France's U-turn over Syria

By

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, President François Hollande has carried out a 180 degree U-turn on French policy towards the Syria crisis. Previously the French stance was that neither Islamic State nor current leader Bashar al-Asad was acceptable in Syria. Now the approach is an all-out focus on destroying IS. On Thursday November 26th, Hollande will meet Assad's ally, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, in Moscow to help build an alliance to destroy the organisation. But, Thomas Cantaloube argues, apart from air strikes, there seems little real strategy to restore peace to Syria and find a political solution.

Paris climate conference protests to go on despite ban on march

By

Following the recent terror attacks, public demonstrations have been banned in Paris. This includes the huge march for the climate planned for Sunday November 29th, on the eve of the opening of the COP 21 climate change conference in the French capital. Some groups have described the ban as an attack on civil liberties. Meanwhile the march organisers, the Coalition Climat 21, have vowed that some form of public demonstration – within the law – will still take place. Jade Lindgaard reports.


Revealed: how French secret services 'lost track' of one of the Bataclan bombers

Un survivant du Bataclan, après l'assaut des forces de l'ordre © Reuters Un survivant du Bataclan, après l'assaut des forces de l'ordre © Reuters

French intelligence agencies knew as far back as 2009 that Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, one of the three suicide bombers who attacked the Batalcan concert hall in Paris, had been radicalised in a group in France led by a veteran jihadist with a history of planning terrorist attacks, Mediapart can reveal. Mostefaï had also been spotted with the group when it was under surveillance in April 2014, and the authorities were later informed that he had almost certainly gone to Syria, at the same time as another future Bataclan bomber. But by late 2014 the secret services no longer knew of his whereabouts. He did not resurface again until November 13th, 2015, when he was part of the coordinated attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. The French authorities, however, deny there was any intelligence blunder. Yann Philippin, Marine Turchi and Fabrice Arfi report.

Democracy is not war

By

The French parliament this week approved a three-month prolongation of the state of emergency introduced in the country immediately after the November 13th terrorist attacks in and around Paris which have left 130 people dead. The debate over the state of emergency powers is about its effectiveness, writes Mediapart editor in chief Edwy Plenel who argues here that the emphasis on security alone is a short-term response driven by an immediate political agenda which hands the perpetrators a symbolic victory, and which disarms French society as much as it protects it.

How French PM was 'evacuated' from his home close to terror attacks

By and
Manuel Valls, le 15 novembre  © Reuters Manuel Valls, le 15 novembre © Reuters

Mediapart can reveal how during the Paris terror attacks on Friday night security service agents hastily removed France's prime minister Manuel Valls from his home which is just 300 metres from the scene of one of the restaurant shootings. At the same time, however, witnesses have complained that it took police around ten minutes to arrive at the scenes of the shootings as the gunmen rapidly made their murderous passage through the capital without once encountering a police unit. Karl Laske and Louise Fessard report.

The Paris attacks and Europe's 'overlooked' traffic in arms

By

One of the key issues arising from the Paris terror attacks on Friday November 13th is the apparent ease with which the perpetrators and other terrorists got their hands on significant numbers of “decommissioned” military assault weapons. Belgium, where some of those who carried out the Paris attacks lived, is said by many to be the hub of the flourishing illegal firearms trade in Europe. Mediapart's Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant interviewed Belgian expert Cédric Poitevin on the issue.

Afraid, the young people of Paris refuse to bow to terror

Les étudiants de la Sorbonne (Paris-V) observent une minute de silence, le lundi 16 novembre. © Reuters Les étudiants de la Sorbonne (Paris-V) observent une minute de silence, le lundi 16 novembre. © Reuters

The shootings and bombings in Paris on the evening of Friday November 13th targeted people – mainly young people – who had simply gone out to enjoy themselves. Two days after the killings Mediapart talked to pupils and students from the Paris region as they went back to school or university. Many spoke of their fear of being “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and are still struggling to make sense of the carnage. But they insist they are determined to carry on living their lives to the full. Mathilde Goanec, Dan Israel, Amélie Poinssot and Ellen Salvi report.

President Hollande on war footing after Paris attacks

By and

After the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January this year President François Hollande's key focus was on pulling the nation together. Now, after the terror attacks that struck Paris on Friday November 13th, the French head of state has espoused the language of war to justify more air strikes by French jets in Syria and Iraq, stronger internal security measures, more police officers and, most notably, a change to the French constitution. In a rare address to French MPs and senators Hollande said on Monday: “France is at war.” As Lénaïg Bredoux and Martine Orange report, the mood in the French presidency is for tough talk and tough measures to combat jihadists – and also to stop the French Right from seizing the political initiative.

What France’s state of emergency means in practice

By

French President François Hollande announced a nationwide state of emergency on Saturday, granting the government exceptional powers in the wake of Friday’s terrorist attacks in and around Paris that left at least 132 people dead. The powers initially last for 12 days, and Hollande announced on Monday he will seek parliamentary approval to prolong it for a period of three months. So just what are the special powers announced on Saturday? Michel de Pracontal explains.

Why Islamic State is targeting France

By
DATE IMPORTED:November 14, 2015Journalists work outside a restaurant where bullet impacts are seen the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes © REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes DATE IMPORTED:November 14, 2015Journalists work outside a restaurant where bullet impacts are seen the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes © REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Paris terror attacks on Friday, November 13th. But why has the terror group made France its “principal target”, ahead of other states involved in the anti-IS coalition in Iraq and Syria? French journalist and author David Thomson, an expert on French jihadists, explains the background to Mediapart's Joseph Confavreux.

France's anti-terrorist services overwhelmed by task at hand

By and

The terrorist attacks in Paris that have left at least 129 dead and hundreds wounded on Friday evening were committed by Islamists whose activities were apparently ignored by the French security services. Yet in the wake of the January attacks in Paris, French intelligence services were promised more financial and manpower resources, and this summer they were handed vast new intrusive surveillance powers. So just why is it that they appear to be overwhelmed by the jihadist threat? Michel Deléan and Louise Fessard report.

Paris terror attacks: death toll rises to 129, IS claims responsibility, arrests in Belgium

 © Reuters © Reuters

At least 129 people died in the series of terrorist attacks in and around Paris on Friday evening, for which a statement purportedly from the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility. Late on Saturday the Paris public prosecutor said 352 people were known to have been wounded, of whom 99 were in a serious condition. He added that police believe the terrorists were divided into three teams. Three men were arrested Saturday in Belgium in connection with the attacks. President François Hollande has ordered three days of national mourning. Mediapart reports on the precise chronology of the Friday attacks and the latest information to emerge on Saturday.

Why fear is our enemy

By

The terrorist attack in Paris and at the Stade de France on Friday November 13th targeted the whole of society; our society, our France, a France made up of diversity, plurality, of people coming together and mixing, argues Mediapart's editor-in-chief, Edwy Plenel. It is that open society that the terror wants to shut down, to silence through fear, to make disappear through horror. And it is this society, he says, that we must defend because it is our most secure and lasting protection against terrorism.

Judicial expert study confirms Gaddafi-Sarkozy funding document as genuine

By and
En 2007, la lune de miel.  © Reuters En 2007, la lune de miel. © Reuters

A document published by Mediapart detailing how the Gaddafi regime in Libya agreed to secretly fund Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election campaign is genuine, according to the conclusions of an expert analysis ordered by a French judge. The evaluation, involving highly sophisticated technology, was carried out as part of a judicial investigation into a complaint lodged against Mediapart by the former president for for ‘forgery and use of forgery’. The emphatic conclusion follows on a graphologists’s report that found the signature on the document was indeed that of Muammar Gaddafi’s spy chief, Moussa Koussa. Fabrice Arfi reports.

The controversial new strategy to draw migrants out of Calais 'jungle'

By
Vue aérienne de la « new jungle » de Calais.  © Reuters Vue aérienne de la « new jungle » de Calais. © Reuters

The northern French port of Calais was this week the scene of violent clashes between police and migrants who continue to gather in their thousands in the hope of crossing illegally into Britain. While a recent security clampdown at the port and Channel Tunnel entrance has succeeded in reducing incursions, migrants continue to arrive in Calais and the numbers living in the infamous makeshift ‘jungle’ camp have swollen significantly. As winter approaches, the authorities are attempting to disperse the migrants, some to holding centres, others into temporary accommodation, while actively inciting them to apply for asylum in France. Carine Fouteau reports.