Terror? Slaughter? This is IS on the March


14 November, 2015


The pundit on France24 news show said ISIL has brought its war to Europe.  With the station’s headline saying 130 dead and others critical that sounds about right.

The blood is still on the pavement outside the Bataclan theatre and the bit of poster says the band was The Eagles of Death Metal. It does not get much worse. Or maybe it does.

If ISIL is out of area as the security people here are calling it then the next targets are obvious: Christmas late openings in department stores, carol services, Santa grottos, car ferries and maybe a motor way service station or two.

The ISIL operation we saw Friday night was properly organised.  The killers knew how to go about their business. The timing and coordination meant rehearsal and professional reconnaissance – helped by Paris’s lack of CCTV.

The hit on cafe society was at the least a diversion that confused security communications and spread response resources.

The use of a car at the vital diversion point gave a suggestion of extra resources properly used.

The manner of the gunmen, including the unhurried reloading of weapons was a reminder that until the police showed up, they were going through a routine of wasting unarmed victims and that they were committed to a one way mission. And they were highly motivated and trained to succeed in that.

So if there is more to come what is there to be done? There is a 3-part answer.

The French say the eight terrorists are dead. But what about the others? This was no small group operation. There is somewhere a back up organisation.

There are in France large radicalised and disaffected Muslim groupings. French security have top Intelligence on them. They have to be scoured and further suspects dug out or at the very disrupted.  But the French like most other security people are over-stretched.

Secondly, the leaders of the Global Coalition fighting ISIL have to examine their own capabilities in going after first the leadership and then the financial, industrial and supply stores that keep the logistics moving. That means blatant military cooperation with countries and organisation that otherwise would be shunned. Iran is an example.Assad is another.

Thirdly, everyone needs to examine their political motives.  There is a lot more that could be done to take on ISIL in a powerful manner.  ISIL’s image is an exaggerated example of its capability. It is not invincible.

As terrible the hit here was on Friday night it was militarily not such a big deal put alongside what else is going on in the Middle East.  ISIL is beatable.

But Global Coalition members have to be willing to commit themselves to the political bravery needed to authorise thus far close encounter operations. You cannot beat ISIL with drones alone.  And then comes an even bigger effort.

If you do beat ISIL, then what? The sentiment that spawned the fanatical group would not be dead, just dormant.

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