How does France intend to wage its war against extremist Islamism?

Leading French personalities claim that a war is now waged against the Islamists. But we do not know anything about the modus operandi and the capacities of France to lead this fight, observes this British journalist severely.

France is threatened. Samuel Paty, a college professor, was beheaded in a quiet suburb after showing his students a cartoon of Muhammad published in Charlie Hebdo in 2015. And three people were murdered in the Notre-Dame basilica in Nice.

France is “in war” against the “separatism” Islamist, judges the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin. Admittedly, the police reacted immediately by carrying out raids in Islamist circles, but with 20,000 people considered at risk by the secret services, and hundreds of mosques which advocate radical Islam and are making new followers every day, this are just cosmetic measures.

If it’s a war, the French Republic is not in very good shape. Darmanin recognizes that there will be other attacks but does not say anything about the precise way in which they will be thwarted. Michel Houellebecq, in his novel Submission, imagine that the French elites will end up collaborating with the Islamists instead of attacking them head-on. As a French friend often tells me “We are not very good at winning wars”.

The French army exhausted

Last month, before the start of this new latest round of attacks, President Emmanuel Macron delivered an exceptionally strong speech against the Islamists, which sparked outrage among Muslims and the left. His analysis was nevertheless good but it remained too theoretical.

How does Macron intend to wage this war? Nothing is known of his modus operandi. He has certainly mobilized the military to strengthen the police force, but that will not be enough. The French army is

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Jonathan Miller

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