Paris Bureau Chief Christopher Dickey reports on the success of small and highly professional French combat units that have coordinated with military forces from different countries in varying alliances-the kind of fighting Western armies are called on to do more and more. The French do it well and it is key to their growing-perhaps pivotal-role in NATO that has changed dramatically since the end of the cold war.
Report from the Washington Institute that considers the possibility that the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France may usher in a less accommodative EU policy towards Hezbollah. The report says that Sarkozy appears to see Hezbollah in a different light than his predecessor, Jacques Chirac. In a September 2006 closed-door session with Jewish leaders in the United States, for example, Sarkozy reportedly referred to Hezbollah as a "terrorist organization"—a sentiment unlikely to be stated by Chirac. During last summer's war between Hezbollah and Israel, Sarkozy defendedIsrael's right to defend itself against an organization he described as the "one aggressor" in the conflict. He also stated that France should have committed troops to Lebanon more quickly during the war.
This paper from the German Marshall Fund of the United States looks at the troubled tripartite relationship between Poland, France and Germany. The paper says this unstable relationship – the so-called ‘Weimar Triangle’ – has made it difficult to coordinate relations between the three countries, but notes that recent meetings have seen leaders of the three countries put contentious issues aside and concentrate on finding solutions to outstanding problems.
France faces a problem with its Muslim population, but it is not the problem it generally assumes.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.
In the aftermath of the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 people, French authorities have conducted raids on suspected militants across France and launched airstrikes targeting the self-proclaimed Islamic State in the Syrian city of Raqqa. Below, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Foreign Affairs offer resources on the Paris attacks.
In Paris, Stewart Patrick analyzes prospects for a French proposal in which the UN Security Council would adopt a “responsibility not to veto” norm in situations of mass atrocities. Despite tremendous challenges in implementing such a code of conduct, he concludes that it is ultimately a goal worth pursuing.
The U.S. has 9/11. Spain has 11-M (the March 11, 2004, bombings of the Madrid commuter trains which killed 191). Britain has 7/7 (a reference to the July 7, 2005 bombings which killed 52 people taking public transportation in London). And now, on a slightly smaller but still horrific scale, France has 1/7: the assault by three masked gunmen on the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, which left 12 people dead.
Ed Husain comments on the attack on Charlie Hebdo employees in Paris, France, arguing that “Islam and Muslims are secure in the west because of freedom of speech, conscience, press and religion. To attack those freedoms is to attack Islam’s existence.”
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