Who is the enemy in Syria ?
François Hollande is the French president since May 15, 2012. For one year at least, al Qaeda Jihadists are the main, the most efficient rebel forces in Syria, when on August 30, 2013, he attempts to convince Barack Obama to launch airstrikes against the secular power of Bashar Assad. Hollande fails to achieve his vision, while in Iraq, ambitious Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has already seceded from al Qaeda and as a next step, is appointed Caliph on June 29, 2014.
In August, his forces carry out in northwestern Iraq a genocidal offensive against the Yazidi. Mid September, their goal is Kobane, a Kurdish stronghold in northern Syria. On September 19, the French air forces start to strike the so-called Caliphate.
Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has abolished the Sykes-Picot line and his forces are moving freely between Mosul and Raqqa. But the French warplanes may not bomb them in Syria, because they would favor Bashar Assad. The enemy intelligence and infiltration apparatus is in Raqqa, but the town will not become a target before November 15, 2015, 14 months later, two days after the attacks in Paris.
Since May 30, 2012, Patrick Calvar is heading up the DGSI, French counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism agency. He came in Hollande’s luggage, he is dogmatic. Until his departure in March 2017, he will be obsessed with the far-right threat.
An elusive operative
Belgian national Abdelhamid Abaaoud is a veteran and a subject for propaganda early 2015, when his interview is published in the February 19 issue of Dabiq, a jihadist online magazine. He is member of the Emni, the intelligence and infiltration apparatus of the so-called Caliphate. He was in Greece on January 15, when the police wiped out the terrorist cell he was remotely leading in Verviers, Belgium, where the two other men on the picture were killed. He managed to escape to Syria
He comes back undetected in Europe in the summer, is in Hungary on August 1. That is why he does not appear in the propaganda video, which is portraying in Syria eight other members of his upcoming commando and will be published later, in January 2016.
On November 12, 2015, the so-called Caliphate faces defeat in northwestern Iraq. With Western support, Kurdish forces (Iraqi Peshmerga, YPG Syrian socialists and PKK Turkish socialists) are storming Shingal, where the Jihadists slaughtered the Yazidi in August 2014.
Abu Suleiman is a Swiss Jihadist. A few hours before the attacks, he sends a text to his sister, to make sure she is not in Paris. The message will not be intercepted nor exploited in time.
On November 13, 2015, the massacre begins at 9:15 pm, outside the Stade de France, Saint Denis, Paris northern suburb, where the first group, three men, attempts to enter. Private security guards repel them. The Jihadists blow themselves up, one victim is killed. French president François Hollande is attending there the soccer game against Germany, when he hears that France is under attack.
At 9:20 pm, a second group attacks in downtown Paris. They are aboard a car, will travel 5 km through two districts (10th, 11th), stop four times, kill 39 victims, but they will not meet any single cop. Yet, Paris is numbering per capita twice more police officers than New York city.
- 9:20 pm, Le Carillon and Petit Cambodge restaurants, 13 dead victims,
- 9:30 pm, Bonne Bière and Casa Nostra restaurants, 5 dead victims,
- 9:35 pm, La Belle Équipe restaurant, 21 dead victims,
- 9:40 pm, Le Comptoir Voltaire restaurant, injured victims.
La Belle Équipe is 350 m from the district police station. I will read on Twitter that the first officers will arrive on site ten minutes later. The assailants have probably run out of ammunition, when Brahim Abdeslam blows himself up inside Le Comptoir Voltaire. His explosive vest malfunctions, the back plate detonates, not the front one, he will be the only dead.
Around 9:40 pm, the two remaining assailants flee via the place de la Nation. The neighborhood is packed with CCTV cameras, which are linked to the police headquarters, but nobody will chase their car. Abdelhamid Abaaoud will later come back in Paris by public transport, to watch the siege outside Le Bataclan.
At 9:45 pm, the third group attacks Le Bataclan, where US rock band Eagles of Death Metal is performing. The three inghimasiyyin are slaughtering the crowd. The members of the commando meet the police for the first time at 9:50 pm, half an hour after the start of the attacks downtown, when a police commissioner takes the initiative to enter with his driver the concert hall, where they shoot Samy Amimour. They fall back under the fire of two remaining Kalashnikov rifles. Then, they meet eight servicemen outside, but the police headquarters forbid them from carrying on the assault. At 10:09 pm, some other officers are approaching, come under fire. One of them fights back, his colleagues fall back. At 10:45 pm, injured victims are agonizing inside and the floor is already a mass grave, when the SWAT teams (BRI, RAID) start to secure this part, one hour after the mass killing has begun inside the Bataclan.
The authorities are thinking that they are handling a hostage situation. The SWAT teams kill the two remaining assailants, at 0:20 am, November 14, three hours after the first attack downtown, more than 2 hours 30 after the Jihadists have burst into the concert hall, where 90 victims died.
A few days later, a witness recognizes Abdelhamid Abaaoud in Saint Denis. The two last Jihadists are stuck in a flat on November 18. They are carrying one pistol and one explosive belt. The BRI and RAID shoot several thousand cartridges. The operation will be taught abroad as the counterexample of what to do.
Bernard Cazeneuve is the French interior minister when on November 17, 2015, he answers that there was no security loophole. Here is a major cultural aspect in France : the public security services are republican and in essence, infallible.