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Viewing cable 05PARIS7527, VIOLENCE IN SUBURBS: COMMENTS OF TERRORISM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05PARIS7527 2005-11-04 10:10 2010-12-01 12:12 SECRET Embassy Paris
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

041058Z Nov 05
S E C R E T PARIS 007527 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/03/2015 
TAGS: PGOV PTER FR
SUBJECT: VIOLENCE IN SUBURBS: COMMENTS OF TERRORISM 
INVESTIGATING JUDGE 

REF: A. PARIS 7525 

B. OCTOBER 25 PARIS POINTS 

Classified By: POLITICAL MINISTER COUNSELOR JOSIAH ROSENBLATT, FOR REAS 
ONS 1.4 B/D 

1. (S) During a conversation November 3 with terrorism 
investigating judge Jean-Francois Ricard, Poloff asked for 
his analysis of recent violence in the suburbs (ref A). 
Ricard began by saying that no one in the French government 
should be surprised by what has happened. Successive 
governments have tried and failed to integrate suburbs with 
high immigrant populations. For "the last twenty years," 
said Ricard, the GOF has known that the suburbs have become 
areas where respect for the state has dried up. As a result 
of this inattention, the suburbs with high immigrant 
populations have lost their French identity and have built up 
an identity based on the "cites," (similar to the 
"projects"). French symbols of authority, like the fireman 
and policeman, are considered to be "assassins" and worthy of 
being targeted. In addition, gangs and radical Islamic 
groups have an interest in keeping the cites free of GOF 
influence to maintain their freedom of operation. French 
intelligence can only do so much, said Ricard. The areas 
need a substantial GOF presence, i.e., police and gendarmerie. 

2. (S) Ricard criticized many current French analyses as 
"tired leftist critiques" uttered by those who have no 
understanding of the world of the cites. He said they 
focused only on socio-economic problems, viewing the cites 
inhabitants as victims of precarious living situations -- 
young people who are unemployed and uneducated, with poor 
prospects for the future. When he had been an ordinary 
investigating judge in the northern suburb of Bobigny, Ricard 
said people were relatively well-off. They had cars and 
televisions and other material possessions. Other areas of 
France, such as the north near Belgium, were much poorer, 
said Ricard. The real problem was the GOF's failure to be 
present in these areas. Inhabitants developed a sense of 
being apart from French society, and over time, became proud 
of this. The combination of setting oneself apart, real 
and/or imagined grievances against the GOF, state 
inattention, and the interest of gangs and other groups, 
including Islamists, to accentuate this divide, has led to 
the current unrest, said Ricard. 

3. (S) If the unrest dies out "very quickly," this would be 
bad news, said Ricard. It would mean that gangs and other 
groups in the cites exert a powerful control over those 
currently burning cars and assaulting police. These gangs 
have no interest in triggering a massive GOF response, 
because it would mean the long-term "occupation" of the 
cites. If the unrest goes on for much more than a week, 
Ricard said it would signify that the cites have become 
completely anarchic. He speculated that one reason for the 
riots might have been Sarkozy's announcement in late October 
of an increased GOF security presence in the cites, including 
17 companies of CRS (specialized crowd control police) and 7 
platoons of specialized gendarmes (ref B). (Note: In a 
strangely prescient interview with Le Monde on October 25 
about his plan to increase security in the cites, Sarkozy 
said that, since the beginning of 2005, "9000 police 
vehicles" in France have had stones and other projectiles 
thrown at them. Every night, Sarkozy continued, "between 20 
and 40 " vehicles (presumably not only police vehicles) are 
burned or otherwise set on fire. End note.) 
Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm 
Stapleton