Paris Likely A Coordinated Two-Prong Attack from AQAP in Yemen

George Packer wrote yesterday in the New Yorker that “The murders today in Paris are not a result of France’s failure to assimilate two generations of Muslim immigrants from its former colonies. They’re not about French military action against the Islamic State in the Middle East, or the American invasion of Iraq before that. They’re not part of some general wave of nihilistic violence in the economically depressed, socially atomized, morally hollow West—the Paris version of Newtown or Oslo.” I have seen some efforts to jump back at those damning the incident by drawing on the assimilation – or lack there of – of Arabs into France, and the often times viewed draconian laws that generally do not bode well with Arab Muslims.

The proponents of this response to the incident, essentially say something on the scale from it was deserved, or it was understandable to it was wrong but I understand why it happened considering the oppressed Arab Muslims in France. For some of us who remember watching the 2005 riots in Paris and its outskirts that seems to make sense as to why it would happen. Angry and impoverished young men pushed to the brink until they commit a heinous crime of passion or near-accidental deaths occurring from civil unrest. This however is not the case.

As over at the Long War Journal pointed out the current suspect not only have extremist ties, but ties to Al Qaeda and had recently returned from Syria. Make no mistake about it, this attack was an Al Qaeda attack targeting free press in Paris, not a surgical rendition of the 2005 riots. With that said, I would not be surprised if blow back onto the rather impoverished Arab Muslim community in Paris resulted in tensions flaring further and developing into civil unrest. I would like to think however, that those thinking of it would recognize the poor timing.

Normally, the assumption would be that it was some lone wolf actor or small group radicalized in Yemen who acted basically on their own. But alas, that is highly unlikely the case. For anyone who follows what happens in Yemen daily, you would have seen the brazen attack that occurred on the same day. Though car bombs and suicide bombers in Yemen have been increasing they are actually not too frequent which lends more credibility to a coordinated attack explanation. Al Qaeda is known for its spectacular multiple target attacks and this could be seen as a way to show its reach while grappling some fame back from ISIS. Whatever the specific motive, it was by no means an explosion of the ‘oppressed’ in France.

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