Saturday, November 14, 2015

Political Fallout from the Paris Attacks

Stratfor reports:

The attacks will surely have political consequences. They come five days before France's only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, is due to set sail for the Persian Gulf for actions against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. France has been carrying out airstrikes in Syria since late September. Should the attacks be traced back to the Islamic State's core area of operation, France will probably deepen its involvement in anti-Islamic State operations in Syria and Iraq at a time when the Syrian battlefield in particular is becoming crowded and complicated.

From a political perspective, the attacks are a reminder of France's longstanding ethnic frictions following several months in which the focus has been on neighboring Germany. High numbers of migrants have been entering Germany from the east and south, with very few carrying on to France. As a result, France has kept a relatively low profile in the attempts to stem the flow of migrants, though it has been present at the numerous summits on the issue and has supported Germany's push for a relocation of asylum seekers across Europe. Nevertheless, this event can be expected to strengthen the argument of those groups that have been calling for a halt in the flow of immigrants and the closing of borders in countries such as Germany, Sweden and much of Central and Eastern Europe

In the wake of these attacks, Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Front party could see their popularity rise. Le Pen kept a low profile after the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January and still saw an increase in her party's popularity because of its longstanding anti-immigration message. Hollande also saw a brief uptick in popularity after the Charlie Hebdo attack because of his reaction to the events, but a repeat of this trend is not expected because people will now question whether the anti-terrorism measures that were approved this year actually worked. The leader of the center-right Republicans Party, Nicolas Sarkozy, also has a history of taking a strong stance on security issues; he was campaigning on the subject only last week. He is expected to battle the milder Alain Juppe for his party's nomination in the 2017 elections, and voters may swing to his side in the wake of the attacks.


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