11 septembre 9/11 aaron klein abbas abdallah abdallah II abdelkader merah accords d'oslo adam zertal adenauer affaires Ă©trangĂ¨res afghanistan africom afrique afrique du sud ahmadinejad aipac AKP al qaeda al qaida al-arabiya al-fayed al-qaida algĂ©rie algeria aliyah allemagne amĂ©rique america anavad ANC angela merkel ankara ansar dine antisĂ©mitisme antisemitism antizionism apartheid aqmi arabes arabes israĂ©liens arabie saoudite arabs arafat armĂ©e armĂ©niens army ashkenazy assad assemblĂ©e gĂ©nĂ©rale assyriens atatĂĽrk auschwitz autoritĂ© palestinienne autriche-hongrie ayrault azawad Ă©conomie Ă©glise Ă©gypte Ă©lections Ă©tat Ă©tats-unis Ă©vangĂ©liques bachman baker balkans balladur bangladesh bankruptcy banlieues barack obama barak barbares bat yeor bayrou begin beheading beilin belgique belgium bennet benoĂ®t xvi berbĂ¨res bernheim bible biden bill clinton blancs blood libel BNVCA bourgine brĂ©sil brexit britain brzezinski burke bush byzantins cahuzac cameron canada carter Castro cfr chaos charlie hebdo Chavez cheney chiisme chiites china chine chirac chosroes ii chrĂ©tiens christianisme christianity christians church chypre circumcision cisjordanie citizenship claude guĂ©ant clĂ©menceau clermont-tonnerre clinton cnn CNRS colin powell cologne columbia commentary communautĂ© communism communisme communistes confĂ©rence de la paix confrĂ©ries congrĂ¨s conseil de sĂ©curitĂ© conservatism conservative conservatives consistoire constantinople constitution contestation coptes coran corĂ©e du nord corsica crif crime crise crise sociale cuba cuisine cukierman culture daesh daniel johnson daniel pearl david pryce-jones dĂ©mocrates dĂ©mocratie dĂ©mographie de gasperi de gaulle democrats demographics demography deng desportes dhimmis dhimmitude dieudonnĂ© dinard djihad dollar doxa dreyfus droit international droite droits de l'homme druzes egypte eilat mazar eisenhower election elections emanuel emigration empire ottoman ena enderlin enfants erbakan erdogan espagne etat etats-unis ethnic ethnie EU eurabia eurasia eureka euro europe european parliament european union exode expulsion expulsions fabius facebook far left far right fatah fayĂ§al ferdinand ferhat fethullah gĂĽlen fifth republic fillon finkielkraut flandre flotille fmi FN fondapol food foreign affairs foreign policy france franco frĂ¨res musulmans french french muslims front national frontiĂ¨re internationale fusion antisemitism gates gauche gaza gĂ©nĂ©tique gĂ©nocide gĂ©opolitique genĂ¨se general assembly genocide geopolitics george soros george w. bush george washington germany ghozlan gingrich giscard d'estaing giuliani globalization golden age goldnadel goldstone gorbatchev grande-bretagne grĂ¨ce greece greens grippe espagnole guĂ©ant guĂ©rilla guerre guerre civile guerre de sĂ©cession gurfinkiel hallal halutz hamas hamon haredim harkabi hĂ©breux hekla herzl herzog hezbollah hillary clinton hillel halkin histoire history hitler hollande holocaust holocauste houellebecq HUJI hungary huntsman hurvah hypercasher ibn saoud icm research idĂ©ologie identitĂ© nationale ifop iforas iiie rĂ©publique ilan halimi immigrants immigration implantations inĂ¶nĂĽ inde ined internet interview irak iran irgoun isabelle ISIS islam islamic state islamism islamisme islamistes islamists israĂ©lites israĂ«l israel israel beiteinu italie ivan de bloch j call j street jabotinsky japon jĂ©rusalem jĂĽnger jean paul II jean-marie le pen jerusalem jewish revival jews jihad jihadism jihadisme jihadistes jihadists john mccain johnson jordanie jour de colĂ¨re judaĂŻsme judĂ©o-christianisme juifs juifs amĂ©ricains juppĂ© kabylie kadhafi kadima kadimah kassam kemal kennedy kerry kgb khamenei khomeini kim kippour kissinger knesset kohl korsia kosher kosher supermarket kosovo kotel kouchner l'express l'obs la paix maintenant laĂŻcitĂ© lapid ldj le drian le monde le nouvel observateur le pen le point lebanon left leftwing Levant liban libĂ©raux liberation libertariens libertĂ© libye liebermann ligne verte likoud likud livni livres london louis xvi LR lyons macarthur maccain macron magoudi mahmoud abbas mai 1968 mali mandala mandat mandela mao marcion marcionisme marine le pen marines marion marĂ©chal-le pen maroc maronites marseilles massacres massortis mavi marmara mayflower mayotte mĂ©dias mĂ©lanchon mccain media medias mein kampf mer morte mer noire merah meretz mergui merkel mexique michel gurfinkiel middle east migrants migration missiles mitterrand mnla mohamed merah monarchie monarchy monde arabe monde islamique monod mont du temple montauban montebourg montesquieu morocco morsi mosaic moscovici moubarak moyen-orient munich murder muslims musulmans napolĂ©on napoleon naqba nasser natalitĂ© national assembly national front nations unies nato nazis neo-french netanyahu nethanyahu new emerging powers new york new york review of books new york times nicolas sarkozy nixon noĂ«l nobel noirs north america norvĂ¨ge nouvel observateur november 13 NPA nuclĂ©aire obama occident occupation odessa oliganthropie olmert olp onfray onu opinion orban orient orthodoxes oslo otan ottomans pacifisme pahlavi paix pakistan palestine palestinians palestiniens palin panislamisme pape paradigme paradigmes paris paritĂ© parlement europĂ©en partition pĂ©tain pĂ©trole pence peres peripheral france perses peste antonine peste de justinien petraeus peuple juif pew pipes PLO pogrom pogroms poland police politique poll pologne pompidou populism portugal poutine prĂ©sidentielle prĂ©sidentielles premier tour presidential election primaires primaries printemps arabe processus de paix proche-orient prophĂ¨te proportional representation protestantisme PS pundak putin qaradawi quai d'orsay quartiers quenelle qumran rabbis rabin racism rahm emanuel raid rajoy rasmussen rĂ©formĂ©s rĂ©formes rĂ©fugiĂ©s rĂ©publicains rĂ©volution reagan refugees regional elections religieux religion rempart renaud camus republican pacts republicans restaurants revolution right riots riyad rogers romains romney ron paul roosevelt roquette rosenfeld rouhani royal royaume-uni russia russie rwanda sadate sahara salafistes salem al-fayed sanctuaire du rocher sandler santorum sarah halimi sarkozy saudi arabia savir sĂ©golĂ¨ne royal sĂ©nat sĂ©pharades scandale SCO SDN seconde guerre mondiale security council selden senate shafik shalit shalom akhshav shamir sharon shas shoah sionisme sionistes socialist socialists sociĂ©tĂ© society sondages soral soviet union spcj ss staline state nobility state of emergency statism stratĂ©gie strauss-kahn strikes subworlds succession sunnites sweden sykes-picot synagogue syria syrie tahrir tardieu tariq ramadan taubira tel-aviv terre d'israĂ«l terror terrorism terrorisme thatcher the west time tocqueville torah totalitarisme toulouse tourisme travaillistes trevidic tribus trilatĂ©rale truman trump tsahal tsipras tunisie turkey turquie tv ue uk ukraine UMP un unesco union europĂ©enne union pour la mĂ©diterranĂ©e united nations united states unrwa URSS US usa valeurs actuelles valeurs judĂ©o-chrĂ©tiennes valls vatican vĂ©drine ve rĂ©publique versailles veto vichy vietnam violence walter laqueur war washington washington post wastelands west wilson women wright yellow vests yemen zacharie zapatero
Friday, September 13 2013
France/ Departing For Syria - Or Not
Since 1807, « Departing for Syria » ranks high in the French military repertoire. There is little enthusiasm in the French public opinion, however, for joining the Obama administration in a war against the Assad regime.
Back in 1807, Hortense de Beauharnais, Emperor Napoleon’s beautiful stepdaughter and the puppet-queen of French-occupied Holland, composed a lyrical song called Partant pour la Syrie (Departing for Syria) (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partant_pour_la_Syrie). In a typical French way, it mixes religious, military and erotic motives : while ostensibly about Dunois, a French knight about to leave for the Crusades, it alludes to the stunning French military achievements of the Revolutionary and Napoleonian age, including the 1798-1801 campaign in Egypte and the Holy Land. The first stanza deserves to be quoted in full :
Going to Syria
The young and handsome Dunois
Went to ask the Virgin Mary,
His heroic deeds to bless,
Make it so, immortal Queen
He said on his leaving,
That I love the most beautiful woman
And be the bravest
A very popular song throughout the first half of the 19th century, and even an unofficial national anthem under the Second Empire, from 1852 to 1870, Partant pour la Syrie has remained a classic of French military music to this day. Indeed, it has contributed in no small way to modern France’s infatuation with the Orient, and the popularity of wars of colonial conquest or « pacification » in North Africa, the Balkans, the Near and the Middle East. In line with the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreements, the French occupied present-day Syria and Lebanon in 1920 and ruled them as a League of Nations mandatory power until 1946. They are back in the area since 1978, as self-styled « protectors » of Lebanese independance and as permanent part of the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (Unifil) – a largely decorative role.
However, Queen Hortense’s music may finally have run ouf of its magic. The prospect of a French participation in an American-led coalition against the Assad regime, as outlined by president François Hollande, is largely unpopular. According to a BVA/Le Parisien poll released on August 30, 64 % of the French oppose such a move (www.leparisien.fr/politique/syrie-64-des-francais-contre-une-intervention-francaise-30-08-2013-3093841.php). An Ifop/Le Figaro poll on September 6 turned out exactly the same figures (www.lefigaro.fr/politique/2013/09/06/01002-20130906ARTFIG00443-intervention-militaire-en-syrie-les-francais-lachent-francois-hollande.php). A sharp rise from earlier polls : for about six months, from February to the first weeks of August, opposition to war amounted to an average 40 % of the public opinion, and never went above 49 %.
A LH2/Le Nouvel Observateur poll released on September 9 is shedding more light (tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/guerre-en-syrie/20130909.OBS6096/syrie-seuls-35-des-francais-approuvent-une-intervention-militaire.html). The Left as a whole is more supportive than the Right : 49 % against 27 %. However, followers of Hollande’s socialist party (PS) are much more supportive than the other groups among the Left : 57 % against 47 % of the neocommunist Left Front followers and 39 % of the Greens. Among the Right, followers of Sarkozy’s conservative party (UMP) are slightly more supportive than followers of Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) : 29 % against 21 %. Clearly, political affiliation is a factor : the more sympathetic one is to Hollande, the more one supports prospective operations in Syria. By that token, the president’s fortunes do not run high outside his own party. A confirmation of the very low global approval rate he currently enjoys : a bare 32 % according to an AFP/Le Monde poll released on September 3.
But there is more than domestic issues in the French reluctance to go to Syria. Many citizens say the war is ill conceived and may backfire. According to the BVA/Le Parisien poll, 37 % of them think Western military operations will pave the way to a radical Islamic take-over of Syria ; 35 % are concerned operations may trigger a broader regional war ; and 22 % are skeptical about the outcome for the local population in terms of improved safety and human rights. As for Hollande’s (and Obama’s) main rationale for military action – the « moral duty » to punish the Assad governement for using chemical weapons against fighters and civilians alike in rebel areas – , it is too reminiscent of the charges levelled ten years ago against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq to work with the French public opinion. The French largely opposed the Second Iraq war and have tended to believe, ever since then, that the entire case against Saddam’s non-conventional armaments was a deliberate American hoax.
The contemporary French are quite ambivalent when it comes to war. Along with Britain, France is the only European country with a real military potential (nuclear weapons, a rapid deployment force, a navy, a large armament and space industry), and is intent to keep it (an impressive « French Pentagon » is currently under construction in South Paris). Successive administrations, both conservative and socialist, have engaged in military or peace-keeping operations abroad over the past forty years, with or without an international warrant : in Subsaharan Africa, from Chad in the early 1970’s to Mali earlier this year ; in Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lybia, from the late 1970’s to this day ; in Bosnia and Serbia in 1995 and 1999. As long as losses in personnels are kept comparatively low or non-existent, and involve only professionals, and risks are seen as minimal, there is almost no criticism or dissent. The French enjoy feeling like a Great Power ; and being a military power is evidently part of deal.
On the other hand, the French realize that they are only a Little Great Power, just like the British, and that their military potential is in fact quite limited. Their defense budget ranks sixth in the world and is less than one tenth of the US defense budget (59 billion $ against 682 billion). Subsaharan Africa is probably the only place where they can act alone : even if their latest operation there, the war against islamists in Mali, was backed in many ways by the United States. Everywhere else, they have no choice but being America’s junior partners, or dropping from the scene altogether : a dilemma they have been uneasy about, and which has elicited much resentment. Jacques Chirac’s desistment from the Second Iraq War in 2003 – a rare instance where the French asserted their Great Power status by opposing an American operation rather than by supporting it – was very popular for that reason.
Hollande decided to join forces with Barack Obama on Syria on several assumptions. First, he thought that France could not stay away from a momentous US intervention in the Middle East without relinquishing its status as a Great Power with special authority on Middle Eastern issues. Second, he thought that backing the Obama administration would be more popular than just backing America, especially among his own voters ; and that « protecting Muslims » in Syria would please the French Muslim vote, which is overwhelmingly supporting the Left. Third, since he had slightly benefited from the successful Mali campaign last spring in terms of personal popularity, he was looking for at least a similar boost in the case of a Syrian campaign.
He may have misread the situation on all accounts. What was supposed to be Obama’s major show of force has been marred with dithering and shilly-shallying and a fierce political debate at home. Obama’s popularity is waning everywhere, including among his erstwhile liberal and radical supporters. And if the whole Syrian charade ends up with a Russian diplomatic victory, Hollande may be criticized for not having emulated Chirac’s move on Iraq in some measure.
François Fillon, who was for five years Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative prime minister and may run for president in 2017, has seen a window of opportunity here : he said in a radio interview on September 8 that he « would have more actively negociated with the Russians » and voted, would the case be raised at the UN, against « military intervention in Syria » (www.leparisien.fr/politique/syrie-il-faut-mettre-la-russie-devant-ses-responsabilites-estime-fillon-08-09-2013-3117375.php). The same about the neocommunist Jean Luc Mélanchon, the leader of the Left Front, who on September 11 not only welcomed Putin’s diplomatic move about a non-conventional disarmement of Syria but insisted that the United States and France should exert similar pressures on Egypt and Israel (www.rtl.fr/actualites/info/international/article/syrie-pour-melenchon-le-monde-est-en-danger-de-surarmement-7764422404).
There is a modicum of solace for France and the French president, however, in the fact that the status of all Great Powers is being questioned in the wake of the Syrian crisis. France and Britain may be Little Great Powers, but Russia is not much more, in spite of its diplomatic virtuosity, and may have overstreched itself in challenging the United States on this issue. China may be a formidable potential player in international affairs, including in the Middle East, but still lacks a global military capacity. As for the United States, it still is a Great Power and even the only Super Power, but its global reach, under the Obama administration or any similarly inadequate leadership, may quickly evaporate.
Michel Gurfinkiel is the Founder and President of the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Institute, a conservative think-thank in France, and a Shillman/Ginsburg Fellow at Middle East Forum.
© Michel Gurfinkiel & PJMedia, 2013
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors, for one you do not use all three H tags in your post, also I notice that you are not using bold or italics properly in your SEO optimization. On-Page SEO means more now than ever since the new Google update: Panda. No longer are backlinks and simply pinging or sending out a RSS feed the key to getting Google PageRank or Alexa Rankings, You now NEED On-Page SEO. So what is good On-Page SEO?First your keyword must appear in the title.Then it must appear in the URL.You have to optimize your keyword and make sure that it has a nice keyword density of 3-5% in your article with relevant LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Then you should spread all H1,H2,H3 tags in your article.Your Keyword should appear in your first paragraph and in the last sentence of the page. You should have relevant usage of Bold and italics of your keyword.There should be one internal link to a page on your blog and you should have one image with an alt tag that has your keyword....wait there's even more Now what if i told you there was a simple Wordpress plugin that does all the On-Page SEO, and automatically for you? That's right AUTOMATICALLY, just watch this 4minute video for more information at. Seo Plugin
Sir, I wish to follow up on the sharp analysis made by Michel Gurfinkiel on the Syrian crisis & add some comments. To-day our Western powers ought to realize, much to their dismay, that the Russians are strongly entrenched in the Middle East. And you bet they are there to stay. As a Nation that produced world renown chess champions over the years, they moved a Bishop (Syria) overlooking the Suez canal, a strategic outlet for Europe's oil & a horse (Iran )that sits right across to where the oil is actually flowing, in the Persian gulf, on the way to Europe & the US. A dire warning to those, who, as Michel Gurfinkiel describes like to throw their weight arround claiming the Near East as some sort of a divine inheritance. What all this means is thazt the West is no longer the sole self-named ruler there. It's a different game now. The sooner the West recognizes this new reality & chooses to come to terms with our Russian neighbours the better we'll be off this coming winter when the mercury on the thermometer dips below 0Â°C... May I make a second point. Our Western powers have to furhter realize that times are gone when with two strokes of a pencil over a map you could plunder the conquered Ottoman empire by carving it up into phatasy States. Such artificial States imagined by our capable ''geographers'', Mr Sykes & Monsieur Picot, were based mainly on the presence of an oil-rich underground often incompatible with the genuine ethnic criteria of the populations living there. An unforgivable & irresponsible Western blunder. After such an injustice, no wonder the daily bloodshed there. My last point, if I may. Only to recall Pres. Obama's poor showing in the Syrian crisis, when he backed down at the prospect of a showdown with Pres. Assad which led to the disillusion of his Arab allies, especially the Saudis. He thus severely compromised US's patented ''protector'' role dating back to the Roosevelt-Ibn Aziz accords on the cruiser ship Quincy in 1945. The Russians need only to wait; the ripe fruit will fall into their mouth...