Consequences of Paris Terrorist Attacks for Middle East and Iran

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Behzad Khoshandam
Ph.D. in International Relations & Expert on International Issues

The terrorist massacre of November 13, 2015 in the French capital city, Paris, puts an end to the immunity of European citizens and the Western civilization to developments that take place in peripheral regions during the early years of the third millennium. This comes in spite of heavy propaganda by Western media about the success of the European states’ multicultural policy over the past seven decades.

Europe has been largely immune to major upheavals that took place during the second millennium and the early of the third millennia up to the later months of 2015, including the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City, the military aggression against Iraq by the Western coalition in 2003, the tumultuous developments that have followed the Arab Spring since 2011 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), as well as strategic crises in Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. However, the catastrophic terrorist attacks in Paris were telltale sign of the European Union’s failure in preventing emergence and growth of radical terrorist groups and currents in the Middle East and their spread toward Europe.

France is among the beating hearts of convergence among the European countries and the beginning of such terrorist attacks in Europe could be considered as a serious warning about repetition of the process that led to collapse of the former Soviet Union. It can also be a determining starting point for the failure of the convergence process in Europe, especially in security and political fields. The spillover of the crisis of violence and terrorism from the Middle East into Europe will have a large number of special strategic, social, identity-related, political and cultural consequences for the Middle East, its blood-stained identity-based and ethnic frontiers, as well as important countries like Iran.

The first effect that this development will have on the world order is to increase the complexity of the cooperative process among the existing nation-states in the Middle East and Europe. Solving the riddle of Daesh in MENA will be one of the most important outcomes of Paris attacks. Following an earlier terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo; a bomb attack that caused Russian aircraft to crash over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula; terrorist bomb attacks in Zahiya neighborhood of the Lebanese capital, Beirut; and deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, the first step to be taken by the Western front at international level is to speed up the fight against Daesh. As solving the riddle of Daesh in Middle East becomes more complicated following Paris attacks, securitization and militarization of the Middle East can be considered as one of the consequences of these attacks. In this process, influential countries and political actors, including a number of European countries, will put on their agenda providing increased support for regional nation-states such as Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Lebanon, in addition to other actors like the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council [(P)GCC] and even the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in their fight against terrorist and radical groups.

The main requisite for this development is a revision in Europe’s policies in the Middle East. As an international institution, the European Union (EU) mostly adopted passive stances in the face of major crises in the Middle East region, including the crises in Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen up to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. As a result, it preferred to kill time and appear passive with respect to developments in this region during the past decade. As for the crisis in Syria, since this crisis broke out in 2011, EU members, including France, took many steps mostly to undermine the Syrian nation-state as a result of which they paved the way for ethnic, religious, racial, secessionist, identity-related, theoretical and ideological gaps in Syria – as the main geographical context that is posing challenges to Europe – to become more profound. The spinoff of such unrealistic actions by Europe was gradual spread of the radical thought of al-Qaeda, Wahhabism, Salafism, and Deashism, as well as spread of extremism across the region and creation of a refugee crisis in MENA and Europe.

Continuation of this situation will speed up gradual collapse of the European convergence as one of its most possible outcomes. Therefore, if no solution is thought of, this situation would deal serious and essential security blows to common European identity. When it comes to cultural interaction and taking serious and newer steps in this regard, the issue of interaction with Muslims coming from the Middle East as well as ethnic and religious minorities emerges as one of the most significant challenges facing EU in its effort to interact with the Middle East. Continuation of biased processes in interaction or confrontation with these cultural and social capacities and social assets of Europe, can deal drastic blows to the interests of both Europe and the Middle East.

Following Paris attacks, which were reminder of 9/11 attacks, growing convergence between the interests of France and European countries, on the one hand, and those of the important Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, can give birth to a new round of bilateral cooperative relations between Iran and Europe. The terrorist attacks in France in November 2015, also provide a good opportunity for Europe to understand the capacities, influence, intentions, strategic, policies and local solutions of some influential and moderate countries of the Middle East in the face of terrorism and other forms of organized crime. These factors have been strategically and operationally ignored by the Western front for many years, especially following the terror attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, and suitable advantage has not been taken of them. During 2015, by reaching reconciliation with Iran through conclusion of the Iran deal and inviting such factors as Iran to Vienna 1 and 2 conferences on Syria, the United States and Europe have been trying to make up for some of their past mistakes and move toward more interaction with major actors in the Middle East while putting return to Iran's option on their political agenda.

If Europe fails to understand this situation in its effort to interact with the Middle East following Paris terrorist attacks, reproduction of such extremist groups and currents as Daesh would be a possible scenario for Europe and Middle East security complex, which in turn, would lead to a vicious circle of terrorism and fighting against terrorism in all European and Middle Eastern countries. In that case, all citizens of Europe and the Middle East would be at risk of being victimized by such barbaric and heinous acts, which are taken by those groups in order to achieve their political and strategic goals. Realization of this condition in the medium term will cause Europe, like the Middle East, to suffer from serious and new racial, identity-based and ethnic gaps and fault lines. Without a doubt, materialization of such a scenario, which has deep historical roots in ethnic, racial and identity-based developments of Europe during past centuries, would not be a desirable option for any actor in the forthcoming global developments.

Key Words: Paris, Terrorist Attacks, Middle East, Iran, Consequences, European Citizens, EU, Western Civilization, 9/11 Terror Attacks, Daesh, France, Circle of Terrorism, Khoshandam

More By Behzad Khoshandam:

*Solutions for Syria Crisis at the End of 2015:

*Saudi Arabia at Crossroads over Syria’s Future: Insisting on Arab World or Coalition with Others?:

*Iran's Invitation to Syria Talks: Requirements and Necessities for Returning to Iran's Option:

*Photo Credit: