“France is at war,” President Francois Hollande said Monday, addressing a rare joint session of France’s parliament just days after multiple attacks in Paris killed 129 people and wounded more than 300 others. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks and Hollande has vowed a “merciless” response.
“Terrorism will not destroy the Republic,” he said Monday, “because it is the Republic that will destroy terrorism.”
Indeed, French airstrikes have struck Raqqa, the Syrian city that serves as the Islamic State’s de facto capital. Warplanes targeted more than a dozen suspected ISIS sites in about 30 airstrikes.
In his speech Monday, Hollande called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting on a joint response to terrorism; a three-month extension of the country’s state of emergency, which was imposed Friday even as the attacks were unfolding; a constitutional amendment so the country won’t have to resort to a state of emergency in response to terrorism; the power to strip the French citizenship of dual nationals convicted of terrorism; more effective border controls for the European Union; and increased funding for the military, police, and security forces.
What he didn’t ask for was authorization of a declaration of war, which parliament must provide under Article 35 of the French Constitution. In theory, Hollande needs only to inform parliament of a decision to intervene abroad within three days of such an intervention.