The Paris Attacks Were Probably All About the “Grayzone”

Tragically, with today’s attacks on Paris, the cycle continues apace. As I wrote in March:

“To take a more recent example, as Juan Cole convincingly argued, the unjust violence of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris were meant to polarize or “sharpen the contradictions” between Muslims and non-Muslims in France by provoking unjustly violent oppression:

‘Al-Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims, but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination.’ (…)

The neocons and the terrorist leaders, as Justin Raimondo put it, are “funhouse mirror counterparts” of each other. Both “see world events through a Manichean prism,” and seek to more completely realize that severe dualism by polarizing the world into two irreconcilable camps deadlocked in a civilizational Ragnarök. To this end, each pursues innocent-consuming savagery, and each counts on and even hopes for like savagery from the other.”

In fact, as I just learned tonight on Twitter, in one of its own publications following that attack, ISIS wrote of driving to “extinction” the “grayzone” between Islamic extremism and “the crusader coalition.” Again, it’s all about using terrorism to “sharpen the contradictions” and polarize the world.

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And now indeed French president Hollande has said, “To all those who have seen these awful things, I want to say we are going to lead a war which will be pitiless.”

And there are even unconfirmed reports of a Calais migrant camp being set on fire.

Enough with this madness. Break the damn cycle. Stop being manipulated by extremists on both sides. This is the only world we have.

  • Guest

    "we are going to lead a war which will be pitiless"

    A real leader would be calling for calm. Despite Hollande's Napoleonic wet dreams, military force will never solve this problem.

    • El Tonno

      The view and sound of Hollande as Sturmbannführer-in-Chief is about as retch-inducing as the view and sound of Obama as Mourner-in-Chief.

      My disgust as these political animals is bottonless.

  • JJJihad

    Military force has not been solving the problems between tribes of homo sapiens for 60,000 years.

  • The Artist

    This is not a time for experiments. It's time to implement the strategies that were proven to work in Syria. They should find and identify the moderate terrorists, arm them, and let them deal with the extremist terrorists. It's also time to invoke article five of the NATO charter, the one that I like to call "The 3 musketeers article" – One for all, all for one, the one that says that if one NATO country is attacked – they all are.

    NATO should start bombing Paris day and night. Sure, civilians will die, maybe millions of them, but in the end it will be worth it. Just ask MADeleine Allstupid, I mean Madeleine Albright. That's the only way to defeat the terrorists.

    Also, Hollande must go, he can't be part of the transition process, obviously he is a part of the problem, so he can't be a part of the solution too. Something about his personality provokes terrorist attacks – first Charlie Hebdo, and now this. I just hope that this won't stop Charlie Hebdo from making fun of the victims like they made fun of the victims of the most recent terrorist attack prior to this one.

  • Miles Smoljo

    Kudos, Dan Sanchez, on providing some clear and rational insights into the realpolitik behind these highly and expertly planned horrific terrorists attacks in Paris. The anti-West factions in the Middle East are playing a long game, and a highly disenfranchised, demoralized and ghetto-ized muslim population in France and the rest of western Europe is clearly one of their major current and future assets.

  • Biff

    Every western government has a hard on today. The power grab will be epic.

    • Ray

      Yep, they can't wait to get more boots on the ground in Syria to bring regime change and democracy like Iraq and Libya got. The rapeugee invasion of Europe and the attacks in Paris are a nice bonus for them. And in Tel Aviv they are singing, "Onward Christian Soldiers."

    • GeorgyOrwell

      Every western government has a hard on today. The power grab will be epic.
      —–
      Yea exactly, like almost like ISIS really works for us.

      Using 9/11 as an example….no matter what you think is the truth of 9/11, one think is irrefutable…9/11 caused trillions of dollars to change hands.

  • Every western government has a hard on today. The power grab will be epic.

  • You cannot avoid war. Islamists decided this a long time ago. The options are to fight a war of extermination, or to surrender (the way Germany and Sweden appear to be). It’s Islamist theology, not Western foreign policy, that ultimately drives Islamists.

    • This isn't an either-or proposition. The West can and should stop subsidizing mass Islamic immigration, and simultaneously end its ill-fated intervention in the Middle East.

    • Rob

      Excellent comment. Very smart. Islamism is also why ISIS downed a Russian plane as soon as Russia started bombing ISIS. Nothing to do with Russian foreign policy. Throughout history, people always strike back at imperial powers because of crazy ideologies, not because they dislike being bludgeoned by foreign powers. The American revolution, in turn, had nothing to do with British policy, and was all because of the pro-slavery ideologies of the revolutionaries.

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  • Bob from Pittsburgh

    I am surprised that nobody has figured this out yet! It is very obvious that this was about a YouTube video and it was the victims fault for thinking they would not be assinated at any time for simply being normal human beings!

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  • alex

    Military force solves problems when one side of the conflict is completely defeated and not allowed to regain its strength.

    Despite severe punishments, murder and rape still exists. Does it mean that we should stop punishing murderers and rapists?

    • Brian

      And how do you "completely defeat" a side which is not identifiable: no uniform, no nice neat standing army wearing a target. How do you kill all of them without killing everyone else who kinds of looks or sounds like them too? Or do you care?

      • Fiona

        By winning the war for hearts and minds. You don't kill them, you kill their ideology. You respond as they would not. Fierce compassion. You fight for the causes that they use to recruit. We need to move towards wise action.

    • goldhoarder

      No. It means you shouldn't murder and rape yourself. Murders and rapists are put in prison. You don't go rampaging through a murderer and rapists neighborhood to get back at them.

  • battleLost

    Sadly, the world is already in WW3. It's a different kind of war, based on information and propaganda as the main means of winning.
    It's nice to see Anti-war still fighting, but overall the majority of alternative media has become much like the mainstream media. We used to get great viewpoints, which encompassed all things Politically Incorrect as well.
    The war has already been won by the same people who won WW1 and WW2. The entire spectacle of war, invasions, and mass media has been so convoluted that average citizens cannot possibly follow along with any kind of rational thinking with all the twists and turns the continuing saga of war churns out.

    Turn on the radio in your car on the way to work and you get either NPR holding up the extreme left, or a series of right wing stations on the other hand. Either way you listen, BOTH SIDES always arrive at the same conclusions, thereby exposing the myth of Right/Left paradigm. The only difference in reality to these "sides" is issues about gays or abortion, to give the masses the illusion that there is a difference. In reality, whether you are an NPR bot or Limbaugh/Beck fan, YOU ARE DIRECTED to the same conclusions about Economy and Foreign policies. Foreign policy conclusions always are the same for both sides: it is the evil Muslim that caused all of this.

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  • All of this, all of it, could have been easily avoided if Obama and Hollande just f**king left Syria alone and allowed Assad to crush these bastards while he had the strength. Paris, Charlie Hebdo, it's all fallout, pollution from another American Imperial regime change experiment.

    The exact same thing happened with Afghanistan in the eighties. The US used another coalition of Islamist mercenaries to destabilize another secular Russian allie with hopes of spreading the disease northward towards the Kremlin. The end result, aside from Afghanistan's descent back into anarchy, was Al-Qaeda, the 98' embassy bombings, 911, Bali and on and on and on. The same damn thing is happening all over again only now it's bigger and uglier then ever.

    The only way this stops is if Russia can make a deal with the Kurds to seal off the the Turkish border, shutting there supply line down and leaving them surrounded on all sides, Kurds to the north, Assad to the west, Iraq/Kurdistan to the east and Hezbollah to the south leaving ISIS and Al-Nusrah in a Stalingrad style trap. This has to be done quickly. The US is already trying to buy off the Kurds with weapons and goodies to keep them in there camp for just long enough to help Erdogan set up his "No Fly Zone", in which case the Americans will stab the Kurds in the back (again), letting Erdogan slaughter them and leaving the Syrian border permanently open to ISIS' number one allies in Ankara. If this happens we will see a thousand more massacres like this spread into Europe and Russia. This can not be aloud to happen.

    Obama and the neocons in both major parties have become so stoned with delusions of empire that they can't even see straight. Assad has become there Moby Dick. An obsession that defines them and transcends all logic. They just can't f**king let it go. Our best hope is that Europe will finally see how insane this tragedy has become, recognize that only Putin and the Shiites can save them, and tell NATO to f**king stick it.

    I don't like Merkel but like De Gaulle she does not lack common sense, she can be reached. Hollande on the other hand, unlike his countries founding father, is a gutless, spineless coward who has about as much right to call himself a socialist as Bernie Sanders. I hate her guts but Le Pen might give us the best shot to turn France against empire, she would work with Putin. Without Germany and France, America is stuck with there monster states, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and those animal corpse shagging morons in London. This is the company Washington deserves and standing with them alone against the real free world will make there intentions painfully clear to the American people and the world. The candidates will have know choice but to abandon there Syrian project or lose to Trump. Game over.

  • GeorgyOrwell

    Why France??

    Anybody asking why France? France is part of NATO. If any NATO member is attacked all the other NATO members must rush to the defense of the attacked member. If indeed it was really ISIS then by attacking France they are attacking NATO and now will find themselves in a real war with NATO. If ISIS was smart enough to pull off a simultaneous multi target attack than they are smart enough to figure out the forces that will now be arrayed against them as a result.

    Why would they do that? All they have is Toyota jeeps, AK47's, Knives, Black Hoods and black ISIS flags. They have no aircraft carriers, F-16 fighter jets or heavy munitions.

    And if the narrative we are being told is true that they also were responsible for bringing down that Russian jet, then they are now also in a real war with the Russian Federation.

    If It was NATO' s intention to enter into a no holds barred war against ISIS then what ISIS just did was now bring down upon itself the most powerful military alliance the world has ever known.

    Is it just me, or does something really really just not add up here?

    • Curious

      It is a recruitment tool. The Palestinians continue to rise up and they have much less than ISIS. It is human nature to fight against oppression. The West's problem is that it profits from war with ISIS and its in bed with the sponsors of the mujaheddin. ISIS cannot do heavy casualties in the west by the millions. The West has no incentive to stop playing war with these guys. They have a weak enemy that they can scare people with in order to extract wealth from them and give it to the armaments industry. They have an enemy that will do their dirty work for them against the enemies of Israel and Saudi Arabia like the Afghan mujaheddin did to the Soviets.

  • Curious

    The Neocons, Christian Zionist and the Salafist are in one camp and all decent human beings are in the other.

  • Rob

    Kind of like how the US carried out terrorist attacks, killing hundreds of thousands, to sharpen contradictions between Sunni and Shiite in Iraq, resulting in the deaths of over a million people in that country alone, just since 2003.

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  • Military force solves problems when one side of the conflict is completely defeated and not allowed to regain its strength.

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  • President Holland knew of the attackers names.

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