Mark Steyn calls on Europe to “wake up,” but without a lot of optimsm:
For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America’s Europhiles, France’s Arab street correctly identified Chirac’s opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.
Today, a fearless Muslim advance has penetrated far deeper into Europe than Abd al-Rahman. They’re in Brussels, where Belgian police officers are advised not to be seen drinking coffee in public during Ramadan, and in Malmo, where Swedish ambulance drivers will not go without police escort. It’s way too late to rerun the Battle of Poitiers. In the no-go suburbs, even before these current riots, 9,000 police cars had been stoned by ”French youths” since the beginning of the year; some three dozen cars are set alight even on a quiet night. ”There’s a civil war under way in Clichy-sous-Bois at the moment,” said Michel Thooris of the gendarmes’ trade union Action Police CFTC. ”We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting.”
A few years back I was criticized for a throwaway observation to the effect that ”I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark.” But this is why. In defiance of traditional immigration patterns, these young men are less assimilated than their grandparents. French cynics like the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, have spent the last two years scoffing at the Bush Doctrine: Why, everyone knows Islam and democracy are incompatible. If so, that’s less a problem for Iraq or Afghanistan than for France and Belgium.
UPDATE: A bomb factory was discovered last night south of Paris:
Police found a gasoline bomb-making factory in a southern suburb of the city, with more than 100 bottles, gallons of fuel and hoods for hiding rioters’ faces, a senior Justice Ministry official said Sunday.
Six youths, all aged under 18, were arrested in the raid Saturday night on a building in Evry south of Paris where the gasoline bombs were being put together, Jean-Marie Huet, the ministry’s director of criminal affairs and pardons, told The Associated Press.
The discovery, Huet said, shows that gasoline bombs being used by rioters “are not being improvised by kids in their bathrooms.”
The Normandy town of Evreux, 60 miles west of Paris, appeared to suffer the worst damage Saturday. Arsonists burned at least 50 vehicles, part of a shopping center, a post office and two schools, said Patrick Hamon, spokesman for the national police.
MORE: This is a photo of a burned-out police station in Evreux, which is in western France. I can understand that police officers can’t guard every school, let alone every parked car, but it’s hard to see how they can be so ineffective as to allow rioters to burn down their own stations:
UPDATE: Austin Bay has more thoughts.