The Long History Of French Military Intervention In The Middle East And Africa

After the 9/11 attacks, American politicians invented the “they hate us because we’re free” explanation of why the US was a target for international terrorism. The slogan has been especially effective among very ignorant sectors of the population who seemed to be under the impression that the United States had been engaged in non-interventionist foreign policy prior to the 9/11 attacks. “Why, we were just minding our own business,” came the shocked and exasperated claims of the know-nothings. “These Arabs just attacked us for no reason, so they must just hate us because we’re so doggone free.”

Naturally, no one even remotely familiar with the history of the US in the Middle East and the Arabian peninsula would actually believe such assertions so at odds with the facts of the matter, including those who are in favor of more military intervention. Nevertheless, the long history of US-orchestrated coups in the region, the funding of brutal military dictatorships like the one in Egypt, the military presence in Saudi holy sites in the 1990s, 1980s meddling in Libya, the arming of “friends” who later turned out to be enemies, and the US cozy relationship with Israel were all events that provided Islamist radicals with all the help they needed in turning hearts and minds against the US.

A quick look at social media today reveals that many of the same people who imagined the US was “minding its own business” prior to 9/11 now seem to be under the impression that France has a hands-off approach in the Middle East and surrounding areas.

Of course, this position is even more ridiculous since the French have an even longer and arguably more brutal history than the US when it comes to Syria, Lebanon, North Africa, and more.

The Atlantic today has published a helpful summary of French meddling in Africa and the Middle East in recent years. Since September 2014, for example, the French government has engaged in 200 bombing raids in the middle east. The ones conducted on Sunday in retaliation for the Paris murders were just a few of many:

France has reportedly launched some 200 strikes in Iraq. The French task force is centered around the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which is currently stationed in the Persian Gulf. According to AFP, French air capacity in the region includes 21 Rafale fighters, nine Super Etendard fighters, and some Mirage jets. (By way of comparison, the U.S. says it has launched nearly 6,400 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.)

Meanwhile, the French have seen some mission-creep. A year to the month after commencing airstrikes in Iraq, France began flying missions in Syria as well. “In Syria, so long as we haven’t found a political solution; so long as we haven’t destroyed this terrorist group, Islamic State; so long as we haven’t got rid of Bashar Assad; we will not find a solution,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls told Christiane Amanpour in September. In October, French strikes hit an ISIS camp in Raqqa, rumored to be housing foreign fighters including French nationals. Last week, French officials said planes had struck an ISIS-controlled oil refinery in Syria.

It’s worth noting that the ISIS statement translated by SITE makes no explicit mention of Syria. The French military has been heavily involved in operations against Islamist militant groups outside of the Middle East over the last few years, including one group that has pledged fealty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph. France has deployed 3,000 troops to West Africa—a region where they’ve historically had great influence, as a colonial power and otherwise—with a presence in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Ivory Coast. The fight in Mali has centered on al-Qaeda affiliated militants, but in Nigeria and surrounding countries, France has been the Western nation most invested in fighting against Boko Haram, the brutal Nigerian Islamist organization. Earlier this year, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Baghdadi. For radicals inclined to view Western fighting against Muslim groups and nations around the world as part of a larger crusade, France’s military deployment in Africa may be lumped together with its involvement in the Levant.

While it’s difficult to take exception to bombs being dropped on the likes of Boko Haram, only the most naive of observers could assert that these bombings and other military actions have not taken their toll on local civilian populations. France has long been bombing, killing, and maiming Middle Easterners and Africans.

And let us not forget that the French government was at the forefront of the NATO war against the Libyan government in 2011, which was part of an effort by colonial European powers to reassert control over a region that was falling under Chinese influence.

Nor do we need to look only to recent events to find evidence of France’s long, brutal colonialist history in the region. The Algerian War, for example, which ended only in 1962, led to more than 100,000 dead, which proportionally was nothing short of a bloodbath in Algeria.

Moreover, the authoritative history of the origins of modern western meddling in the region is David Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace, which details how the French and British governments divided up the middle east among themselves for future government as colonial satraps. Specifically, France was to get Lebanon and Syria as part of the deal. (Britain would get Palestine and Iraq). France and Britain have regarded the region as their unofficial colonial possessions ever since.

Even worse, from the Arab point of view, the Arabs had been told if they fought with the French and British against the Ottoman Empire in World War I (a German ally), the Arab countries would gain national autonomy. T.E. Lawrence, for example, used this bait and switch tactic to get Arab tribes to assist the British throughout what is now Saudi Arabia and Palestine. Lawrence knew, however, that the French and British had already divided up the former Ottoman empire among themselves. They had already agreed that if the Ottoman Empire could be defeated, the newly independent states that resulted would forever remain under the thumb of Britain and France. And so it would have likely remained indefinitely had the Europeans not veered off course by attempting total self-annihilation in a Second World War, largely due to revanchist and heavy-handed British and French reparations demands placed upon Germany.

So, claims being made today that the French government has been a meek, peaceful lover of human rights will strike the well-informed as absurd. Americans may be blissfully unaware of all of this, but rest assured that angry young men in Iraq, Syria, and North Africa are not.

However, many Americans who subscribe to this bizarre theory of French pacifism may still be under the influence of old propaganda that the French were anti-interventionists that refused to assist the US in its 2003 invasion of Iraq. This refusal to join the US was not on humanitarian grounds, of course. The French dispense with human rights as readily as any other Western regime when it is in the state’s interest. The French government simply recognized — correctly — that the Saddam Hussein regime was fighting against the terrorists that the US claimed to be fighting. The French government probably could have also predicted — correctly, again — that getting rid of the secularist Hussein regime would serve the interests of the terrorists that now attack France and the West.

Thanks to this more level headed opposition to a pointless war in Iraq, Americans were told to villify the French, complete with “freedom fries” propaganda and calls to boycott French companies and to do everything within our power to teach the French a “lesson.” Added to this was a new genre of revisionist history that attempted to re-cast the French as the greatest enemy of the American people. One example was Kenneth Timmerman’s The French Betrayal of America. Its Amazon blurb reads:

In this stunning New York Times bestseller, investigative journalist Kenneth R. Timmerman—who lived and worked in France for nearly two decades—exposes the depth of France’s treachery. Reading this shocking insider account, Americans will see their anger at France turn to sheer outrage…Read The French Betrayal of America to find out the unvarnished truth about the supposed ally that the United States should now treat as an enemy.

But look away! That’s all ancient history now since we’re being told by American militarists that the country they recently told us was “an enemy” is now our closest friend.

This commentary appeared at and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

US Intel Just Revealed Something ISIS Is Doing That Could Take Their Attacks To A Whole New Level

The Islamic State is aggressively pursuing chemical weapons to be used in future attacks, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

The Associated Press is reporting that ISIS has set up a branch dedicated to the development of chemical weapons. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Thursday warned the Islamic extremists may at some point use them.

“Terrorism hit France not because of what it is doing in Iraq and Syria … but for what it is,” Valls told the lower house of Parliament. “We know that there could also be a risk of chemical or biological weapons” in future strikes, he added. 

“U.S. intelligence officials don’t believe IS has the capability to develop sophisticated weapons like nerve gas that are most suited for a terrorist attack on a civilian target. So far the group has used mustard gas on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria,” according to the AP. 

Iraqi officials are concerned about the large swaths of land currently held by ISIS, including Mosul, which had a university with lab facilities. “They now have complete freedom to select locations for their labs and production sites and have a wide range of experts, both civilians and military, to aid them,” a senior Iraqi intelligence official told the AP.

Retired Lt. Gen. Richard Zahner, who was the top American military intelligence officer in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, observed, “Even a few competent scientists and engineers, given the right motivation and a few material resources, can produce hazardous industrial and weapons-specific chemicals in limited quantities.”

VX nerve gas is among the most feared and deadly chemical agents terrorists could employ, which could cause mass casualties in urban areas. However, it is difficult to develop and deploy. Saddam Hussein reputedly used it against Iraqi Kurds in 1988, killing an estimated 5000 people and causing serious injury to thousands more.

Days after the Paris attacks, the French government authorized the distribution of the nerve gas antidotes to medical facilities throughout the nation.   

h/t: RT

Watch: ISIS Thug Recording Video When Suddenly Justice Interrupts Him Out Of Nowhere

ISIS seems to take some sort of perverted pleasure in coming up with ways to execute Christians and others who do not agree with its ideology. One reputed ISIS fighter was making a video on the battlefield when wheels of justice caught up with him.

The video shows an ISIS militant trying to record himself when he suddenly notices something coming in on his periphery: a bomb or missile which strikes the bunker immediately behind him.

The man disappears as the screen goes blank, but the sounds of screams and moans can be heard in the background.

As reported by Western Journalism, ISIS has made several execution videos utilizing some of the most sadistic means imaginable, including drowning them in a cage, beheading them using explosive cord, and firing an RPG into a group of them locked in a car.

As for the persecution Christians have specifically faced at the hands of ISIS, “It is like going back 1,000 years seeing the barbarity that Christians are having to live under. I think we are dealing with a group which makes Nazism pale in comparison and I think they have lost all respect for human life,” Patrick Sookhdeo, founder of Barnabas Fund, a charity which seeks to help Syrian Christians, told the Daily Express.

According to The Gospel World Herald, “In Syria alone, the Christian population has plunged by nearly two-thirds since the country’s civil war started in 2011. In Iraq, the Christian population is teetering on extinction, dwindling from around 1.5 million in 2003 to well below 200,000 now.” While thousands have been killed, many more have fled the nation as refugees.

h/t: Opposing Views

Giuliani Just Revealed EXACTLY What ISIS Is In 5 Words Obama Won’t Want You To Hear

The foreign policy ineptitude demonstrated by President Obama created the conditions where ISIS could grow, thrive, and now slaughter victims in Europe former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said this week.

“ISIS is filling a vacuum created by a vacuous foreign policy,” Giuliani said Monday on Fax News. “ISIS is an Obama creation.”

“This did not have to happen if our policies were different,” Giuliani said. “If President Obama had listened to Senator McCain and Senator Graham and a whole group of other people, and had set up a no-fly zone in Syria five years ago — if we had gone in and worked with the Syrian legitimate rebels…If we had not taken our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, ISIS never would have emerged.”

If we had 50 or 60,000 troops in Iraq, we would have been getting the intelligence that would have told us about the development of ISIS. And that would have been given to the CIA,” Giuliani said.

“Once you take your troops out, we have no resources, we have no real access,” Giuliani declared. “Here’s the simple fact, and this goes back to President Bush, some American president has to hold a speech at night and say to the American people, ‘We have to be in the Middle East until the threat against us is over.’ Just the way we were in Germany. Just the way we were in Italy. Just the way we are now in South Korea.”

Giuliani said Monday that the aftermath of the Paris attacks took him back to the events of September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked New York City.

“This has been a very difficult weekend for me because it brings back September 11 and all the terrible memories I have of it,” he said. “And the thought then, when President Bush, you know, acted so decisively and so quickly, that maybe something like this wouldn’t happen again.”

h/t: Media Research Center

Save The Apologies, Tony Blair; Just Stop Promoting War!

Usually when politicians apologize, it’s because they have been caught doing something wrong, or they are about to be caught. Such was likely the case with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who recently offered an “apology” for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Blair faces the release of a potentially damning report on his government’s conduct in the run-up to the 2003 US/UK invasion of Iraq.

Similarly, a batch of emails released from the private server of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton show Blair pledging support for US military action against Iraq a full year before the decision to attack had supposedly been made. While Prime Minister Blair was assuring his constituents that he was dedicated to diplomacy in the Iraq crisis, he was communicating through back channels that he was ready for war whenever Bush decided on it.

A careful observer of public opinion, Blair took the surprising step of “apologizing” for the Iraq war during an interview on CNN last month.

However, there are two other characteristics of politicians’ apologies: they rarely take personal blame for a misdeed, and rarely do they atone for those misdeeds.

Thus, Tony Blair did not apologize for his role in pushing the disastrous Iraq war. He did not apologize for having, as former head UN Iraq inspector Hans Blix claimed, “misrepresented intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to gain approval for the Iraq War.”

No, Tony Blair “apologized” for “the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong,” on Iraq. He apologized for “mistakes in planning” for post-Saddam Iraq. He boldly refused to apologize for removing Saddam from power.

In other words, he apologized that the intelligence manipulated by his cronies to look like Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the UK turned out to not be the case. For Blair, it was someone else’s fault.

But if we are waiting for any kind of apology from George W. Bush for Iraq, we shouldn’t hold our breath. Likewise, if we are looking for any kind of apology from President Obama for a similarly disastrous war on false pretext against Libya, we shouldn’t bother waiting.

If they ever did apologize, we can be sure that like Blair, they would never really confess to their own manipulations; nor would they seek to atone for the destruction their manipulations caused.

In fact, far from apologizing for leading the United States into the Libya war based on a false pretext, President Obama is taking US ground troops into Syria on a false pretext. Let’s not forget, this US military action was sold as a limited operation to save a small religious minority stranded on a hilltop in northern Iraq. After one year and thousands of bombing runs against Iraq and Syria, Obama announced last week he is sending US ground troops into Syria after promising no fewer than seven times that he would not do so.

Here’s an idea: instead of apologies and non-apologies from politicians, how about an actual debate on the policies that led to such disasters? Why not discuss why the US keeps being drawn into wars on false pretexts? But that is a discussion we will not have, because both parties are in favor of these wars. They are ready to spend us into Third World status to continue their empire. When we get there, we will never hear their apologies.

Copyright © 2015 by RonPaul Institute

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by