The day after a wave of terrorist attacks is always a turmoil of emotions, anger and rage. We still don’t know all the facts and figures about what happened, nor do we have a complete picture of the people who are involved in planning and organizing such attacks.
The nature of what’s happened last night in Paris to me resembled a lot the 2008 Mumbai attacks (see here). A small number of people, maybe eight, that perform simultaneous attacks on a list of objectives with firearms and explosives. The basic idea is to put the city in panic and force the local police department to run everywhere (not to mention all the emergency services).
It’s quite difficult to stop such a strategy since a nation cannot close its borders and/or also it’s possible to force a curfew or similar measures for more than a few days. It’s almost impossible to find all the local supporters, the people who run the logistics needed for such operations. They aren’t on the police’s radar, so to speak, because often they have no criminal records at all and – it’s high likely – they are French citizens.
So this the scenario. The attackers enter Paris in the last five days or so, separated from each other and with valid IDs. They are well dressed, they already have a place to stay and enough money for the common necessities. It’s high likely that they speak fluently French. Once in Paris, they meet with locals who provide them with weapons and explosives. That happened just a few hours before the attacks. Then the last phase, the attackers reach the pre-programmed places and start to strike.
In such a scenario it’s very difficult to stop them, not to mention block them before the attacks take place. Given what happened in the last ten years, it’s also possible that all of the attackers were French with combat experience made in places like Bosnia, Chechnya, Mali, Lybia, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. So, no total control can be applied, nor it’s available any measure to get absolute security.
Are we defenseless?