Rue Sans Issue: French Middle East Policy Reaches a Bloody Dead End, by Steven Vujacic

From Steven Vujacic at

The media high-fiving didn’t last long. Barely hours following the announcement of the “probable” death of anti-celebrity and throat-cutting ISIS pin-up boy “Jihadi John”, Paris was treated to a stunning choreography of terrorist attacks in supposed revenge for the constant and mostly ineffectual French bombing of ISIS targets in Syria.

The eternally hapless president of France did his best to look stern and statesmanlike in response to the massacre but anyone with half a brain must by now be asking themselves whether “Flamby” has a Plan B beyond more sanctimonious rhetoric and flashy air sorties.

The truth hurts. Hollande’s trademark denunciations of terrorism failed to hide the simple fact that French policies have consistently played into the hands of jihadists. From the ill-conceived removal of Muammar Ghaddafi, sworn enemy of Islamic fundamentalism, to the current French government’s strident defense of the incessant and puerile anti-Islamic insults of Charlie Hebdo, to its farcical attempts to weaken the anti-terrorist regime of Bashar al-Assad by judicial means, (i.e., the announcement of war crimes “investigations”), ISIS’ influence and confidence has grown with each French blunder. ISIS has always known exactly what it wants and it senses it is on a big winning streak. As leader of the country with the biggest Arab immigrant population in Europe, one wonders what more Hollande could have done to make life easy for ISIS short of issuing French passports to its entire leadership.

There is only one word to describe France’s foreign policy in the Middle East: reckless. France appears to have taken leave of its senses. Instead of maintaining a low profile anti-terrorist approach which guaranteed security at home, it has opted for the worst of all worlds – loud liberal sermons combined with overt and bloody intervention in a hugely volatile part of the world that has strong ties with a large and increasingly alienated segment of French society.

As the death toll rises, I listen in vain for any recognition that France has taken a wrong turn. That defending Western values in the Middle East and North Africa with air strikes, drones etc. is a moral and military dead end, pure and simple. Nothing. No self-reflection. No doubts. The liberal enlightened West never makes mistakes.

To keep reading: French Middle East Policy Reaches a Bloody Dead End

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