Resources: background information for the Paris attacks

The terrorist attacks in Paris have killed over a hundred people. It will probably be a while before it becomes clear who carried out these murders and how they evaded the security services. In the meantime, this post provides sources of background information to help make sense of the attacks.


On this style of urban siege terrorism:

John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus, Urban siege in South Asia, Open Democracy, 9 November 2009.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Daniel Trombly, The tactical and strategic use of small arms by terrorists, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, October 2012.

David Kilcullen, Westgate mall attacks: urban areas are the battleground of the 21st century, The Guardian, 28 September 2013.

John P. Sullivan and Adam Elkus, Urban siege in Paris: a spectrum of armed assault, Small Wars Journal, 2 February 2015.


On French counter-terrorism:

Charles Rault, The French approach to counterterrorism, Combating Terrorism Center Sentinel, 13 January 2010.

Pascale Combelles Siegel, French counterterrorism in the wake of Mohammed Merah’s attack, Combating Terrorism Center Sentinel, 23 April 2012.

Frank Foley, Charlie Hebdo attack: is France’s counter-terrorism model still the example to follow?, The Telegraph, 13 January 2015.

Joshua Keating, No one in Europe is tougher on terror than France. That didn’t stop the attacks, Slate, 13 January 2015.


On the ability of IS and al-Qaeda to launch attacks within Western countries:

Clint Watts, Inspired, networked and directed – the muddled jihad of ISIS & al Qaeda post Charlie Hebdo, War On The Rocks, 12 January 2015.

Thomas Hegghammer and Petter Nesser, Assessing the Islamic State’s commitment to attacking the West, Perspectives on Terrorism, August 2015.

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