When there’s bad news, bury it with sudden, ultra-violent attacks. It’s a tactic the Islamic State has used before on several occasions, and they apparently turned to it again on Friday by launching a brutal, unprecedented assault on Paris.
Paris woke up on lockdown this morning, as the city continued to deal with the aftermath of Friday’s terror attacks that killed more than 120 people. A provisional toll from the deadly rampage put the number of dead at 128, while another 99 were in critical condition, according to a source at the prosecutor’s office.
French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday the attacks were “an act of war” organized from abroad by Islamic State (IS) with internal help. IS also issued a statement claiming responsibility, and released an undated video in which a militant said France would not live peacefully as long it took part in US-led bombing raids against its fighters.
Grambling students held a rally on Thursday afternoon in support of Paris and the rest of the world, including the black students at the University of Missouri.
“The attacks in Paris are very devastating and I am praying for Paris,” said Corey Carrol, a senior political science major from Tulsa, Oklahoma. “But we [the United States] need to begin to take action on ISIS before more citizens are hurt.”
Various Louisiana politicians, including gubernatorial candidates John Bel Edwards and David Vitter, have spoken out against allowing Syrian refugees to come to the state.
“There is real concern that violent criminals and terrorists could be among those who are actually in need of humanitarian assistance,” said Chad Leger, chief of police in the small South Louisiana town of Scott.
“Many of those refugees are coming into Louisiana, and the first group has already arrived in New Orleans.”
In Paris on Friday night, gunmen strapped with suicide bombs attacked restaurants, a concert hall, and a sports stadium at locations across the French capital. A city hall official said four gunmen systematically slaughtered at least 87 young people at a show by the American rock group Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan concert hall. Graphic footage filmed by journalist Daniel Psenny of Le Monde showed concertgoers fleeing the theater as shots rang out at around 10 p.m. local time. The video appears to show some victims motionless on the ground, people dragging the wounded through an alley, and others hanging from ledges on the upper floors of the building.
At this stage in the war, with the combination of overwhelming US air power and effective local ground forces beginning to show significant results, it actually seems easier for IS to carry out a mass terrorist attack in the center of a major Western capital than it is for them to win a military victory on the ground in either Syria or Iraq.
The Paris attack, like the bombing of a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula that IS has also claimed, is a remarkable inversion of roles in IS’ feud with its progenitor, al Qaeda. IS has sold itself on its ability to take and hold ground in the Middle East, scorning old-school al Qaeda for its reliance on occasional but meaningless spectacular attacks in the West.
IS and its freelance internet supporters in the West are currently claiming that the Paris attack is a response to French military involvement in the war against IS. This is disingenuous: IS took western hostages years before the western powers ever took up arms against the group, with the intention of executing them for propaganda purposes, as they eventually did. Long before the US government committed itself to striking the group, official IS accounts effectively dared America to act, threatening the US directly as part of its millenarian vision to embroil the whole world in war
“I join our US Senators, and leaders across the state in my commitment to keeping our communities safe from those who would come to our nation to do harm to our people.
” said Leger
“I take my oath to protect and to serve very seriously. My top priority is, and always will be, protecting our people here at home,” Leger said.