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French press review 26 March 2016

media DR

Teh French press today, focuses on  the Brussels attacks and a stream of revelations about flaws and flops. In the Belgium's fight against terrorism, the press this morning asks if France is paying the price of rasing human bombs?They also ask if the fall of Palmeyra the end of ISIS?

Le Monde

A Belgian policeman knew since December where Salah Abdeslam the sole surviving member of the terrorist squad that carried out the Paris attacks was hiding, yet Belgian federal police were not informed.

The newspaper also published the transcript of Abdeslam's interrogation by police, observing that he has been questioned for just two hours since his arrest on March 18.

Moreover Le Monde holds that experts monitoring the investigation of Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the airport suicide bombers had discovered at least three major errors in the judicial inquiry.

And according to the evening publication, Prime Minister Charles Michels refused to accept the resignation of his ministers of interior and justice for fear of destabilizing his coalition.

Le Figaro

Another ten more prime suspects were arrested on Thursday and Friday alone between Paris and Bruxelles, which has shed light on the extensive Franco-Belgian terrorist network behind the November 13 and March 22 attacks.

These include Reda Kriket, picked up on Thursday in the Parisian neighbourhood of Boulogne-Billancourt after weeks of a spirited manhunt. Kriket the paper says was the kingpin of network charged with recruiting Belgian Jihadists to fight in Syria.

In a stinging editorial the right-wing newspaper is furious that France should hold itself to blame for nurturing human bombs like Mohamed Merah, to grow on its soil.

They prospered in our townships, in our prisons, dropped out of our schools nibbling on territories abandoned by the state. We are paying the price of our blindness, the paper concludes.


Could the fall of Palmeyra Citadel to Syrian forces be the beginning of the end to the Islamic State armed Group?

Palmeyra would be the Damascus regime's most important victory against ISIS, since it proclaimed the caliphate in the summer of 2014, writed the left-leaning newspaper.

According to Libé this would never have been possible without the support of the Russian military which carried out 146 airstrikes on ISIS positions in Palmeyra over the past three days.

Libération also counts the strategic points the Al Assad regime stands to gain for the recapture of Palmeyra.

Symbolically, according to the paper, Damascus will be delighted to present itself as a reliable opponent to ISIS, even though its campaign over the past four years has mainly been to crush the Syrian rebels fighting to oust the Assad regime in power.

Strategically, Libé beleives the Syrian army can now try to progress towards the eastern region of Deir el-Zor, where one of its garisons are under siege from the Jihadists.

If that happens then an offensive against the defacto ISI capital Raqa will then be possible. Libé says the caliphate's stronghold is already threatened to the north by
Kurdish forces which have been closing in for months but still finetuning their plans about when to launch a full assault.

La Croix

The Catholic daily marks a grim anniversary: the massacre 20 years ago in Algeria of the 7 French Tibhirine monks.

The paper recalls the gruesome circumstances under which they were abducted from their monastery on the night of the 27th and 27th of March tortured for weeks and decapitated reportedly for refusing to leave the country during the so-called Dark Decade.

Their heritage is being celebrated in France and Algeria this year alongside those of 12 other Christian martyrs also killed during the period. They lived in harmony with the people of the small town, many of whom are still suffering from the trauma of their assassination, writes the Catholic daily.


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