If, as it is reported by British and other media, that 88,000 police and security personnel had participated in the pursuit of the supposed French-Algerian culprits of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, Said and Cherif Kouachi, then this would be a remarkable figure. In terms of ratio, each Kouachi brother warranted a manhunt consisting of 44,000 personnel. Obviously, these personnel are backed by one of the most technologically advanced states in the world as well as its European neighbours offering assistance, if required. Furthermore, the French state is not subject to any international sanctions which would have hindered the pursuit of this pair of inner-city jihadis.
There is also no sizable minority population in France which have any active sympathy with the Kouachi brothers and the western media outlets did not refer to the brothers as ‘moderate rebels’. With these factors in mind it was inevitable that the fugitives would be found and for justice, summary or otherwise, to be executed. And the western media sighed a deep sense of relief when it was confirmed they were dead.
Now since 2012 there has been a handsome trickle of Europeans of Muslim heritage making the journey to Syria to join the so-called ‘jihad’ on the government. According to an Economist magazine report, 700 individuals have travelled from France and 400 from Great Britain to fight in this so-called ‘jihad’. The Economist is just one magazine and there are various figures on how many French and British jihadis have travelled to the war ravished state. For arguments sake let’s say 500 French jihadis have made the journey. More so, it is hard to believe that French and British intelligence agencies have not given ‘a nod and a wink’ to these warped warriors in their journey to jihad. But, if the ratio France used to neutralise the Kouachi brothers were applied to the Syrian war then the Syrian state would need to employ 22 million police and security personnel to successfully pursue the 500 French jihadis alone. Yet we know thousands of jihadis have travelled to Syria from up to 80 different countriesto join the thousands of Syrian’s own Islamists and jihadis.
Unlike France, many of Syria’s neighbours not only look favourably on these Kouachi type figures but also encourage, facilitate, finance and military train them. There are concrete reports of training and logistical bases in Jordan and Turkey. Those twin Wahhabi bastions of democracy, freedom of speech and purchasing French and British military hardware, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have relentlessly showered millions (possibly billions) of dollars on the jihadis in Syria. According to the United Nations, Israel too is military assisting these jihadis.
As far as Syria is concerned France, Great Britain and their regional allies have adopted ‘the enemy (jihadis) of my enemy (Syria) is my friend’approach to its civil war. This is exactly the same strategy that was employed by the West in its fight against the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980’s.
With the French police and security ratio in pursuit of the Kouachi brothers in mind and regardless of whether one supports President Bashar al-Assad or not, one must stand in awe and respect the tenacity and resilience of the Syrian army as it battles thousands of these so-called ‘jihadis’.