Paris Attack May Redefine War On Terror
French President François Hollande described the deadliest terrorist attack on Europe since the 2004 train bombings in Madrid, Spain, as a “cowardly act” and an “act of war”, adding that France would defend itself.
This is on the heels of a meeting of international leaders, who gathered in Vienna, Austria, yesterday to resume talks on finding peace in Syria, further motivated perhaps by the attacks on Paris.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said the attacks “underlined the need to end the four and half year-old (Syria) conflict,” adding the attacks “have encouraged us today to do even harder work to make progress and to help resolve the crises we face.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also agreed that the attacks removed any “justification for us not doing much more to defeat” the self-styled Islamic State (ISIS), which has claimed responsibility.
Hollande has indicated the French authorities believe the attacks were planned outside France with support from inside the country.
As police continue to gather evidence at the multiple crime scenes in Paris, attention is focusing on who the suicide bombers were and how they organised the deadliest attack in France in well over half a century.
An angry Hollande promised a “merciless” response to the attacks. “Faced with war, the country must take appropriate action,” Hollande said after an emergency meeting with security chiefs.
“France will be merciless towards these barbarians from Daesh,” he said, using an Arab acronym for ISIS.
Former President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement: “The war we must wage should be total.” Kerry said: “We are witnessing a kind of medieval and modern fascism at the same time.”
But characteristically, leaders of the US and Russia remain divided over the best course of action in Syria and the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The US sides with most European countries, including France, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey that a “political transition,” namely the removal of President Assad, is the most effective solution to the conflict. On the other hand, Russia and Iran support the Assad regime, arguing that he is a “necessary bulwark against terror groups in Syria.”