The 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks warrant a detailed profile of the French approach to countering Jihadi terrorism. Much has been written about the tough French counterterrorism regime, which originated in 1986 and remains unique among Western democracies. There has been less analysis of France’s lengthy list of post-9/11 reforms, and even less discussion of the French approach to counterradicalization. In fact, France was among only few European countries that did not engage in any “soft” counterradicalization programs after the 2004 Madrid and the 2005 London bombings. The mass exodus of foreign fighters to Syria led to a first national counterradicalization plan in 2014. In response to the Paris attacks, much in line with its security-oriented methods and outlook, the French government increased counterterrorism spending and surveillance powers. Various other measures are noteworthy, however, as they focus on prison radicalization and represent an effort to strengthen the counterradicalization campaign.
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