Why is France so interested in Syria? According to the Guardian, France’s policy in Syria has been “more forward than any other Western country”:
“[France] was early in calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, still insists he must go, and recently joined airstrikes inside Syria against the Islamic State.”
France joined the United States in bombing Syrian territory (without a U.N. mandate) even before the United Kingdom did. In 2013, France stood by Obama’s side despite the fact the United Kingdom’s parliament voted not to join Obama’s efforts to “punish” Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for crossing Obama’s imaginary red line. France has also been a staunch backer of rebels fighting to overthrow Assad since the conflict began.
Not many people know this, but Syria was a former French colony prior to World War II. Both Syria and Lebanon were promised to France under a secret agreement reached with Great Britain following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1916. However, even in recent times, France was not overtly anti-Syrian. When Bashar al-Assad took power in 2000, France bore no real ill will towards him. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy openly praised Assad for defending the rights of Syrian Christians.
It is a bold statement to blame France for the current situation in Syria. However, as discussed by Dr. Ayse Tekdal Fildis in an academic paper entitled “The Troubles in Syria: Spawned by French Divide and Rule”:
“Great Britain and France transformed what had been relatively quiet provinces of the Ottoman Empire into some of the least stable and internationally explosive states in the world.”
As part of the Ottoman Empire, Syria did not exist as an entity and was more commonly referred to as “Greater Syria,” “Geographical Syria,” or “Natural Syria,” which was actually comprised of Jordan, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, and modern day Syria.
Colonially speaking, France was never welcome in Syria. As noted by Randall Baker, an “international expert on historical perspectives in the analysis of contemporary environmental policy and problems,” Syria directly told France they were not welcome to interfere in Syria as early as June of 1919. However, France went ahead and took Syria by cunning force following the San Remo Conference that year, allowing Amir Faysal Ibn Husayni to remain king of Syria only if the country remained under French control and influence. In practice, this gave Syria some leeway — until an interventionist in the form of Alexandre Millerand took office in France. Unsurprisingly, after Syria’s Congress declared Faysal king of the “United Syria Kingdom,” which was to be an unconditionally independent state, France declared this declaration to be null and void.
Instead, Millerand imposed five unconditional demands on Syria: (1) the unconditional acceptance of the French mandate; (2) the acceptance of French-Syrian paper money based on the Franc (sound familiar?); (3)the abolition of conscription and reduction of the army (sound familiar?); (4) French military occupation of the railway and stations from Riyaq to Aleppo; and (5) punishment of persons implicated in hostile acts against the French.
Despite the fact that Faysal accepted the ultimatum in principle, France decided it was time for him to leave. On July 26, 1920, the French government intervened outright and occupied Damascus, overthrowing Faysal and his nationalist government. With this complete takeover of the Syrian region, France also gifted itself the ability to veto any Syrian legislation, making “a charade out of Syrian political life.”
Not surprisingly, there was great resistance to colonial rule from the officers of the Arab army (sound familiar?).
In order to fully take control of Syria, France relied on a divide and rule strategy to undermine Arab nationalism. This strategy involved dividing Syria into segments to block any chance at an overriding sense of nationalism. However, interfering in Lebanon at the same time, a country that also did not exist as an entity under the Ottoman Empire, also played to France’s strengths in disallowing any sense of unity in the region. As Dr. Fildis notes:
“The Maronites saw Lebanon as their own Christian homeland; Sunni Muslims, however, demanded unity with Syria and looked towards the wider Arab world for their source of identity. Therefore, there was no common identity in Greater Lebanon at its birth and no instinct to become a nation; it was just a Christian-dominated French power based in the Middle East.” [emphasis added]
The chief architect of French policy in Syria prior to and during World War I, Robert de Caix, opposed the creation of a unified Syrian state as it would supposedly “have an Arab and Muslim orientation, would be hostile to France and would project a dangerous influence on French North Africa.” It should be noted that dividing and partitioning the resistant Arab states into smaller, weaker states that would pose no threat to American allies in the region is deemed to be one of the core reasons the West is continuously backing wars in the Middle East to this day.
In the context of this divide and rule policy, it should be no surprise that Syria is currently ruled by an Alawite regime — a minority in Syria — which continues to be a problematic issue. As Dr. Fildis explains:
“Some of Syria’s religious and ethnic minorities, such as Kurds, Armenians, Jews and various Christian sects, were widely dispersed and did not have a geographical base to give rise to political unity, whereas the Alawites and Druze were compact regional minorities with considerable political unity.” [emphasis added]
In essence, one of these groups was always going to have to take charge to the detriment of the other political and religious identities, and unity would always be an issue. As Dr. Fildis explains, the French are directly responsible for this calamity:
“Their autonomy mainly had been fostered by the French in an attempt to break Syrian unity. By the end of the mandate, Alawite and Druze areas were incorporated into the larger Syrian state by the French. Nonetheless, minority consciousness, reinforced by a combination of geography, religious differences, communal segregation and regional separatism, had a damaging impact on Syrian political life even long after the mandate.”
However, due to this distaste for France’s actions, the European power’s stranglehold over Syria was short-lived. France’s attempts to destroy Syrian nationalism and prevent any sense of unity in the country ultimately backfired. In that context, it is clear that France had no interest in creating a democratic state for the Syrian people given Syria’s self-governance was putting them on the road to democracy.
As explained in an article published by the Globalist, adapted from an essay by Ian Buruma entitled, “Year Zero, A History of 1945,” France was still fighting for control of Syria as World War II was ending and the formation of the United Nations was well underway, bombing Syrians in Damascus, Aleppo, Hama, and Homs. The British immediately helped Syria oust French forces, and Damascus celebrated the French withdrawal. According to the Globalist, General Charles de Gaulle stated in response to Britain’s interference:
“We are not in a position to open hostilities against you at the present time. But you have insulted France and betrayed the West. This cannot be forgotten.”
So how can Syria’s current political upheaval be directly attributed to the French? Well, as noted by award-winning writer, Dr. Halla Diyab:
“The era of the French mandate created a bad and destructive political habit that Syria picked up through time to internalize and feed for decades to come: political radicalization ‘the legacy of which was almost a guarantee of Syria’s political instability.’ Political upheaval and instability [were] dominant political feature[s] of Syria until [the] Assads came to power.”
Is France looking to reclaim what they believe should have been theirs following the fall of the Ottoman Empire? Or are we really to believe that France is motivated by human rights concerns and a keen interest in counter-terrorism?
France’s commitment to counter-terrorism should be questioned outright. As the Atlantic observed, France retaliated against the infamous 2015 terror attacks in Paris by ramping up its military operations in Syria, despite the fact that the attacks could have been in response to a number of French military operations across the globe. The Atlantic states:
“It’s worth noting that the ISIS statement translated by SITE makes no explicit mention of Syria. The French military has been heavily involved in operations against Islamist militant groups outside of the Middle East over the last few years, including one group that has pledged fealty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph. France has deployed 3,000 troops to West Africa—a region where they’ve historically had great influence, as a colonial power and otherwise—with a presence in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Ivory Coast. The fight in Mali has centered on al-Qaeda affiliated militants, but in Nigeria and surrounding countries, France has been the Western nation most invested in fighting against Boko Haram, the brutal Nigerian Islamist organization. Earlier this year, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Baghdadi.” [emphasis added]
The Washington Post has therefore attributed France’s keen interest in influencing events in Syria as rooted in three key factors. First, the writers argue, France is attempting to reinforce itself as a great power. Second, France is offering an alternative foreign policy to that of the option of the United States military (though what this entails in practice is not clear). And lastly, France can enhance and strengthen ties with the anti-Assad Sunni nations in the Middle East, who also share “France’s deep distrust of Iran” (Syria’s closest ally).
Clearly, France has renewed its aggressively colonial stance in recent times. The importance of the global energy markets, as evidenced by France’s ulterior rationale to take out Gaddafi in Libya, cannot be understated. Syria presents a threat to French interests as an Iranian-dominated bridge between Russia and Europe would cut France out of this energy-rich area completely, something which was previously theirs prior to the end of World War II. By overthrowing Assad and creating a puppet government of France’s own (currently known as the Syrian National Council), France would be able to alleviate the economic threat an Iranian alliance poses to the anti-Assad interests in the region and assert itself as a colonial power in the heart of the Middle East, taking back what was once theirs.
As noted by anti-war Youtube channel Stormcloudsgathering:
“The West is in a state of decline. Their influence is waning. If the U.S. and their allies fail to remove Assad from power, what they will be faced with is more than just a strong Shia crescent [a reference to the Iranian dominated bridge of Iran-Iraq-Lebanon-Syria]. If they fail, they risk being edged out of the entire region and replaced by Russia. This would give Russia an enormous amount of leverage in global energy markets, and this of course has serious implications for the petrodollar.”
Originally published on 2016-12-22
Author: Darius Shahtahmasebi
Source: Anti Media
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
“In the event of a nuclear war, there will be no chances, there will be no survivors – all will be obliterated… nuclear devastation is not science fiction – it is a matter of fact. The world now stands on the brink of the final abyss. Let us all resolve to take all possible practical steps to ensure that we do not, through our own folly, go over the edge.” Former First Sea Lord, Lord Louis Mountbatten (1900-1979) Strasbourg, 11 May 1979.”
As US threats ratchet up towards North Korea, the latest hinging on the accusation that the country attempted a ...
Hitler was a very good student. Those who read Mein Kampf will find therein many good words about America. More precisely, not about the whole of America, but about the numerous attempts of the American socialists to change the foundations of the American way of life.The ideas of forced sterilization and forced abortion were adopted by Hitler from the founder of feminism, American socialist Margaret Sanger. Madame Sanger even founded a special clinic to promote mass abortions of black people to reduce their number with the aim of completely eradicating blacks in America. This organization still exists–it is called Planned ...
The new coronavirus and its accompanying disease Covid-19 has stopped the globe in its tracks. Governments, markets and news cycles have become dominated by the pandemic. Europe is now the epicenter for the disease, with reportedly more fatal cases of infection than China where the virus first erupted in December.Several European Union countries have declared themselves states of emergencies, including Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. The 27-member bloc has sealed off external borders. Some states, such as Poland, have begun closing borders with other EU members. Brussels, the administrative center of the EU, is alarmed because the much-vaunted single ...
Ilan Pappé is a historian, socialist activist, professor at the University of Exeter, and supporter of the Campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). Of Israeli origin, he is a world-renowned scholar on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and has written numerous books on the subject, including The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge.Pappé was interviewed by Alejandra Ríos for Left Voice, where this article first appeared.Alejandra Ríos (AR): You’ve talked and written about the concept of homeland as justification for destroying the native population. What is the meaning of this concept and ...
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become a serious danger not only to his own nation, but to many others as well. His actions and statements in recent years should seriously worry his neighbors and the entire world.
The last tyrant ignored by the international community was the genocidal butcher Adolf Hitler, who unleashed World War II, invading scores of countries and killing millions of people. Regrettably, Western leaders have tried to appease Erdogan, thereby creating a monster.
Strangely, some nations in the Islamic world have treated him respect, while many Western countries consider Turkey as one of their key allies. To ...
Abstract: This article investigates the Russian foreign politics at the region of the Balkan Peninsula after the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the time of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) World Order in relation to the Pan-Slavic ideals of intra-Slavic solidarity, reciprocity and brotherhood. The particular stresses are put on four main research topics: 1. The Pan-Slavism and Russia; 2. Relations between pro-Western and pro-Orthodox approaches of the Russian national interests on Russia’s domestic political scene; 3. Different attitudes towards the Balkans in Russia; and 4. Historical ties and future perspectives between Russia and the Serbs. A research ...
Contents 1. NATO is born from the Bomb2. In the post-Cold War, NATO is renewed3. NATO demolishes the Yugoslav state4. NATO expands eastward to Russia5. US and NATO attack Afghanistan and Iraq6. NATO demolishes the Libyan state7. The US/NATO War to Demolish Syria8. Israel and the Emirates in NATO9. The US/NATO orchestration of the coup in Ukraine10. US/NATO escalation in Europe11. Italy, the aircraft carrier on the war front12. US and NATO reject the UN treaty and deploy new nuclear weapons in Europe13. US and NATO sink the INF Treaty14. The Western American Empire plays the war card15. The US/NATO planetary war system16. Exiting the war system of NATO1. The operation conducted by the USA and ...
Author’s note and UpdateThe following article was first published in September 2014 at the outset of the air campaign “against the ISIS”. In recent developments Russia has officially joined the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). What are the implications?Amply documented but rarely mentioned in news reports, the ISIS is a creation of US intelligence, recruited, trained and financed by the US and its allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and Jordan. What this means is that the ISIS terrorists are the foot soldiers of the Western alliance. While America claims to be targeting the ISIS, in reality it is protecting the ISIS. The air campaign is intent upon ...
Part I, Part II
Territorial imperialism of the HDZ’s Croatia
The fact was that all ultranationalistic parties and organizations in the 1990s struggled for the creation of a Greater Croatia according to the principle of the ethnographic, historical and even natural rights. In all of those concepts, Bosnia-Herzegovina was seen as an integral part of united Croatia. There were, in principle, two concepts of united Croatia:
A minimal concept of Croatia within the borders of the Banovina Hrvatska as it was in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1939−1941 (when a Greater Croatia as a separate and autonomous administrative territory became a state ...
The new Serbian Warsaw Ghetto in the occupied Serbian land of Kosovo
In Kosovo, in 1999, NATO orchestrated KLA terrorism to cause a cycle of attacks and repression which was used to justify military intervention under the pretext of protecting the civilian population. Thirteen years down the line, Kosovo has unilaterally declared its independence and inflicts the most outrageous discrimination on its Serb population … under the auspices of NATO.
Serbs may not have black skin, but they are being treated like white niggers of Europe. Every day. In the media. On the streets in Kosovo. The pogrom and ...
It seems that the recent developments in Europe, and in particular the rising secessionism (Catalonia, Flandreau, Corsica, Veneto, Scotland), rings a bell, or rather is reminiscent of certain events. The ensuing ones are shedding more light on the roles of the EU (EEC), the USA, Great Britain and Germany. One wonders to what extent those democracies have been guided by the principles of international law and democracy pertaining to the Kosovo crisis.How much did they appreciate the reports of their (expensive) missions in Kosovo and Metohija (КDОМ, КVМ, ЕCMM) depicting the realities on the ground?To what extent have they been ...
As the old Romans used to say, de mortuis nil nisi bonum, of the dead, speak no evil. Mr. Ivanović did nothing that anyone is aware to merit such a ghastly fate. But it would also be a mistake to regard him as the Ghandi or Mandela of Kosovo’s Serbs. He was a career politician, with everything that encompasses, including rumors of shady deals on the side. Curiously, his profile was that of a “moderate” and “cooperative” local politician. For that, he was rewarded by Pristina authorities not with a medal but a war crimes indictment so preposterous (the obligatory ...
Miloš Zeman said in an interview for the Serbian newspaper Večernje novosti, that recognition of Kosovo’s independence has opened a Pandora’s Box and called the Kosovo deputy Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi a war criminal.
Zeman, among other things, confirmed that he will travel to Moscow for the celebrations of the end of the Second World War because the Soviet army liberated most of the former Czechoslovakia.
The Czech president has openly expressed himself on Kosovo in the past, for example he labeled the country a very strange state with a strong narco-mafia influence.
This article originally appeared at Hospodářské Noviny. Translated for RI by Anthony Grulich
The recognition of ...
The DEBKA website, close to Israeli military intelligence, knows well all the behind the curtain details of regional politics. A few days ago it reported about basically new turns of the way the events unfold in Syria. According to it, the Syrian extremists received a load of heavy weapons for the first time since the war started. The senders are the groups from Kosovo and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina linked to Al Qaeda. The package includes Kornet and Fagot anti-tank systems delivered by the Soviet Union to former Yugoslavia in the past. The weapons ended up in the ...
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.SaveSave
Documentary movie: "Bosnia: Cradle of Modern Jihadism?" BBC News, 2015
20 years ago in the civil war in Bosnia, hundreds of Arab jihadists came to join Bosnian Muslims fighting against their neighbours the Serbs and Croats. Grouped into secret fighting units in Central Bosnia, this was the first time in centuries Jihad had been fought against a Western, Christian enemy. Two decades later Bosnia is still reaping the consequences. In the past month ISIS declared the Balkans the next front of Jihad - and in remote mountain villages extremists are flying the ISIS flag. Mark Urban returns to Bosnia and ...
Since putschists usurping power in Ukraine launched war without mercy in April 2014 against freedom fighters in Donbass rejecting fascist rule, Washington provided political and military support.Under Obama, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) funding included hundreds of millions of dollars to Kiev for weapons and other material support, along with training by US special forces.Trump may increase support for escalated aggression. A Pentagon and State Department proposal calls for supplying Javelin missiles, possibly along with anti-aircraft weapons.Claiming these and other US-supplied weapons are only for defense, not offense, ignores where they’ll be deployed – along the contact line, separating armed ...
July 3, 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of when the United States’ first military assault against Afghanistan with the CIA-backed Mujahideen began. It would be a mistake to treat the present-day conflict as being separate from the U.S. intervention that began in 1979 against the then-government of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Afghanistan was not always known as the chaotic, ‘failed state’ overrun by warlords as it is now; this phenomenon is a product of that U.S.-led regime change operation. The article below, originally published on March 30, 2019, summarizes and analyzes the events that transpired during and after the Cold War ...
The unilateral independence of Kosovo was declared in February 2008.
Kosovo is a member of The Bretton Woods institutions. Kosovo seeks membership of NATO, the EU and now Interpol.
The Interpol Executive Committee has decided that the application of Kosovo for membership in Interpol would be put on the agenda of the General Assembly to be held in Beijing, China, from 26 to 29 September 2017, Government of Kosovo stated Monday.
In a bitter irony, Kosovo president Hashim Thaci is still on the list of Interpol in relation to his links to organized crimes and the drug trade. Last February president Thaci requested the secretary-general ...
The following text is a point by point thematic summary of Prof. Michel Chossudovsky‘s presentation at the Science for Peace Conference, Academy of Sciences, Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur, 15-16 August 2016.IntroductionHistorically, science has supported the development of the weapons industry and the war economy. “Science for Peace” indelibly requires reversing the logic whereby commissioned scientific endeavors are directed towards supporting what President Eisenhower called “The Military Industrial Complex”.What is consequently required is a massive redirection of science and technology towards the pursuit of broad societal objectives. In turn, this requires a major shift in what is euphemistically called “US Foreign Policy”, namely ...
“Making America Great Again” by Reducing the World to Ashes?
50 Shades of American Fascism
Covid-19 Shatters the Facade of the European Union
Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine
President Erdogan, a Menace to the World
Russia’s Balkan Politics: From the Politics of Pan-Slavic Reciprocity of the Tsarist Russia to the “Realpolitic” of the Republic of Gazprom Russia
The US/NATO Orchestration of the 2014 Maidan Coup in Ukraine
“Going After” the Islamic State: Guess Who is Behind the Caliphate Project?
A Croatian Role in the Destruction of Yugoslavia in the 1990s (III)
Kosovo Serbs are White Niggers of Europe
The War on Yugoslavia, Kosovo “Self-Determination” and EU-NATO Support of KLA Terrorists: Dietmar Hartwig’s Warning Letters to Angela Merkel
Kosovo: A Savage Assassination Rocks the Balkans
Czech President Zeman: Deputy PM of Kosovo is a War Criminal
Syrian Rebels Get Arms from Kosovo and Bosnia
The Biggest Criminals in Global Politics
Documentary Movie: “Bosnia: Cradle of Modern Jihadism?” BBC News, 2015
US Helping Ukrainian Putschists Wage War on Donbass
Afghanistan: The Forgotten Proxy War
Kosovo: America’s Mafia State
America’s “Humanitarian War” against the World