Caroline Galactéros: “Why France Must Not Contribute in the Strikes on Syria”

FIGAROVOX/ TRIBUNE – While France is likely to hit Syria, in retaliation for alleged chemical attacks, Caroline Galactosus argues for a jump in national independence.

According to her, France must not venture into a new coalition.


A political science doctor and colonel with the Armed Operational Reserve Forces, Caroline Galactéros is president of the Geopragma think tank. Author of the blog Bouger Les Lignes, she notably published War, Technology and Society (Nuvis edition, 2014).

An atmosphere of armed vigil hovers over Paris, while the young prince of Saudi Arabia leaves the capital and our president is in close dialogue with his American counterpart. France could, in coordination with Washington, imminently strike the forces of the Syrian regime in retaliation for a new chemical attack for which the forces of the abominable tyrant Assad backed by the no less frightful Russian and Iranian regimes are “very likely” blamed even though there has yet to be an investigation.

It would be necessary to act quickly, to be firm, intractable, and just! This would be a “moral duty”! We heard and read. The moralizing discourse on safeguarding innocent civilians, yet inaudible after seven years of war and destabilization of Syria, is still the same. This is the height of cynicism in international relations, which we have been practicing without hesitation for decades. Meanwhile, the silent war in Yemen continues. These civilians do not exist; they do not count.

But certain images of war and civilized hostages of a generalized savagery irritate the weary consciences of Europeans unaccustomed to violence and swollen with a pretension to know, to say, and to do well.

But act against whom? Who should we punish? The regime of “the animal Assad,” as Trump called it? Iran? Russia? Really? And if this black trio which has been exclusively designated to the international popular ransom for months was only a decoy, proposed to our selective outrage so as not to think about our own inconsistencies?

What would be the interest of Russia to allow such an attack?

No one is wondering why this new chemical attack is happening now, just when Eastern Ghouta will be back under Syrian government control and completing its territorial recon quest, facing rival rebellious groups globally routed and, more than ever, ready to sell to the highest bidder.

No one is allowed to doubt, not even for a moment, when the Russian Foreign Minister reports that Syrian Red Crescent observers sent there did not see anything resembling an attack? Is Sergei Lavrov totally lying in the United Nations Security Council, or is it necessary to think that Moscow does not control everything that is done militarily? Or those elements of the Syrian army itself would act as free electrons or have been “returned”? Who benefits from the crime? It is this old but still relevant question that now seems indecent.

What would be the interest of Russia to allow such an attack to be committed? While we do think much about our “International Coalition” which: seeks peace, organizes pragmatically, and is the only one to garner results for the past seven years that are obviously against our interests as well as those of our regional allies?

One also seems to have completely forgotten a fundamental fact of the conflict: the unfortunate civilians of Ghouta, like those of the last parts of the Syrian territory still in the hands of the “rebels” jihadists or ISIS, who are used as human shields, perhaps even sacrificed by these same democrat apprentices of al-Qaeda and other groups in order to drag the West into an open war with Moscow and Tehran.

For if we leave the microscope for the telescope, we can describe, from this last Syrian sequence, an infinitely worrying global strategic context for Europe, and particularly for France, which is likely to take the lead. Posts of a war that is not France’s, but one for which it will pay and that will permanently neutralize the asserted presidential ambition to take the political and moral leadership of the European Union. Our German or Italian friends are, moreover, less cynico-idealistic, but more prosaic than we are. They are cautiously advancing back and forth between Beirut and Damascus to push their pawns into this painful phase and will reap the benefits of our radical marginalization when Syrian reconstruction arrives.

The war in Syria was won militarily by the government army; militarily, but not politically.

We have rolled over so much for the past months that we do not see it anymore. Russia is punished. It is being punished for being Russia already, and for having succeeded in returning to the world stage. It is punished for wanting peace in Syria. It is being punished for rescuing Damascus and its demonized regime from the dismemberment promised to them, which has shattered the Syrian popular and governmental resilience and has at least partially thwarted the confessionalization of political and social clashes that the West is encouraging without understanding the insignificant danger for its own companies, especially in Europe.

The war in Syria was militarily won by the government army; militarily, but not politically. This victory on the ground is at the price of a brutal war (like all wars, even those waged from the air and which have surgical only the name), is really unbearable because it forces us to make peace, this that no one wants apart from … Moscow. Ah, Moscow! The impudent re-elected Vladimir Putin who taunts us with his World Cup, where millions of people will discover a face of Russia that will not terrify them.

And then after Moscow, we are obviously targeting Tehran, of which Israel, in full official idyll with the global center of Salafism – Saudi Arabia – which has however opportunely decided to make a new skin, cannot tolerate regional emergence, both on the level of this country’s societal, cultural, technological and commercial environment overshadows it beyond the mere fear of a strategic (dis) balance modified by its ultimate nuclearization.

In short, we are falling into a vast trap that is played out on several fronts. From this point of view, the Skripal affair may well have been only the appetizer of the current sequence. It laid the first floor of a political and security repolarization of Europe around London, and especially under the banner of NATO. Because this is the ultimate maneuver:

return to the attention of the Europeans who, since the arrival of Donald Trump and Brexit, had begun to dream of European autonomy in matters of politics and defense … Supreme peril for the American leadership on the Old Continent, fortunately counterbalanced by the ranting of some new Europeans who refuse their identity and leveling undermine any project of collective security franking. The Secretary of Defense, General Mattis, has been very clear: the European must indeed devote 2% of their GDP to the defense, but to buy US weapons and remain in the NATO orbit obviously, the Alliance as the natural and necessary framework for the defense of Europe. Close the ban!

We are falling into a vast trap that is being played out on many fronts.

So we were being clearly taken over by NATO, but we did not not realize it because we were selling the need for a seamless solidarity, so Manichean, facing a “Russian offensive” to divide Europe (as if we were not big enough to divide ourselves) and dominate the Levant. This was probably the object of the Skripal affair as of the present rise to the front on Syria. Today’s flip-flop by Angela Merkel on the Northstream-2 project only amplifies this polarization. Moscow is forced to tense up and isolate itself by all means. By the sanctions, by the real false poisonings of spies in full London and until this German decision which can only harden the Russian position in Syria and ensure the rise of tensions,

So you have to deal with it: Obama’s America has lived. That of Trump and those neoconservatives of all persuasions who surround him very firmly now have radically changed his posture. While the US president announces his wish to leave Syria, he admits to change his mind if Saudi Arabia paid the cost of this presence! We could not be clearer and it was also the meaning of his first trip to Riyadh last spring: to reassure the ally of Quincy (whose eponymous Pact was made obsolete by the new American energy independence) against 400 billion dollars contracts for the US economy. And then, while he declares to the chagrin of his generals and to deceive his world that he wants to leave,

Washington, in the vast movement of repolarization of the world, intends in any case to remain the principal anchor of securing of a West which doubts face a China which structures at its rhythm and via a confrontation of low intensity but in all directions, a true “counter-world”. America, feverish, plays its all-out to reverse the steam of an international order it no longer controls but it still wants to dominate at all costs. She wants the clash to reinstall her precedence over Moscow, Tehran and Beijing, the ultimate target of intimidation. Yet this is a fight deeply against the evolution of the world. Afflicted by the postmodern syndrome of low vision and technological hybris, we forget that life is long.

Beyond that, this case, like countless others, highlights a dangerous evolution: the substitution of the reality not of a distorted image, but of another reality and the return of the temptation of preemptive pre-emptive war, who avoids investigating. The question is really very serious for the very essence of international politics. Do we prefer the image to reality, the fake news to the analysis, the sensationalism to the rigor?

So what do we want? It will be clear soon: if we want to save Syria, we must above all not join a coalition that will act outside any UN mandate and carry the weight of a war that the Syrian people is the last wheel of the coach and will be the immediate victim. The big question is then: but what is Paris doing in this galley? One is mistaken as often as enemy, ally, posture, all in all, and if one tried audacity, courage and singularity? Our seat on the Security Council, which is becoming more and more open to Germany, would be relegated.

In this new great game, France still has the unexpected opportunity to count more than its demographic or even economic weight allows it.

France is now, in Syria as elsewhere, at the foot of the wall. It has the unexpected opportunity to assert a cautious and rigorous approach, a voice for peace, a singularity. We already have an influence at the lowest point in the region. If we want to count again, we have to look reality in our eyes and admit that “we’ve had it all wrong” since 2011. It’s never too late and our president can still choose to truly count against history and in the hearts of peoples

A war against Iran and Russia is not ours. It does not correspond to French strategic interests or those of Europe. We have already so naively stuck to the British who want to leave the Union, without proof and in principle, in the Skripal case. Why this flight forward?

In this new great game, France still has the unexpected opportunity to count more than its demographic or even economic weight does, by asserting a singularity and consistency. More than ever, realism, the antithesis of cynicism, must be the shield and spear of our new international posture. It brings us closer to an abstract justice but to equity and clairvoyance. France has no right and no interest in being dishonest in its interpretation of the facts. It has everything to gain from lucidity and it must urgently show the world as well as the peoples and powers of the Middle East that it is not misleading or subject to it so easily.

Source: Le Figaro