According to themotorcyclers, France is a nuclear power and has about 300 nuclear warheads. Although Paris did not initially sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, it ratified it in 1996 and signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), ratifying it in 1992. Within the Eu, is a convinced supporter of the development of the European Common Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), a project within which the first peacekeeping missions took placeof the Union, such as those in the Balkans, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Caucasian and Middle Eastern theater. The increase in French influence on the African continent and in the Middle East area is witnessed precisely by participation in the most important missions. In Africa, France participates, among others, in the Operation Licorne in the Ivory Coast (where there are still 450 soldiers) and in Operation Sangaris (Mission in the Central African Republic); in Lebanon to the United Nations mission, Unifil I I. L’Operation Licorne, now under the auspices of the United Nations and renamed Unoci (Mission Unin Ivory Coast), has a particular relevance compared to the others, as in 2002 France launched this mission autonomously, without the intervention of the United Nations, which arrived only at a later time; this testifies to how important French interests are in that area. Importance re-emerged during the Côte d’Ivoire crisis of 2010-11, following the disputed presidential elections, in which the French army played a primary role in the capture and dismissal of former president Laurent Gbagbo. Similarly, France assumed leadership of military operations against Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan regime in late March 2011, which then passed under N ato command., after the United Nations (through Resolution 1973 of the Security Council) had authorized the air intervention. The authorization was justified by the protection of the civilian population.
France also has a number of military bases abroad, especially in the territories of the former colonies such as Ivory Coast, Chad, Gabon, Senegal and Djibouti, and has recently inaugurated a military base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Relations with the Middle East and Africa also extend to cooperation in the defense sector. The main export market of the French defense industry is the United Arab Emirates and exports to Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Libya, Egypt and Israel are relevant. France cooperates intensively on security matters with the countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean with a view to political stabilization, both to contain the terrorist threat and to limit migratory flows. In this perspective, to stop the expansion of jihadist groups such as Aqim, Ansar al-Din and Mujao Following the crisis in northern Mali, in October 2012 Paris promoted a resolution of the United Nations Security Council which authorized the intervention of an African multinational force. Faced with the worsening of the situation, France nevertheless intervened alongside the Malian army to block the offensive of the terrorist groups, simultaneously with the arrival in the country of the first soldiers of the M isma, Mission Internationale de Soutien au Mali, under the aegis of Ecowas. As part of Operation Serval, later integrated into the M inusma(the United Nations Mission in Mali), 5,000 soldiers, flanked by the air forces, fought in the areas around the main Tuareg cities of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu, pushing back the jihadists across the border. Following the stabilization of Mali, which had allowed Hollande to visit the country in February 2013, and the smooth running of the presidential elections, the French contingent should have been reduced, but the resurgence of attacks in the north, the killing of two journalists and the spread of the jihadist presence led Paris to extend the terms of the mission, reshaping the contingents in Africa. Serval and Epervier cease to exist to merge into a single counter-terrorism mission in the Sahel named Barkhane. France is actively involved in Iraq and Syria alongside the international coalition to fight the Islamic State. Following the attacks of 13 November 2015 in Paris, France has extended its commitment against the Islamic State, directly bombarding positions of I s in Syria and Iraq.
The reaction of France to the attacks in Paris
The terrorist attacks that marked 2015 in Paris were the most impressive and bloody in recent French history. The January and November 2015 attacks on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket – which cost the lives of 16 people – and those at Bataclan and Stade de France (over 130 victims) have dramatically highlighted the existence of a growing internal threat brought by Islamic terrorism. During 2015 there were numerous episodes that highlighted the growth of this trend: in April an Algerian student, Sid Ahmed Ghlam, was arrested on suspicion of wanting to carry out an attack on a church in Villejuif; in June, a French citizen, Yassin Salhi, first killed his employer and then attempted a suicide attack on a gas plant in Saint Quentin Fallavier, near Lyon; on 25 August Ayoub el-Khazzani tried to launch an attack on board a train between Amsterdam and Paris; finally, on 29 October, a Moroccan had unsuccessfully attacked the French naval base in Toulon. Faced with these repeated episodes, Prime Minister Valls declared that the French must expect to face new similar situations in the future: according to government data, about 3,000 Frenchmen are involved in various activities related to jihadism. ‘fiche S’, where S stands for state security (Securité). With this system, French intelligence assigns a degree of danger to various subjects, from grade 16 to grade 1, where 1 is the most dangerous. A reporting mechanism with no real operational implications except as regards reinforced border controls. In June 2015, the ‘ fiche S ‘ counted 400,000 names (not only possible jihadists but also anti-nuclear activists, far-right militants, etc.). To equip itself with a more stubborn intelligence mechanism, parliament approved a law to strengthen the secret services, promulgated in July 2015, called ‘ loi sur le reinsegnement’: a device that contains, among others, some telecommunications control regulations that have relaunched the debate on the boundaries between individual freedom and collective security. After the attacks of November 13, President Hollande further strengthened this regulatory framework, approving a new package of extraordinary measures: expansion of the intelligence budget, recruitment of new agents and extension of the state of emergency to three months. A necessary but probably not sufficient strategy to address the current situation.