The majority of experts think the situation in France is becoming very serious with in the worst case a sort of civil war between the ethnic communities. The political landscape will change.
After the terrorist attack against the newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 2015 where 12 people were assassinated, we have now a bigger attack with more than 140 victims.
During ten years of my life, I was engaged in the fight against terrorists as higher civil servant in the home office (Ministère de l'intérieur in charge of security). So, I was not surprised by this horrible event. I witnessed how the French secret services succeeded to stop one big attack each month, for instance, against the cathedral of Strasbourg and the Christmas market around which attracts a lot of people. This time, our services failed.
The population is shocked and a lot of citizens blame the immigration policy which let a lot of Muslims in the country. Of course, the majority of them are peaceful but an important minority is really very dangerous.
Why do they target France? The first reason: France is considered to be a country hostile to every religion. We passed a law which forbids religious signs in the dressing code when you are in public places, for instance in state schools or administrations or courts. According to the law, women must show their face and it is scandalous for the radical Islamists.
The second reason is the military cooperation between France and Algeria. In this country, the Islamists won the elections and were immediately put in prisons by the government. The police and the military are equipped by the French. The global Islamists' organizations said they would revenge.
The third reason is the war in Syria. France decided to fight against Isis, the Islamic state.
What is the ideology of the Islamist terrorists? They think democracy is an insult against God. Only God has the right to enact laws and God did it in the Holy Coran. Men who want to vote new laws are fighting against the will of God. The founder of this ideology was an Egyptian Academic, Sayyid Qutb. In his something about 30 books, with a common title "In the shade of the Coran", he claims that it is necessary to wage a war against the materialistic Western civilization. This civilization is a threat against the genuine Islam and it is necessary to destroy it with the support of God. The leaders of this movement like Ben Laden or Ayman Al Zawahiri are not poor people without instruction. Ben Laden was very rich as well as his whole family. Al Zawahiri was a famous surgeon from the University of Cairo. It is a mistake to believe that terrorism comes only from poverty or social exclusion.
God will reward the warriors who fight in his name and if they are killed, they go immediately into the paradise. So these warriors are not frightened by the death and can commit suicide attacks if necessary. The best way of life for a man is to be a hero as a warrior in the name of God, Allah. This heroic attitude attracts really a big amount of younger people within the Islamic community. They think the West has no morals at all, completely individualistic and materialist.
This ideology is not purely religious. It is also political. The terrorists want to create a new Islamic State, the "Khalifat". So, it is necessary to fight against them as against a real terrorist political force. When they are in power or form political parties, they practice actions that can bring them support of poor people or young people without jobs. In the French suburbs, 50% of the younger people are without a job and the predications of the radical Islamists are welcomed in these categories of the population.
The terrorists have big networks in the world, principally, within communities of immigrants in Europe. They have financial means. The French secret services suspect some countries to support them: it is the case for Turkey, Qatar or Saudi Arabia.
And now on two things that can develop in France in the nearest future.
At first, there is a risk to have more attacks in all French cities and not only in Paris. My friend General Antoine Martinez who worked in our secret services of the army told me the risk was serious.
Secondly, the political consequences are important. In four weeks, we will have the regional elections in France and the National Front could get the majority in three important regional councils in the North and in the South of the country. In the past, we had a big terrorist attack in Spain at the railway station of Madrid. The government thought it was an attack from Basque regionalists but it came in fact from the Islamists. A lot of people voted against the government who lost the elections in the benefit of the socialists. This time, in France, a lot of voters could vote for the National Front who built its past electoral successes on the denunciation of immigration from Muslim countries. It is a problem, not only for the socialist government which has little support from the citizens (only 18% express confidence in President Hollande) but also for the Sarkozist party (post Gaullist).
These attacks could change the political landscape in favor of the Nationalist right. Besides, the relations between citizens from old French roots and Muslim immigrants could be worse and worse. The situation is already bad because a lot of younger people of Muslim origin commit crimes and are in jail. If you visit French jails as I did as an expert for the government, you see that 70% of the incarcerated citizens are from Muslim origin. In prison, they are often becoming more and more radical, and some of them are turning into new terrorists.
The majority of experts think the situation in France is becoming very serious with in the worst case a sort of civil war between the ethnic communities. The political landscape will change. I must say that American diplomats in Paris often invite young Muslim leaders to political training in the USA and explain that the French society is racist, that it is not friendly. It is as if the French sent agents to the American black community to excite it against the Government. So, after the latest terrorist attack, there are little reasons to be optimistic on the evolution of the situation in France. Public order is threatened and this issue will dominate the forthcoming regional elections.