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Sunday, November 15, 2015 5:19 PM

France Strikes Back; Increasingly Isolated Merkel Refuses to Change Position

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It did not take long for France to strike back. In the wake of Paris attacks, France Launched Air Strikes on Isis Stronghold in Syria.

France launched air strikes against Isis targets in Syria on Sunday night, with jets bombing the Islamist terror group’s stronghold of Raqqa.

The French defence ministry said 12 aircraft had taken part in raids on a command centre, munitions depot and training camp in Raqqa. The strikes were launched in co-ordination with US forces.

The commitment to “intensify” action against the Islamic terrorist group in Syria came as France and Belgium launched a manhunt for a suspected eighth assailant, named as Abdeslam Salah, after an assault deemed “an act of war” by President François Hollande. Seven terrorists died on Friday night after six set off their explosives and another was shot by the police.

Besides raising questions over the vulnerability of European capitals to terrorism, the Paris attacks revived rightwing calls for tighter border controls across the EU, further complicating an already fraught debate over the migration crisis.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, showed little sign of rethinking her approach to migration amid claims that one of the Paris attackers slipped into Europe with the flow of migrants through Greece.

Stressing the need to avoid jumping to conclusions, Ms Merkel said: “We owe this to the victims and their relatives [and] to the many innocent refugees that are fleeing war and terrorism.”

Brussels’ concerns that the refugee crisis could upend the migration debate and place Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone in peril were underlined by Markus Söder, the Bavarian finance minister — of the CSU, sister party to Ms Merkel’s CDU — who said: “Paris changes everything.” If Germany could not secure its borders, he said, “then Bavaria can take on this task”.

Ben Rhodes, the US deputy national security adviser, said he was confident that in “coming days and weeks” the US and France would “intensify our strikes against [Isis] . . . to make clear there is no safe haven for these terrorists”.

During what White House officials described as a “constructive” meeting with President Vladimir Putin at the G20 talks, Mr Obama attempted to overcome differences with the Russian leader regarding Syria and agree ways to fight Isis.

Marco Rubio, one of the main [US presidential]candidates, said: “We’re going to have to conduct an increased number of special operations attacks, targeting Isis leadership and revealing that they are not invincible.”

Meanwhile, David Cameron, the British prime minister, signalled renewed determination to secure a mandate from parliament for strikes in Syria. “It’s become even more clear that our safety and security depends on degrading and ultimately destroying Isil [Isis], whether it’s in Iraq or Syria,” he said.
Merkel Increasingly Isolated

Chancellor Merkel and EU president Jean-Claude Juncker are increasingly isolated with their open arms refugee policy. Merkel typically blows with the wind of public sentiment, but this time she has not.

Before the attack, German finance minister called Merkel "Careless". I accurately responded "Merkel is Reckless, Not Careless". 

And now Markus Söder, the Bavarian finance minister in Merkel's sister CDU party, threatened to secure its borders if Merkel wouldn't.

Meanwhile, Obama seeking common ground with Putin is a welcome event.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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