Macron and May order their first major attack against the Syrian regime
The French president, Emmanuel Macron (D), and the British prime minister, Theresa May, in a meeting in Brussels, on March 22, 2018.
French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May have ordered a major military operation for the first time by deciding to launch attacks on Saturday, along with Washington, against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.
For both of them it was a baptism of fire. Both presented their visions of why these operations were necessary.
Macron said that Paris and its allies can not “tolerate the banalization of the use of chemical weapons.”
Theresa May, said that “there was no practicable alternative to the use of force to reduce and prevent the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.”
Of the two European allies of Washington in this company, France is the country most involved militarily in the operation, with more mobilized resources than the United Kingdom.
London mobilized four fighter jets and Paris nine, plus five frigates that fired missiles during the operation.
“The French had the tactical command of the air operation,” said a French source.
In the last days Emmanuel Macron deployed an intense diplomatic activity and a year after being elected he launched for the first time a military operation, having inherited from the previous administration the operations Chammal, against the jihadists in the Levant, and Barkhane, which develops in the Sahel.
For May it is also the first time since he came to power, in mid-2016, that he orders an intervention by British forces.
– A clear message –
According to the prime minister, the attacks were intended to send a “clear message” against the use of chemical weapons, a few weeks after they will be used on English soil against ex-spy Sergei Skripal and her daughter Yulia, in an attack that London accused precisely Russia, the main defender of Asad.
On Thursday, May had called an emergency meeting of his government to discuss an eventual participation, without waiting for the end of Easter’s parliamentary recess.
The decision generated controversy and opposition and many organizations condemned May’s decision to proceed without consulting the parliament, breaking with the procedure that had been installed since the intervention in Iraq in 2003, which left deep scars in the country.
In 2014 and later in 2015, the British deputies gave the green light to the participation of their country in the bombings of the international coalition led by the United States against the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and in Syria.
In contrast, in 2013, parliament had opposed a military response to al-Assad’s first use of chemical weapons against the civilian population.
“The United Kingdom has to play the role of leader to achieve a ceasefire in the conflict, not obey instructions from Washington,” said Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said May should have sought parliamentary approval, ” instead of following Donald Trump. ”
In France, where the debate on parliamentary control of military actions is less heated, several sectors endorsed the operation.
“France could not remain blind and deaf in the face of this barbarism,” Christophe Castaner, general secretary of the governing party, the Republic in March, said on Twitter.
For the leader of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, the “chemical attacks launched repeatedly by the Damascus regime against his people imposed this reaction”.
But several personalities also criticized this action they accused of “weakening” French diplomacy.
“Attack for attacking, to give the impression that something is being done, without there being a strategy behind, I do not understand the usefulness or the meaning,” said Laurent Wauquiez, party leader of the Republicans, the right-wing opposition, in a interview granted to the Sunday newspaper Journal du Dimanche.
Marine Le Pen, the president of the National Front, an organization of the extreme right, criticized that these bombings commit the country “in a way with unpredictable and potentially dramatic consequences”
From the left, the leader of France Insumisa Jean-Luc Mélenchon, did not grant the government his approval and said on Twitter that “these attacks against Syria, without a mandate of the UN and against it, without the European agreement and without the vote of the French parliament “.
For Macron, the operation reached “its objectives” and could be further expanded during an interview scheduled for Sunday, while a debate, without a vote, will take place on Monday in the National Assembly and the Senate.
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