Last night’s tragic ordeal in Paris echoed not only throughout France, but throughout the entire world. Shootings occurred in multiple locations in the city, materializing a widespread panic. Estimates of deaths vary, although President Francis Hollande has declared 127 dead, with possibly 200 injured; 99 in a critical condition. My thoughts are with those who have suffered, and will continue to suffer, as a result of this horrific incident.
This has been publicised throughout the media, and given great significance; even being labelled ‘France’s 9/11’. Like with the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris earlier this year, many are coming together to share their condolences: a beautiful sign of humanity. Capturing the attention of the world, global leaders have also shown their sympathy for the victims.
The aftermath of 9/11 itself no doubt had an impact on the rest of the world. Being dubbed ‘France’s 9/11’, maybe we could see a similar unfolding of events. While it’s had a disastrous affect on Paris, what could the future implications be?
1) In the short term, France is on high-alert:
The country was called into a State of Emergency last night, after President Hollande urgently arranged meetings to address the crisis. The borders were immediately closed, and live footage showed Paris in a state of lock-down, crawling with police forces. Hollande commented: “We have, on my orders, mobilised all the forces we can muster to neutralise the threats and secure all of the area”. It suggests they perceive an external threat, and are acting to block it. This state of lock-down will continue in Paris for the time-being.
2) A rise in support for right-wing political parties, who will no doubt politicize this
Not just in France, but all across Europe. Spreading like wildfire, the whole continent has become engulfed in a wave of fear; caused by the prospect that any country could be next. Obviously France’s own Front National will no doubt play on the event; to the extent of politicizing it by exploiting the public’s fear, and gaining support for itself. After all, party leader Marine Le Pen has called on France to tighten its borders, claiming that “France is no longer safe“, and that Islamists should be banished from the country. Other parties will be chanting in unison “I told you so”, including Britain’s own UK Independence Party, Italy’s Northern League, Germany’s National Democratic Party, and Holland’s Party for Freedom to name a few. Even US Republican hopeful Ted Cruz stated earlier that all refugees attempting to get into the United States must be stopped.
3) A rise in Euroscepticism – Potentially causing dissent within the EU
The Schengen agreement of the European Union has for long been under fire. Permitting free-movement and immigration within the 26 European nations that are in the area, more Europeans will no doubt object to it. However, this incident will not likely be enough for it to be scrapped. Instead, in relation to the previous point, there will be a higher demand from the public to leave the EU. Immigration is already the centre of much of the demands to leave the EU; and with many blaming the incident on the lax migration restrictions of the EU, it will no doubt leave more people desiring exit – with the killers suspected of being Syrian refugees. This could lead to further instability within the European Union.
4) An increase in the “War on Terror”
NATO is already mobilising, according to a political analyst speaking on RT news. Of course, we know what happened right after the twin towers themselves were bombed on September 11, 2001. With that fresh in memory, it seems that history may repeat itself. The Middle-East is already a hotspot for invasion, and with NATO seemingly ready to take action, this could lead to further conflict. US president Barack Obama said, in a speech: “We are going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people, and nations around the world, to bring these terrorists to justice”.
5) ISIS has received the blame for this – and will continue to be held responsible
According to SITE intelligence group, most media outlets, and France’s president, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. This is plausible as the attacks were clearly pre-meditated anyway. What with the shootings occurring in three major locations, and one explosion going off, it clearly was not just a random attack. Much planning clearly went into it. Even if there was an alternative explanation, it doesn’t matter; as it seems that the general consensus of the NATO powers is that ISIS is responsible. They will therefore act on this
6) Further conflict in the Middle East – mainly Iraq and Syria
With ISIS being held responsible, this could be used by Western powers as a further reason to intervene in the West. In the last few days, the United States and France backed the Kurdish forces in Iraq, in an attempt to drive ISIS out in Sinjar. Being labelled as “soft” on extremism in the past, and being largely involved in the Syrian conflict, France is no doubt an easy, obvious target for extremists. You’d think that after what has happened, maybe France would lessen its involvement in the conflict. Judging from President Hollande’s comments however, and being a NATO member, strikes are set to continue.
Overall, this could be the start of a further unfolding crisis. It’s really too early to say if the attack was a knock-on effect of the Syrian conflict. Links have been made with the gunmen and the Syrian refugee crisis. That said, if the attacks were a product of the refugee influx, and extremists were smuggled into France, one must ask: why are refugees coming into Europe in the first place?
Simple. Millions are fleeing their homes in Syria, in the hope of finding a safe haven in Europe. This would make it easy for undesirable characters to join them in their exodus; being smuggled into the hoards of genuine migrants. It seems that, the more carnage caused in Iraq and Syria, the more it will have a knock-on effect on European civilization.