U.N. Security Council appears ready to adopt what would amount to an international declaration of war on ISIS
EU interior ministers consider proposal to reinsitute boder controls
Incredible as it seems, a week has passed since the terrorist attacks shattered the peace of Paris, killing 130 people.
It would be wrong to say the shock has begun to wear off. It hasn’t. But the initial triage and cleanup is complete. And politicians and other people are struggling now to find ways to cope with the new normal.
The question being asked in Europe and around the world is this: After the Paris attacks, what next?
At the UN, a declaration of war?
The U.N. Security Council appears ready to adopt what would amount to an international declaration of war on ISIS, the terrorist group believed responsible for the Paris attacks of November 13.
A draft circulated, at the request of France, calls on U.N. member states “to redouble and co-ordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts” committed by ISIS and to take from the group the safe haven it has carved out in Syria and Iraq.
The resolution could be adopted as early as Friday, or perhaps over the weekend.
Refugees face a rougher road
Thousands of people leaving Syrian and other Middle Eastern and North African countries – many of whom are fleeing ISIS – will likely find their path to resettlement in Europe more difficult. At least one of the Paris attackers entered the EU among a boatload of refugees arriving at the Greek island of Leros, where he was issued an emergency passport that allowed him to move freely throughout the European Union.
Because of that, the political climate has changed. Nationalist, anti-immigration parties have been strengthened. And various EU countries will likely agree to resettle far fewer people than they otherwise would have.
EU to strengthen external border controls
Interior ministers from the 28 EU countries are meeting Friday at France’s request. They will probably give Frontex, the agency that helps control the EU’s external borders, new counterterrorism powers.
Frontex may get more money and resources, as well.
And the EU ministers will call on the member states that have borders with non-EU countries, to ramp up control of those borders.
A farewell to Schengen?
The free movement of people within its borders has been one of the pillars of the European project. For years, people have been able to cross most internal European borders – say, that between Belgium and France – while taking no more notice of the border than would an American driving from Georgia to Florida.
But that may soon change, at least for the moment. The EU interior ministers will take up a proposal, also at France’s request, to reinsitute boder controls, at least temporarily.
That would amount to a temporary suspension of the free travel protocols that apply to the Schengen zone – an area of 22 EU countries and four others, where there have been no border controls.
The EU interior ministers are also expected to decide to create a European counterterrorism center that would become operational in January.
One advantage of the center could be the Europe-wide sharing of intelligence.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged ringleader of the Paris plots, had been in Syria since 2014. An international arrest warrant was issued for him by Belgium. And yet no European countries notified France when he returned to Europe.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said France was only notified November 16, three days after the attacks in Paris, that Abaaoud had passed through Greece. And, Cazeneuve said, even that information came from a non-EU source.
A backlash in the U.S.
In the United States, some GOP state governors and lawmakers have stated their opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into their states.
More than half of America’s state governors oppose accepting Syrian refugees even though the final say on the matter falls to the federal government. From New Hampshire to Arizona, all but one of those 31 governors are Republican.
The opposition is led in part by Republican presidential contenders seeking to project a firm stance on national security in the wake of the Paris massacre.
Presidential candidate Jeb Bush, for instance, has said he would prioritize Christian refugees. He told reporters the United States should take in “people like orphans and people who are clearly not going to be terrorists. Or Christians.”
A loss of individual rights to privacy
The Paris attacks could give intelligence agencies an opening to become more assertive, which worries some privacy advocates.
CIA Director John Brennan said the attacks were a “wakeup call” regarding the importance of intelligence collection.
As the world has moved farther away from the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, and in the aftermath of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations, government surveillance had faced increasing opposition and less popularity.
In France, the Parliament has already approved an extension of the state of emergency that President Francois Hollande put into place on the night of the terror attacks. The state of emergency in France gives police more authority to detain people, conduct surveillance and close down public spaces, among other powers. France also passed a law earlier this year expanding its surveillance program to intercept communications.
So, what’s next for ISIS
The potential spread of ISIS across North Africa concerns some experts.
“They are gaining ground in Libya and Egypt, and may be building support further afield,” said Christopher Chivvis, associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corp.
“Conditions for the spread of violent jihadi groups are ripe in the region. We could eventually see a situation there that resembles the situation in Iraq and Syria today. The region offers a potential second front for (ISIS) if things go south for them in Syria.”
In Iraq and Syria, much will depend on whether the United States and allies can ramp up the pressure on ISIS, according to Chivvis.
“It is hard to think that the Paris attacks will not inspire more foreign fighter flow and strengthen their movement,” said Chivvis. “The work ahead both in Europe and against (ISIS) overseas is daunting.”
David Schanzer, director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and a professor of public policy at Duke University, said ISIS will likely use its social media network to rally more foreign fighters.
Even amid increasing pressure in Syria and Iraq, the terror group’s affiliated organizations and brand may get stronger now that it has successfully attacked the West, according to Schanzer.
“I am much more worried about ISIS operatives and cells in Europe, the Middle East, Africa (and) the Russian Caucasus region,” he said.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.