Archive for the ‘French Politics’ Category
MacShane Against Western Interventions.
Under the headline, “L’interventionnisme militaire occidental est un échec permanent” Denis MacShane former European Minister under Tony Blair attacks Western interventions. (Le Monde 10.12.2013).
MacShane begins by citing Kipling on the ‘White Man’s burden and reflects that President Hollande is now taking on this weight with his intervention in the Central African Republic.
While wishing him success he notes that,
Depuis l’expédition de Suez en 1956, aucune intervention militaire menée par les forces européennes en dehors de l’Europe n’a obtenu les résultats espérés. Dans tous les pays où elles ont établi une présence, elles laissent derrière elles plus de problèmes que de solutions.
From the Suez Expedition in 1956 onwards no European military intervention – outside Europe itself – has achieved the aims set for it. In every country in which it has established a presence it has left behind it more problems than solutions.
MacShane covers the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, and reflects that “Le droit d’ingérence et la doctrine de l’intervention sont des concepts qui remontent à l’ère de Francis Fukayama et sa thèse sur la fin de l’histoire.”, the doctrine of the need to interfere and to intervene (Note, called humanitarian intervention in English) are concepts which belong to the time of Francis Fukayma, and his theory of the End of History. Bernard Kouchner in Paris, Michael Ignatieff at Harvard and Tony Blair argued that this was necessary when countries ignored United Nations norms.
He asserts that interventions failed in Sudan and Rwanda, though worked in Kosovo.
Because of the latter, and the intervention in Sierra Leone, Blair backed the invasion of Iraq.
MacShane observes that far from being just the decision of Bush and Blair 419 left’ MPs in the British Parliament voted for that war.
“Dix ans plus tard, je préfère dire comme Benjamin Franklin que « la pire des paix vaut mieux que n’importe quelle guerre ».
Ten years later I’d rather say, like Benjamin Franklin that “the worst peace is better than any war whatsoever.”
The balance sheet of wars in Afghanistan, the Arab world and in Africa is completely negative. Libya in particular is a disaster, with militias and Salafist warlords in control.
The attitude of the British Labour Party, under Ed Miliband, towards these expeditions, has also changed. They refused to support Prime Minister Cameron, and the French Socialist-led Government, to meddle in the Syrian civil war.
The disgraced former Minister then quotes Churchill, “« Jaw jaw is better than war war »
Sometimes such interventions are justified, as in Sierra Leone.
But while every country should back its army, rare are the occasions when history justifies armed interventions.
MacShane Parliamentary Record.
- Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.
- Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
Wikipedia says of MacShane, “Denis MacShane (born Denis Matyjaszek; 21 May 1948) is a former British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Rotherham from 1994 until his resignation in 2012. He served in the Labour Government as Minister for Europe from 2002 until 2005.
On 2 November 2012, he was suspended from the Labour Party after the House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee found that he had submitted 19 false invoices “plainly intended to deceive” the parliamentary expenses authority. Later that day he announced his intention to resign as MP for Rotherham. On 9 October 2013, MacShane was removed from the Privy Council and stripped of the right to use the title of The Right Honourable. On 18 November 2013 he pleaded guilty to false accounting at the Old Bailey, by submitting false receipts for £12 900.
Fleeing families near the cathedral in Bossangoa.
NO TO FRENCH MILITARY INTERVENTION IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC!
The French military intervention in the Central African Republic has begun. The United Nations Security Council has given the international police operation an a ‘legitimacy’, on allegedly humanitarian grounds. The goal of the intervention is claimed to be ”restore constitutional order” and “prepare the ground for future elections” , and in the immediate present, to ensure the “disarmament, containment and dismantling of armed groups.”
In fact, France is involved in this former colony, where it has a long history of supporting dictators like grotesque Bokassa, to defend its own interests. It was France which, ten years ago,brought in President Bozizé whose hated and corrupt regime has collapsed.
No one can remain indifferent to the plight of the population. But a military intervention sponsored by the major imperialist powers will not solve anything. Indeed it will do the opposite. Its goal is not to end the abuses and looting carried out by Seleka. This action follows the same objective as that in Mali. As in the rest of Africa the real aim is is to maintain the position of the great powers, while the political system they have set up no longer has any power. For the Government of President Holland and prime Minister Ayrault, the objective is to preserve France’s old colonial privileges, and those of the French multinational Areva, Bolloré and other Total.
Military intervention can only lead to further suffering for the population, and to new crises..
French Troops Out of Africa!
More on the NPA’s views on France as the Imperialist Gendarme in Africa here.
They notably deny that there is a “pre-genocidal” situation in the Central African Republic “The French government has talked about pre-genocidal situation, that is not the case. Genocide is the result of a deliberate policy of discrimination and hatred against a portion of the population accompanied by a specific ideology, as in Rwanda where for years a political stigma against Tutsi took place…they should know, as they (The French Foreign Ministry) participated in this.” The NPA does admit however that, there “is a real risk that these cycles and inter-religious violence could worsen and spread.
Comment: There are so many reasons why this reaction of the NPA is wrong, absolutely wrong, it is better simply to let a more factual account speak for itself.
Innocent victims: France sends in more troops to stop massacres in Central African Republic
Bangui, Central African Republic - France and the African Union on Saturday announced plans to deploy several thousand more troops into embattled Central African Republic, as thousands of Christians fearing reprisal attacks sought refuge from the Muslim former rebels who now control the country after days of violence left nearly 400 people dead – and possibly more.
French armoured personnel carriers and troops from an AU-backed peacekeeping mission roared at high speed down Bangui’s major roads, as families carrying palm fronds pushed coffins in carts on the road’s shoulder. In a sign of the mounting tensions, others walking briskly on the streets carried bow-and-arrows and machetes.
Concluding an aptly-timed and long-planned conference on African security in Paris, President Francois Hollande said France was raising its deployment to 1,600 on Saturday – 400 more than first announced. Later, after a meeting of regional nations about Central African Republic, his office said that African Union nations agreed to increase their total deployment to 6,000 – up from about 2,500 now, and nearly double the projected rollout of 3,600 by year-end.
One of the world’s poorest countries, Central African Republic has been wracked for decades by coups and rebellions. In March, a Muslim rebel alliance known as Seleka overthrew the Christian president of a decade. At that time, religious ideology played little role in the power grab. The rebels soon installed Michel Djotodia as president, though he exerted little control over forces on the ground. He has since formally disbanded the Seleka coalition, but the former rebels now consider themselves the army.
Amid new massacres on Thursday, U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution that allows for a more muscular international effort to quell months or unrest in the country. Troops from France, the country’s former colonial overseer, were patrolling roads in Bangui and fanning out into the troubled northwest on Saturday.
“This force is going to deploy as quickly as possible and everywhere there are risks for the population, with the African forces that are present – currently 2,500 soldiers,” Hollande said, referring to the increased French presence. “In what I believe will be a very short period we will be able to stop all exactions and massacres.”
In an interview with France-24 TV, Hollande said the AU reinforcements would arrive “in the coming days,” without specifying. He said 1,600 French troops was “enough: There won’t be more,” and added that they would remain as planned for about six months – though a residual force of 500 to 600 might stay thereafter.
Word of the bigger deployments came as human rights groups continued the grisly business of counting and collecting bodies of those killed in recent massacres. The death toll in the capital from the recent fighting rose on Saturday to 394, said Antoine Mbao Bogo of the local Red Cross.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, speaking on i-Tele TV, said France accelerated plans for the 1,600-strong deployment because of the “upsurge” in violence since Thursday. He said French forces would disarm any armed militias, and would use force if the fighters don’t hand over their weapons peacefully.
He said French troops had been sent to Bossangoa, the home region of ousted President Francois Bozize and many of his perceived supporters.
Central African Republic President Michel Djotodia called on former rebels who are now integrated into the national army to stay off the streets now being patrolled by French and regional forces. Presidential spokesman Guy Simplice Kodegue said those who violated the order would be punished.
Now, sectarian strife has grown. On Saturday, aid workers returned to the streets to collect bloated bodies that had lay uncollected in the heat since Thursday, when Christian fighters known as the anti-balaka, who oppose Djotodia, descended on the capital in a coordinated attack on several mostly Muslim neighbourhoods. Residents of Christian neighbourhoods said Seleka have counter-attacked by going house-to-house in search of alleged combatants and firing at civilians who merely strayed into the wrong part of town.
Zumbeti Thierry Tresor, 23, was among those slain after he tried to cross through another neighborhood to visit family members in another part of Bangui. Seleka fighters shot him in the neck and stomach, his friends said. On Saturday, neighbors hiked the rocky path to his one-room home where his covered body lay on the floor underneath neatly hung music posters.
Outside the front door, his wife wailed hysterically, gripping their 3-year-old daughter in her lap as neighbors crowded around her. Alongside their house, a team of a dozen men with sticks and shovels dug Tresor’s grave under the shade of a tree.
“We want the French army to come and protect us,” said Tresor’s friend, Francois Yayi. “We have no police to call. The Seleka will kill us all.”
He and his friends begin counting on their fingers the number of neighbours slain amid the latest spasm of bloodshed. At least 10 they determine have died since Thursday.
As families mourned their dead, others fled by the thousands to the few known safe places in the capital – the airport guarded by French troops and the grounds of a Catholic center run by the Salesians of Don Bosco. About 3,000 people had fled to the complex on Thursday when the fighting began and that number swelled to 12,000 by Saturday.
“We have no water, no food, no medicine – we have nothing,” said Pierre Claver Agbetiafan, looking around the center where he works.
As dusk fell, hundreds of people began lining up outside the mission’s doors for a safe place to sleep, carting foam mattresses and plastic buckets of food on their heads. Some even toted wheeled luggage, not knowing when they could return. Every bit of ground near the tennis courts was crowded with families preparing for a night on damp ground under the open sky. The air filled with smoke as women tended small fires to prepare dinner.
Judith Lea, 47, came with a family of 20 including her 3-day-old grandson to escape violence in their neighborhood on the north side of the capital. As people settled in for the night, she and the other female relatives argued over what to name the little boy who has spent nearly his entire life in a displacement camp.
“When the Seleka rebels came to the house, they stole his blankets and all the little things we had bought for him,” Lea said, stretched out on the ground to rest. “When this war is over, what will we do? He is cold and hasn’t had his vaccines yet.”
Most of the displaced in Bangui are Christian: ex-Seleka have not targeted Muslim neighbourhoods. But anger over the attacks has prompted vicious reprisals on Muslim civilians in other parts of the country. Nearly a dozen Muslim women and children were slain less than a week ago just outside the capital in an attack blamed on the Christian fighters.
Seleka are blamed for scores of atrocities since taking power, tying civilians together and throwing them off bridges to drown and burning entire villages to the ground. Anger over such abuses has fanned a backlash against Muslim civilians, who make up only about 15 percent of the population. The anti-balaka, the armed Christian movement that has arisen in response to the Seleka attacks, is widely believed to be supported by former army soldiers loyal to ousted President Francois Bozize.
Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed to this report.
The BBC reports give similar details.
An estimated 10% of CAR’s 4.6 million people have fled their homes, while more than a million urgently need food aid, according to the UN.
The largely Muslim rebels controlling much of the country have been accused of atrocities against Christians, and fighting between Muslim and Christian militias has broken out in the capital, Bangui, and elsewhere. Read the rest of this entry »
Far Right Tries to Attract Anti-Imperialists.
On Voltaire Net we read, “Thierry Meyssan French intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. His columns specializing in international relations feature in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. His last two books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.
He is not content with conspiracy theories about 9/11 in New York and the claim that the “Pentagon was the target of a guided missile, fired on as the result of a right-wing conspiracy within the United States.”
Currently Meyssan’s defence of the Syrian regime is being widely broadcast.
On Meyssan’s own site he has taken upon himself to defend the Syrian regime.
What has been happening in Syria for the past three years? According to NATO and GCC* media reports, the “regime” has shed blood to suppress a democratic revolution. However this version is contradicted by the current support for the government estimated at, according to sources, between 60 and 90 % of the population. The truth is quite different: NATO and the GCC have successively lost a war of succession and a fourth generation Nicaraguan-type war. It is they, and they alone, who organized and financed the death of 120,000 Syrians.
Meyssan is currently (according to the weekly Le Point) cited on Wikipedia) , “professeur de relations internationales au Centre d’études stratégiques de Damas », qu’il « signe des éditos dans al-Watan » et qu’il est « conseiller particulier de Bachar el-Assad »” – Professor of international relations at the Strategic Studies Centre of Damas, and a special adviser of Assad.
In October Le Monde Diplomatique published an article, Les embrouilles idéologiques de l’extrême droite, (the deliberate confusions of the far-right) largely about Alain Soral. (1)
It drew attention to the mixture of “anti-imperialism”, conspiracy theory, and (barely disguised) anti-Semitism peddled by a fringe of extreme-right ideologists.
They are designed to attract a ‘left’ audience, with anti-globalisation, anti-imperialist themes, and the ‘right’ with an appeal to (French) nationalism.
Meyssan participates the site Egalite et Réconciliation founded by Soral. (2)
It does just that.
It is devoted to promoting this ideology.
Equality and Reconciliation advocates the union of the “Labour left” (Marxist) and the “Moral Right” (Nationalism and Patriotism) in response to capitalist globalisation Many consider that it takes as its model the pre-great War Proudhon Circle, which brought together syndicalists (not, despite the legend, Georges Sorel himself) , and Maurrassians (followers of the Action Française, the French ‘Royalist’ party of the extreme right).
It would be a great mistake if the left, in its justified hatred of the jihadist killers in Syria, their international recruits and backers, working in Syria, forgets that Assad has attracted people of Meyssan’s stripe.
(* GCC: Cooperation Council of Arab States in the Gulf)
Soral defined himself as a Marxist, and was a member of the French Communist Party in the early 90′s. He left the PCF because of his opposition to the party’s renunciation of revolutionary content. Soral supported left-wing dissident candidate Jean-Pierre Chevènement during the 2002 presidential election.
In 2005, Soral turned to the far-right, joining the National Front‘s campaign committee; he was given responsibility for social issues and for the suburbs under the authority of Marine Le Pen. Soral’s personal journey has led some to compare him with Jacques Doriot, one of the neo-socialists in the early 1930s and Collaborationist under Pétain. He supported the Bloc identitaire‘s distribution of food in January 2006.
Since 18 November 2007, Soral has been a member of the central committee of the National Front which he left in early 2009 because of some ideas he was in conflict with (especially the menace of Islam which is not an actual threat for him).
In 2007, he founded the group “Egalité et Réconciliation”, a think tank led by the ideas he developed in his books and his several interviews (an innovative mix between social and economic ideas from Left, and Values like Nation or morality from Right).
(2) Interestingly Meyssan is described as a “personal friend” of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a recent post on this site, criticising Iran for giving way to the West over its nuclear programme.
Is this Going to Work in France? Really?
France’s National Assembly has just voted today to penalise the clients of prostitutes.
With 268 votes against 138 a law, which will make a customer of Prostitutes liable to a fine of 1 500 euros (stiffly increased for a second offence) will now go to the Senate before becoming law.
The legislation will also cover Internet sites, hosted in France, or in other countries.
In France, the law currently states that prostitution is legal, although brothels, poncing, and soliciting sex are not. The law will abolish the offence of ‘racollage’ touting for sex.
Minister for women’s rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, who has pushed for the reform, argues that prostitution in any form is unacceptable and has said the aim of President François Hollande’s Socialist government was to suppress the trade altogether.
Proponents of the reform point to a rise in human trafficking as a key reason for more restrictive legislation. Some 90 percent of France’s estimated 20,000 to 40,000 prostitutes are victims of Nigerian, Chinese and Romanian trafficking networks, the government says.
Those figures represent a dramatic jump from just over a decade ago, when only one in five prostitutes was foreign.
But the proposed reforms have prompted street protests, and some prostitutes say the law will rob them of their livelihoods.
Government ministers, including Interior Minister Manuel Valls, have also expressed reservations about being able to apply the law as it stands. Hollande’s Green coalition allies voted against the reform, as did the opposition centre-right UMP members.
If the debate on France’s elected Left has been largely consensual – from the Front de Gauche to the Parti Socialiste a majority have backed the legislation, this has been far from the case amongst feminists and social movement activists.
Respected feminist, philosopher and activist, Elisabeth Badinter has declared that it is not right for the “state to legislate on the sexual activity of individuals.”
This ‘penalisation’ is prohibition. I prefer to speak of prohibition rather than abolitionishing protstitution, because that is the objective l of the authors of the bill. They comprae their legislation to the abolition of slavery! But the sale of an individual is not comparable to prostitution , which is a provision of the body for sexual purposes.
A person may accept or reject this sale, if, that is, they are not entrapped by a ‘network’ (by a criminal gang AC). The argument is that we must we must dry up the demand for sexual services so that that there is no more supply.
I do find it normal that the new legislation allows women to be prostitutes, but the law will prohibit men to make use of their services. This is not consistent and it is unfair.
The second reason for my opposition is that they claim that there is the prostitution is dominated by networks, in which women are placed in situations where they cannot say no. But amongst prostitutes there are those who are independent and casual, who practice this in order to make some extra money.
The ban – in effect to do what women want with their bodies – would be a step backwards from one of the important achievements of feminism. That is the struggle for women top do what they like their bodies. This applies, even if it is a minority of women.
It is not a matter of quantity but of principle. (Le Monde)
By contrast Caroline Fourrest has argued that there is little “choice” involved in Prostitution, nor more than for women who “choose” to wear the symbol of oppression, the veil. She perhaps does not help matters by asserting that those defending prostitutes rights are often those who back reactionary Islamists. But her main point is that issues of power are involved.
There are a host of other arguments, about the safety of sex workers, the risks that the law will drive them into clandestine lives, and the view that prostitution will simply not be ‘abolished’.
For those concerned with this debate the pages in le Monde, notably, the dossier, Une nouvelle guerre des féminismes ? (which appeared at the end of last week) are essential reading.