By Ramzy Baroud
23 January, 2015
Francois Hollande is not a popular president. No matter how hard the ‘socialist’ leader tries to impress, there never seems to be a no solid constituency that backs him. He attempted to mask his initial lack of experience in foreign affairs with a war in Mali, after his country enthusiastically took on Libya. While he succeeded at launching wars, he failed at managing their consequences as the latest attacks in Paris have demonstrated.
Following the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, he is now attempting to ride a wave of popularity among his countrymen. On January 11, an estimated 3.5 million people took to the streets of France in support of free speech – as if that were truly the crux of the problem. Nearly forty world leaders and top officials, many of whom are themselves unrelenting violators of human rights and free speech, walked arm in arm throughout the streets of Paris. It was a photo-op to show that the world was ‘united against terrorism.’
In the midst of it all, the embattled Hollande was at center stage, ready to act as a statesman, decisive leader, and father of a nation. And as his nation tried to come to terms with the tragedy, Hollande made his annual new year’s address, promising to escalate the exact same policies that engendered violence and what many western pundits readily refer to as ‘Islamic terrorism’.
The Iraq Connection
“If we can combat terrorism in Iraq, just as we did in Africa, we are ensuring our own security,” he said. His plan sounded as pathetic as all familiar: “If necessary we will be able to act in Iraq with more intensity and more efficacy; the aircraft carrier will be working in very narrow communication with the other forces and will be able to attack in any point in the event of supplementary tensions,” he said.
As if nothing has been learnt until now, Hollande seems to be borrowing the same costly policies that were implemented by former US President George W. Bush after the deadly attacks of September 11. He too struck violently and thoughtlessly and at the urging of powerful neoconservative groups; he carried out pre-conceived policies to assure America’s dominance in the name of fighting ‘terror’. These policies backfired, none of the US strategic objectives were achieved, and the ‘New Middle East’ which the US administration so desperately coveted, became a breeding ground for the same ‘terrorism’ that the Americans allegedly fought.
Prior to Bush’s misadventures in the Middle East, al-Qaeda seemed to have been a distant reality that had been heard of, but unseen. A decade after the US invasion of Iraq, al-Qaeda penetrated the Middle East and North Africa, hatching into numerous groups, sub-groups and al-Qaeda-inspired groups. In fact, al-Qaeda-turned-Islamic State (IS) is now redefining borders, carving a ‘state’ of its own that occupies massive swathes of land in Syria and Iraq.
But why is Hollande repeating the failed policies of the discredited Bush administration, and reversing the principled and sound choices of former French presidents, like Jacques Chirac? Foreseeing its potential disasters, Chirac stood defiantly against Bush’s war in Iraq; and he is still right. But since then, France itself has changed, and failed leaders like Nicolas Sarkozy, and now Hollande are responsible for that change.
The Savior Needs Saving
When Hollande was elected in May 2012, some saw hope in him during times of economic crises, high unemployment, political disunity, and a collective feeling of loss and confusion; yet he failed to deliver. The economy stalled despite his promises to kickstart it. Unemployment lingered and even the proposed higher taxes on the country’s millionaires were not delivered.
However, this is not just a question of economic recession. The rise of racism, ensured by the rise of rightwing and fascist parties, is devouring France’s sense of national identity. Naturally, Hollande’s failures translated into bad numbers. His approval rating quickly dropped, so in order to save the day, he decided to do the exact opposite of what he had been elected to do: Go to war.
His decision on January 11, 2013 to bomb ‘Islamic militants’ scantly won him a reputation of being a ‘decisive president’. But wars are easy to start and difficult to finish. Hollande’s wars are no exception.
The war in Mali had little to do with religious militancy and everything to do with the existing chasm in the country itself, and the region as a whole. By adding western wars and intervention to the mix, calamity is assured.
With the US expanding its military presence in Africa, China its economic reach and regional powers jockeying for influence, it was Hollande’s perfect movement to appear as if a great French leader was redeeming his country’s old colonial ‘glory’ in Africa. Mali was the ideal place for Hollande to distract the world from his failures at home. The West African country, once a promising democracy, had become a failed state, with a host of problems, ethnic and racial divides and a countless stream of weapons coming in from Libya – itself destroyed by western powers, starting with France.
Hollande’s moment of glory arrived on September 13, 2013, when he declared that the war on ‘Islamic extremists’ had been won. But he was as hasty as the US’s military ‘mission accomplished’ declaration in Bush’s ‘victory’ speech soon after the invasion of Iraq.
Yet Hollande’s economic woes continued at home, and war alone could hardly help his tarnished image. In November 2014, he received the “worst score for a president in modern-day polling: a 12 percent approval and ratings.”
The more such bad news arrived at home, the more France’s tentacles of interventions found their way to near and faraway places – Libya, Mali, Syria, Iraq and so on. War became Hollande’s only savior.
Ecstasy of War
Frivolous wars are like drugs. They may start with the intention of achieving a fleeting sense of ecstasy, but with time they become a lethal escape from reality. Like drugs, a warlord is dependent on war and can only be sustained and validated by it. Hollande is a warlord in the western sense, what Americans refer to as ‘a war president’.
But as Bush’s notorious legacy has proven, while war-induced fear and vain patriotism may keep a leader in office long enough, the terrible consequences of unchecked violence shall be felt for many years to come.
– Ramzy Baroud – www.ramzybaroud.net – is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. He is currently completing his PhD studies at the University of Exeter. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).
French President Promised Justice But Terrorists Seek Real Justice For Muslim Millions Slaughtered
By Jay Janson
23 January, 2015
Meaningful justice, would be Europeans recognizing their legal responsibility to compensate the survivors of Muslim and non-Muslim millions slaughtered, maimed, impoverished, enslaved and exploited on three continents over the centuries of Europe’s rise via the plunder of three continents, including Muslim and other cultures and civilizations older, more advanced and wealthier than those of Europeans at that time. Patience!
After the recent terror attacks in Paris, the president of France puffed himself up in a politically expedient promising of justice, as if apprehending or killing the terrorists would bring everything to a satisfactory conclusion. It will of course not. It will not bring the innocent victims back to life or ally public fear of future Muslim terror. Meaningful justice, would be Europeans recognizing their legal responsibility to compensate the survivors of Muslim and non-Muslim millions slaughtered, maimed, and made poor through enslavement and exploitation on three continents over the centuries of Europe’s rise via the plunder of three continents, including Muslim and other cultures and civilizations older, more advanced and wealthier than those of Europeans at that time.
In the modern day nations of Africa, listed below in alphabetical order, there live at least a hundred million Muslim survivors of the terrorist genocide European (and later American) racist colonial armies brought down on Muslims in oder to plunder their lands and exploit and enslave their peoples in Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, SãoTomé and Príncipe. Senegal, Seychelles, SierraLeone, Somalia, SouthAfrica, SouthSudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Most recently, barbarous, simple minded, pilots of warplanes of the imperialist West following criminal orders bombed out of existence Libya, formerly a colony of Italy and then Britain and France, which had been devastatingly exploited for its oil until revolutionary hero of Africa Muammar Gaddafi after a bloodless revolution raised, Libya from Africa’s poorest to Africa’s most prosperous nation with a UN Quality of Life index higher than nine European countries including Russia; with quality free health care and education overseen by a highly decentralized Green Arab socialist democratic government, which prohibited wage labor in its constitution until CIA and CIA branches in Europe and the near East put together al Qaida groups funded by the West, farcically represented in war investor controlled media as a spontaneous rebellion against Libya’s prosperity and leadership against Western neocolonialism re-penetration.
At present, as politicians in France are preposterously promising no-brainer justice for its citizens under Muslim terror attacks in Paris, France is steadfastly engaged, already for more than two years, in covertly and overtly funding the destruction of its former colonies, Syria and Lebanon, making use of various USA created, armed and trained al Qaida terror groups – while helping over decades through NATO, Americans bring even more death in Somalia. French troops and planes are in Mali, Central African Republic and Ivory Coast helping Muslims out as Europeans have alway have done, out of existence that is, wherever and whenever Muslims stand in the way of Western imperialist money to be made through coercion, theft and homicide.
Algerians await justice from a future reconstituted UN that will establish a Second Nuremberg Principles Court of Genocide to adjudicate lawsuits for compensation for wrongful death, maiming, destruction and mega theft of Algeria’s natural resources during its war of independence.
People in the so called Third World know its not just the brutal French. Every single European nation, even tiny Andorra, Lichtenstein, etc., all forty nations of mainly Caucasian population in the world are part of the coalition funded by the USA running a turkey-shoot of Afghani patriots of the national salvation Taliban (Students of Islam in Arabic) government, still the government of half of Afghanistan fighting the genocidal thirteen year occupation war of their Afghanistan and the traitorous drug lord government installed by US-NATO guns and planes as drones continue to assassinate daily.
European military intelligence is aware that its NATO partner USA under Jimmy Carter’s presidency secretly created the first fundamentalist terror army in history to overthrow the 1979 popular women liberating Socialist government in Kabul. The CIA and secret services of US satellites Pakistan and Saudia Arabia funded, armed, trained and led war lords like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar imfamous for throwing acid at improperly dressed women, and others who were executing teachers of women. Everyone should know that Presidential Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski later openly declared Jihad while bringing extreme Wahabi sect Arabs into conservative Persian speaking Afghanistan to fight the Soviet forces that had entered the war to back its ally in Kabul, and that even Osama bin Laden was paid by CIA.
As the Italian Columbus working for Spain began genocide in the Caribbean Ocean before other Europeans spread it to North and South America; the Portuguese began the European genocide in Asia with the investor funded pirate voyages of the butcher Vasco da Gama; followed by the American genocide in Philippines; the French mutilation of the Vietnamese; the Dutch butchery in Indonesia; the British genocide in the Sudan and in India, and what is now Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Belgian merciless dispatching of millions in the Congo with the use of unrelenting overkill terrorist firepower upon innocent millions that makes the Paris vengeance by a few Muslim willing to die to use their few automatic weapons and to take a few Euopeans with them pale by comparison with European investments of, first millions, then billions and trillions of dollars in intimidating automatic firepower, still being used in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq today.
Your author feels sure that most of the 1.3 billion Muslims that live in Asia, in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Macau, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen are all very much aware of their nations, both recent and early, invasions by murderously barbaric Europeans.
Europeans and citizens in their off-shoot nations of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand might consider themselves fortunate that the billions of Buddhists, Hindus and adherents of thought systems other than those born in the same Middle East as was born Christianity cannot imagine seeking revenge on people in Caucasian nations who, or whose ancestors, brought terror, death, maiming, destruction and indescribable misery to innocent citizens in their countries.
However, even if none among these billion victims adhering to non-violence have crossed seas to return terror for the inestimable terror Europeans and Europe’s descendants crossed the seas to bring to them, they too deserve justice.
And again, eventual justice, though delayed and never complete, will mean compensation for millions of wrongful death and injuries, reparations for mega destruction of property indemnity for enormous theft of natural resources.
Former US Attorney Clark Ramsey Clark expects the present UN Security Council which has been so murderously subservient to a US foreign policy that he as called “the greatest crime against humanity since World War Two,” will eventually be reconstituted and will quite naturally establish a second Nuremberg Principles Court to adjudicate a plethora of lawsuits by nations once mercilessly plundered by the nations now referred to as belonging to the First and developed World.
Jay Janson is a regular contributor to Counter Currents, Kerala, India, and Minority Perspective Birmingham, UK; is coordinator of the Howard Zinn and Ramsey Clark founded, King Condemned US Wars International Awareness Campaign and historian of the Ramsey Clark co-founded Prosecute US Crimes Against Humanity Now, an educational and stimulus website featuring the laws pertaining and a country by country history of US crimes in nineteen countries.