Can world powers make common cause against Isis?
France has been courting US and Russian support for a war on Isis in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. But while Russia and Turkey, a Nato member, claim to be fighting the same foe, they themselves saw armed combat this week when Turkey shot down a Russian jet on its border with Syria. Mark Vandevelde asks Gideon Rachman and Geoff Dyer whether world powers are capable of making common cause against Isis.

By Gideon Rachman
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, two pictures sent a powerful message about how international politics are changing. One was of Barack Obama hunched in discussion in a hotel lobby with Vladimir Putin. The frosty body language of their previous meeting at the UN had given way to something more businesslike.

Paris atrocity exposes European security shortcomings
The Paris terror attacks have exposed Europe’s security and intelligence shortcomings and fulfilled officials’ worst fears about blow back from Syria’s bloody civil war. Ben Hall discusses the attacks and their implications with Sam Jones, defence and security editor, and Roula Khalaf, foreign editor.

Key points

  • The investigation into last week’s attacks spread across borders, with arrests in Germany as it emerged French police are hunting for not one but two surviving attackers.

  • France carries out fresh air strikes on the Syrian city of Raqqa overnight

  • Russia also steps up its air campaign as the Kremlin announces it has doubled the number of aircraft carrying out strikes against Isis in Syria.

  • Russia’s FSB says it has proof the Russian plane that crashed in Egypt last month was brought down by a bomb.

By Josh Noble, Mark Odell, John Murray Brown and Rob Minto


By Gideon Rachman
Ever since the late Samuel Huntington predicted that international politics would be dominated by a “clash of civilisations”, his theory, first outlined in 1993, has found some of its keenest adherents among militant Islamists.

Parisians return to work today following Friday’s attacks, which have left at least 129 people dead and many more wounded. A state of emergency remains in place.

France has responded with a series of police raids at home, and stepped up air strikes against Isis in Syria.

Key points

  • François Hollande declares: “France is at war” and tells French parliament he will seek permission to extend state of emergency declared over the weekend for three months

  • Barack Obama, speaking at the G20, again rules out large US troop presence in Syria

  • French jets have launched strikes on the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, Syria

  • Police raids, more than 150, have been carried out across France, Belgium. Many arrests made

  • Three attackers have been positively identified, all French nationals

  • UK prime minister David Cameron vows to build a case for expanding British air strikes into Syria

  • French police hunt for suspect named as Salah Abdeslam, 26, a French national, and brother of one of the dead bombers

  • A minute’s held silence across Europe

By Mark Odell, Henry Sanderson, Josh Noble and John Murray Brown


Following the deadliest terrorist atrocity in a western city in more than a decade, security and border controls have been tightened across Europe. France is in a state of emergency, and security forces across the continent are scrambling to track down those involved in the plot, which French president François Hollande described as “an act of war” in a television address.

Key points

  • The French police are looking for a suspect named as Salah Abdeslam, 26, a French national, who is still on the loose
  • Two of the attackers are believed to have been French nationals who lived in Brussels
  • Belgium authorities have arrested at least five people in relation to a car with Belgian number plates found near the scene in Paris
  • A further suspect has been identified as Omar Ismail Mostefai, a 29-year-old Frenchman, known to the authorities. Six of his relatives have been detained by authorities, including a brother who said that he had had no recent contact with Mostefai
  • The attacks were carried out by at least seven gunmen in three co-ordinated teams
  • Isis claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement on Saturday saying “this is only the beginning of the storm”
  • 132 people were killed and 349 wounded in a series of co-ordinated attacks on Friday night
  • There will be a minute’s silence across Europe tomorrow at 11am
  • For a full round-up of the FT’s coverage as well as the best from the rest of the web see FirstFT

By Emily Cadman and Joseph Cotterill


A series of co-ordinated attacks across Paris has left more than 120 people dead with Isis claiming responsibility.

French President François Hollande has declared a state of emergency and deployed the army around Paris in response to one of the deadliest terrorist atrocities in a western city since September 11 2001.

By Mark Odell and Josh Noble


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Manuel Valls, French prime minister, hit the nail on the head when giving his explanation for the resounding defeat suffered by his Socialist party in Sunday’s local elections.

“With their vote, the French have expressed their anger, their fatigue with life that is too difficult – unemployment, taxes and a high cost of living,” said Mr Valls (above). Read more

By Gideon Rachman
Europe is in a race against time. After six years of economic crisis, extremist political parties are well-entrenched across the continent. Set against that, the European economy is in better shape than for some years. The question is whether economic optimism can return quickly enough to prevent the bloc’s politics slithering over the edge.

In his Budget speech to parliament on Wednesday, the UK chancellor George Osborne indulged in the traditional needling of his opponents on the opposite bench. Whether it was a dig at Ed Miliband, Labour leader, for his two kitchens, or at the party’s recent electioneering in a “women-friendly” pink van, his jokes at the opposition’s expense met with the usual roars of raucous approval from his own benches.

But the second biggest target of his needling was rather more surprising – our friends across the Channel. Read more

  • Following Syriza’s election triumph in Greece, the coalition that will confront international creditors is an unholy alliance of two parties that couldn’t be further apart
  • The case of a former kebab restaurant owner accused of fraud said to be worth as much as $34bn has rocked Iran amid revelations of widespread corruption
  • Muslims account for more than half of France’s prison population and since the terror attacks in Paris there are calls to prevent jails from serving as recruitment centres for Islamists
  • A write-off of Greece’s debt would cause more problems in Europe than it would solve, strengthening radical parties and breaking down trust between members of the EU, argues Gideon Rachman
  • Saudi Arabia is expanding its regional power in the Middle East as others falter, but its ascendance is the result of the near-collapse of many nearby states (New York Times)

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It is a momentous day for the European Central Bank as it launches full-scale government bond buying. Mr Draghi started speaking at 13.30 GMT and the press conference usually lasts for an hour.

By Ralph Atkins and Lindsay Whipp


France has been through a traumatic period following a spate of terror attacks that killed 17 people, which led to a wave of demonstrations by millions of defiant citizens in response. In the latest edition of the FT World Weekly podcast, Gideon Rachman is joined by Hugh Carnegy, a former Paris bureau chief, and Michael Stothard, one of the FT correspondents who covered the aftermath of the attacks, to assess the wider impact of the events and discuss whether France can ward off the forces of polarisation.

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Within twenty years of the end of the second world war, the same European countries that had been sworn enemies during six years of bloody conflict committed themselves to a future of peace, prosperity and political and economic integration.

Some war crimes suspects slipped the net and avoided the Nuremberg trials, but their elusiveness did not interrupt or discredit the reconciliation process led by West Germany and France.

But two decades on from the wars that ripped apart the former Yugoslavia, it is impossible to make the case that reconciliation and integration are as advanced there as they were in western Europe by the mid-1960s.

The region’s societies, ethnicities and political leaderships remain bitterly at odds over how to assess the war crimes committed in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina between 1991 and 1995.

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By Gideon Rachman
A couple of days before the terrorist attacks in Paris, a book arrived at my office. I placed What’s Wrong with France? by Laurent Cohen-Tanugi on the shelves, alongside a line of similar titles: France on the Brink, France in Denial, France in Freefall and France’s Suicide.

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