Candles are placed next to a sign reading ‘Je suis Charlie’ (I am Charlie) and a pen in La Rochelle on January 7, 2015, as people gathered to pay tribute to the twelve people killed in an attack by two armed gunmen on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. (AFP Photo/Xavier Leoty)
By PEPE ESCOBAR
A pro-style jihadist commando attack in Europe’s heart. Cui bono?
Careful planning and preparation, Kalashnikovs, rocket-propelled grenade launcher, balaclavas, sand-colored ammunition vest stuffed with spare magazines, army boots, easy escape in a black Citroen…
And the icing on this particularly lethal cake: faultless Paris-based logistical support to pull it all off. A former top French military commander, Frédéric Gallois, has stressed the perfect application of “urban guerrilla technique” (where are those notorious Western counter-terrorism “experts” when one needs them?)
Some said they spoke perfect French, while others maintained their command of the language was mangled and broken. Anyway, what matters is that they uttered the magic word: “We’re Al-Qaeda.” Better yet, they told a man in the street: “Tell the media that this is Al-Qaeda in Yemen,” which means, in American terror terminology, Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP), which had Charlie Hebdo’s editor/cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier (“Charb”) on a hit list duly promoted by AQAP’s glossy Inspire magazine. Accusation: “Insulting the Prophet Mohammed.”
And just to make sure everyone had the perpetrators implanted on their brain, the killers also said, “Allahu Akbar”,“We have killed Charlie Hebdo” and “We have avenged the Prophet.”
Foreign journalists and other people hold placards that read “I am Charlie” during a campaign at a bookstore in Beijing January 8, 2015 for the victims of the shooting at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday. (Reuters/Jason Lee)
Case closed? Well, it took only a few hours for French police to identify the (usual?) suspects: French-Algerian brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi. The third man, the driver of the black Citroen, apparently 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad, then turned himself in with an ironclad alibi. So the third man remains a cipher.
They all wore balaclavas. The Kouachi brothers have not been captured, but the police seem to know very well who they are. Because they found an abandoned ID in the black Citroen (oh, the troubles of being a command in a rush…) How come they didn’t know anything before the carnage?
Right on cue, Cherif Kouachi’s bio was splattered all over the shop. He was on a global watch list. Along with six others, he was sentenced in May 2008 to 3 years in prison for “terrorism”; in fact unloading a dozen young Frenchmen via madrassas in Egypt and Syria to none other than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the killed-by-an-American-missile former head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the spiritual father of Daesh/ISIS/ISIL.
Also right on clue, a full narrative was ready for mass consumption. According to French police “experts,” this could be an attack “ordered from abroad and executed by jihadists coming back from Syria that have escaped us,” or it could be “suburban idiots that radicalized themselves and concocted this military attack in the name of Al-Qaeda.”
Scrap option two, please; this was a pro job. And staying with option one, this points right at – what else – blowback. Yes, they could be Daesh/ISIS/ISIL mercenaries trained by NATO (crucially, France included) in Turkey and/or Jordan. But it might get even false-flag nastier. They could also be former or current French special forces.
Blast Islam, will travel
Predictably, Islamofascism peddlers are already having a field day/week/month/year. For simpletons/trolls/hordes exhibiting an IQ worthy of sub-zoology, when in doubt, demonize Islam. It’s so convenient to forget that untold millions from Pakistan’s tribal areas, to street markets across Iraq, continue to feel pain devastating their hearts and lives as they are expendable victims of the jihadist mindset – or “kalashnikov culture”, as it is known in Pakistan – which has been profiting the West directly or indirectly, for decades now. Think ritual droning of Pakistani, Yemeni, Syrian, Iraqi or Libyan civilians. Think Sadr City witnessing carnage 10 times worse than Paris.
What French President Francois Hollande defined as “an act of exceptional barbarism” – and it is – does not apply when the West, France in the front line, from King Sarko to General Hollande himself, weaponizes, trains and remote-controls assorted mercenaries/beheaders from Libya to Syria. Oh yeah, killing civilians in Tripoli or Aleppo is perfectly alright, but don’t do that in Paris.
People observe a minute of silence in Istanbul on January 8, 2015 for the victims of an attack by armed gunmen on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7 which left at least 12 dead and many others injured. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)
So this, in the heart of Europe, is what blowback feels like. This is what people feel in the Waziristans when a wedding party is incinerated by a Hellfire missile. In parallel, it’s absolutely impossible to credit that the sophisticated Western intel network had not seen blowback coming – and was impotent to prevent it. Continue reading