France cannot be proud of bombing Syria

The French want a strong leadership, but an independent one

by Roland Hureaux*, France

I am three times ashamed of France, whose armed forces have participated in the “blows” (a euphemism for bombing) against Syria.
Firstly, because the starting point for these alleged punitive measures is a lie. Anyone having followed the events in Syria for several years knows that one has never been able to attribute the use of chemical weapons with any certainty to Bashar al-Assad. The American Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, recently acknowledged this. This was particularly the case on 21 August 2013 in the ­Ghouta region, where after an international outcry – being similar to the one we have just experienced – it turned out that it had been a provocation of the Islamist group al-Nusra (al Qaeda). The ban on intervention imposed by the British Parliament on the government has prevented a very dangerous escalation. How could Assad be so crazy as to use chemical weapons – at that not very effective ones – at the very moment, when he has just won the battle for the last positions in the East Ghouta region? It cannot be France’s task to endanger its soldiers’ lives on the basis of lies.
Secondly, because in this matter our country gives the impression that it has completely bowed to NATO and thus to the United States. It behaves like the little yapper running after the big dog – and sometimes trying to overtake him. This is an unworthy role which President Macron lets France play. He undoubtedly hopes that military action will make him popular – but certainly not under these conditions. The French want strong leadership, but an independent one. It is very unlikely that they will be grateful to him for this pathetic expedition.
Thirdly, because the undertaking, whatever may be its result, is seen by the rest of the world as what it is: The rich and powerful are bombing the poor and the weak, and this, which makes the whole thing even more pathetic, in the name of morality. Is it really France’s job to take part in such an action? General de Gaulle’s France was estimated in the world, precisely because it was able to defy this logic and disassociated itself from the USA, although essentially remaining its ally. We are also aware of the popularity of Jacques Chirac, who in 2003 refused to take part in the expedition against Iraq, the catastrophic consequences of which are known.
In addition, the fate of Oriental Christians is at stake in Syria. On the one hand, the attackers rely on statements of the jihadists, who probably organized this feigned attack of chemical weapons themselves in order to put the blame on the Assad government. On the other hand, Western countries are bombing Syria and continue to wage war against the Eastern Christians, who are one of the main targets of the Muslim Brotherhoods supported by us French people. This position is particularly degrading for France, which since the king-knight Francis I had the task of protecting them. It is disconcerting that President Macron, together with the bishops of France, expresses compassion about their fate and immediately afterwards fights them in the field.
No, there is no reason to be proud of the participation of French forces in these “blows” against Syria.    •

*    Roland Hureaux, born in 1948, is a historian and had a diverse university, administrative and political career. In the 1990s he was advisor to Philippe Ségun, the former president of the National Assembly. Today he is president of the non-party association “Mouvance France”. Over the last 20 years, he has written about a dozen books and a variety of articles, essays and analyses on political and social issues from a sovereign and Gaullist point of view.

(Translation Current Concerns)