Terror Stalks Paris, Beirut, Bamako


There were three terrorist attacks in in the world in one week carried out by ISIS and Boko Haram: They were in Beirut (Lebanon), Paris and Bamako (Mali). The magnitude, character and location of the Paris attacks captured all the media attention and managed to suck the air out of anything else that happened that same week.

In Paris, the planning by at least four groups had been meticulous. Much of the preparation originated in Brussels, Belgium. Many of the terrorists have now either died, been captured or killed but some are still not accounted for as of this writing. Saleh Abdelsalam, thought to be the brains of the operation is still at large. As a result, for much of last week, Brussels was a “dead” city. Everything was shut down, streets were deserted as people were encouraged to stay home because large gatherings were likely to be targeted. Life did not “go on.”

President Hollande of France whose job performance ratings had been very low, rose to the occasion and took a De Gaullesque stance. He announced: We are in a state of war and ISIS must be destroyed. Well, Monsieur Hollande, we have been in a state of war for some time already. The attackers were not “strangers.” Many of them are disenchanted locals, second and third generation immigrants who reached the citizen stage without ever going through the “melting pot” stage. They did not grow roots or learn how to fashion their own destiny. As a result, they fell prey to the jihadists’ siren songs. These West-haters are only too happy to do the thinking for them. They lure them with promises, give them a sense of belonging and a group identity not to mention a salary. The French have been lax in detecting the signs of this mounting discontent. They have closed their eyes to these youth’s increasing restiveness and have not been able to gain their allegiance.

Another contributing factor to this new vulnerability is that Europe does not have a common defense system. There is no coordination in information sharing and precautionary measures. So now the violence is no longer peripheral to Europe. Contamination has set in. We know now that this sort of attack does not happen only in destabilized societies. Europe is not used to living in a context of violence, suspicion and paranoia. It is also helpful to remember that France is one of the countries that has been selling arms to Qatar which finances revolutionary mosques in which much terrorist recruiting occurs.

In Beirut, forty people were killed and 200 injured at the American University of Beirut. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Beirut once known as the Paris of the Orient has had many upheavals and a bloody civil war. It now has an absent government and many Syrian refugees. In spite of this, life had been relatively “normal” recently. However, because the country is associated with upheavals and conflict, hardly anyone took notice of this terrorist attack even though the killings were as random and deadly as the ones in Paris. They happened in crowded areas and affected young and old, Christian and Muslim alike. But in the aftermath, no monuments were illuminated, no flags flown. No outpouring of sympathy and grief were visible. There were no signs of support, solidarity or compassion and no one called it “an attack against humanity.” Was Beirut’s grief less important?

The third attack took place in Bamako, Mali at the Radisson Blu Hotel where many Westerners congregated mainly for business. They were all having breakfast when the assailants burst in and started shooting indiscriminately, randomly and repetitively. Most of the dead were Westerners including six Russians.

Mali had not quite yet recovered from an attempt a few years ago by Tuareg rebels to split the country in two. Fighting raged for months and was only stopped by an infusion of French forces which succeeded in reestablishing a fragile order. It was during this war that the shrines of Sufi Saints, those historic monuments that had stood in Timbuktu for centuries, were blown up.

Motivated probably by the terrorist attack on a Russian airliner which killed 224 people and the Bamako attack, the Russians have decided to join, at some level, the Western anti-terrorist coalition. Suddenly Vladimir Putin is a persona grata and not a pariah . He says he is quite eager to help. But so long as Russia supports Syria’s President Assad, the Syrian Sunnis will not take up arms to expel Isis. We don’t know what Russia will do and can only watch and wait.

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  1. Paris didn’t need (France) while Beirut needed (Lebanon) and Bamako(Mali).
    Always and always the rich, famous, and beautiful get more attention and sympathy. Perhaps that is why we see “Black Lives Matter” signs and I used to hear a saying “When the whales fight the shrimps die” during the Korean War.

  2. Always and always the rich, famous, and beautiful get more attention and sympathy. Therefore Paris gets more attention than Beirut or Bamako. Perhaps that is why we see “Black Lives Matter” signs and I used to hear a saying “When the whales fight the shrimps die” during the Korean War.

  3. Journalists flock to a story like lemmings, all going to the same place. Each one is afraid to be left out. As a result they miss entirely something else that may be going on at the same time. This time, Beirut got almost no coverage while Paris sucked up all the journalistic interest.

  4. Europe does in fact have “a common defense system.” It’s called NATO. But each European country also has its own defense establishment as well as its own foreign policy and national interests. What the European Union lacks is an ability to act cohesively when major crises strike. We saw this in the early 1990’s when Yugoslavia disintegrated and devolved into a Balkan killing field, and we’re seeing it again now in the EU’s disastrous response to the migrant waves sweeping into Europe, or attempting to.

  5. NATO is too cumbersome to be effective in terror operations. Besides it includes Turkey whose role is murky to say the least.

  6. We stumbled over here by a different web page and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to exploring your web page for a second time.

  7. This letter came to admin.

    Dear Simone,

    I do not like people only because they think the same than I do. If I went through a list of my dearest friends, you would find an enormous diversity of thought.

    But I read what you wrote about terror in Paris, Beirut and Bamoko. I was thinking just the same.

    The night of the attacks in Paris I was in Mexico City airport, waiting for the love of my life to come from Belgium, his name is Itzhak and he is the reason I read Ynetnews, where I found your blog.

    He added another journal to my morning list and I found the link to your publication there.

    He was born in Tel Aviv but it doesn’t define him. He brought to life that thought I had in mind that we are really citizens of the world and we can be a local in more than one place.

    After several months of not seeing each other, the night of November 13th, we took a walk on the main square of Mexico City, holding hands and I saw the French flag being honored at our central square. Very comprehensible and my feelings joined that intention BUT, ever since I heard about the strikes in Beirut, I was thinking, How come I have not seen the Lebanese Flag being honored at our central square and, this morning, I read you and I read a about you.

    I am about to quit my career in public administration to go live with my boyfriend and start working together (you won’t believe this) as a translator… and I could not be happier.

    I have always liked reading in other languages and I thought that the best to understand people is through the way their language’s structure. I enjoy it very much and I didn’t imagine making a living out of something I really enjoy.

    Then I read your biography and you became someone to look up to.

    I read a sensitive, well informed and thoughtful woman (not only because I coincide with your post), but because I believe the right to a public opinion is earned by knowledge and experience, sensitivity and intelligence and I saw that in your writing.

    Now you have, in me, your Mexican number one fan.


  8. This comment came to admin.:

    There was no attack anywhere near the American University of Beirut. Why would you write that? The killings were miles away, and not exactly random either, as they were carried out by ISIS (Sunni) in the Burj al_Barajneh area of Beirut which is largely Shia. So more a part of the ongoing fighting between Hezbollah (Shia) and ISIS (Sunni) on the Lebanese-Syrian border. Hence the lack of nation-wide mourning as other faiths are not exactly enthusiastic supporters of either side.

  9. The problem in the west is that few people understand Islam, or have bothered to read the Koran or any of the history of Islam from the time of Muhammad to the present day. As a result people falsely think Muslims are reacting to things that westerners have done; this is not the case, and is a grave error in understanding the problem. Islam seeks to dominate and control: everything, everyone everywhere. It is an all-encompassing religious polity. It is economics, religion, politics, education rolled into one. We have nothing remotely like this, and therefore it is not surprising that so many people simply cannot imagine people behaving so brutally, so callously, so ignorantly. Pick up a book on the subject, there are plenty good ones today. It’s the least you can do as a responsible citizen of the democratic west, to be informed enough to make wise voting choices.

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