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konrad yakabuski

The streets of Paris are no strangers to mass bloodshed. The City of Light has borne witness to more than its share of extreme violence over the centuries. The worst of it has not been perpetrated by a foreign army. The enemy has most often come from within.

From the Wars of Religion, through the Revolution and the Reign of Terror, to the Paris Commune, the French often worked through their differences in the bloodiest ways possible. Since the 1960s, Paris has been a repeated target of terrorists, often French citizens or immigrants, aggrieving in some way France's unresolved colonial past in North Africa or its mandates in the Middle East.

The inspiration for the most recent attacks may have come from Iraq or Syria, but their perpetrators came from the Paris suburbs. The January assaults on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket were conducted by French-born radicalized Muslims. Most of those involved in Friday's sickening attacks on cafés and a concert hall appear to have had similar backgrounds.

"We know, and it's cruel to say it, it was French people who killed French people on Friday," President François Hollande said in a speech for the ages. "There are, living on our soil, individuals who move from delinquency to radicalization and then to terrorist criminality."

Mr. Hollande has declared war. He has promised draconian counterterrorism measures, advocated by right-wing parties since January, but which the Socialist President had resisted until now. Politically, he may have no choice – French voters overwhelmingly support more military action to "destroy" the Islamic State, and tougher laws to root out and punish its accomplices in France.

But eradicating the Islamic State, were it possible, would not end the alienation that has turned so many young French Muslims into violent jihadis. While the immediate imperative remains combating one particular brand of terrorism, Mr. Hollande's efforts cannot end there. Unless Muslim youth can envision a future of semi-equal opportunity in France, one violent cause will simply replace another.

"A more nuanced response than total war is needed to deal with the underlying rage that fuels this confrontation. And that is almost impossible to imagine in the current atmosphere," American University professor Gordon Adams wrote this week on the Foreign Policy website. "Islam has not been welcome in France, and the hostility of non-Islamic France is only growing."

The leader of the far right Front National, Marine Le Pen, congratulated Mr. Hollande for adopting the "right inflections" in his Monday speech. One of her officials told Le Monde: "We have a Socialist President of the Republic advocating solutions proposed by the Front National. That proves the Front National is not an anti-republican party."

One of the measures Mr. Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls promise to adopt would empower the government to strip even French-born dual nationals of their citizenship if they contravene the "fundamental interests of the nation." Currently, only convicted terrorists who have been naturalized French citizens for less than 10 years can lose their French citizenship.

Mr. Hollande has suggested his government will heed Ms. Le Pen's call to expel foreign imams suspected of radicalizing young French Muslims. The President also said he is willing to consider another right-wing proposal that would place under house arrest the more than 10,000 French residents whose names figure on a police list of suspected terrorist sympathizers. Mr. Hollande has asked the judicial Conseil d'État to determine whether such action would be legal.

Mr. Hollande has so far resisted Ms. Le Pen's calls for permanent border controls. But his government is seeking to extend for three months the extraordinary powers granted the President under the current national security emergency. These include temporarily closing France's borders, a measure that not long ago would have seemed unthinkable for this former protégé of Jacques Delors, one of the chief architects of European integration.

On Wednesday, only hours after a nighttime raid in a Paris suburb appeared to have thwarted another attack on the City of Light, Mr. Hollande toned down the bellicose language. The Islamic State wants, "through its massacres, to instill the poison of suspicion, stigmatization and division," he said in noting that France would welcome 30,000 Syrian refugees over two years. "Let's not give in to the temptation to turn inwards."

French history shows how difficult that will be.

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