NetWar: Distressing, puzzling days in France

Contents Letter From Paris

Contents Letter From Paris

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Distressing, puzzling days in France

The jihadists in Iraq have now turned on France, one of the foremost Western critics of the US invasion. And the reaction in France has been troubling, weird. Since the beginning of the crisis of the two French journalists kidnapped in Iraq and facing the expiry of their captors' ultimatum, the reaction of official France has left me with an increasingly freakish feeling.

The terrorists say they want the French Government to scrap a controversial ban on wearing Islamic head scarves in schools, but it seems that there is more to it than what meets the eye. Something is very wrong from the beginning of the episode… perhaps it is my apprehension that this time the distance is just too big between what the French government is telling the public and what they know by now. I may be wrong, but I feel deeply uneasy when all the mediae in a free country deliver the very same version of a critical event. And that’s exactly what we are experiencing in France these days.

Has it something to do with the fact that the hostages are journalists? Perhaps. It would be ironic since, in the months before the invasion of Iraq by the Coalition of the Willing, the French press participated enthusiastically in whipping up the national mood against the Americans and the British. Now I have the hunch that what is happening goes beyond all that.

People in decisive positions in France are doing a lot of hard thinking right now. Old truths are re-examined and new hypothesis tentatively elicited… in private. Because in public everybody seems busy chassing shadows.

All of France’s officialdom has scrambled, launched an unprecedented diplomatic campaign in the Middle East, sometimes not without some arm twisting, to obtain an unanimous choir of Muslim voices asking for the kidnappers to spare the lives of the French hostages. One could have wished that the emphasis had been on the word hostages rather than, as it has too often been the case, in French. But there are so many weird things going on these days…

First and foremost, very few people have attended the demonstrations and meeting to express support for the hostages. The biggest of them all, yesterday in Paris, attracted only 3,000 people, despite the presence of many first-rank politicians, unionists and TV anchors. On Tuesday, French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin and Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe joined prayers at the Paris mosque for the release of the two journalists. The prayer, conducted by Dalil Boubakeur, the president of the French Council for the Muslim Religion, was meant to be a show of solidarity from the good Muslims, but only a few dozens attended. There are over two million Muslims in the Paris region.

Just as a benchmark: on march 20, over 10,000 people marched in Paris to protest the “war against Iraq” and “Yankee imperialism

Meanwhile, the world delivered its load of jarring news in the global war between terror and democracy. A suicide bomber blew herself in a busy subway station in Moscow. Hamas proudly took responsibility for blowing up two buses in Israel. And a Web site offered a link to a video showing the methodical, grisly killings of 12 Nepalese construction workers kidnapped in Iraq. Not much about that in today’s French press.

From Letters from New York City
400 Children Seized by Chechnyan Rebels
It seems that the tactics of the Abu Sayyaf – a terrorist group run by Bin Laden’s cousins – trained these Chechnyan rebels well in how to attack the heart of a country. This type of attack is a Abu Sayyaf’s signature move when you want to hold a country hostage and bring them to their knees. For a very long time now it has been my concern, that such a thing might happen in a public school here. I hope and pray that I may be very wrong about this. But having lived in the Phillipines for 2 years, I've seen a few times how this will end, and I don't have the heart to follow this story.


THE NEW EXPERTS IN SURRENDER advising the old experts in surrender on how to surrender again:

Spain is providing diplomatic support to secure the release of the two French journalists held hostage in Iraq, Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said on Wednesday.

"We have placed Spain's diplomatic apparatus as well as those of our intelligence services at the disposal of the French government and we are working with them, we are in contact," former EU Middle East envoy Moratinos told Cadena Ser radio.

"We retain the hope that a solution may be found and that they will be freed," Moratinos said, adding that one of the hostages was "a personal friend" who had interviewed him on several occasions.

Winds of Change

An example: this analysis of the March 11th attacks in Madrid, written 5 days later! Imposing.

Inspiring, passionate and decent

Iraq, the Model
A very goodview of what is going on in Iraq by Mohammad and Omar, two brothers... Check it out if you're fed up with the EuroPress

The Patriot Debates
Many provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire at the end of 2005. This forum is devoted to civil and informed debate about these provisions and whether they should be renewed.

A serious visit to jihadist ideology

Michelle Malkin
Her column appears in nearly 200 US papers nationwide. Pretty conservative AND very articulate. I like her.

From Barcelona. I like it! And, by the way, it's getting better every day.

Across the Bay
Very good blog by Tony, an expert in in Ancient Near Eastern Studies with focus on Semitic Linguistics, Ancient Levantine history, religion....

Allah Pundit
It's quite consevative, but really funny!

Bjørn Stærk's blog
In the NetWar since 2001, this norwegian wonderkid is just worth reading.

Norman Geras's blog
I mean, READ HIM. He's bright, insightful and knows a lot about Marxism and la condition humaine... Yeeees! (thanks Stygius).

Dan Darling
Excellent Open Source analysis of al Qaeda!

Bilingual (FR&EN) and passionate!

The Politburo Diktat
Forthrightly, frankly, fully funny, comrades. Neo-Komintern Urgh.

Insults for use by the ideologically informed
Nice page of Real Socialist Nostalgia. Check it out, comrade!

Letters From New York City
Michele tells it from the place where the world changed three years ago.

Alphabet City by Robert Stevens
Very well informed "from the perimeter of Manhattan ;-)" Impresive collection of links.

Colt's Eurabia
If you want to know and follow politically incorrect debate, red it!
His motto is:"...the only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism." George Orwell

Monitoring Media Coverage of the War On Terror

Political Correctness Watch
John Ray, a former university teacher gone blogger monitors political correctness around the globe. When you needthat cheering information that somewhere else it's even worse than in your home town...


Free Lance Corner
Emilio Alonso, madrileño sin pelos en la pluma, liberal y extremadamente sensato.

Guerra Eterna en Oriente Medio
Reportero español polí­ticamente correcto, buena gente y suavemente partisano

Español residente en Parí­s, liberal, vasco, polí­ticamente incorrecto, reflexiona sobre la situación en Euskadi (Paí­s Vasco)

Carmelo Jordá
Otro español, buen analista y políticamente incorrecto. Pertenece a la nueva ola de jovenes liberales (en el sentido europeo) que empiezan a poner en cuestión todo en Europa

Una Temporada en el Infierno
Interesante blog de Juan Pedro Quiñonero, escritor y periodista español que merece dos lecturas.

Location: Paris, France

I have been a journalist since I was 22. For a (long) while I worked as a reporter for the Swedish, Spanish (I was born in Spain) and American media, covering international affairs... After 1991 I recycled myself to the business press.

 A Must Read!
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the links to all the 6 chapters in PDF for FREE.

Contents (PDF)
Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Conceptual Outlines
Chapter Three: A World in Flux - Ripe for Netwar Chapter Four: Varieties of Netwar
Chapter Five: Challenges for U.S Policy and Organization
Chapter Six: Implications for U.S. Doctrine and Strategy

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