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Flashpoint: Terrorist attacks in Paris may shape policy, elections

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(Mick Krever/CNN)

DETROIT – The battle with ISIS has only intensified over the previous weeks. They've claimed responsibility for the Russian jet that crashed in the Sinai, as well as suicide bombings in Beirut and Baghdad. The tides seemed to turn with the Kurds launching an offensive against ISIS in Iraq and the likelihood that Jihadi John had been killed in a drone strike. Then there was news out of Paris.

Saeed Khan, Professor and Lecturer of Near Eastern and Asian studies at Wayne State University, Stephen Henderson, Editorial Page Editor of the Detroit Free Press, Nolan Finley, Editorial Page Editor of the Detroit News, and Paul Welday, a political strategist, joined Devin Scillian to discuss the attacks in Paris on Flashpoint Sunday.

"It should change the presidential race," said Finley. "I think this becomes a national security election. I don't think we've seen the end of the ISIS attacks."
Henderson agreed with Finley but said that the Russians have badly wounded ISIS. He said that the attacks could be a last gasp of a struggling organization or proof that they are stronger than previously thought.

"What we're dealing with now is not an ideology," said Khan. "What we're dealing with now has more structure and has more organization." Khan described the attacks as having military precision and took a lot of planning and that the strategy in fighting ISIS needs to reflect that.

Welday countered saying that what we are fight here is radical Islam and especially ideology. Khan explained that policy is never decided against an ideology but by tangible issues and Devin agreed that wars against ideologies are never won.

The discussion shifted to the policies regarding immigration and the massive wave of refugees entering Europe. At least one of the terrorists who attacked civilians in Paris on Friday entered they European Union hidden among the wave of refugees that entered through Greece.

Finley said that the anti-immigration sentiment in Europe is higher than ever before and that will shape policies in Europe and the attacks will begin shaping policies in the U.S.

"There's certainly a need for us again to think about the consequences of our own actions," Henderson said. "Why are these refugees leaving Syria? In part, it's because of policies that we have supported in the Middle East for decades."

Welday discussed things at home in Michigan where Gov. Snyder has been talking about relocating some Syrian refugees in Detroit. "There's not a lot of public enthusiasm for this discourse." He continued saying that public opinion of any government's ability to screen immigrants is at a low.

Finley said that these anti-immigration sentiments would help presidential candidates like Donald Trump who are very anti-immigration.

Devin asked the panel how the events in Paris will affect the presidential election and what the last year will look like for Presidential Obama.

Where will the candidates stand on immigration policies after the attacks in Paris and how will it shape their plan to fight ISIS? You can watch part one of this discussion in the video posted above and part two in the video below.

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