The French army chiefs rejected the decision that the French FM Laurent Fabius took to put Hezbollah on the EU terrorism list.This rejection has been widely discussed in relation with the Syrian crisis and the role of Hezbollah so that revealing its details seems to be crucial.
A number of current and retired senior officers in the French army rejected the FM’s decision that would be a strategic political reversal for the French foreign relations with Lebanon, Shiites, and Hezbollah supporters in the Islamic and Arab world, if it was carried out.
In the institutions of the European Union, there is a committee called Counter-Terrorism committee (CTC). This committee meets twice a year, except in exceptional and emergency cases, and includes all Member States. Taking a decision in this committee requires consensus; this method of voting was established to protect the interests of the grand countries in the EU, especially France and Britain. If any of the EU countries objects to a decision to put a party or a movement on the terrorism list, the decision falls although the rest of the countries would be supporting it.
Since ten years, Britain has been trying to put Hezbollah on the terrorism list, yet all the attempts have clashed with the French rejection in this committee. London has tried directly or through other countries, like Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and even Cyprus to pass a resolution that puts Hezbollah on the EU terrorism list, yet the French rejection has always thwarted all these attempts.
France has repeatedly refused this resolution as it knows that it would be the most affected country due to the strategic position of Lebanon for the French influence in the Middle East which is considered by the Americans as an area of influence for the English race’s interests exclusively. This drives the French to refrain from selling weapons to the Gulf countries due to the American and the British vetoes and due to the vulnerability of the French role in the gas and oil sector which is monopolized by the American and the British companies.
In the details of the French retreat from the last decision, well-informed French sources told Al-Manar Website that as the French FM Laurent Fabius announced that France had asked the Counter-Terrorism Committee in the EU to put Hezbollah on the terrorism list, senior officers in the French army moved and told the French president about the invalidity of such a decision and about its contradiction with the French interests in Lebanon and the Middle East. These senior officers expressed their resentment of this decision.
The French sources also reported a senior officer in the French General Staff wondering “How would the situation of our troops in South Lebanon be? Will they be targeted? Will they deal with Hezbollah as a terrorist organization? How would the relation with the residents of South Lebanon be, especially that their majority support Hezbollah?
At this time, the French President commissioned one of his counselors to communicate with the retired officers who voiced their opposition for the French resolution. Confirmed information stated that the Presidential counselor communicated with a lot of these officers and asked them about the issue. He also met some Lebanese and Arab who hold the French nationality and live in France and surveyed their opinion.
The French sources who are close to these moves told Al-Manar Website that the French administration has taken the military intervention of Hezbollah in Syria as a pretext to follow its decision till the end.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also taken hardened attitudes during al-Qusayr battle as it was persuaded by some leaders of the Syrian opposition (Michael Kiloh and Burhan Ghalyoun) that the pressure on Hezbollah in this area would prevent Hezbollah from entering al-Qusayr. The sources added that the fast and powerful victory of Hezbollah in al-Qusayr rationalized the French official position that virtually retreated, although it kept on the same pace in the media.
The consulted officers and politicians referred the French President with the following points:
1. How would Paris deal with a Lebanese ministerial or parliamentary delegation visiting France and featuring a minister or deputy of Hezbollah, especially in case one of the Jewish organizations filed a lawsuit against the delegation or against its Hezbollah member.
2. Hezbollah would not retreat from his decision to intervene in Syria under pressure.
3. The movement of the French ambassador to Lebanon would be restricted and he might be forced to leave if the conditions worsened.
4. France’s interests in Lebanon and the Middle East are greater than the interests of Hezbollah and the Shiites with France.
5. In Lebanon, there are nine cultural centers that support the survival of the Francophone, and these centers are the most effective, productive, and prevalent in the Middle East.
6. Hezbollah’s victory in al-Qusayr imposes on France to keep communicating with this party to preserve its role, and this communication would give a French preference to both the U.S. and Britain.