After the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks, France more than doubled its airstrike potential in the Mediterranean.
PARIS—After the bloody terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, French President François Hollande declared war on the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. But although he employed tougher rhetoric, Hollande didn’t necessarily make an about-face in French counterterrorism policy.
“The objective is clear, Daesh must be destroyed,” Hollande told his Defense Council the day after the attacks, using a pejorative Arabic acronym for the Islamist terror group.
In the weeks that followed, the French president undertook a marathon transcontinental diplomatic blitz to rally reluctant world leaders against ISIS.
In a four-day stretch from Nov. 23 to 26, Hollande received British Prime Minister David Cameron in Paris, flew to Washington to visit President Barack Obama, returned to Paris to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and then flew to Moscow for a sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Hollande said the Nov. 13 attacks—which killed 130, wounded 683 and were France’s worst mass casualty attack since World War II—were an “act of war … organized and planned from the outside.”
“We’re at war against jihadi terrorism,” Hollande said in a Nov. 16 speech to the Congress of the French Parliament.
Call to Arms
Hollande’s recent call to arms contrasts with the French reaction to the terrorist attacks in January, when jihadists killed 17 across Paris, including 12 in a shooting at the office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and four at a Jewish kosher supermarket.
Those attacks spurred an introspective, nationwide debate on integrating France’s Muslim minority. “There are fractures, huge, gaping, in our society that must be resolved,” Bruno Le Roux, leader of France’s Socialist Party, said in the wake of the January attacks.