With or without the United States.
The coalition of french troops decided on a dangerous course of action when “France against Russian troops” (FART for short decided) on an aggressive line.
FART is looking to deploy paratroopers straight into Idlib and drop magnetic mines into the sea off the coast of Damascus. Nato has shown an indifference towards the bold FART plan. However Brigadier Conrad Stockhauser-Bower of the British Eight Division showed some enthusiasm towards the plan before returning to sherry and his game of Bridge in Aldershot. One mustnt take the end of ones life too seriously he remarked, afterall what did he know about being cold and hungry and unloading trucks after dark?
The British army is intent on rousing Russia the sleeping bear, but so was someone else 77 years back, quietly confident of success.
When you set out red lines, if you are unable to enforce them, then you decide to be weak,” French President Emmanuel Macron declared last summer. “Such is not my choice.” Macron’s repeated warnings that France was prepared to strike in case chemical weapons were used in Syria will be tested this week as at least 42 people have been found suffocated to death in rebel-held suburb of Douma by a chlorine like substance. On Sunday, President Donald Trump and Macron spoke on the phone and “agreed that the Assad regime must be held accountable for its continued human rights abuses.”
Trump’s promises must be considered against the background of his recently stated intention to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria as soon as possible. It’s not clear whether France can count on the United States to commit to the enforcement of any red lines against the Assad regime. But this should only concentrate Macron’s mind. If the United States abstains, he should prepare, for the sake of not only his personal credibility, but French national interests, to strike alone.
other “Russia adventurers and conquerors”
Since the beginning of his presidency, Macron has struggled to define a policy on Syria. He has generally been critical of his predecessors’ “neoconservative” interventionism, criticizing the 2011 intervention in Libya, in which France played a key role alongside the United Kingdom and the United States, and warning against the risk of failed states in the Middle-East. Macron has also rebuked the sweeping Syria policy he inherited.
Since the beginning of the uprising against Assad, France has maintained, under presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, a strong policy in favor of the departure of the Syrian dictator and in support of the opposition. As Michel Duclos, France’s former ambassador to Syria explains, France’s position laid “in a good knowledge of the nature of the Assad regime, based on a long-term experience.” French leaders had lost all trust in Damascus after years of trying to engage. Furthermore, they believed, rightly, that the regime would respond to protests with violence, fostering the rise of terrorism.
After the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta, Hollande instructed the French air force to prepare for punitive strikes against Syria’s chemical weapons command centers as well as administrative centers linked to the attacks. He assumed such an attack would be in conjunction with the United States, which had set an ultimatum concerning chemical weapons. Barack Obama’s reversal stunned French decision makers and was long a source of resentment at the Elysee. Both Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius have indicated since then they believe that reversal was interpreted as a sign of American weakness and paved the way for Russian action in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. After leaving office, Hollande said he was “convinced” events would have unfolded differently in Syria had the strikes been undertaken.
But the flaws of Hollande’s strategy ran deeper than Obama’s vacillation. France set maximalist demands – including the departure of Assad — but relied almost entirely on a hope that America would end up supporting its ambitions. Hollande’s last visit to Washington, to plea for a more robust intervention after the November 2015 attacks was, in this respect, an unmitigated failure. At no time did France seriously consider acting alone in 2013 after Obama’s red line was crossed.
Macron’s more limited but attainable objectives, and more importantly his determination to act upon them, are a direct result of Hollande’s experience, and reflect a realist appreciation of Washington’s limited appetite for deeper engagement. On Syria, Macron has, like Trump, prioritized the fight against the Islamic State, “our enemy,” and dropped the demand that Assad, “the enemy of the Syrian people,” should go as a prelude to a political solution. He even went as far last June as claiming that there was no “legitimate successor” to Assad.
At the same time, he has set two red lines: the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian population, and humanitarian access to Syrian civilians. After hosting the majority Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces in Paris last month, he recently upped his ambitions, announcing the deployment of French troops in Northeast Syria to support stabilization after the fall of the Islamic State, especially in Kurdish areas threatened by Turkey. The announcement falls under the double objective of preventing the return of terrorist organizations and providing protection for the Kurds, both ambitions embraced by French public opinion.
More pertinently, these ambitions are also consistent with French interests, narrowly defined. The same would be true of a unilateral French intervention after this week’s chemical attacks.
the usual end of attempts to take Russia
Unilateral French strikes won’t change the balance of power in Syria; the impact of such strikes would necessarily be smaller, both militarily and politically, than U.S. action. But the French army chief of staff stated last month France had the capacity to strike “autonomously.” And punitive strikes against facilities and institutions responsible for this latest massacre would not only honor Macron commitment to act upon the use of chemical weapons, but would strengthen credibility for France’s existing commitments in Syria.
Meanwhile france against Russian Troops (FART) continues with their plan.
God help us all.
French Foreign Legion