The American television news media as well as the political class driven by and driving it, can't stop talking about how the Paris attacks and other recent events demonstrate ISIS's "expanded capabilities" as well as their "new strategy" emphasizing attacks on the West. The assertion is that ISIS is coming for your grandmother and something must be done, quick.
Quite aside from the fact that suicide bombings of Hezbollah affiliated neighborhoods of Lebanon are nothing new and are in response to Hezbollah's entering the Syrian civil war on the side of the Assad government; or that the bombing of a Russian passenger jet (if it was a bombing) was in response to stepped up Russian involvement in the Syrian civil war; or that ISIS routinely claims responsibility for terrorist attacks they had little or nothing to do with (e.g., the earlier Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris)... quite aside from all this, might we pause for a brief moment in an attempt to determine whether ISIS is in fact responsible for the Paris attacks, and what level of "capabilities" they actually demonstrate?
First of all, the attackers, though they did speak to police during the hostage incident at the Bataclan concert hall, and did say that the attacks were revenge for French air strikes in Syria, did not claim ISIS affiliation or even mention the group. There has been no release of prerecorded "martyrs'" videos making any such association.
The statement issued by ISIS claiming responsibility for the attacks contains no information identifying the attackers or giving any details not in public media reports. It also erroneously claims an attack in France's 18th Arrondissement (district), which happens to be the main Muslim quarter of Paris, and where no attack took place:
Curiously though, it was mentioned in early media reports, in a way that someone for whom English is a second language, or even a careless but literate reader, might mistake for an indication of such an attack:
"On Twitter, this offer came from the 18th Arrondissement, the district south of the Stade de France where multiple explosions were reported during a Germany-France soccer match..."
Someone unfamiliar with the political geography of Paris and who had no inside knowledge of the attacks might misunderstand this to say that multiple explosions were reported from the 18th Arrondissement.
The ISIS statement also talks about precisely chosen targets and simultaneous attacks, though we will see that neither is true.
The Wall Street Journal offers a useful map and accurate timeline which can be used in reference:
Suicide vests are among the weapons which CNN and other media inform us require sophisticated manufacture. How effective were these weapons?
At 9:20 a suicide bomber near Gate D of the Stade de France killed himself...and a single passerby.
At 9:30 another suicide bomber near Gate H of same killed only himself.
At 9:40 another suicide bomber at a crowded cafe killed only himself.
At 9:53 another suicide bomber 400 meters from the stadium kills only himself.
Contrast this with the suicide vest explosions in the Middle East that are deadly effective.
As for the drive-by shootings, look at the WSJ map and note that they all involved a black SEAT car driving back and forth along an almost linear path. These began at a Cambodian restaurant at 9:25 and ended at a bar at 9:36, hitting another bar along the way.
At 9:40, twenty full minutes after the first attack, with plenty of time for police reports and all-points bulletins, gunmen still driving a black car (this time a Volkswagen Polo) entered the Bataclan concert hall. There they dithered until 12:20 nearly three hours later, when the police stormed the hall, apparently after the attackers began shooting concertgoers "like birds" while standing at a far wall. At that point the shooters either blew themselves up or were shot; in any case, here as elsewhere most of the carnage was caused by rifles easily available in Belgium.
Belgium seems to figure largely in the attack, as in the earlier attacks in Paris, which might through its proximity explain why elements of the same or another radical cell there might choose Paris as a target both conveniently accessible and splashy, with a recent history of successful terrorist attacks by other recent Islamic fundamentalists.