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FP’s Situation Report: More than one million march in Paris to defy ‘Charlie Hebdo’ attacks; Europe must strike a balance between security and civil liberties; Attacks reveal a global terror network; and much more.

By David Francis with Sabine Muscat More than one million people march the streets of Paris in solidarity and defiance after the Charlie Hebdo attacks shatter Europe’s sense of security. Among the marchers were more than 40 world leaders, including President François Hollande of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of ...

By David Francis with Sabine Muscat

By David Francis with Sabine Muscat

More than one million people march the streets of Paris in solidarity and defiance after the Charlie Hebdo attacks shatter Europe’s sense of security. Among the marchers were more than 40 world leaders, including President François Hollande of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain. The show of unity masked deep anxieties about how to confront homegrown Islamic extremism in Europe and how to stop similar attacks in the future. More than anything, the march showed a nation in deep mourning after Said and Cherif Kouachi, Hamyd Mourad, and Amedy Coulibaly introduced a new age of terrorism to Europe.

The New York Times’ Liz Alderman and Dan Bilefsky: “The Interior Ministry described the demonstration as the largest in modern French history, with as many as 1.6 million people. Many waved the tricolor French flag and brandished pens in raised fists to commemorate those killed Wednesday in an attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, as well as four others killed at a Jewish supermarket on Friday. Thousands hoisted black and white signs bearing three words that have ricocheted through social media as a slogan of unity and defiance: ‘Je suis Charlie.’” More here.

Europe must strike a difficult balance between civil liberties and security. European leaders have long been critical of U.S. efforts to combat terrorism — most notably for NSA surveillance techniques revealed by Edward Snowden — but they are now considering their own draconian measures to prevent future attacks. European nations have already increased intelligence sharing. Next, they must choose between enhanced security measures and protection of the civil liberties many Europeans hold sacrosanct.

FP’s Colum Lynch and Jamila Trindle: “France has imposed a series of laws aimed at enhancing law enforcement agencies’ ability to monitor suspect jihadis, and to block suspected citizens from coming home. In Britain, lawmakers are weighing a controversial new counterterrorism law that could render stateless Britons merely suspected of flirting with jihad. The German government has also decided to seize the identity cards of suspected jihadis to prevent them from traveling by land through Turkey to fight in Syria.” More here.

The aftermath of the Paris attacks is revealing an interconnected group of terrorist organizations stretching across the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who killed a policewoman before attacking a kosher supermarket, taped a video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. The Kouachi brothers were known to French and American intelligence authorities. Cherif traveled to Yemen to train with Islamic extremists. There is evidence that his brother, Said, knew Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian underwear bomber who tried to take down an American airliner over Detroit in 2009. And there is growing evidence of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s claims of responsibility.

The Wall Street Journal’s Margaret Coker and Hakim Almasmari: “Initially, the U.S. played down the possibility that AQAP directed the gunmen. But on Sunday, American officials said intelligence agencies were looking at some indications the militant group in Yemen may have provided some ‘front-end direction’ to the gunmen that the U.S. didn’t initially detect. When Said Kouachi arrived in Yemen in 2009, AQAP was an ascendant force in the country.” More here.

More on France below.

Welcome to Monday’s edition of the Situation Report.

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Who’s Where When Today

9:00 a.m. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power delivers remarks at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville. 11:55 a.m. President Barack Obama speaks on cybersecurity at the Federal Trade Commission. 12:15 p.m. The New America Foundation holds a forum on Guantánamo. 5:00 p.m. Senate votes on Keystone pipeline.

Secretary of State John Kerry is in India to attend the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

What’s Moving Markets

Reuters on Venezuela asking Saudi Arabia for help in stabilizing the oil price — a day after gaining support from Iran: “No details of the meeting were given by the official Saudi Press Agency and there was no indication that the world’s biggest oil exporter was any closer to taking action to stem the over 50 percent rout in oil prices.” More here.

The New York Times’ Jack Ewing on dueling plans to save the euro zone: “Top officials of the European Central Bank offered dueling views over the weekend on how to deal with the risk of a downward price spiral in the eurozone, a sign that internal debate continues ahead of a crucial meeting next week.” More here.

Writing for Foreign Policy, Paola Subacchi on the real threat to Europe: “Deep-seated pessimism and widespread hostility toward the euro could produce a potentially destabilizing mix in both Italy and Greece, where political restlessness could spill over into the economy and seriously undermine Europe’s monetary union. In both countries, the forthcoming elections of heads of state have opened a number of uncertain scenarios.” More here.


The Washington Post’s Anthony Faiola, Griff Witte, and Daniela Deane on French efforts to stay safe: “France deployed 10,000 extra security forces Monday across sensitive sites in the country in the wake of last week’s deadly attacks in Paris with almost half of those going to protect hundreds of Jewish schools and synagogues across France.” More here.

The Wall Street Journal’s William Horobin: “The suspected perpetrators of deadly attacks last week in France likely had accomplices, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Monday.” More here.

The New York Times’ Steven Erlanger on political gains by France’s far right: “[N]o one expects this mood of solidarity to last very long; indeed, the attacks have already sharpened [French President Hollande’s] clash with the far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Mr. Hollande remains the most unpopular French president since World War II.” More here.

FP’s Kate Brannen on AQAP’s claims of responsibility: “‘The leadership of #AQAP directed the operation, and they have chosen their target carefully as a revenge for the honor of Prophet,’ a source within the terrorist group, known as AQAP, said in a statement provided to the Intercept, an online publication whose founding editors include Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.” More here.

The New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi and Andrew Higgins on Coulibaly’s video: “Amedy Coulibaly, one of three gunmen killed by the police on Friday after carrying out France’s worst terrorist attacks in more than half a century, spoke from the grave on Sunday in a slickly produced video, declaring allegiance to the Islamic State militant group, describing his role in what he called a coordinated offensive to defend Islam, and urging young French Muslims to take up the fight.” More here.

Writing for Foreign Policy, Aaron David Miller on why the attacks should not come as a surprise: “[W]hat happened in France this past week was no sucker punch. It might have been a realization of France’s (and America’s) worst nightmare — indigenous terrorists with ties to foreign groups attacking a soft target. But it surely shouldn’t have come as a surprise.” More here.

Bloomberg’s Josh Rogin on why Obama administration officials stayed away from the march: “A senior administration official told me that the security requirements needed if Obama or Biden were to have attended the Paris rally could have interfered with the event itself, and the White House didn’t want the focus to be on the U.S. rather than on the French.” More here.

Deutsche Welle on a new push in the EU for data sharing among airlines: “The so-called Passenger Name Record (PNR) system would allow police and intelligence agencies in EU member nations to have shared access to several years of passenger data in a bid to trace would-be militants.” More here.

Writing for USA Today, Angela Waters on concerns about a new anti-Islamic rally planned for today in Germany: “Germany’s justice minister on Sunday urged the group called Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) to cancel its demonstration, but the group vowed to go ahead with a rally that will commemorate the 17 people killed in the Paris attacks.” More here.

The New York Times’ Jim Yardley on the network that produced the attackers: “[T]he shocking terror attacks last week in Paris have now made plain that the Buttes-Chaumont network produced some of Europe’s most militant jihadists, including Chérif Kouachi, one of the three terrorists whose three-day rampage left 17 people dead and who was killed by the police.” More here.

The Washington Post’s William Booth and Ruth Eglash on an invitation from Israel: “Israeli leaders said Sunday that they would welcome with open arms French Jews who fear for their safety in the wake of attacks by Islamist extremists against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and shoppers at a kosher supermarket in Paris last week.” More here.

McClatchy’s Roy Gutman and Duygu Guvenc on a possible accomplice: “A woman sought by French police following the string of terror attacks in Paris this past week left France days before they occurred, traveling to Turkey and possibly into Syria, a senior Turkish official said Saturday.” More here.

The International Business Times’ Kathleen Caulderwood reports on the White House inviting domestic and foreign lawmakers to an anti-terrorism summit on February 18. More here.

Islamic State

Reuters on 19 strikes against the Islamic State: “Of the 10 air strikes in Syria, nine hit Isis targets near the town of Kobani on the Turkish border, a statement said. The other Syria strike hit an Isis position near Albu Kamal, close to Iraq. The nine air strikes inside Iraq hit Isis forces near Arbil, Mosul, Sinjar and al Asad, the statement said.” More here.

The Associated Press on possible Islamic State attacks in Lebanon: “Lebanon’s interior minister said Sunday that the militant Islamic State group may have been behind a suicide bombing in the northern city of Tripoli that killed nine people.” More here.


Der Spiegel‘s Erich Follath on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ongoing efforts to obtain nuclear weapons: “Now, secret information obtained by SPIEGEL indicates that the world is once again being misled by Assad. Syria’s dictator has not given up his dream of an atomic weapon and has apparently built a new nuclear facility at a secret location.” More here.


The Wall Street Journal’s Damian Paletta on new legislation: “The initiatives mark the latest in the government’s evolving and at times fledgling efforts to thwart computer attacks. President Barack Obama will offer new legislative proposals on Tuesday. An executive order, which is still being drafted, is several weeks away, said people familiar with the process.” More here.


Reuters’s Michael Nienaber on Germany maintaining pressure on Russia: “German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone on Saturday that a four-way summit to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine would not take place until there was real progress on the Minsk peace plan.” More here.

A German investigative group presents new evidence that Russia shot down flight MH17 over Ukraine: “MH17 was downed by a ground-launched BUK missile — launched by a unit of the 53rd Russian Air Defense Brigade from Kursk. The brigade unit, tasked with protecting Russian tank units, was operating in mid July on Ukrainian territory without displaying national emblems.” More here.


The Wall Street Journal’s Margherita Stancati and Habib Khan Totakhil: “Adherents of Islamic State this weekend declared their intention to step up operations in Afghan territory where the Taliban have long held sway, raising the prospect of battling jihadist groups and rising terrorism in the region.” More here.


Reuters on Iran’s desire to speed up nuclear talks: “Iran and the US will explore ways to give impetus to nuclear talks when their chief diplomats meet in Geneva on Wednesday, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday.” More here.


FP’s John Hudson on expectations for Obama’s trip to India: “The goal for Washington will be to advance its agenda on security, the environment, and bilateral trade, and repair ties with New Delhi after an embarrassing diplomatic tiff at the end of 2013 sunk relations to historic lows.” More here.

North Korea

Reuters on an offer from North Korea: “North Korea said on Saturday it was willing to suspend nuclear tests if the United States agreed to call off annual military drills held jointly with South Korea, but Washington rejected the proposal as a veiled threat.” More here.


FP’s Siobhán O’Grady on a horrific massacre: “As many as 2,000 soldiers and civilians may have been killed at the hands of Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria this week, in what Amnesty International said could be one of the Islamist terrorist group’s deadliest acts since its inception in 2002.” More here

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Joe Hemba on kids as suicide bombers: “Two suspected child suicide bombers blew themselves up in a market in north-east Nigeria on Sunday, witnesses said, killing three people in the second apparent attack in two days using young girls strapped with explosives.” More here.


The Wall Street Journal’s Colleen McCain Nelson on waning enthusiasm to prosecute Petraeus: “Lawmakers from both parties raised doubts on Sunday over whether the Justice Department should file charges against former Gen. David Petraeus for mishandling classified information.” More here.


The New York Times’ Charlie Savage on the FBI’s growing role: “Although the government’s warrantless surveillance program is associated with the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has gradually become a significant player in administering it, a newly declassified report shows.” More here.

Revolving Door

FP’s Keith Johnson and Jamila Trindle: “David Cohen, the driving force behind the U.S. Treasury Department’s increasingly sophisticated use of financial warfare, has been tapped as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.” More here.

The Wall Street Journal’s Leos Rousek on Croatia’s first female president: “Ms. Grabar-Kitarovic, a seasoned Croatian diplomat, served as Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from 2011 to 2014 and Croatia’s ambassador to Washington from 2005 to 2008.” More here.

And finally, the Associated Press’s Andrea Rodriguez reports on Cuba’s plans to renovate its replica of the U.S. Capitol building, which first opened in 1929. More here.



Tag: EU

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