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French Riots as Cyclic as Tour de France

11.23.2005 06:50 | DISPATCHES

Calling French rioters by the derogatory term racaille (rabble), Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy only reveals his fear of a new French Revolution. However, it's been fomenting for fifteen years. Lorenzo Vidino of Steven Emerson's Investigative Project explains in his timely new book, Al Qaeda in Europe: The New Battleground of International Jihad (Prometheus Books, 2006, though available now):

"In the summer of 1995, the streets of France were bloodied by an unprecedented string of attacks. . . . a bomb exploded in a Paris metro station, killing seven people. [Then] other devices either blew up or were defused. . . . On August 26, French investigators found [terror cell leader Khaled] Kelkal's fingerprints on an unexploded device that had been placed along the tracks of the TGV [high-speed train].

". . . on September 29, French gendarmes killed Kelkal after a spectacular gunfight. The [TV] images shocked the French public, as policemen were heard shouting to each other, "Finish him, finish him!" Kelkal's dramatic killing triggered riots. . . by groups of angry French Muslims [which] quickly spread to the immigrant suburbs of other French cities. . ."

Not only that, but there were riots in 1990. Vidino quotes Kelkal then: "This is just the beginning. It's going to heat up, and then it will be too late."


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