There's been wide-spread rioting but it's not civil war. There is no clash of rival political or ideological systems.
Tragically, one person has been killed so far. But the fact there has been only one death shows the limited nature of these events.
It is not an Islamic uprising
The rioters are Muslims, but they are not acting from Islamic motivation. In fact, leaders of the French Islamic community have been condemning the riots.
However ... If these young men have no prospects and no status, they are prime candidates for the jihadist ideology. As Wahabis, they can have meaning to life and feel superior to a society that rejects them.
What should the French authorities do?
Order is the first imperative. The police should be allowed to shoot rioters. If this fails, the army should be called in.
Re-introduce conscription (abolished in November 2001). It would be costly and is not militarily necessary, but it would promote social cohesiveness.
Pay people a set amount to leave France. Several thousand dollars (francs). The condition is that you have to renounce French citizenship.
And, yes, also look at conventional approaches such as funding youth centres and soccer teams.Why haven’t the French authorities acted decisively?
This is the puzzle. Perhaps the authorities are nostalgic for the student strikes of 1968, and this sentimentality prevents them from clear analysis?