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by Pierre Barbancey writing in l’Humanite

Whereas public opinion worldwide and in France especially rejoices over new diplomatic developments concerning the Syrian crisis that might thwart plans for a military intervention, the French government’s latest statements are quite alarming.

In order to counter the risk of France finding itself isolated, Foreign Secretary Laurent Fabius was forced to acknowledge Russia’s proposals –the real advantage of these proposals being that they can bring about a relaxation of the tension without which no solution likely to meet the Syrian people’s real aspirations is possible. Unfortunately, and contrary to its statement, the French government does not seem willing to find a political solution: it keeps its finger on the trigger.

Thus Fabius announced that France would submit a resolution before UNO’s Security Council in which a system for checking and eradicating Syria’s chemical weapons would be proposed. So far so good! But why does Paris persevere in accusing the Syrian régime of the August 21 massacre when no committee of inquiry worthy the name has yet published its report? For such a mention is bound to divide the Security Council and jeopardize the diplomatic solution.

There can be only one reason: that France remains addicted to a policy devised by Sarkozy, and relayed by Hollande, aimed at bringing down the Syrian régime at any cost. A risky policy that turned away from the start from the democratic and secular components of the Syrian opposition, and chose to support the Muslim Brotherhood notwithstanding their jihadist offshoot. Sarkozy re-activated the Elysée cell set up by Chirac after Rafic Hariri’s assassination in Lebanon with a view to organizing and financing certain opponents. Hollande is playing the same game. France’s Middle-East or even its international policy has not changed. The French president, it seems, has taken up his predecessor’s motto, namely to stand by the US in all its warlike commitments. Is it not stunning to find Hollande riding ahead of Obama on the warpath?

Against this the French Communist Party declares that “every effort must be made, under UNO’s aegis, to summon as soon as possible the Geneva 2 conference in order that an acceptable political solution be negotiated between all the parties involved and an end be put to the violence and a path opened toward a democratic transition in Syria. While in l’Humanité Aram Karabet, who has spent thirteen years in Syrian jails, explained that “the Syrian revolution is no longer in the Syrians’ hands.”

France would do itself honor if it allowed the conference to take place, unconditionally, between all the regional actors in this crisis, Iran included. So that the Syrian people might once more hold the reins of the Syrian revolution. And while we were at it, why not do away with all arms of massive destruction worldwide, including nuclear arms?

That Hollande did not even deign submit his Syrian policy to the vote of the French people’s representatives is a blatant proof of the poor esteem in which he holds his policy.

Translated Friday 20 September 2013, by Isabelle Métral

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