Euro-Islam’s coordinator, Professor Jocelyne Cesari, an expert on French terrorism, recently discussed the Carcassonne terrorist attack on Sky News.
Asked what she thinks has changed in French preparedness and intelligence given the acts of terrorism in the country in recent years, Professor Cesari said that there has emerged a greater awareness of the vast amount of tools and methods terrorists have available to them. It has become clear that attacks by individuals have the capacity to have a large amount of impact, and the effectiveness of the French response to attacks has increased through recognition of this.
The challenge that remains for France, as it does for many other Western countries, is how they identify people at risk of carrying out these attacks and prevent them reaching the point where they will attempt them.
Professor Cesari discussed how the ISIS’s claim of responsibility for the attacks was not surprising. The territorial decline of ISIS in the Middle East has meant they have increased their messaging to those in Western countries, encouraging them to carry out attacks in their homeland instead of travelling to join the group. The attack in Carcassonne is thus the latest manifestation of an emerging pattern of ISIS attacks in their continuing ‘Management of Savagery’, a pattern that British security services have also picked up on.
While the specific location of the attack is not significant, Professor Cesari observes that it contributes to ISIS’s aim of keeping people in the West on their toes. It demonstrates that terrorist attacks do not only occur at big public venues and events, but can occur anywhere. A significant factor in what location is picked for an attack is the opportunity, capacity, and willingness of the individuals who conduct the acts.