Attacks show stress on intelligence sector

By Huang Rihan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Global Times, November 19, 2015
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Nepalese people form the shape of the Eiffel Tower with candles during a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims killed in the Friday's attacks in Paris, in Kathmandu, Nepal, Nov. 15, 2015. (Xinhua/Pratap Thapa)

A series of coordinated shootings and explosions racked Paris Friday night, killing at least 129. What influence this savage carnage, comparable to the September 11 attacks, will have on France and the international community remains to be seen. But security issues have come to the forefront for both the public and the government in the wake of the atrocity.

France's Directorate of Territorial Surveillance is responsible for anti-terrorist intelligence and related areas, and has been boosted by counter-terrorism funds and resources in recent years. It is reported that French intelligence agencies obtained some information before the attacks and beefed up their efforts to ensure security. However, accuracy is the key element of intelligence; general or trivial information will neither help make precise judgments nor support the whole system.

Since terror attacks are hard to predict, relevant intelligence is extremely critical. The best way to deal with terrorist acts lies in early detection and early warning, so every nation should make further effort to collect, study and judge anti-terrorist intelligence and establish a solid international intelligence system.

Each detail may become intelligence, making preventive counter-terrorist measures necessary. Yet the flow of intelligence from online sites and elsewhere means that summarization and discerning are also vital skills.

For EU countries, the Paris attacks have tested not merely the capacity of the French police to handle a crisis but also the experience of the country's intelligence agencies. The incident will prompt France and the rest of the West to enlarge investment in human and technical resources for counter-terrorism work which will set the stage for a new intelligence reform.

This rampage was merciless and horrible. The Islamic State (IS) took a new principle of "three Nos," namely, "no mask, leaving no one alive and no negotiation with government," leaving France's special operation troops little time to react. That was why casualties were high enough to make this Europe's second most devastating terror attack since September 11, after the Madrid train bombing of 2004.

The brutal massacre will push the governments of European states to review their refugee policies and tackle the refugee crisis more prudently.

Germany and France had already slammed the brakes on policies relating to mass arrivals of refugees before the attacks erupted.

The EU had formulated a spectrum of solutions to the record-breaking influx of refugees, including a refugee quota project and a plan to assist peripheral countries to help control the mounting migration flow.

The Paris attacks will further prompt European countries to reexamine their policies. It will likely be harder for refugees to migrate to Europe. Meanwhile, these nations will gradually launch a thorough screening of immigrants in case there are any terrorists who hide their identities.

The just concluded G20 summit listed counterterrorism on its agenda. With IS flexing its muscles around the world, many countries are deeply agitated by possible terror attacks.

Therefore, deepening cooperation on anti-terrorism, including information sharing and the establishment of an interactive mechanism, has become a common interest of the G20 member states. All these efforts will help generate a global reform in counter-terrorism.

The author is a research fellow with the Charhar Institute and a research fellow with the Maritime Silk Road Institute.

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