Belmont Club

The Silent Crisis

The French police operation against a St. Denis safehouse, believed to be harboring the “mastermind” of the recent attack on Paris, has thrown up some interesting information.

First, the gunbattle, which lasted hours and which may not even be fully over yet, revealed an enemy prepared to fight with grim determination. Although the press may refer to the Jihadis as “cowards”, the objective truth is they have amply demonstrated a willingness to die for their cause up there with the best of them and keep on fighting even when faced with overwhelming odds.  If the gunfight at St. Denis is representative of future combats, defeating the enemy won’t be easy.

A woman ‘with long blonde hair’ who may be Abaaoud’s jihadi bride is said to have fired her AK-47 at police before blowing herself up as an assault squad stormed the apartment block. Survivors of the Bataclan massacre where 89 people died insisted there was a female shooter.

As she tried to kill police this morning a rooftop sniper shot dead another terror suspect through a window. Police said that five people in the apartment were taken alive and arrested while two others were held ‘nearby’.

An innocent person on the street may have been killed in the crossfire and at least five police were injured in the ferocious gunfight including one shot in the foot seen being carried from the scene. The terrorists also shot and killed a seven-year-old sniffer dog Diesel, sent into the block to look for booby traps.

Second, the mastermind of the attack, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, aged 27, had been in Paris all along instead of in Raqqa, Syria as earlier believed.  This suggests that the Jihadi movement is far more deeply based in Europe than heretofore suspected.  Although the Middle East and the Islamic diaspora have always been mutually supporting, the relative center of gravity may be shifting away from MENA to Western Europe.

Third, events in Paris may have blown the lid off the problem of the unassimilated immigrant communities, which serve as the social basis of the Jihad.  The official fiction is that these communities can be managed by government funded outreach programs. In the last few days, however, Molenbeek in Belgium has made the news as the epitome of Jihadi central. In a Reuters article titled “Islamist ‘airbase'”, the authors attempted to portray it as a throwback from Europe’s otherwise advancing civilization.

Security services face difficulties due to Belgium’s local devolution and tensions between the country’s French- and Dutch-speaking halves; the country has long been open to fundamentalist preachers from the Gulf; and it has a thriving black market in automatic rifles of the kind used in Paris.

“With 500-1,000 euros (dollars) you can get a military weapon in half an hour,” said Bilal Benyaich, senior fellow at Brussels think-tank the Itinera Institute, who has studied the spread of radical Islam in Belgium. “That makes Brussels more like a big U.S. city” in mostly gun-free Europe, he said.

Molenbeek: the Last American City in Europe.  Now it turns out that Europe isn’t so gun-free after all. The Daily Mail account of the safehouse raid describes the experiences of a woman trapped in the St. Denis operation.

Caroline Chomienne, who runs a film school, Altermedia, in St Denis, was trapped in the building next to where the assault took place.

‘We’d been working all night on a film and my staff had been gone for some time when around 4.20am I heard shooting. Then they became louder and for on an hour it went on – bursts of fire from all sides but also sounds like bombs going off.
‘The walls were shaking it was horrific. It was like war. It was Beirut.’

Now the director is thinking of quitting Paris.

‘Something like this doesn’t surprise me,’ she told Le Parisien, ‘that terrorists have hidden here. In this district the cellars are full of weapons. Outside there is a dealer every 100mtrs. It’s common knowledge around here that people go and come back from Syria with ease. The past year the atmosphere has been awful in the street…it’s very hard.’

Apparently there are two Last American Cities in Europe.  There may be more, which may explain why the Europeans are so jumpy, as if they’ve suddenly realized something. In addition to the normal anxiety there may be a sinking feeling that the European public has been fed a line by their esteemed leaders and that their worst suspicions about multiculturalism have been confirmed. Andrew Rule writes in the Herald Sun that real threats may be right down the street.

If Europe is turning into a powderkeg as millions of legal and illegal migrants pour through porous borders, then Paris is the wick.

Its notorious northern suburbs — known to local rappers as “Le Neuf Trois” from the local postcode — have been growing more dangerously unstable for at least 30 years.

Although not far by Metro from the picture-postcard Paris loved by tourists, the public housing estates north of the old city have become a concrete jungle as waves of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East have arrived, many of them nursing old grievances and fanning new ones.

The locals call these badlands “Chicago”. The irony is that the real Chicago is now almost certainly safer than the so-called city of love. …

Just two months ago, the magazine Vanity Fair published a prophetic article based on a distinguished Parisian police commissioner who spent his adult life policing the suburbs now tagged the most violent district in France, dominated by Middle Eastern and African gangs who combine crime with the “three Ms” — racism, terrorism and Islam.

The sudden awareness that enemy is ruthless and armed, while the population is largely unarmed and vulnerable can set one’s gizzards to churning.  It will prove impossible to oppose the Jihad without questioning the Western political orthodoxy.

This duality explains why resistance to Syrian refugee resettlement in America has taken the form of a ‘revolt’ against Barack Obama.  “Governors across the country are publicly rejecting President Obama’s plan to relocate Syrian refugees.” There’s a growing realization that the Jihadi threat in part rests upon a destructive political agenda in the West which enables it, nurtures it and spreads it because in some perverse way it helps those  same Western political forces keep power.

The number of Republican governors who have called for the rejection of the relocation of Syrian refugees in their states continues to climb. Currently, the GOP Governors of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey, Kansas and Wisconsin have all rejected Obama’s resettlement plan. That means 22 sitting GOP governors have rejected Obama’s plans–and only nine sitting GOP governors haven’t come out against the plan.

The controversy over the resettlement of Syrians in the US reflects this duality. Refugees are normally a net plus for America because they consist in the main of self-selected group of hardy individuals who voted with their feet to leave a repressive situation. Moreover, they are potentially a good source of intelligence, a mine of contacts and potential agents who can be sent against the enemy as an earlier generation were employed to pentrate Eastern Europe or Nazi Germany.

Of course the refugee flows will also contain a fair number of enemy agents and penetrators. However in the past America knew how to handle expatriates and gained from them far more than they lost. Or at least the public trusted that the Federal government could do so. The reason there is now such a visceral resistance to Syrian refugees is not due to some sudden slamming of the door or belated racism, but because the public has no confidence in the Obama administration to manage it properly.

The public attitude toward refugees is a proxy for its belief in the administration’s competence. Perhaps when Obama says “refugees will be vetted” too many people doubt him.  Maybe when Obama says “there is no religious test”, it is interpreted to mean he will discriminate against Christian refugees and if anything pass over truly moderate Muslims in favor of types which are to the taste of Orientalist leftists.

The reason why the successes of radical Islamism are creating political upheavals is the voters are realizing, perhaps for the first time that the two phenomena are twinned.  Events in Paris are clearly going to affect the EU open borders policy.  They may even portend a rise in neo-Nazism. Brendan Nyhan writing in the New York Times believes they are still separable in America; that security issues may look important but are probably not electorally important.

Until last week, the threat from terrorism had received little attention from candidates or voters during the 2016 campaign. In one poll, just 3 percent of Americans rated it the most important problem facing the country.

The horrific attacks that took place Friday in Paris have, at least for the moment, changed that dynamic. CBS quickly moved to increase the emphasis on foreign policy and national security during Saturday night’s Democratic debate. Candidates are scrambling to adjust to the news, which media analysis has suggested might “alter” the character of the race, for instance by helping more experienced candidates like Hillary Rodham Clinton and hurting outsiders like Donald Trump.

How long-lasting an effect will the Paris attacks have on the United States presidential race? Absent further attacks, the suggestion that Paris will prove to be a “game changer” is unlikely to be correct.

President Obama in his post-G20 press conference in Turkey appeared to think he could leave the issue on the back burner.  But the administration has underestimated the consequences of neglect before  and burned its soup.  Maybe this time the neglecting pan in the kitchen will actually start a fire.

The carbine of the French gendarme

The carbine of the French gendarme

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