Paris: 11/13/15 – Analysis and Policy Options

Published 20 November 2015

The November 13th attacks on carefully chosen targets in Paris have been claimed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) and were deliberately meant to kill and injure as many civilians as possible. The attacks were complex and well-coordinated, involving homegrown as well as (returned) foreign fighters (FFs). Judging by the terrorists’ tactics and methods, the Paris attacks indeed bear IS’s trademark. “Paris” was the latest in a string of IS attacks outside Syria and Iraq, and suggest that IS has shifted its attention away from the caliphate to external targets to create fear and undermine societies elsewhere, notably in anti-IS coalition members. As such, it marks a significant shift in IS’s operations and illustrates the vulnerabilities of European security services and the impossibility of exercising full control. See here and here for the new policy brief by Clingendael and ICCT, co-authored by ICCT Research Fellow and Asser Senior Researcher Christophe Paulussen.