Crime expert: France has become jihadist hotspot in Europe
ISIS has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s stabbing attack in Paris, reportedly carried out by a French citizen born in Russia’s Chechnya. Radio Sputnik discussed the latest attack with counterterrorism and organized crime expert David Otto.
Sputnik: The Paris attacker was shot dead because he didn’t’ react to a Taser. Does this mean he could have been on drugs?
David Otto: I think this is one of the assertions, but I believe that only a post mortem will give an accurate answer to that. Meanwhile, there is a very strong link between terrorists and the use of drugs. So it is very possible that the would-be attacker may have been on drugs. In 2017 the UN warned about an increase in the use of the synthetic opiate tramadol in the Middle East and [Daesh] was named among the organizations that transported more than three tons of tramadol a year. This drug is mainly used for pain relief and against fatigue.
The attacker is said to have shown some signs of seizure, which is a possible effect of tramadol. So I think it is highly possible that he may have been on drugs. There’s a very strong link between terrorists and using drugs.
Sputnik: Why has France become one of the main countries in Europe where jihadists carry out their attacks?
David Otto: Unfortunately, France has in the past three years become a jihadist hotspot of Europe and the weakest link too. This is because France is a member of the antiterrorist coalition of the US, Britain and other countries. So it is very much involved in airstrikes on [terrorist forces]. And, of course, France is a member of the European Union.
It has this open-door policy and the French government has identified a huge number of terrorist supporters and financiers who are actually based in France and have very strong links with countries like Turkey. This is also because of the French policy of [Daesh] counter-strategy.
Look at Algeria, Tunisia, Libya or Mali [where France is engaged in antiterrorist operations]. So France is a huge target. One should also bear in mind that France and Paris are some of the most visited sites in the world, especially where this attack took place, near the Eiffel Tower. So if you attack France, it means that you attack the whole Western society. The attacks on France have huge repercussions for the entire West.