News / Europe

French Government Pushes for Syria Response

French Government Pushes for Syria Responsei
X
September 05, 2013 10:31 AM
Lawmakers in France on Wednesday debated joining a U.S.-led attack on Syria, after French intelligence reports concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Henry Ridgwell
Lawmakers in France on Wednesday debated joining a possible U.S.-led attack on Syria, after French intelligence reports concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people.

At an urgent National Assembly debate, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault set out the government's reasons for supporting an attack on Syria.

The prime minister said to not act would endanger peace and security in the entire region and beyond that, French security. He said the credibility of France's international commitments against non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, would be put in question.

The U.S. and French intelligence services say they have evidence showing that Assad's forces used chemical weapons last month on rebel-held areas outside Damascus, killing more than a thousand people. The Syrian government strongly denies the claim.

Where World Powers Stand on Syria
*as of 8/30/13

  • Britain: Parliament rejects participation in military strike
  • Russia: Against Western intervention
  • France: President wants "firm and proportionate action"
  • China: Foreign Minister says political resolution is "only way out"
  • Germany: Military commitment is not being considered
  • Italy: Will not take part in military action without a U.N. mandate
  • Canada: Supports intervention but no plans to commit Canadian forces
  • Iran: Opposed to any Western military strike
The French government declassified its evidence, which has been published in newspapers. That's a deliberate ploy, said Francois Heisbourg of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research.

"One is the straightforward goal of answering the question of what happened and who did it. But there is another goal, which is that the French wanted to display to their own people that they had the ability to form their own opinion about what happened using their own national intelligence means," said Heisbourg.

France has a special interest in the Syrian conflict, said David Cadier of the IDEAS analysis group at the London School of Economics and Political Science. "Syria is not just any country for France. This is in its so-called historical area of geopolitical interest."

In January, France sent 4,000 troops to Mali to oust Islamist rebels from the north of the country. With Mali electing a new president last month, the intervention is seen as a success - and has emboldened France, said David Cadier. "Certainly the Mali operation was rather successful; while when it was launched, many experts were a bit worried about the consequences because the Sahel region is quite unstable - as is obviously the Near East."

French President Francois Hollande has made it clear he won't act without the U.S.

With the British parliament voting against any military action in Syria, Franco-American ties are strengthening, said Cadier. "France realized that the transatlantic alliance needs to be strengthened. And to strengthen such an alliance, they need to demonstrate some kind of capacity, including military capacity."

U.S. President Barack Obama has asked Congress to authorize limited military strikes against Syria.

Analysts say Hollande is under increasing pressure to follow Washington and London - and allow lawmakers to vote on military action.

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network shows anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a poster depicting U.S. President Barack Obama during a demonstration in Kafr Nabil, Idlib province, Sept. 20, 2013.
  • Children sit along a damaged street filled with debris in the besieged area of Homs, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • Debris is seen on the ground after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • An injured man walks along a street after what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Myassar neighborhood of Aleppo, Sept. 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by The Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad shows a Syrian military tank on fire during clashes with Free Syrian army fighters in Joubar, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • A member of the Shohadaa Badr Brigade, which operates under the Free Syrian Army, stands in shooting position behind sandbags in Ashrafieh, Aleppo, September 17, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters walk through rubble inside the old city of Aleppo, Sept. 16, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter carries his weapon as he stands on rubble of damaged buildings in al-Aseela neighborhood near Aleppo's historic citadel, Sept. 13, 2013.
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen, a Syrian protester chants slogans during a demonstration in Arbeen, a suburb of Damascus, Sept. 13, 2013.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More