disruption” across the media and the internet.
“It’s no good leaving this simply to the police or the intelligence services. It’s no good simply talking about violent extremism. We need to confront all extremism,” said PM David Cameron.
In August the British government met with MI5 and counter terror police chiefs to discuss the possibility of raising the UK’s threat level to “critical,” in other words it believed at that time an attack was imminent. The meeting was held a week after an attack blamed on ISIS killed 30 British tourists in the Tunisian resort of Sousse.
The last time the British government raised the threat level to critical was in 2007 after a failed bomb attempt at the Glasgow airport.