For the second time in 2015, France has been the subject of horrific Islamist terrorist violence. But the latest occurrence in Paris dwarfed the incident in January in which 12 Charlie Hebdo journalists were murdered.
At the time of writing, terrorists have killed at least 129 people in eight closely co-ordinated attacks in the French capital.
Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack. In an audio statement released online in Arabic and French, the group said eight Isis "soldiers" targeted the "capital of prostitution and obscenity".
The attacks, said an Isis statement, were designed to show France that it would remain in danger as long it continued its "crusader campaign" in the Middle East.
The latest atrocities in Paris are part of a broader pattern of radicalisation among young Muslim males in Western Europe during the last decade.
Prominent terrorist incidents included Madrid in 2004, London in 2005 and Woolwich in 2013.
At the same time, the current situation in Europe is further complicated by the Syrian refugee crisis. With the notable exception of Angela Merkel's Germany, many EU countries have treated people fleeing the horrors of the Syrian civil war as a drain on national resources and a possible security threat.
Moreover, far-right nationalist groups in Europe, apparently supported in France and Germany by the Putin regime, will now be looking to exploit anti-Muslim sentiments unleashed by the latest terrorist massacre in Paris.
But it is important, amid all the grief and anger in France, that President Francois Hollande's Government and its allies do not respond by simply intensifying a military campaign that has failed to halt the rise of Isis.
To date, the signs are not promising. President Hollande promised a "merciless"
response to what he described as an "act of war committed by a terrorist army".
But military means alone will not defeat Isis.
Recent, deadly air-strikes and drone attacks by the US and its allies against prominent Isis targets like Mohammed Emwazi ('Jihadi John') in Syria or Wisami al Zubaidi in Libya have symbolic rather than strategic value.
It is striking that many relatives of the victims of 'Jihadi John', the executioner of Isis hostages, responded to the news of his death by saying by it is a pity he would never to be brought to trial for his barbaric crimes and he would now be regarded as a martyr by Isis sympathisers.
In fact, these targeted assassinations may actually bolster Isis' propaganda narrative that the West is at "war" with Islam and thus generate new recruits from a large pool of disaffected and angry Muslims.
In the last year alone, Isis has recruited more than 15,000 foreign fighters, including a sizeable number from countries currently engaged in military activities against this terrorist organisation.
To be sure, the Isis terrorists must be engaged militarily on the ground and dislodged from the their strongholds in Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq.
But that is not enough. Above all, the international struggle against terrorism must address the deeper historical, economic, and political causes that fundamentalist groups like Isis exploit and use for their own purposes.
For one thing, the developed countries must rethink their efforts, in the words of Tahir Abbas, to bring hope to the poor, disenfranchised, marginalised and disaffected people who populate the Middle East
To this end, two key problems in this region must be immediately addressed. First, the world has largely looked on since 2011 while the brutal Syrian civil war has killed more 250,000 people and led to a mass exodus of refugees that is now convulsing Europe.
Meanwhile, the Assad dictatorship, thanks to the largesse of Russia and Iran, has survived and Isis has prospered. But the truth is most Syrians want a future in their country without either Assad or Isis. Without a political settlement that addresses that reality, Syria will continue to be a hotbed for international terrorism.
Second, following the historic Iran nuclear arms deal, the Obama administration should respond positively to efforts in the United Nations Security Council led by New Zealand to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and finally establish a Palestinian state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to oppose the idea of a viable Palestinian state, but the current impasse is fuelling violence, hatred and anger that goes well beyond the Middle East
It is not that terrorist groups like Isis champion the Palestinian cause. They don't. But they are happy to capitalise on a widespread perception that the "infidel" West does not care about the principle of Palestinian self-determination so as to swell their own ranks with recruits and sympathisers.
Unless there are serious international efforts to squeeze the political grievances Isis feeds off, it is difficult to see how more military muscle will blunt the threat of this formidable terrorist group.
Robert G. Patman is Professor of International Relations at the University of Otago