Making Sense of the Paris Attacks


So how do we make sense of what happened in Paris? We don't. It was a senseless act. It was the sick ambitions of a caliphate bent on carnage.

But why does France bear the brunt for most of these attacks?

January saw the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Then the Kosher supermarket shooting. Then we had a decapitated head on a pole at an American factory in France. Then the botched attempt on the French metro system where an armed individual was stopped by an act of bravery of fellow citizens and now these horrific attacks. 

The French attacks follow two weeks of International attacks launched and executed by ISIS. We had the Metrojet crash which was downed by ISIS. Following that a double suicide bombing in Beirut and then a suicide bomber in Iraq with the week ending with the Paris massacre. 

Are these attacks all linked and are they buidling to something bigger? The attacks in France weee unprecedented,  even in ISIS terms.

But if ISIS has a war against the West why target France and not the leader of the free world, the USA? 

Well, France has had some intensive airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, especially against their training camps. The French pretty much blew up a bunch of would be suicide bombers to smitherines, an obvious blow to the recruitment strategy of ISIS. Furthermore, France has a pretty strict anti-Islamist policy, like the banning of hijab's. The Charlie Hebdo attacks were also remotely organised by a French citizen based in Syria so there is also the fact of "home grown" extremists fighting in Syria and returning home to continue their "crusade".

This week also saw the apparent killing of "Jihadist John", the ISIS executioner, by a US drone strike. This guy was the epitome of a hideous human being, slaughtering dozens of people on camera. 

So the last few weeks saw a lot of action in the counter terrorism world. Can we effectively stop these "soft target" attacks? Not really, it will require an unprecedented investment in human intelligence and this new war is a totally different ball game.

ISIS is more targeted on body count than symbolism so they will target these restaurants and theaters rather than iconic symbols such as the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. 

France will definitely respond harshly against ISIS for these attacks.

It is their 9/11. 

The French are resilient and patriotic.  

ISIS will fall. This time they have gone too far. 

Vive La France. 


Barry Oberholzer

Born in Houston, Texas, a former professional rugby player and current CrossFit and Ironman athlete, Barry  is the founder of TerrorMate app and is a counter-terrorism and intelligence expert. Formerly Barry served as a confidential informant for Department of Homeland Security, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Belgium Customs Intelligence and HM Revenue & Customs Intelligence in the United Kingdom. 

One of his most impactful successes was in his identification of Iranian sanction busting syndicates who smuggled US manufactured aircraft and parts to Iran which led to the arrests of several prominent international businessmen. He also had numerous successes in major illicit cigarette seizures in Europe.