Huffington Post Greece – June 11, 2018
Since the first year of assuming power by the new French President Emmanuel Macron, we have seen great progress and revitalization in Paris’ traditional policy. The young president is trying hard to bring France back to the forefront of international politics from the door of pluralism of views and positions and balances. In the past two years of the Hollande leadership, France’s voice was almost absent from international developments, either in Europe or in sensitive areas of the world, mainly in the Middle East and Ukraine. In spite of his sincere attitude towards the Assad regime in Syria, Hollande has always avoided taking action. For example, in the refugee crisis that struck Europe, Hollande, unlike other EU leaders, was very brief about it. Under his presidency, the position of Paris on the Ukrainian crisis was in line with that of NATO countries against Moscow, but this attitude was not his own, but the US. Hollande was a supporter of the nuclear agreement with Iran, not because it would have an economic benefit to Paris after the sanctions were lifted, but because that was Obama’s wish. Under these unfavorable conditions, Macron took the reins of the Élysée.
Regardless of the correctness of his international movements, he is undoubtedly distinguished by courage. Courage, of course, does not necessarily mean skill and intelligence. His international presence is often characterized by impulse and indifference and his positions in international crises are not clear. More specifically:
Indeed, Macron reaffirmed Paris’s influence in EU decision-making. Recent developments within it, such as the recent entry of Germany into a government-led crisis whose outcome was a coalition government that restricts the flexibility of the and the decision of the British people to leave the Union has made Macron the only European leader to make decisions about international crises.
In the Syrian crisis
France’s position against the survival of Assad and his regime was clear in the time of Hollande. During Macron period, long enemies in Syria are considered ISIS and Al-Qaeda, with no interest from France for the stay of Assad or not in power. Macron has increased French troops in northeastern Syria from a few hundred to a few thousand. A local source confirms that France has sent over the past two months over two thousand young soldiers to the east of Syria and hundreds of soldiers in Manbij to support the Kurdish rebels against ISIS and the Turkish expansion in the city and the east but also against the expansion of Moscow and Assad to the east of the Euphrates river. Paris was involved in an operation that had been targeting the Assad regime’s chemical program in cooperation with Washington and London a month and a half ago in response to Ghouta’s massacre that killed dozens of civilians and wounded two thousand. In this context, the French strategy under the current leadership clearly demands a part of the Syrian pie in oil and gas. Paris does not care at all if Assad remains the president of Syria and supports the creation of a joint government with the Syrian opposition. It also supports the creation of a federal Kurdish state and the continued presence of Kurdish troops in the region. This strategy was supported by Macron in his recent visit to Moscow.
Nuclear agreement with Tehran
Macron has categorically rejected the Trump decision to cancel the nuclear agreement with the Iranian regime. This rejection is clearly based on the French interests and not on the effectiveness or not of the agreement to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons but, above all, on the importance of economic agreements that will bring billions to the French state. Macron, rejecting Iran’s role in supporting the Houthi militia in Yemen and its equipment with ballistic missiles targeting Saudi Arabia on a weekly basis, sees no reason to impose sanctions on the Tehran dictatorship. Hence, his view of Iran’s theocratic regime is based on his interests ignoring human rights, crimes and oppression on the Iranian people and other peoples of the region with the spread of wars and terrorism.
Macron works clearly in the direction of rapprochement with the Russian leadership, as Moscow is the primary source of gas supply for Paris. Thus, he supports the idea of a diplomatic solution to the Ukrainian crisis, essentially by giving Moscow what it wants. In this way he thinks he will win Russia’s favor in Syria, where it plays an important role. Macron also strongly urges NATO not to step up tensions with Russia in the development of the anti-missile shield on the western border of Russia.
The Libyan crisis
France is one of the most important players in the crisis of Libya. There, Macron supports General Haftar with weapons and air cover, despite all the international reports that make him responsible for war crimes against the civilian population of Libya. Paris also participates with Egypt in blocking the Libyan government limiting its role to a future political solution, and is setting up Libyan gas and contracts worth tens of billions of dollars to reconstruct the country.
While the French president met the immigrant from Mali to congratulate him for his courageous act, I wondered if he asked him why he came to France illegally, despite the fact that the French defense minister has announced the stabilization and security of the African country. In one way or another, Macron’s motivation to play an important role in international crises is based on interests that are indifferent to human rights, freedoms and international peace. The French may see these steps as a sufficient reason to support their new president, but reality confirms that this road will bring more vengeful and terrorist operations. France may draw economic gains but lose its security and humanity.