This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood talks to Crisis Group Trustee and distinguished French diplomat Gérard Araud about European security, transatlantic politics, the West’s relations with Moscow and France’s election, as Russia’s war in Ukraine enters a new phase.
84 people killed and over 300 injured by Tunisian terrorist who drove truck through crowd in Nice gathered to watch 14 July national day fireworks; police shot dead driver. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility; five suspected accomplices arrested in following days. Two 19-year-old men killed priest and took several people hostage in attack in church outside Rouen, Normandy 26 July; both attackers were known to security services over links to IS, which claimed responsibility; two people arrested over suspected links to attack.
Four main Libyan leaders meet in Paris on 29 May to sign a roadmap to peace, including 2018 elections with united international backing. But with Libya’s UN-backed peace process at risk from the meeting's format and the accord that France has brokered, the sides should instead commit to a broader declaration of principles.
France faces a problem with its Muslim population, but it is not the problem it generally assumes. The October-November 2005 riots coupled with the wave of arrests of suspected jihadists moved the question of Islam to the forefront of French concerns and gave new life to concerns about the threat of a Muslim world mobilised by political Islamism. Yet the opposite is true: paradoxically, it is the exhaustion of political Islamism, not its radicalisation, that explains much of the violence, and it is the depoliticisation of young Muslims, rather than their alleged reversion to a radical kind of communalism, that ought to be cause for worry.
[French President Macron] sees the dangers of being absent from the world stage, and sees [the absence of a strategy and U.S. diplomacy] as a way of raising the profile of France.
La France et ses partenaires du G5 Sahel se réunissent à Pau lundi 13 janvier pour réaffirmer leur engagement à lutter ensemble contre le terrorisme jihadiste. Pourtant, la réponse militaire n'est pas suffisante. Face à l’ampleur de la menace, il est donc nécessaire de trouver une solution politique.
Originally published in Le Monde