France: Implications and Repercussions of the Paris Attacks

December 17 2015

G4S Risk Consulting analysis of the November 2015 Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State

On the evening of 13 November, 130 people were killed and more than 350 wounded in a series of coordinated attacks across Paris claimed by Islamic State (IS), broadening the scope of the threat posed by terrorism in France and beyond. The significance and ramifications of the attacks are complex and multiple, both in terms of the extensive networks they have exposed and the pressures they have placed on established mechanisms within the EU. 

The impact of the attacks on France’s security and policy framework is profound and unprecedented, but deeper still are the broader ramifications for the international community, its response to IS, and its long-term approach to security.

Key Observations

  • The events of 13 November mark the first successful high-profile, high-casualty attacks by IS in Europe, demonstrating the group’s ability to project and export violence beyond the core conflict zone
  • While the terror threat has been evident in France over the past year, the attacks and subsequent raids have alerted the nation to the presence on French soil of battle-trained networks with plots at an advanced stage of preparation
  • The attacks have placed even greater emphasis on the migrant crisis, forcing a re-evaluation of the fluidity of borders and existing policies within Europe, including the continuity of the Schengen agreement
  • The attacks have altered the general security context and forced Western countries involved in the coalition, France and the UK in particular, to quickly re-assess their response to the threat
  • There is a high risk that the firm measures taken in the immediate aftermath of the attacks could result in a shift and the decentralisation of the threat in the conflict zone, while elevating the risk of attacks in France and to the West

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