France’s New Priorities: Security, Eradicating Islamist Terrorism

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French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron (Photo: ERIC FEFERBERG / AFP / Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron this week made clear his country’s top priorities:

  • National security
  • Eradicating “Islamist terrorism.”

Few Western leaders are prepared to juxtapose the words Islamist and terrorism for fear of being politically incorrect. But beset by an unprecedented wave of terrorism at home, Macron decided to call a spade a spade:

“I want France to propose solutions and initiatives when there are new crises,” he said. “The fight against Islamist terrorism is the priority of France’s foreign policy. France’s security is the main purpose of our diplomacy.”

The president made his remarks on August 29 to the annual gathering in Paris of his country’s ambassadors.

“Daesh (Islamic State) is our enemy. Restoring peace and stabilizing Iraq and Syria is our priority. We must win the peace and change the method,” he told his audience.

While the Macron administration is likely to be quite hands on and even interventionist in terms of foreign policy, his domestic plate will also be filled with making the streets of France safe once again.

Here’s a brief timeline of recent terror attacks in France:

  • August 9, 2017 – Six French military officers wounded when driver plowed into them in Paris suburb Levallois-Perret.
  • June 19, 2017 – Car ramming on Champs-Élysées accompanied by planned shooting and bombing
  • June 6, 2017 – Self-professed “soldier of the caliphate” attacks police officer with a hammer by Notre Dame
  • April 20, 2017 – ISIS claims responsibility for shooting attack on Champs-Élysées
  • March 18, 2017 – Police officer shot and injured in Paris suburb Garges-les-Gonesse
  • February 3, 2017 – Man shouting “Allahu akbar” wielding machete attempts to enter Louvre
  • 2016 – At least 11 terror attacks including:
    • July 14, 2016 – 86 people killed and 434 wounded when cargo truck drives through Bastille Day crowds in Nice
  • November 13-14, 2015 – 130 dead and 368 wounded in wave of attacks including at the Bataclan concert venue and outside the Stade de France soccer stadium
  • January 7-9, 2015 – 17 killed and 22 injured in attacks on Charlie Hebdo offices and Hypercacher market

When Macron was first elected, critics said he would be weak in challenging radical Islam. At the time Clarion Project said in all likelihood given the realities facing the French, he would crackdown on Islamism pretty soon after taking office.



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David Harris

David Harris is the editor in chief of Clarion Project.