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Baguettes Not Bombs: Hollande may be forced to take ‘French leave’ with Syria

SEE ALSO: French Colonial Dreams Linger as Raison d’être in Syria

Peter SterryPeter Sterry 
21st Century Wire

As President Obama inches ever closer towards a new war in the Middle East, France has suddenly been pushed to centre stage, following a democratic incident which took place on the floor of the British Parliament last Thursday, which saw David Cameron’s war motion vote stopped in its tracks.

Will America go it alone, or can they manage to shoe horn the French in there, in order to bake a glorious transatlantic red, white and blue coalition? France cannot go in without the US, and the US cannot go in without the French. Imagine that. As it stands, the decision for an international military intervention could rest on the French, but this could get tricky…

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of trying to close a business deal with a mysterious, jet-setting Frenchman, you can attest to what an absolutely frustrating experience this can be. When the deal starts out, the talk is big and promises are even bigger. After a few bottles of wine and canapes, followed by an exquisite lunch, you’re thinking that the deal is sealed so you draw up the MOU’s and the contracts – only find out later down the line, at the eleventh hour that your French businessman mysteriously pulls out at the last second.

France’s prime minister Francois Hollande has been busy over the last 48 hours, showing leaders of his parliament intelligence – better referred to in political circles theses days as “evidence”, which he insists, proves that President Assad’s forces ordered chemical warfare against its own people. Paris announced that it would soon declassify its top-secret documents on Assad’s alleged chemical weapons in Syria, which is said to include “several hundred tons of mustard gas” and “sarin”, a total exceeding 1,000 tons of chemical agents. For those of you who are not strong in maths, that’s 1,000 tons more chemical weapons than Saddam Hussein had in Iraq.

Like in the UK, and the US, calls for democracy have been made in Paris, with French parliament due to debate an attack on Syria this Wednesday afternoon, although not between 12pm and 2pm (lunch, we’re in France don’t forget). Originally, the Opposition was asking for not just a debate on Wednesday, but a vote for or against military action targeting the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The government has now said it won’t hold a vote, which leaves it all up to President Hollande to handle le décision importante.


IMAGE: The speaker of Syria’s parliament has urged French MPs not to intervene.

All three political leaders, Obama, Cameron, and Hollande, certainly gave the impression early on of an omnipotent unitary executive regarding Syria, but each of them in this case, has been forced one way or another to bring their case to elected representatives – especially following Cameron’s humiliating public defeat.

So what is Hollande in this story? According to Le Huff Post yesterday: 

“He was happy to proceed via the sacred union of military action in order to regain some popularity points. That is why, today, by delivering the decision to intervene in the hands of Parliament appears to be take a step backwards in terms of authority. “But whatever happens, Francois Hollande will be weakened in this sequence of events because it shows that it is not France that dictates the agenda”, says Jérôme Fourquet.

Hollande drinking a beerAgain, the crowd cheers: by consulting with his Parliament, François Hollande shows once again that France’s democratic values are aligned with the United Kingdom, and Lady Libertine in the US. But the French constitution (a masterpiece of weasel words) says only parliament has the right to declare war, but the President has a “reserved domain” of special war powers and can declare war all on his own and then “inform parliament within 3 days”. It’s a big decision for what his detractors refer to as a small town ex-mayor and Parti Socialiste.

If Hollande is knocked hard in the press this week, or by the opposition in debate, or if the issue is forced to a vote, then it’s certain that France will not be joining in on Washington’s war. And that means the US and Obama will be completely on their own – making it more unlikely, save some magical CIA-inspired false flag attack somewhere in Europe, or another magical chemical weapons attack in Syria with more YouTube videos, that the US could proceed as planned.

SO, what about those pesky, inconvenient cretens sometimes referred to in elite circles as the useless eaters? In the US, polls are showing that 90% of Americans aren’t on boards with the Syria war, and Britain polls show that about 70% are against it. As it stands, the French public opinion, like that of public opinions in the US and Great Britain, is largely hostile to a military intervention in Syria without a UN mandate. And 9 out of 10 muslims in Paris and Marseilles will tell you that France needs a war in the Middle East like it needs a hole in the head.

Hollande could easily spoil a bit of good history this week. Let’s not forget that not so long ago, France actually made the correct decision regarding the invasion of Iraq in 2003 led by the United States – where France elected not to participate in Washington and London’s dodgy “coalition of the willing”, because the French believed at the time that military action was not justified by the presence of weapons of mass destruction which, in fact, have never been discovered.

Al Qaeda is losing ground against the Syrian government and the west is very upset about this. Putin is taunting Obama and Cameron in public, so it’s become a face-saving exercise for the moral crown of the international community. Both Britain and France first tried by lobbying to lift the EU ban on arming the rebels in Syria, which failed, so they’ve left it up to the Saudi and Qatari cash to fund the imported terrorist brigades in Syria, with political cover and propaganda campaigns delivered by the US and UK governments and corporate media outlets, taking the whole affair completely over the top, and believe it or not,  British are even complaining about it. The NHS 111 help line has been flooded with people reporting nausea and headaches from media’s orgy of chemical weapons coverage led by the BBC. It’s become too much. Even the back cab driver have had it.

Meanwhile, the French media and talk show rounds are a buzz this week with the somewhat bizarre, and slightly arrogant machinations that they somehow have “unfinished business” on a civilizing mission in their former colony of Lebanon-Syria – which of course is bombing business. The frumpy Elisabeth Gigou, a senior Parti Socialiste hack almost said that out loud yesterday, but managed to hold her crumpets just long enough not go full colonial.

One thing is certain however, and that is no matter how strong Hollande wants to look over Syria, he will not do a thing unless the US brings its smart missile cavalry and air force fully on board. No way. The same goes for the US. They need a major partner on board to make it legit. Look for Britain to weasel in for a second vote if the Franco-American alliance holds. Some British MPs, afraid of missing out on the fireworks – are certainly pushing that scenario as we speak.

As it stands, the Brits are out, the Germans are out, the Italians are out. Denmark is out. Finland is out. Turkey is almost out, but they said they’ll let Israel use their air bases to launch unofficial bombing raids on Syria. Never a good look for France to be seen as the ‘aggressor’ at home or abroad, especially as the winter of austerity approaches – a crunch that could hit the French economy especially hard.

And the others I forgot, oh yes, NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (a technocrat with many large weapons, tanks and forklifts) wants badly to be in this war, issuing a drooling political statement yesterday: “I can tell you that personally I’m convinced, not only that a chemical attack has taken place but I’m also convinced that the Syrian regime is responsible.” NATO wants badly to be in, but alas, it is out.  So who is kidding who? 

More to the point, what is all this about, and why the bloody rush?

Will Hollande be forced to take French leave over Syria…? 

Incredible, but we’re quietly hoping that the ‘French businessman’ stereotype holds up regarding The Syrian Deal. Besides, who can afford missiles when you can’t even put bread on the table?

Non! Baguettes, not bombs!