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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Paris and the Return of Fear


By Beatrice E. Rangel

Friday, November the 13th shall be remembered by Europeans as the night fear staged a gruesome comeback.

Although terrorism targeted Paris, two traces of the attack reveal that this will not be the last Islamist action against the West.

The first worrisome tell lays in the complex modus operandi.

It was a multiple target terrorist attack with a trompe’ oeil first action intended to attract security forces to a place where there was no engagement. This allowed the perpetrators to enjoy more time to execute their violent plans.

As police forces convened to the first emergency call and concentrated in dissecting the alarm, other jihadist platoons were deploying their attacks in five different locations.

The effect could not be more lethal. It took police twice as long to arrive at the engagement theaters. This operational plan is complex thus requiring central planning, multiple resources and transnational cooperation. Its successful deployment tells us that ISIS has created a very effective web of militants spanning from defense and weapons experts to tele communicators and intelligence resources. The planning of the Paris attack therefore must have taken several weeks to prepare and involved a transnational network of resources.


The second worrying hint is the presence of French nationals in the execution platoons. This reveals the presence in France and eventually throughout Europe of sleepers that intelligence services have difficulties in identifying and following.

To be sure, as telecomm manufacturers enhance handset encrypting abilities, customers can enjoy more secret exchanges. These advances, however, also help terrorists “go dark.” This conceals the wave of chatter that precedes attacks and that could allow authorities to prevent them. The distinguishing traces of the attack therefore announce an era of low intensity terrorist attacks throughout the world that could test institutional resilience in many countries.

While it is too early to predict the outcome of this watershed action beyond the current wave of solidarity with France that we are witnessing, it seems that European or indeed world reaction will entail severe restrictions to citizen mobility and privacy, enhanced intelligence cooperation, and the development of multilateral devices to tackle this transnational criminal activity.

While these shifts in public policies take hold, immediate responses are about to materialize.

France will most likely increase its militancy in anti-ISIS military operations. Europe will become less sympathetic towards resolving the immigration crisis, veering towards tighter border control. The US will enhance its intelligence sharing with Europe and in particular with the UK. And Latin America could face a wave of Middle East migrants that include sleepers from ISIS whose presence could pose future threats to the region.



Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.



Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

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Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

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Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

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Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

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