The Failure of France's Security Services

Nice was the theater of an terrible terror attack yesterday 14th of July during France’ independance Day. A terrorist rammed into a large crowd with his truck during 2km in the main area in Nice. He managed to murder 84 innocents citizens and to injure hundreds. This was the 4th attack in France and Belgium in less than 18 months. French Security Services failed to detect and prevent these attacks. The problem is structural, since French Security Services believe they could not have prevented these attacks. French Security Services were not able to counter the modus operandis of these operations. They were also not able to detect a team of 13 terrorists during Paris Attacks in November 2015.

Lack of Intelligence Warnings and Ability to Track Terrorists

In January 2015 , 13 terrorists coordinated a terror attack on different areas in Paris . 130 citizens were killed during the commando attacks. This was the first huge failure of French Security Services. Most of the assaillants were coming back from Syria or were French Muslims radicalized. Some of them were known from the intelligence community. The Security apparatus failed to track them and ultimately to get any warning of an upcoming large-scale attack. This is a clear sign that French Security Services have an important lack of manpower or abilities to track known suspects and to get warning about upcoming attacks. They might have no intelligence assets in the French Muslim Mosques able to tip them with potential terror attacks.


Unable to counter the terrorists Modus Operandi

The War on terror is symbolized by the need for the terrorists to constantly innovate to beat the security forces. These innovations are mostly technological innovations or new modus operandi. French Security Forces have been unable these last 18 months not only to track the terrorists but also to determine an appropriate strategy to counter them. The modus Operandis used in the Paris , Brussels and Nice Attacks were Kamikaze attackers , that used different strategies such as suicide bombings or car-ramming attacks to maximize the casualties. French Security forces have been unable to prevent them to perform such attacks in critical infrastructures such as the main place in Nice , Brussel Airport or The Bataclan. They seemed powerless to secure these places against such attack. Even during the so called ” State of Emergency”.


The 14th July Attack

The 14th July attack is the symbol of French Security Forces failure. They failed to prevent such attack , they didn’t get any warning , even if there was some clear signs that the attacker had been radicalized and should not have been able to rent a 20-tons truck. Secondly when the attack took place , the security procedures were extremely weak. In Seconds , a 20-tons trucks was able to reach the most touristic places of Nice. Worst, the truck was able to strike and to plow into people on 2km , for more than 30 minutes before Police was (Finally) able to stop him.

How is it possible that there was such a few number of Policeman during the most celebrated day of the year in France ? Why is there a state of emergency if the security procedures and the number of security forces are so low?  Why did it took 30 minutes , yes 30 minutes to stop a simple truck with only one assaillant?

These questions need to be answered by French Authorities , because these are huge lack of security procedures. All the security apparatus should be reformed and these reforms need to be adapated to the terrorist threat in the 21st century. Otherwise we can assume without a doubt that a new attack will probably took place in France  or Belgium before the end of the year.

A Fatalist Approach

Instead of reviewing their policies and asking themselves what went wrong with their security procedures , French Security Forces stated on TV that ” There is not much that we could do to stop Islamic terrorism”. The PM , Manuel Valls , which is considered onf of France’ strongman ,even stated “We should be accustomed to live with Terrorism”.

This mentality and this fatalist approach are in total contradiction with the need to reform and to put themselves into question after each attack in order to assess what where the breaches and the failures of the security protocols.

The French intelligence Community will keep the same leaders and the French Police will keep its same leaders. French PM and President will even go as far as congratulating them for their outstanding job , and forgive them for this attacks simply because they assume ” There is not much that we could do to stop Islamic terrorism”.

Unfortunately Mr Holland and Mr Valls , this will happen again in less than 6 months. What will be the target this time? Marseille? Lyon? Paris?  If you don’t act as decision makers by deciding to replace the inefficient leader of the French Security Apparatus, this will happen again for sure. Tough decisions need to be taken , but after 4 terror attacks in less than 18 months , we cannot continue with this fatalist approach and we need to take a more offensive step to curb the terrorist activities in France , and change the odds to avoid a new attacks in 6 months.