November 15, 2015 Robert Beckhusen - War is Boring
How the republic can strike back
Here’s how to put the scale of Islamic State’s attacks into perspective. Within a span of few weeks, the radical Islamist group carried out the deadliest terror attack in modern French history, killing 129 people, and the deadliest attack in modern Turkish history — the Oct. 10 Ankara bombing, which killed 102.
Between the two, I.S. blew up a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai, killing 224. Another 44 people died in suicide blasts in a Hezbollah-controlled Beirut neighborhood, the worst terror attack in the city since the end of the Lebanese civil war. A drumbeat of suicide bombings in Baghdad killed dozens.
In other words, Islamic State has launched a war on the civilian populations of all its major adversaries — NATO, Russia, Iraq and an Iranian ally.
A day after the Paris bloodbath, French Pres. François Hollande called the murders “an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army, Daesh, against France.” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls vowed to “annihilate the enemies of the republic.”
All of Islamic State’s enemies will likely strike back hard. But don’t underestimate France. Its military has been one of the most aggressive in battling Islamist groups from Mali to Afghanistan.
France has been at war with Islamic State since September 2014 under the name Operation Chammal. Paris can call on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle — due to arrive Nov. 18 near the Middle East to support the war — and her assortment of Rafale and Super Etendard strike aircraft. A French two-star general is also attached to U.S. Central Command.
The French war in Iraq and Syria — the latter which France began bombing in September 2015 — includes six Rafales flying from the United Arab Emirates, and three Mirage 2000Ds and three Mirage 2000Ns based in Jordan, according to IHS Jane’s.
Charles de Gaulle served a previous combat deployment near Iraq in February, March and April.