Monday, July 22, 2024
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Paris attacks: what can be the sensible response? By Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

The deadly Paris attacks that claimed over 130 lives have sent shock waves throughout the world. The whole world has extended support to France at this critical time. This is not for the first time that that France has been hit hard by terrorists, even in January this year some miscreants attacked office of French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had published blasphemous materials. 11 people were killed in that January 7 attack. This time tally is huge and perhaps unprecedented in the recent French history.

This attack, Mr. Hollande the French President said, was “against France, against the values that we defend everywhere in the world, against what we are: a free country that means something to the entire planet.” He vowed that France would respond, using “all the necessary means, and on all terrains, inside and outside, in coordination with our allies, who are, themselves, targeted by this terrorist threat.”
France, as well as other European countries have been hit hard by influx of refugees from Syria in recent days. As IS has already claimed responsibility, so the question is as to how the IS managed to gatecrash into Europe or for that matter France? It is believed the IS operatives might have sneaked into Europe in the garb of refugees. They came to some European country and then entered France because once you are in any European country, which is part of Schengen then you can enter any other country because the Schengen regime has virtually done away with border controls.
So this move appears to be very well calculated and well planned. France has already sealed its borders while other European countries are also likely to follow the suit. The purpose of the attacks from the face of it, seems to disrupt the upcoming international conference on climate change. This conference is important in the sense that it would determine how to overcome issues of climate change and waste disposal related matters. Despite this gruesome attack, one should hope the conference would take place as per the schedule.
Some of the analysts have even predicted or suggested end of the Schengen visa regime following the Paris attacks. Undoubtedly, the loss that we all suffered in the shape of Paris attacks is colossal, yet it should not justify elimination of the Schengen system, which beyond any doubt, is a unique system and a great success story of the European Union.
Then some people have suggested even tougher treatment of refuges. While there is a great likelihood of these terrorists entering Europe in the garb of refuges, it does not mean conditions should be made stringent for those who are genuine and deserving refugees. The permanent solution of this refugees’ crisis is to help Syrians have stability in their country so that they are not forced to take refuge in other countries. The so-called democratic powers preach democracy at home, but when it comes to other countries, they wish to have rulers of their own choice. One likes him or not, the Syrian president is elected by people of Syria and democratically speaking only the Syrian people should have the right to overthrow him.
Our hearts bleed for Paris tragedy victims, but we cannot forget that not only has Europe watched silently as Islamic State has ravaged through Syria and Iraq, claiming thousands of victims, it was its wars in the name of regime change and democracy that created the situation in the first place. The dead and wounded in Paris are also the victims of imperialist policies and wars.
What can be done immediately to protect Europe from any such barbaric acts in future is re-doing of European foreign policy with a view to making it balanced and impartial. Europe has to keep in consideration blow backs that may entail as a result of its becoming part of any alliance meant to invade other countries, especially on false pretexts.
The European leaders must sit together and re-visit their Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan policies. Especially the invasion of Iraq by the allied forces, as admitted now by the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the attack was a grave mistake and according to him there were no weapons for mass destruction in Iraq. The reason that why the Iraq invasion needs to be re-visited is that whatever now we see either in the form of Al-Qaeda, or Islamic State and creeping sectarian rifts world over, is in fact a gift of the Iraq invasion.
Agreed, when they are part of alliances such as NATO, they are bound to act in aide of any member country under attack, but at the same time it is their responsibility to weigh all pros and cons before taking part particularly in any combat operations.

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