17 January 2015
The jihadist assaults in Paris on Charlie Hebdo have sparked allegations of a failure by French intelligence and security agencies. Jihadists beyond the Middle East are also portrayed as coordinated by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). A closer look suggests those assertions are at best speculation.
The attacks in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket as well as two French police officers have prompted analysts and the media to often jump to hasty conclusions. Terms such as intelligence failure and al-Qaeda are liberally employed with no clear definition of what they mean or refer to. Defining how those terms apply is crucial to understanding the events of recent days in Paris.
There is little doubt that Cherif and Said Kouachi, the two brothers suspected of killing 12 people in the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, had long been on the radar of French police and intelligence. So was Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman, who is believed to have shot two French police officers a day after the Charlie Hebdo assault and then took hostages in a Jewish supermarket a day later. Similarly Hayat Boumedienne, Coulibaly’s wife, who is reported to have escaped to Syria, was long known for her association with radical groups.
…James M. Dorsey is senior fellow at the Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and author of the blog The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 19/01/2015