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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06PARIS1497
2006-03-09 09:35:00
SECRET
Embassy Paris
Cable title:  

FOREIGN FIGHTERS TO IRAQ ARE A MAJOR FRENCH CONCERN

Tags:  ASEC PTER PREL PGOV CG XA XF XG XI FR 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO3195
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHFL RUEHIHL RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHMOS RUEHROV
DE RUEHFR #1497 0680935
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 090935Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4989
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
						S E C R E T PARIS 001497 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/CT (WORMAN/HAWTHORNE), NEA/I (OLSON/EVANS) AND
EB/ESC/TSF (SALOOM)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/08/2016
TAGS: ASEC PTER PREL PGOV CG XA XF XG XI FR
SUBJECT: FOREIGN FIGHTERS TO IRAQ ARE A MAJOR FRENCH CONCERN

REF: A. STATE 35709

B. 05 PARIS 8442

C. 05 PARIS 8088

D. 05 PARIS 6579

Classified By: POLITICAL MINISTER COUNSELOR JOSIAH ROSENBLATT, FOR REAS
ONS 1.4 B/D



1. (S/NF) Summary: Since 2004, French counterterrorism
authorities have focused on the threat posed by foreign
fighters going to Iraq. For those departing France for Iraq,
the GOF fears that they will become hardened and experienced
terrorists, and will eventually return to France to plan
attacks on French soil. GOF concern in this matter is
evidenced in virtually all high-level USG-GOF
security-related meetings, the most recent being a meeting
March 2 in Paris between Attorney General Gonzales and Pierre
Bousquet de Florian, the head of the DST (France's internal
security service). Both agreed that the current in-depth
level of cooperation between the U.S. and France on the issue
of foreign fighters to Iraq is of vital importance to both
countries. End summary.



2. (S) In September 2004, the Paris Prosecutor's office
opened an investigation into "jihadists to Iraq" and assigned
it to counterterrorism investigating judges Jean-Louis
Bruguiere and Jean-Francois Ricard. The open-ended
investigation continues to this day, and ensures that all
available police, intelligence and judicial assets can be
used to collect information on this threat. The first
arrests in this investigation occurred on January 26, 2005,
when French police arrested eleven people (three of whom were
eventually charged with terrorism conspiracy) in Paris' 19th
arrondisement. Those charged were accused of recruiting
young French residents to fight jihad in Iraq. On April 24,
2005, French police arrested Said al-Maghrebi, an Afghanistan
training camp veteran, on suspicion of setting up a
recruitment ring to fight jihad in Iraq. In addition, French
police arrested six people on November 29, 2005, on suspicion
of financing terrorist causes, including recruiting jihadists
to fight in Iraq. French officials stated in November 2005
that 22 young people had left France for Iraq, and at least
seven had been killed there, including two suicide bombers.
Further details contained in refs B, C and D.



3. (S/NF) Security and judicial services from the Ministries
of Justice, Interior and Defense have consistently told
Embassy interlocutors that they view jihadists to Iraq as a
major threat. Judge Jean-Francois Ricard (strictly protect)
told Poloff March 6 that the jihadists to Iraq investigation
continues to be the top priority for the terrorism
investigating judges. The arrests cited in para 2 are just
the tip of the iceberg: GOF security services also closely
monitor residents of France with any ties to "jihadists to
Iraq" networks.



4. (S/NF) In addition to the daily work of the GOF's
counterterrorism community, policymakers recently identified
areas for improvement to more effectively investigate and
monitor potential jihadists to Iraq. For example, the
recently passed counterterrorism law (ref B), allows the GOF
to monitor flights to countries of concern, including Syria
and Egypt. (Note: Although such monitoring occurred prior to
passage of the law, those services conducting the monitoring
now have a solid legal standing to do so. End note.) At the
strategic level, PM Villepin and his cabinet approved on
March 7 a White Book on terrorism that defines the
government's understanding and approach towards what it
considers to be an "aggravated threat." The White Book
refers to jihadists to Iraq as one of the major terrorist
threats to France.
Please visit Paris' Classified Website at:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm

Stapleton